I’m a big fan of Dresden Codak and also enjoy following Aaron Diaz’s blog on comic theory (and stuff). I was pretty thrilled when I saw this morning that Mr Diaz has started a new project based on The Silmarillion. When I first read The Silmarillion it actually became my favorite over LOTR for a while. Not so surprising that I went on to study Norse mythology, I suppose. I am not sure whether I am allowed to repost his picture, so just follow the link. Meanwhile I’ll just throw up a pic of the original cover for The Silmarillion from Wikipedia commons.
This first picture in Diaz’ series is a nice interpretation of the Music of the Ainur (Ainulindalë)– halfway between “Let there be light” and the Big Bang. Aaron Diaz has a very romantic view of science (I mean that in a positive way, not a disparaging way), and I think that comes out in the potential ambiguity of the subject– divine music, the light commanded into existence in Genesis 1, or poetic representation of time and space exploding into existence? Science does not make the world less poetic or beautiful, but rather gives us a more complex and nuanced palette to work with in our engagement with and understanding of the world. Tolkien was Catholic, but hardly a Creationist, and I think he would have appreciated this interpretation.
The image also reminds me of the idea of a white hole, which, if I remember correctly, is supposed to be a sort of inverse black hole– or even the other end of a black hole, with things going into the black and coming out the white, maybe in another universe (sorry, all my science comes from sci-fi! well, and sometimes space.com). Aside from the potential sci-fi element, I just like the image itself. It looks like a tear in the fabric of space with something “outside” coming “in”–there is something about it that suggests agency, that implies intention and order (but beautiful, wild order, infectious– does that work?) behind this irruption, keeping it rooted in the Creation narrative of Tolkien’s Music. The image also keeps with Tolkien’s emphasis on Light throughout his work, a theme which is explored by Verlynn Flieger in Splintered Light, where she connects it to the philosophy of Owen Barfield, another of the Inklings. The image of an island of order piercing a sea of dark chaos has some other nice echoes in world mythology– the primordial island emerging from the water is common enough, and the unimaginable Nothing before the world began is (to capitalize on my own field for a moment) not incomparable with the Norse Ginnungagap. Though I think Ymir and his primordial cow companion got left out of this representation…
OK, out of time, but couldn’t help sharing! Looking forward to seeing the rest of this project.