Tag Archives: island of lost souls

Mara Page 9

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I usually like to load my blogs with visual references, but to tell the truth, the story I am telling on this page is more about philosophical, political and spiritual references than visual ones. However, there is one major influence, or series of influences I can trace through for you here.

One of the things that has kept me interested in Mara as a project is somewhat hard to explain. I often have an idea, so I go seeking reference for that idea, or some film or comic that has the mood of that idea, and what I find rarely hits the mark, rarely sates the needs of my eyes as a viewer, of my mind as a reader. I then realize that the ONLY way what I want to see and feel is going to be seen or felt is if I make it. In other words, dare I say it, I feel that Mara is truly and genuinely unique. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Light Years

All that said, one obvious influence, perhaps even swipe, was from the movie “Light Years,” which contained an understated eroticism, but also was where I got the idea for a civilization of mutants that had been created by the power structure of the above-ground world. That whole concept really got stuck in my imagination and I began to riff on all the possibilities this contained for Mara’s world. In truth, in the original Mara, done a long long time ago, those mutants played a lesser role, but now they have become a driving force and in a way her guardians, guides, and often victimizers. For me I find the seeds of my ideas in the corners of other works, very often I respond most to a character, concept or aside than I do the major thrust of the story being told, and I think, “More could be done with that.”

In the end, though I was influenced by the mutants in “Light Years,” my mutants serve a different purpose and come from a different perspective, but to be fair to me, my mutants are not merely different in narrative purpose, but in that they are mostly composed of Frankensteinian pieces parts of animals and humans, thus separating them one degree further from “Light Years.”

In a sense my mutants are no more influenced by “Light Years” than by “Frankenstein,” and just as notably, by “Island Of Lost Souls,” MGM’s 1932 adaption of “The Island Of Dr. Moreau,” which is a “must see.” No less influential than the mutants was the concept of “The Panther Woman,” who has influenced not only Mara, but my own inner self.

Island Of Dr. Moreau

No less influential than “Island Of Lost Souls” was the 1977 film version of “Island Of Dr. Moreau,” in which, again, the animal-human mutants are very obviously seen, but what might not be immediately obvious is that here again, as in “Island Of Lost Souls” we see a return to my favorite fairy tale influences, “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as “Cinderella,” in that both contain barefoot beauties surrounded by beasts, filth and squalor. That contrast for me is as fascinating as that of the mix of pain and pleasure in sadomasochism.

So I think you can see that even something as simple as a “swipe,” once analyzed becomes far more complex. I have not merely “swiped” the ideas I loved from “Light Years,” that was merely the spark of inspiration, then came in other influences like “Frankenstein,” and “Island Of Lost Souls,” and “Island Of Dr. Moreau,” and it all mixed together with my own observations about how politicians use religion, and enslave God to serve their own perverted needs. In other words, once I get past the self-effacing notion that I have “swiped” something I begin to see the domino effect of numerous other influences just as important as the initial inspiration, then that all gets filtered through me, my life, and my output as an artist to become something that, in the end, bears very little resemblance to “Light Years” or any original source of inspiration. In a sense, all art is collage, we gather influences, ideas, passions, cut a bit from here, paste a bit from there, move things around, and create our own worlds from the ones we love. And hopefully in the end our collage looks more like us than it does our influences.

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Mara Page 5

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This page is, perhaps, the simplest one to break down regards visual influence, yet probably the most complicated to break down spiritually and metaphorically.

While looking over “Idyl” and “I’m Age” by Jeffrey Catherine Jones, I was taken by the extreme shift in line quality as Jeff transitioned from brush to pen. Though this page was influenced by Jeff’s work with a pen, I will ink it with a brush. Below I have included 2 examples, one from “Idyl” inked with a brush, and another from “I’m Age’ inked with a pen.

Notice what a distinct difference in line quality, Jeff having chosen to change not only the over all style of the work, but to fully engage in the possibilities of each tool, perhaps even exaggerating the qualities of each tool to their extremes.

I’ve lost a lot of people, and I don’t know why this is so, but the loss of Jeff Jones haunts me like no other loss. It has cut deep. Knowing and learning from Jeff was a profound experience, and I doubt I’ll ever have the likes of it again. All I hope to do is, one day when the right student comes along, pass it all on to him, her or all of them.

Back to me and my work, to tell the truth, I am intimidated by Mara page 5 page, while the pencils came out with shocking ease, I fear the inks may not, that I might become stiff… only time will tell. It will be my goal to ink with the same wise hand Jeff Jones had.

The real meat of this page comes from a trilogy of dreams I had in which spirit guides, 3 different animals, came to me on 3 different nights of prophetic dreams. Rather than reiterating all that here, if you are interested, I have written extensively about those dreams. As Mara is a mythologized autobiography, I will be incorporating all 3 of those dreams into the story.

The first dream, about the Panther, you can read about by following the link below:

https://barefootjustine.com/2017/07/28/the-three-dreams-dream-1-the-panther/

The appearance of this panther has since become an important aspect of my internal and spiritual life. Once, when hounded by a territorial dog, I manifested the panther in my eyes, allowed it to possess my body, and frightened the dog with the panther’s stare, so much so that it literally slinked away with its tail between its legs. The Panther woman in me is strong, and I should call on her more often.

Prior to this dream I had been obsessed with The Panther Woman from “Island Of Lost Souls,” the fabulous film starring Charles Laughton based on “The Island Of Dr. Moreau.” The Panther Woman in that film is a character I relate to at the deepest level.

Barefoot, beautiful, vulnerable and wild…

I, Panther Woman

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PDVD_013“I wonder how much of Lota’s animal origin is still alive… how nearly a perfect woman she is.” Charles Laughton as Dr. Moreau from The Island of Lost Souls

I realized this morning that I was both Lota the Panther Woman and Dr. Moreau. I see metaphors in all the classics, observe the potency of the werewolf (in the original Universal film) as a metaphor for the beast in all of us, the beast that threatens to harm the ones we love, whether it be emotional or physical hurt, we always hurt the ones we love. And of course we all know the very direct and intentional metaphor of Gojira, the monster is not merely a symbol of the atom bomb, but the film itself stands as a metaphor for how the Japanese saw the event. We code our experiences through stories, we find comfort in stories, and they shape our lives. The oft dismissed horror and fantasy films were always far more real to me than artsier or more “respected” films about the human condition… these fairy tale and horror films ARE not only very definitely about real life, as far as I’m concerned they make far more profound statements about real life through the use of metaphor. Metaphor can be more flexible, less restrictive, and ultimately far more powerful; inarguably far more creative, most definitely more imaginative, frankly far more subtle, and they ring far more true, so far as I’m concerned.

As I have spent the last couple years (plus) struggling through the rigors of HRT, suffering the side effects, disappointments and traumas of getting my hormonal balance set right I have felt terribly alone. Recently I have been battling tough decisions and walking the razor’s edge between my life and health on one side and the woman I want, and was meant to be, on the other. I have experienced some genuine terror, some setbacks, and have had to rethink and retune things many times recently in my efforts to control my hormonal balance. My struggles to get the physical and emotional progress I need have placed me in conflict with a very real need to stop risking my life in the process.

Thanks to my recent battles with my hormonal levels I have seen my old self, the creature that slithers around inside of me, come back by degrees, and as I have abandoned common sense and gone back to dangerous levels of hormones I have in kind seen aspects of my physicality return to a more pleasing state. And this morning as I was getting ready to go out and taking microscopic stock of my progress, I began to realize that I was both the innocent Lota the Panther Woman and the mad and controlling Dr. Moreau. For those of you who have iether never seen nor ever read (and I have seen and read both), Island Of Lost Souls the film and “The Island Of Dr. Moreau” the book, the metaphor may be difficult to comprehend.

In the film (and book) Charles Laughton as Dr. Moreau struggles to turn beasts into humans, and in particular he struggles most madly (and perhaps most valiantly) to turn a panther into a woman… who in the end, most unfortunately, becomes merely a “Panther Woman.” Of course Moreau is not pleased with this, and we sense that Lota (the Panther Woman) is far too overwhelmed to entirely understand what is happening to her, and is ashamed of her more beastly aspects. In my life, unfortunately, I am both Lota and Moreau. The battle both characters are fighting are alive in me, in conflict in me, and at times tear me apart.

At one point in the film Moreau realizes that the beastly aspects of Lota keep coming back, keep rising to the surface. He inspects her, enraged, obsessed, “Day after day it creeps back… creeps back,” he says, but he sees that she is close, so close, and shouts that this time he’ll burn out all the animal in her! Frustrated, saddened, angry, he takes her to the “House Of Pain” to have the beast in her burned out… and this directly mirrors the recent battles I have been fighting as the beast, the creature, works from within to tip the scales and rise to the surface, and like both Lota and Moreau I am saddened, overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, and determinedly (if not valiantly) struggling to burn the beast out… in my case with hormones and hormone blockers. Add to this my own trips to “The House Of Pain” to have laser hair removal, and the metaphor becomes all the more bizarrely appropriate. Like Moreau I am determined and fighting to maintain the illusion that I am in control, like Lota I am caught not merely between Moreau and my own physicality, but I am overwhelmed… and merely want to be complete.

Being a Panther Woman is no easy way to go. The Panther Woman is neither this nor that, she is a twilight creature, a creature in turmoil, a misfit. Unfortunately it doesn’t end there, like Lota, I also have wild frizzy hair, but I don’t think that metaphor could be taken all that seriously even through a highly personal translation… it’s still a bummer of a parallel. No one in the story wants Lota to be a twilight creature, it is merely her fate, one that cannot be accepted by anyone!

As of this morning, I have found a new symbol, a new character to relate to, Lota the Panther Woman (as well as Moreau); as through my perspective this story has become a highly personal metaphor. I am watching the movie again as I write this, and liking it even more than the last time I saw it, and I think today I am going to go out and buy the book, read it again, only this time with far more insight and sorrow, and perhaps with far more empathy for dear Lota… and yes, even Moreau, for I am both.

Well… back to “The House Of Pain,” I have a beast to burn out of me.

“Lota is my most nearly perfect creation… I wanted to prove how completely she was a woman.” Moreau from Island Of Lost Souls