As I gear up for my book release event (at a local comic convention), I wonder who’ll get swallowed up into the maelstrom that is my new graphic novel, Spiryts. I’ve been giving away Spiryts as a free e-book online. The downloads by faceless pop culture bibliophiles is oddly satisfying, knowing that my story and illustrations are imprinting themselves onto the collective retina of many.
But of most interest and consequence to me is the decoding of the mystery itself. Will someone with an undiscovered gift for cryptology—or simply the visually oriented—crack the codes quickly and easily or will people be baffled long after I’m gone? —Preferably, somewhere between the former and the latter. For there must be a sweet spot of viral attention that will lead to some good being done in this world, for I assure you, raising awareness of subject matter is half the battle and this is most definitely an example thereof.
Spiryts was ten years in the making, begun in 2008, with artwork that served as an instrument for me to explore the unknown within myself. I’ve had all that time to allow the subconscious and waking mind to ruminate and piece together what it all means. Using the Japanese story, Urashima Taro, as a thread to weave together concepts, the narrative unfolds with hidden and sometimes not so hidden text and imagery.
Read the story first as perhaps a work of surrealism, but then go back and comb over the archetypes, symbols and metaphors, using all at your disposal to delve deep. Leaf through the paperback and use Adobe Acrobat to zoom in on the online pdf file. Compare what you find with photos, videos and anything posted to my website.
Spiryts was not created for the sake of being strange and impossible to understand as one might guess with the Voynich manuscript or the Codex Seraphinus. Neither is it a treasure hunt like Kit William’s Masquerade, although there’s much to search for and consider in a geographical context.
If you reach the first level of discovery, the deciphering of the language of ‘Otohime,’ don’t be frightened or disturbed by the revelation at the end of the book. There is safety in numbers. Band together with friends, family and possibly law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Hyperbole? Well, who doesn’t love a good mystery?
Like a Yayoi Kusama infinity room, Aya’s reflection in Urashima’s heart, goes on forever. And so does the thirst for answers.