Marvel Comics, Ka-Zar the Savage #9-12 (1981-1982)


“In 1982, Marvel Comics incorporated Dante Alighieri into their superhero universe in Ka-Zar the Savage Issues #9-12. Apparently, Dante based the Inferno on a pre-historic, Atlantean amusement park, one where cultists killed Beatrice in order to summon inter-dimensional demons. Dante managed to defeat the cultists with his prayers, but they return to power seven centuries later to attempt to summon their demon-lords again. That leaves it up to Ka-zar the Savage to climb down an animatronic Hell to finish what Dante started.”  –Paul Jenizm

(Contributed by Paul Jenizm)

Tracy Daugherty, Dante and the Early Astronomer: Science, Adventure, and a Victorian Woman Who Opened the Heavens (2019)


[…] “Dante and the Early Astronomer is an eclectic and engaging look at the Victorian and Edwardian ages, from the perspective of minor-league astronomers working in the hinterlands. The story centers on Mary Acworth Evershed (pen and maiden name M.A. Orr), an Englishwoman born in 1867. She was a lover of both poetry and the celestial sky, and a trip to Italy at the age of 20 set the foundation for her life’s quest: to closely examine all the astronomical references in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, not only to catch the mistakes but to find the ‘poetic prologue to future discoveries,’ as the author puts it.” […]    –Marcia Bartusiak, The Washington Post, May 24, 2019

Jo Walton’s new novel, Lent (2019) is “Dante’s Groundhog Day”

“I love Hugo and Nebula-Award winner Jo Walton’s science fiction and fantasy novels (previously) and that’s why it was such a treat to inaugurate my new gig as an LA Times book reviewer with a review of her latest novel, Lent, a fictionalized retelling of the live of Savonarola, who reformed the Florentine church in the 1490s, opposing a corrupt Pope, who martyred him (except in Walton’s book, and unbeknownst to Savonarola himself, Savonarola is a demon who is sent back to Hell when he is martyred, then returned to 1492 Florence to start over again).

“The story is motivated by a mystical shift in Savonarola’s destiny that allows him to remember, from one incarnation to the next, who he truly is. He lives many different versions of his life, seeking a way to harrow Hell, restore grace, redeem himself and save Florence.

“The Groundhog Day-meets-Dante premise is incredibly weird and incredibly satisfying, a bizarrely effective way of making the characters come to life as we see how they would have reacted to the same circumstance with slight variations, building up a series of incredibly detailed and nuanced portraits. And because this is a Walton novel, there are no easy answers, and ambiguity rules overall — and because Walton has become so close with the Renaissance scholar and science fiction novelist (and librettist, singer, and all-round genius) Ada Palmer, her Renaissance Florence has the ring of the true metal, incredibly well-drawn in ever way.” […]    –Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, May 16, 2019

Jayson Greene, Once More We Saw Stars (2019)

Once-More-We-Saw-Stars-2019Once More We Saw Stars (Knopf, 2019) is a memoir by Jayson Greene, about the tragic loss of his 2-year-old daughter Greta and his path through grief to healing.

A review in the Washington Post notes, “The book’s title, from Dante’s Inferno, tips us off that Greta’s bereft parents will, in the poet’s words, ‘get back up to the shining world.’ But Once More We Saw Stars, an outgrowth of a journal Greene began shortly after the accident, is a chronological account, which means there’s unthinkable pain before the arduous ‘path toward healing.’

“Like Virgil, Greene makes for a good guide on this journey to hell and back. He’s a Brooklyn-based journalist and editor who met his wife, Stacy, a cellist by training, at the classical-music nonprofit where they both worked. After Greta’s birth, Stacy switched tracks to become a lactation consultant and nutritionist. Their story is not just of loss, but of their remarkable love, which helps them through this tragedy.” [. . .] — Review by Heller McAlpin in the Washington Post (May 8, 2019)

The Nine Circles of DMV Hell

“Dante has nothing on Jason Greene, who stood in line at the DMV for an entire day… With three kids.

“Dante once wrote that Hell had nine circles within its depths. Dante’s Inferno is an amazing literary work that describes in great detail the horror of a place where no person wishes to go. Dante must have been inspired by a trip to the local DMV.

“You see, I recently journeyed into an inferno of abandoned hope, discomfort, and pain when I was forced to visit the Queens DMV. Like Dante, I encountered the nine circles of Hell, though not necessarily in the same order. But first, some backstory . . .

“We recently bought a new vehicle and we needed to get new plates. The month had been difficult and harried and we didn’t get the title from the dealership until our temporary tags were almost set to expire. Unfortunately, only a short time before, I lost my wallet and everything in it. I ordered a new license, but since it had not arrived and the tags were set to expire the next day, we had no choice but to try to register without it. The story gets more complicated; my wife had to leave town at the last minute for business and the title is in both of our names.

“Now, none of that should have been a problem. Before my wife left, she signed all the necessary paperwork, including a form that gave me the right to make all decisions on her behalf. We even had contacted the DMV to make sure that we were walking in with all the correct paperwork and to verify that I could do the deal without a license. They assured us that all would be fine.” [. . .]    –Jason Greene, The Good Men Project, September 15, 2012.

All was not fine for Jason Greene at the DMV. Read Greene’s account of the circles of DMV Hell here.

The 9 Circles of Nursing School Hell

“Nursing school can be.. well, hell.  Senior year is particularly horrific.  From applying for jobs, to completing your last clinicals, to finals week, to scheduling NCLEX prep, applying for your ATT, creating your resume and cover letters, preparing for interviews, scheduling and preparing for the NCLEX, sitting for boards, and actually graduating.. it can be it’s own special form of hell.  Nine circles to be exact.

“You ever read Dante’s Inferno in high school?  . . . well, here is our version of Dante’s Inferno . . . nursing school style.” [. . .]    –Kati Kleber, NRSNG, 2016.

Read Kleber’s list of nursing school hell here on NRSNG.

The Nine Circles of Menswear Hell

“Sup, you fuckin’ mortals? When life finally logs you out due to inactivity, you’ll either be whisked away to #Menswear Heaven on the smelted down, crepe sole wings of angels or flung headlong through the infernal keyhole to #Menswear Hell. #Menswear Hell abides by it’s own rules: no gods, no masters. The #menswear legacy you left behind on earf determines what special punishment you’re subjected to for all of time. Doesn’t that sound like the brie’s cheese? If you haven’t yet read Dante’s Inferno—as I’m sure all you Kindle-having pariahs have meant to—spoilers abound.” [. . .]     –Rick Morrison, Complex, January 16, 2014.

Read Morrison’s full list of the circles of Menswear Hell here.

Nine Circles of Writing Hell

9-circles-of-writing-hell“Today I don my Debbie Downer hat to discuss the circles of Writing Hell. Not surprising, the circle is an apt descriptor of the writing process because our thoughts go ’round and ’round…and ’round some more. The bad news: There is no escape for writers. The good news: There is no escape for writers.” — L.Z. Marie, L.Z. Marie, June 13, 2015

Read the full article here.

Circles of Hell: A Novel by Bonomali Goswami (India, 1991)

“It was a night of beauty and a night of terror. The deep blue sky was thickly constellated and after a long, sweltering day a balmy breeze was now blowing down the green soggy land. The sharp, stiff leaves on the bamboo thickets were aquiver with delight and yet the scented air seemed to be charged with a nameless fear.” — Bonomali Goswami, Circles of Hell: A Novel, 1991

Preview more and purchase the novel here.

circles-of-hell-book-1991

“Dante’s Cosmic Inferno

“In Dante’s Inferno – the first part of The Divine Comedy – the poet describes Hell as a series of nine concentric circles, each representing an order of wickedness greater than the one that preceded it until finally arriving at the center of the Earth, where Satan is imprisoned. One might imagine his depiction of Hell as something like an infernal, subterranean solar system with locked Hellish loops acting as parallel universes of sin under the relentless pressure of poetic justice revolving around the embodiment of evil. As one might expect, the Inferno is filled with images of fire – the classical elemental symbol long associated with divine wrath and punishment – with unsettling and supernatural, near-animistic qualities. In Canto XII, for example, those who’ve committed acts of violence are condemned to eternal immersion in the river Phlegethon, described by Dante as consisting of boiling blood, but originally imagined by the Greeks as a river of fire: the name itself means ‘flaming.’ His other Hells are no less unpleasant.

“Had Dante been allowed access to, say, radio telescopes and modern technology, he might well have imagined justice being meted out to souls trapped on Hellish exoplanets: intemperate places – some worlds of fire, others of ice – where not even the faintest idea of life can persist amidst cosmic severity. ” [. . .]    –K.S. Anthony, Outer Places, July 11, 2018.

Check out the circles of Hell as planets on Outer Places.