Matt Kish’s Inferno Illustrations (2020)

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“I have always been fascinated by the crude and vulgar spectacle of Inferno. Perhaps some of what follows is more personal than validated by scholarship, but despite his clear devotion to Christianity and deep and abiding belief in dogma, Dante seems to relish in his bizarre portrayal of the torments of Hell. I think I remember the poem was originally written in low, or street, Italian rather than formal language, because Dante wanted the tone to match the content and for the work to be something everyone could read. My experience growing up with comic books in particular was that they too were a kind of low, vulgar entertainment. Designed to titillate and provoke, but in no way were they deemed serious or valid art. There was a sort of dirty appeal to the comics I saw on the shelf in the grocery store, especially the pulpy black and white horror comic magazines like Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. For my approach to Inferno, I wanted to borrow heavily from this lurid, brightly colored, sickly appealing visual style as well as the connotations of what comics seemed to be to my young mind. So this is mirrored in my painting style, which is very bright and graphic and employs linework over tone and value (essentially, I paint like one should draw, I don’t paint like one should paint) as well as in my collaging bits of text and image from comics into the illustrations.”    —Matt Kish (personal email communication, September 28, 2020)

You can check out the full series and Kish’s other works on his website.

Cesare

From Volume 2, Chapter 10, in Fuyumi Soryo’s 2005 manga series Cesare, which makes extensive reference to the Divine Comedy.

Learn more about Cesare here.

“Parenting Hell” from Litterbox Comics

Posted October 27, 2019, on Litterbox Comics.

Underworld – Saint Seiya

“The Underworld (冥界, Meikai) or Inferno (地獄, Jigoku) is the realm of the dead where souls are placed after death. What area the souls reside in are determined by the Three Judges. It is the habitat of all Specters, including the god Hades (in classic myth, it is also the second residence of Hades’s wife, Persephone).

The Meikai Underworld was created by Hades to forever punish humans for their crimes. No life is possible in the Underworld without the Eighth Sense (or special devices), as all things in the Underworld normally fall under the control of Hades. Specters are unaffected, and may enter and leave at the discretion of Hades because they wear Surplices.

As depicted by Masami Kurumada, the Underworld is composed of eight prisons, with further subdivisions (the 7th prison is divided in three valleys, the 8th in ten pits, the 9th in four regions). All of the Prisons correspond to the nine Circles of Hell depicted in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, which itself borrows heavily from Greek myths. In addition, it also contains the passage to the Elysian Fields, where only those chosen by the gods can go.”    —Seiyapedia, September 12, 2018

Learn more about the Saint Seiya series here.

The Sandman and Dante’s Inferno

“The angelic appearance of Lucifer in Sandman #4 (April 1989), entitled ‘A Hope in Hell,’ features the Wood of Suicides from Dante’s Inferno (Canto XIII), the great expanse of which provokes comment from the titular character as he seemingly accidentally breaks a branch and allows the suicides, imprisoned in the form of barren trees, to speak. Despite this, the issue and The Sandman in general have more to do with previous DC comics than with Dante. Indeed, the issue features Etrigan, a colorful rhyming demon created by Jack Kirby for the inventively titled comic The Demon. At the issue’s conclusion, Lucifer swears Dream’s destruction, a move by writer Neil Gaiman to establish plot threads for subsequent issues.

[. . .]

Perhaps the inconsistency of Gaiman’s three versions of Lucifer should not surprise us. After all, Satan has always been a particularly malleable figure, changing even in his religious depictions over time. Huge gulfs exists between the serpent of Genesis, the prosecuting angel in Job, the Bible’s brief and vague references to a fallen angel, and the vaguely Manichean personification of evil in the New Testament, who were not even intended to be the same characters and were only united by exegetic interpretation. Equally, Dante’s bloated, immobile Satan is a world away from Milton’s deft, self-damned, self-hated rhetorical master.

In other words, Gaiman’s three Lucifers may not be consistent, but then, Lucifer never was.”    –Julian Darius, Sequart Organization, May 20, 2002

Dante and the Wizard of Oz

Comic book: Canto, Vol 1: If I Only Had a Heart by David Booher, Drew Zucker, Vittorio Astone, Deron Bennett (2020)

Canto, IDW’s dark fantasy tale, is a combination of The Wizard of Oz and Dante’s Inferno, in more ways than one. … Canto is very much like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Canto, the titular tin-man of the story, comes from a race of tin-men, all small and without hearts, who are enslaved and expected to work until they stop. Their hearts have been replaced with clocks, but allegedly, their hearts still exist somewhere, beating and alive. He sets out on a journey to find his beloved’s before the time on her clock runs out, knowing that the quest may be futile. Eventually, he learns he must find the Shrouded Man of the City of Dis, who resides in an Emerald Tower. To reach his destination, Canto follows a yellow brick road. […]    —CBR.com   See also this and this.

“Dante’s Inferno as Limericks and Comics”

“Circle I (the unbaptised)

Underway with the underworld herewith,
and I’m with – no, you’re with – fine, we’re with
the dwellers of Hades
born BCs, not ADs –
not all, but the ones you’d have beer with.

[. . .]

Circle VII

‘By these treestumps, my Master, what’s signified?’
‘These souls are eternally lignified.
We saw others scream
in an ichorous stream:
for the violent, no ending is dignified.’

Circle VIII

The fraudsters inhabit these cum-pits,
the forgers and classical strumpets.
And going down levels
we stumble on devils
whose derrières double as trumpets”    –Harry Cochrane and Leonardo Cardini, The Florentine, February 26, 2020

 

Calcabrina – Wolverine and the X-Men

“A witch that harvests souls for Azazel. Became a temporary ally to Frankenstein’s Monster, using her magic to brainwash some of the faculty of the Jean Grey School into believing they were members of the Murder Circus.

[. . .]

First Appearance: Wolverine and the X-Men #19 (December, 2012)”    –“Calcabrina (Earth-616),” Marvel Database Wiki, March 30,2018

 

“Hell in a Handbasket” (1988) – Star Trek

 

“The crew must fight off hellish hallucinations as the Enterprise transforms into a Divine Comedy.”    –“Hell in a Handbasket,” Memory Alpha, December 6, 2019

Enjoy “Hell in a Handbasket” on YouTube here, courtesy of StarTrekComics.

Kid Eternity (2006)

Comics visionary Grant Morrison reimagines the unique character of Kid Eternity, a young man who died before his true time and returns to Earth as a ghostly spirit, along with his guardian Mister Keeper. In this 144-page trade paperback, illustrated by Duncan Fegredo, Kid Eternity follows the terrifying night of aspiring stand-up comedian Jerry Sullivan as he joins Kid Eternity on a quest to free his Keeper from Hell.”    —Goodreads

Photo courtesy of Bob Mitchell.