Article by, Aaron Burton
Occult-based conspiracy theories have often surrounded the highest levels of American business and government. The are many people who are willing to believe there is a spiritual component to our country’s upper crust. The wealthy are willing to do anything to keep their power. These tactics may even include the utilization of other worldly forces. Many theorists believe that signs of these paranormal dealings can be seen in the art and architecture of government and financial institutions. Whether it be the Freemasons, the Illuminati, or just plain old devil worshippers, the powers that be hide their symbols in plain sight.
One of the most commonly discussed symbols is the Eye of Providence found on America’s currency. This symbol shows an eye surrounded by a triangle. The origin of this symbol seems to date back to the Renaissance. It was often used as a symbol of God’s Trinity in the Catholic Faith. Since then, the Freemason’s have taken the symbol on as their own. Even though they deny any deeper meaning there are still many conspiracy theorists that believe the Eye of Providence is the all-seeing-eye of a totalitarian shadow government.
What separates conspiracy theories from regular scholars is the use of assumptions and leaps of faith in their logic. If you look at the lines of logic in a conspiracy theory, there is usually one (or multiple) assumptions made that will cause the argument to fall short. This does not even include the common use of the straw man logical fallacy seen in many theories. One of the most common flaws found in conspiracy theories is the idea that large groups of people can perfectly control the flow of information and keep secrets. This has been shown to not be true time and time again, especially since the advent of the internet. That said, wouldn’t it be interesting to live in a world where “old money” was created through the use of paranormal meddling?
The Black Monday Murders is a comic book written by Jonathan Hickman of East of West fame. The art is done by Tomm Coker. The book is released under Image comics. The first issue came out on August 10th 2016. At the time of this article there are currently six issues of the comic released, with the first four issues released as a trade paperback. There are currently two more issues available for preorder, with the second volume of the trade paperback coming this November. The book has been described as a “crypto-noir” which combines cryptological and film-noir elements. This is a fitting description as the story revolves around a gumshoe attempting to decipher the codes and rituals of the wealthy.
Theodore Dumas is a detective trying to solve a very bizarre murder. The case begins to unravel as Dumas continues to find clues linking the murder to Caina-Kankrin, one of America’s oldest financial institutions. This proves to be the most dangerous and interesting case in Dumas’ career as he finds himself thrown into the world of occult-linked bankers and brokers. Will Theodore be able to piece together the story of what makes the world’s aristocrats so wealthy and powerful?
Fans of Jonathan Hickman are already aware of how commanding and captivating his writing style can be. The Black Monday Murders is no exception. Hickman provides readers with powerful drama and gripping mystery. The characters speak in a level of eloquence typically reserved for playwrights. That said, what is a comic book but a play told through pictures? The book is filled with twists and turns that is sure to keep you turning the pages.
The presentation of the book is astounding. The story is told through a combination of classic comic book panels, forum posts, memos and documents. This keeps the story compelling as the readers are allowed to see the story from many angles. One of the most interesting aspects of The Black Monday Murders is the documents. Most of the documents in the book are redacted. Having certain lines of the documents blacked out adds to the mystery of the story. Hickman and Coker play with this concept by using the non-redacted words to their advantage. For example, a whole paragraph will be redacted except for five words from completely different sentences. These words will then form their own sentence which gives insight into the story.
Coker’s art style for The Black Monday Murders is very dark and shadowy. He definitely took the noir style of the story to heart. Many of the pages look like they were printed using old copier technology. The pages are littered with dark splotches, streaks and even the occasional piece of hair. The page style is reminiscent of teachers using the overhead projector in grade school. This adds a layer of depth to the story as the readers are often looking at old documents. The page blemishes also add additional darkness which adds to the noir tone of the story.
Hickman and Coker come together to make a powerhouse of a comic book. I found myself reading the pages so frantically that I had to force myself to slow down and savor every panel. The first trade paperback comes in at about two hundred and fifty pages, and every last one of them kept me mesmerized. People say it is hard to wait a week for a new episode of a television show. The Black Monday Murders is an exercise in how hard it can be to wait an entire month for a new issue of a comic book.