Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I just received a gift of Kaliman comics from Michael. He and I had talked earlier about the mexican comic book series and he surprised me by bringing a few with him tonight when we met for drinks downtown. (I also got some Panic Bear stickers from him. Now I owe him several beers.)

I grew up on Kaliman who was one of the strongest influences on my early imagination. He appeared as a weekly serialized comic book which ran for years. My aunt Esperanza was a huge fan and as a girl read and collected as many as she could get her hands on. As a child I wondered about this huge stash in her room and she lost no time in passing on to me her obsession.

Kaliman is a mysterious man with profound physical and mental powers. He seems to inhabit a supernatural world. His enemies were culled from every mythological source imaginable. He fought against demons and witches, giants and hydras, voodoo doctors and sorcerers. His own powers seemed to be drawn from Eastern sources; In many ways, he was a Yogi with well developed physical and psychic abilities. (In the image above he is anointed as the seventh son of the goddess Kali)

For me, Kaliman was a man struggling in an ever-changing landscape of nightmares. In one episode I remember well, Kaliman is fighting a sorcerer who can conjure up visions so real that it is easy to believe in them and believing them, of course, is what will kill you. The trick then is to remind yourself that this is merely a vision without substance. For Kaliman, the dream-walker, this is no great feat. But he fears for his companion (or his rescued damsel) who, lacking Kaliman's mental control, will likely be destroyed by mere constructs of their imagination.

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