After finishing Octopussy zine -- much sooner than expected, I might add -- I really didn't know what I should start to work on next. Kung Fu Grip! No.4 seemed like the logical step, but it also seemed like a new issue of KFG! would only step on the toes of Octopussy; I wanted the new sister publication to have its own time to shine.
The next article for Giant Robot is still a work-in-progress. It has already gone through three drafts since I started working on it in the last days of April. But it seems that I will just have to keep adding more clay and chiseling away at the piece until it finally assumes its proper form.
Like most other creative types, I usually have a number of projects existing at various stages of development. Most of them, however, are closer to their beginning stages than their completed stages. And every now and again, a project like Octopussy will come out of the blue and will move from ethereal idea to solid product in a matter of weeks! This while several other projects still have the dusts of years layered over them.
In the fall of 2002, I finished the first of a series of four essays, each inspired by studies that I had made into curious themes found in medieval European religious art. The first of those essays was an examination of the Black Madonna.
Since childhood I was mystified by the seldom discussed images called Black Madonnas, and I wanted to understand the reasons for and the meanings behind such images. By 2002, I had spent several years researching the subject; the study continues even to this day.
For reasons that I won't articulate here, 2002 marked a turning point in my life. More than ever I felt the need start pulling ideas and information from my head and to get them on paper. I also wanted to share these thoughts with the people whose opinions mean the most to me: my father, mother and sister.
Rather than printing my essays for them to be read in the boring format of college term papers, I decided to try to make something with a little more panaché. A small edition of my very first zine called Thirdrail was produced in 1998. Based on what I learned from that process, the booklet format seemed like the the best way to present my writings.
I only produced a half dozen copies of the booklet editions of my essays, and I was pleased with the results. I was even more pleased with the responses I got from my family members after they were received in the mail and read.
After sharing those essays with the nearest and dearest, my desktop publishing continued and moved in a much more secular direction with Kung Fu Grip! zine. But after the first issue of KFG! was done I found myself revisiting and expanding upon one of the religious art essays. In 2005, it was made into the zine In His Image: Haile Selassie, Bob Marley and the Second Coming of Christ.
A few nights ago, while moving a stack of books I ran across the copies of the three remaining staple-bound essays from 2002, 2003 and 2006. Reading through them again -- which I haven't done in years -- I finally knew in what direction I needed to go.
Next on the horizon for me is a collection of those essays with one other that has still yet to be written. To be completely honest, this last essay is something that I've actually feared writing. But it's something I have to do so that I can more widely share the lost essays... no, The Lost Gospel of St. Paco.