Elmer Crowley: A Katabasic Nekyia
Written by Tom Bradley
Visual Art by David Aronson and Nick Patterson
Reviewed by Gwendolyn Taunton
Looking for something a little different? Bored with reading the Book of Law? Is the Great Beast no longer quite…Beastly enough? If you answered yes to these questions, then you will enjoy reading the combination of Tom Bradley’s wit with original art by David Aronson and Nick Patterson. Be warned though, if you have no sense of humour and tend to be overly sentimental, this isn’t the book for you. This book is more akin to Crowley’s own humour – dark, satirical and full of cryptic puns which are designed to stealthy slip over the unaware readers head.
This is coupled with bizarre surrealist imagery that unfolds like a psychedelic experience of Crowley and other mystic characters. Both esoteric and darkly entertaining, this fills in the void that is often missing in modern interpretations of Crowley –a sense of humour. Elmer Crowley is reminiscent of some of Terry Pratchett’s use of Crowley’s imagery, but this book takes it much further. It is however also clear that the author has a high knowledge of esoteric symbolism and Crowley’s works, and this is worked well into the text, with multiple layers of symbolism that unfold like little spring buds.
Elmer Crowley is not the only figure in this book – there are others, such as Willy the Celtic Revivalist. Even Serrano and Blavatsky are not spared in this neatly packaged book. Reading Elmer Crowley is like reading Crowley’s inner dialogue at 3am, after an intensive journey into his own inner abyss. It is therefore, a magickal working that Crowley himself would be proud of. Perdurabo must be very careful, lest he disturb his nemesis, the sinister and deadly rabbit Chronozon, the bunny of the Abyss.
The interior is excellent art, and I have to admit that a favourite of mine is Horus, with his hawk head now replaced by that jester of the bird world, the Australia cockatoo.
Undoubtedly some uptight person will get offended by this book – but what of it? Offending people is exactly what the Great Beast liked to do and I can imagine Crowley, in his astral form laughing at these people, the humourless mediocre magicians who take offense at absolutely everything because really they just want…to be normal! This is a book for the real fans of Crowley – the ones who can enjoy and understand his sense of humour.