Preview of the graphic novel "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Fantastic Deep Space Romances with the Stars of Art Nihilism" by Joy Rip


It is no coincidence that many images through the ages depicting evil beings and demons have many visual similarities to the appearances of corpses in various states of decomposition, and that many religions consider the lack of decomposition after death as a sign of holiness or sainthood. Evil, here, is manifested and personified by all the biological realities surrounding physical death that the human eye can see. Unlike modern society, people in the past were far more exposed to the appearance of the dying, dead and decaying. Their experiences and their culture were far less insulated from and sanitized against the putrid everyday encounter with death that punctuated the commonplace horrors of violence, disease, aging, decay.

“There is no reason why!” screamed the Beast.

Before man had a word for evil, he had an image of the horrific and terrifying. Before man had a reason for the existence of the horrific and terrifying, he understood it existed. The terrifying and the horrific existed… even if there was no reason why. Terror and horror exist… for no reason... beyond the ones man or God imagine and create.

Evil exists because man had to name the unnamable threats to his existence. Man had to name the unnamable to control it, to achieve power over it. Naming “it” gave him a reason for its existence and a plan for defeating it. For if you know how and why something came to be, you may be able to undo it. Unlike the unbearable suffering of Cassandra who could see all future disasters with no power to stop it, knowing the threat by naming it is the first step to stopping it. Knowing your enemy by naming him is the first step to defeating him. Without a name, there is no diagnosis, there is no prognosis, there is no plan, there is no purpose, there is no hope.

Horror in popular culture isn’t fighting an army of zombies; horror and the popular imagination are fighting mortal images of our own impending death and decay. Heroes wage war against armies of the damned. But no art can cure the ugly truth. Man is doomed. Man is the damned. No amount of visualization against diseased or cancerous cells will save him. No amount of cosmetic surgery will immortalize him.

What is art if not the most subtle, most superficial form of cosmetic surgery we perform on our pained psyches to cut out, block out or transform a threatening, ugly world in ways too subtle or superficial for most to grasp or care? Oblivious, man marches to oblivion. Ignorance of his coming destruction comforts him.

“I came from nowhere. I’m going nowhere. I’m going… going… gone!” wailed the Beast.

There is no reason to mortal terror. There is no reason to the horror this beast experiences and inspires. There is no hidden inner beauty to be unlocked in this beast’s savagery or his screams; nothing and no one to redeem the pain and suffering this beast suffers and inflicts. Terror and horror inspire awe in the vulnerable. Awe inspires beauty. Nothing is more awe-inspiring than invulnerability. Nothing is more beautiful than power. But is it real? Know your enemy.


Know your enemy.


Disfigure him.

Know your enemy.

Then kill him.

Graphic Novel About Art, Nihilism, Art Nihilism

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