Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, October 24

The release of Marvel's new supernatural superhero film draws near. A look at how the horror genre is evolving alongside technology. And a chronicle of the way in which Halloween, a foreign holiday, captured Japan's heart. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on magic and religion in popular culture! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Next month, Marvel's sorcerer supreme makes his cinematic debut. To many, Doctor Strange may seem just one more superhero among many. But in the comics, the sorcerer has always struck his own style, something the director Scott Derrickson hopes to keep in the film adaptation. At io9 Derrickson and producer Kevin Feige talk about their goals for Doctor Strange.

Just this week Jack Chick, the famed evangelist and cartoonist well-known for "scare them straight" tracts like "Dark Dungeons" or "This Was Your Life!" has died. Boing Boing and writer Cory Doctorow offer a brief summary of the artist/writer's life and what he was best known for: fundamentalist Christian proselytizing.

As technology changes, so does art. Modern films wouldn't have been possible without advances in photography and sound recording and future projects will likely rely on as yet undeveloped techniques as well. Tech and pop culture website The Verge takes a look at how the genre of horror is shifting to become more immersive (and scarier) in a series of articles just in time for Halloween / Samhain.

When it comes to representation, the Roma often get the short end of the stick. An ethnic minority persecuted and preyed upon throughout history, they've also been appropriated so thoroughly by popular culture that many people don't even realize they're a real group. It is tragically unsurprising therefore how companies like Marvel and DC continue to fail when it comes to either featuring Roma at all or featuring them ways which are not grossly stereotypical.

Halloween is, of course, a Western holiday, with roots in ancient Britain and Ireland. How then did the holiday come to be exported to Japan? At Kotaku, Brian Ashcraft shares the fascinating tale of how the Western All Hallows' Eve was transplanted to modern Japan.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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