Archive for December, 2011

A Holiday Treat — The (Physical) Hypnosis in Media Collection

As a special Holiday present, I present the (physical) Hypnosis in Media collection in its semi-entirety.

The bookshelf unit here holds the main part of the Collection. As you can see, it is divided in half, with the left half holding figures and artwork behind the glass doors, larger books and folders below, and the doors below holding the media elements that don’t fit anywhere else. The right half holds most of the fiction and nonfiction books. As you can see, the bookcase is by no means large enough to hold everything, as there are parts of the collection on the floor before it.

This is the upper part of the left half, which has the figures and artwork. On the upper shelf you can see the two figures from the Silent Screams figure line, from the movie “The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari” on the top, along with the Princess Ariel figure, and smaller toys with hypnotic themes in the middle. At the back of the lower shelf as a animation cel of Hypnotia from the “Iron Man” animated series, several dozen HeroClix figures in the lower left and my latest acquisition, the Ringmaster mini-bust, in the center. The boxes on the right contain a number of stereotypical hypnotic foci, including several crystals and even a couple of hypno-disks. The HeroClix figures are a large but not complete of all of the characters with hypnotic or mind control abilities, including Professor X, Saturn Girl, Super-Gorilla Grodd, the Puppet Master, the Mad Hatter, etc.

The folders and notebooks on the shelves below the  glass doors consists of the results of research projects carried out in the past, including the material behind the search for ‘Secrets of the Sleep Merchants’ detailed elsewhere, a set of publicity photographs of Pat Collins and details of her life, comic strip and book collections and reference materials, smaller magazines and pamphlets that might get damaged if put elsewhere, the two records released by Pat Collins, as well as anything that doesn’t fit in anywhere else.

The fiction part comprises roughly 200 pieces, including several collections, double-stacked on the first two shelves and in front of the non-fiction stacks on the third shelf.  The non-fiction section also contains roughly about 200 books, not including the various pamphlets and booklets that are in another bookshelf. These books are strictly hypnosis related: there is a separate section for media references, such as indices and reference books on various TV series, movies, etc.

This is by no means the complete collection: there is a storage case with several dozen video tapes elsewhere that I am slowing digitizing and converting to DVD format, along with the comics collection stored in the garage, as well as the regular fiction collection that takes up most of another bedroom / library. All in all, I estimate I have somewhere in the range of 500 — 600 books, over 250 comics and dozens of magazines and papers in the collection proper and maybe another couple hundred books and I can’t even guess how many comics elsewhere.

This Week in Comics — 2011/12/21

Its Mind Control / Memory Manipulation week in the Batman universe as the Leviathan storyline continues past the havoc of the Flashpoint and into the “52” era and the Birds of Prey battle an enemy who uses innocent (and not so innocent) individuals not only as unwitting spies but bombs as well.

Batman: Incorporated #1

The post-52 Batman: Incorporated storyline seems unchanged from the pre-52 era, a continuation of Batman’s quest to discover the truth behind Leviathan, a ruthless international criminal organization. To that end, Batman started franchising the Batman name internationally, building an army of crime fighters across the world to battle and equally world-wide threat.

This issue is a special issue with two stories, both written by Grant Morrison, so expect weirdness especially of the mind-warping kind. The first story is about an exclusive girl’s school that is actually a school for criminals, especially assassins and killers. Batgirl, the daughter of a former Batman foe, infiltrates the school to discover it had been taken over to produce mind-controlled killers for Leviathan. The second story consists of a weirdly confusing sequence of the same confrontation played over and over with differing results, until at last the final result reveals the true identity of the leader of Leviathan and its true purpose.

Birds of Prey #4

The story opens with the Birds of Prey (consisting of Batgirl, Black Canary, Katana, Poison Ivy and Starling) riding an out-of-control train with several unwitting (and one witting but not compliant) bombs aboard, ready to be mentally triggered by hearing a nursery rhyme. Unfortunately, the one victim who is aware of her state is Black Canary, who is saved from death by a good right to the jaw from Starling.

However, the real situation is more insidious: the other people weren’t walking bombs, they were walking, unwitting spies. Everything they saw and heard was undetectably transmitted to the organization called the Cleaners (who use invisibility suits) and run by someone named Choke, who was the mental voice that was about to kill Black Canary. A very angry Poison Ivy used her own special way with men to get the information the team wanted about the location of the Cleaners and Starling described exactly where that location was. Each team member used their own special abilities to enter the Cleaners headquarters. Unfortunately, what they found was a room full of suddenly not-so-invisible Cleaners and the mysterious voice telling them:

That won’t be necessary. Welcome to the Cage.
I’d explain …
… but you won’t remember any of this anyway.

The issue ends with the Birds of Prey standing outside, with Starling wondering “Uh … What was I just saying?”

Doing What I Love Doing — Media Research and Queries

This evening I got something that I not only like doing but wish I would get more of in the future: a request for information about a particular media item involving hypnosis. As a result, I was able to learn a little more information about this item than I previously possessed.

The item in question was a story from the adventure / crime / detective comic strip “Rip Kirby”. Rip is a detective in the ‘old school’ pattern of the ‘thinking man’s’ detective although as an ex-Marine he was pretty good with his fists or a pistol. Assisting him was his ‘gentleman’s gentleman’ butler Desmond (who was a former safecracker.) Rip Kirby was created by Alex Raymond in 1946 and was in continuous publication until the character retired in 1999.

All the person making the request had was a general description of the particular story line, but it was one that I was familiar with. As a result of the minor bit of research, I was able to determine the exact publication dates for the story.

The story involved a woman, Madeline Mesmer, who was inexplicably winning as a casino owned by a friend of Kirby, who asked him to investigate. As you might expect from the woman’s name, she was a powerful hypnotist who used post-hypnotic suggestions to help her win at blackjack. Unfortunately for Miss Mesmer, she also attracted some unwelcome gang interest and ultimately found herself isolated because of the misuse of her powers.

The story was published from June 11, 1979 through August 8, 1979, running only 60 days, making the story very short in comparison to other stories. It did, however, has several scenes of Miss Mesmer wielding her hypnotic skills on several people, including Rip and Desmond. By strange coincidence, I happened to see a collection of the earlier comic strips (mid-1950’s) at a local comic store just a few days ago and had wondered then when the strip would appear: now that I know exactly when it was published, I expect it will be several years before this particular one will be reprinted. And it was all because someone had a question for me to answer.

Hypnotic Beauty — Victoria’s Secret

Sometimes serendipity provides the material for the blog, and this is one such case.

The name and company Victoria’s Secret is not one I should have the describe: suffice to say this is just the sort of thing I would expect from them.

Victoria’s Secret Hypnotic Beauty

The product here is a combination of eye shadow and liner, lipstick and blush makeup, with a definite Morroccan / Indian theme to the packaging and the colors themselves.  However, I cannot determine from the references whether this was a 2011 or 2010 release, and I haven’t had any luck finding it listed on the Victoria’s Secret online catalog. Of course, it may have been released for a specific time period (Fall) so it might not be in the catalog at this time no matter which year it was released.

Of course, this kind of packaging tends to reinforce the stereotypes surrounding hypnosis (and I think I need to create something that types that phrase automatically for me, given the number of times I use it) and female beauty, especially when it involves the eyes. This trope of a woman’s hypnotic eyes has its roots not only in the folklore about “the evil eye” and its evolution into the vampire’s mesmeric gaze and the concept of “the eyes are the windows of the soul” but also in elements of the seductive ‘vamp’ who bewitches men, a trope that which goes all the way back to Biblical times and thereabouts.


The Ringmaster — Marvel Mini-Bust

The Ringmaster (and his Circus of Crime): is there ever a group as sorry as these criminals in all of comics? A truly second-tier villain and his henchmen who probably are the joke of the super-villain community.

… inevitably, the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime end up being defeated by whatever Marvel Super-Hero happens to be attending the show.

Which appears to be just about every super-hero. from Daredevil to Spider-Man to Howard the Duck: they were even defeated by Power Pack! Still, you have to admire the man’s determination (or just plain stupidity) for coming back again and again.

But this post isn’t about the character, its really about the mini-bust sculpted by Troy McDevitt (seen above) which is the latest addition to the collection. After all, the character is so iconic that it certainly deserves a place in the collection, especially when I found it at the comics store Friday afternoon, on the sale rack. Not that the character was that unpopular as to have (or not have) a following, it was damaged, so I got it for 90% off. The damage? One of the Ringmaster’s trademark drooping mustaches is completely broken off. I could somehow find a way to repair it so I’m not that worried: besides, I’m not likely to have it out of the box.

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