Creative inspiration is a tricky subject. It flows neither smoothly nor orderly. Ideas can come from anywhere, bounce off associations and take on entirely new shapes before settling into any definitive form. The process never exists in a vacuum; there are always other works which provide kindling for the imagination. In short, it is a fluid, discursive experience. It is also one of the reasons that creators are always well-served by searching for inspiration outside of their comfort zones. As Wesley Craig advised at last year’s New York Comic Con, aspiring artists need to “get their heads out of comics.” The recent one-shot, Prometheus Eternal takes this lesson to heart. A co-production between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Locust Moon Press, its seed is the museum’s painting Prometheus Bound by Peter Paul Rubens and Frans Snyders. The museum and publisher gathered together a diverse group of comic talent to explore both the specific painting and the myth of Prometheus in general. The result is a fascinating collection of reflections on the creative process and the eternal resonance of ancient myths.
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Whether it’s Superboy visiting the future to hang out with a legion of teenage superheroes, or X-Men traveling back in time to prevent the creation of an anti-mutant future, time travel is a long-standing plot device in comic books. In fact, a fantasy time travel adventure strip appeared in the very first comic book to feature solely original content, New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 (cover dated February 1935); the title of the strip was The Magic Crystal of History.