Foreword by techgnotic
depthRADIUS is pleased and proud to present Liam Sharp as a guest writer and welcome his editorial prowess as our newest contributing writer. Liam is legendary as the sci–fi comic book artist, writer and publisher enfant terrible of Britain, his career having begun with 2000 AD magazine. He went on as artist, scripter and short story writer for publications such Heavy Metal and Vampirella. He started his own publishing company, Mam Tor, to self–publish Sharpenings: the Art of Liam Sharp. In 2011, Liam Sharp co–founded Madefire and is the company's CCO. Liam is also author of the novel God Killers. His contributions to our community will no doubt be as significant and inspiring as the work achieved thus far by this multi–faceted artist.
From Shadows on cave walls to digital light streams around the world.
Longer ago than memory, a piece of wood, and the fire that burned it, did more than cook and smoke food, gift a nighttime cave with light and warmth. When the flame was out, and only a burned stump remained, somebody took that and they marked a wall with it.
Scrawling in charcoal they created mythic art, and human beings then did what no other creatures roaming the plains, swimming in the seas or flying in the skies could do. They began telling themselves their very own story of their creation, being and destiny.
The most ancient poem we have is a Mesopotamian fantasy called The Epic of Gilgamesh, from 2500bc. Beyond that we get Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey—The Trojan War, Achilles, Hector, Odysseus and his ten–year journey home. The great quest, the fellowship, the un–surmountable obstacles, and (of course) the monsters!
But what ultimate purpose did the mythic legend serve?
What it did was record our struggle with nature, and help us understand the challenges of our environment. It empowered us, emboldened us before battle. It gave us strength in times of famine or hardship.
Most importantly, it ennobled us—giving us heroic ancestors, whose parents were gods—thereby linking us directly with our creators. As Isaac Asimov once observed: these were the parents we invented for ourselves, that would not grow old and die, but would instead remain perpetually bigger and better and stronger than we could ever be. And so this, in turn, also gifted us hope beyond life. It made death comprehendible and acceptable to us.
Mythic art is essential. It is aspirational and inspirational.
Culturally and socially the mythic constructs girding our spiritual lives give us a powerful sense of purpose and deeper reasons for our ultimate existence as unique life forms.
In literature, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels repurposes the ancient magical quest format to create biting satire. Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland seems to be a drug–fuelled quivering meditation on denial and frustrated longing—but wearing mythic clothing.
In art, Goya, Brueghel and Bosch all used mythic imagery to supreme effect to make social and dangerously political statements. Later the surrealists would create works that trawled the imagination. Dali in particular created work that was anthropomorphic and mythic.
As we see, the imaginative bent of mankind, our ability to create fictions, does more than just swell our hearts—it gets us looking forward. It can comment on now—as allegory—or it can be prophetic.
This same power of conception led early scientists to speculate on the nature of the universe and future wonders:
Leonardo Da Vinci imagined submarines, helicopters and gliders
H.G Wells imaged time travel
Asimov envisaged AI
Arthur C. Clarke predicted space-walks and moon-landings
I argue that it is our ability to imagine the fantastic, the impossible, the mythic that is the unique faculty that defines us as human beings.
Living in our current world of staggering social imbalances and soul–sickening cynicism, even as the dazzling gates of all digital wonders swing open before us — how can it be that the need for the next iteration, a powerful return, to mythic arts creation, is not the deafening hue and cry ringing out across our planet?
Thankfully, the next new medium to tell our tales with–a living, digital medium—is here.
Madefire invites you to ignite a new revolution in mythic storytelling arts!
The new tools for the creation of heroes & gods. Multiple digital tools have freed us again, and we’re crafting a new language using them. It’s a bold language, and it has no boundaries. It’s an appropriator of multiple mediums, from photography to paint, to pencil, to pixels. We’re carving digital clay in real–time. For now, at least, there are no rules–and that makes for exciting times!
As Prometheus once gifted man with the enlightenment of myth–making fire, Madefire and deviantART now facilitate storytellers with the Motion Book tool. Open to ALL creators in ANY medium, it has been built especially to make sequential stories within these new virtual caverns. This is a shout out to anybody, with the desire to create—pro and amateur alike! Publish your stories in the Motion Book section on deviantART, and sell them or make them free—it’s your call. Bring your words and your pictures. Bring your vision!
Layers reveal layers, the grammar of reading is broken down and reinvented anew. There is no top down, or left to right. Time becomes the margin, the gutter, the engine that drives the story forward—and you control that as the reader, or the story–builder.
Make a snapshot jpg of your written words, or type them in using the tool, and create an article, a short story, a novel. Upload jpgs of your comic pages and create a print–style comic. Upload your photos, your sketches—anything you like! And, should you choose, add your music, motion, depth—it’s your story. Make it whatever you want it to be!
And support your fellow creators by reading their books. Share them. Love them. Find your clan, who are writing these new mythologies, and let’s pass the Promethean torch.
We live in an age of wonder, and as mythic creators we must take back stories—reclaiming them.
We’re telling the world, the media, the doubter, the commentator and critic that we don’t need to be told what to like!
We don’t have to listen to the artelligentia who think they can distinguish a pseud–grail of authentic art from all other art. But all art is art—no matter how naïve—and it is all subjective, and it is all ours.
Tell us your stories! Light a million digital torches. Show us what you've got!