With utmost apologies, of course, to Adam Huber, though in truth none could possibly suffice. Sorry, Adam, I couldn’t help myself.
To the other, such exercises are useful; in printed news media, the notion of column inches is disappearing into the electronic aether, but it does still exist for those whose writing aims to appear in the paper edition. And the nature of cartooning, of course, will always force some consideration of panel space.
This is the important part, because just how far does one push in order to make the joke work? There is an obvious hole in the remix, but it’s hard to explain just how our hero comes to expect that the stuff in the container is his grandmother’s cremated ashes mixed into baby fat and other such disgusting ingredients that she might await chthonic resurrection.
“It is expedient for us to know that there are some things which retain virtue only while they are living, others even after death. So in the cholic, if a live duck be applied to the belly, it takes away the pain, and the duck dies. If you take the heart out of any animal and, while it is warm, bind it to the one that has a quartan fever, it drives it away. So if anyone shall swallow the heart of a lawing, swallow, weasol, or a mole, while it is yet living and warm with natural heat, it improves his intellect, and helps him to remember, understand, and foretel things to come. Hence this general rule,―that whatever things are taken for magical uses from animals, whether they are stones, members, hair, excrements, nails, or anything else, they must be taken from the animals while they are yet alive, and, if it is possible, that they may live afterward. If you take the tongue of a frog, you put the frog into water again; ―and Democritus writes, that if any one shall take out the tongue of a water-frog, no other part of the animal sticking to it, and lay it upon a place where the heart beats of a woman, she is compelled, against her will, to answer whatever you shall ask of her. Also, take the eyes of a frog, which must be extracted before sun-rise, and bound to the sick party, and the frog to be let go again blind into the water, the party shall be cured of a tertian ague; also, the same will, being bound with the flesh of a nightengale in the skin of a hart, keep a person always wakeful without sleeping. Also, the roe of the fork-fish being bound to the navel, is said to cause women an easy child-birth, if it be taken from it alive, and the fish put into the sea again. So the right eye of a serpent being applied to the soreness of the eyes, cures the same, if the serpent be let go alive. So, likewise, the tooth of a mole, being taken out alive, and afterwards let go, cures the tooth-ache ; and dogs will never park at those who have the tail of a weasel that has escaped. Democritus says, that if the tongue of the cameleon be taken alive, it conduces to good success in trials, and likewise to women in labor ; but it must be hung up on some part of the outside of the house, otherwise, if brought into the house, it might be most dangerous.”
And that’s just from the general survey of Natural Magic; wait ’til you get to the part about appealing to God through our Lord Jesus Christ to keep evil spirits out of pretty-smelling creatures, or drive away every phantasm.
And, you know, say what we will about the Elder Gods and the Ancient Ones, but Christian sorcery really is astounding.
Image note: “Two Shades of Grey” ― Remix by bd, for no good reason, 23 August 2015; based on original by Adam Huber, 19 August 2015.
Huber, Adam. “Two Shades of Grey”. Bug Martini. 19 August 2015.
Barrett, Francis. The Magus. 1801. Seacaucus: Citadel Press, 1967.