Satanic Mojo Comix; An interview with a Jason Atomic

in Art/Latest/Magick

Satanic Mojo Comix is an original underground comic produced by a coven of Satanist Cartoonists which evokes and pays tribute to the spirit of classic San Francisco Underground Comix like Skull, Zap, Leather Nun & Slow Death.

Thematically it is inspired by the occult revival, the rise of modern satanism, Thelema, The Process Church of the Final Judgement, witchsploitation, hippy freak outs, LSD, the Manson Family, conspiracy theories, demonology, Hammer Horror, heavy metal and black magic. Contributors include: Dennis Franklin, Gunsho, Andrew Labanaris, Krent Able, Savage Pencil, Rufus Dayglo and more.

You have been working on small press comics since the 90s. Could you tell me what draws you to the DIY concept of small press Comics?

Basically I just like being able to just get down to it, to tell the stories I want to relate without censorship or compromise, without having to persuade editors, publishers, distributors etc that my idea is worth pursuing. In the late eighties/early nineties self-publishing literally meant physically assembling comix by hand from photocopied pages. I really loved working out colour separations and producing different effects by combining different toners, paper types, incorporating colour copies, stencils and stamps.

Could you tell me more about your period in Japan when you tried to break into Manga comics

I moved to a Japan in the early 90ies, having already worked on self-published comics like Technotribe and Wongo Batonga. My dream was to break into manga. However, after visiting a couple of publishers it soon became clear that manga is an industry. The books are produced in high stress, factory like conditions that I considered inhumane. Definitely not the creative free for all I that I had imagined. Despite producing a couple of Japanese language strips I eventually decided to concentrate on drawing from life and gave up on creating comics for the next 20 years.

What brought about Satanic Mojo?

Satanic Mojo, I discovered one day, is an anagram of my name. As I have always been fascinated by Satanism, demonology, witchcraft and the occult, and as there was a revival of interest in these subjects brewing at the time, I took this revelation as an opportunity to “write what you know” and a challenge to create a body of work under this umbrella title. This included a film clip, Comix, life drawing events, collaborations with fashion designers, photographers, musicians & the Satanic Flea Market.

Why do you think Satanic Mojo is a success?

In the start I was a little worried that I might end up spending half my time having to educate fools about what satanism really means, about how all that backwards catholic, schlocky Dennis Wheatley type stuff is nonsense, or how Satanists don’t really worship devils or eat babies or whatever. Luckily though, the mere use of the word just seems to frighten them away. I suppose they are scared of being turned into toads or something. So it turns out that using the word “Satanic” automatically sorts out the sheep from the goats (so to speak).

In a world of self-censorship and “playing it safe” I think that the people who do like it respond to the authenticity and passion of the project?

Why Satanism?

Satanism allows me autonomy.

What other future projects have you got?

Currently I have just started Illustrating a book about the Witchcraft revival of the sixties/seventies which is a fascinating exercise and necessitates drawing from some truly iconic imagery. I also have plans for various exhibitions and live events that will have to remain under my hat for the moment. I also regularly host life drawing events with the Art Model Collective who are currently shaking up that industry with their dynamic, themed, multi-model sessions.

Who are your main influences as far as art is concerned?

The first artist to really inspire me to draw comics was Jack’The King’  Kirby, he was a true visionary and in my opinion one of the most important artists of the 20th Century.

As I got a bit older 2000AD comic arrived and I was particularly impressed by artists like Kev O’Neill and Mike McMahon.

Directly influential on Satanic Mojo Comix work are the classic underground creators like S. Clay Wilson, Richard Corben, Spain, Greg Irons and the EC comics creators who had inspired them such as Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood, Graham Ingels etc…

I’m also a huge fan of UK punk/underground cartoonist Savage Pencil. I have followed and collected his work since seeing it on record covers, music mags and indie comics like the much missed Escape. One of my proudest achievements is recruiting him into the Satanist Cartoonist gang as a regular contributor to Satanic Mojo Comix. I still recall the visceral reaction I had to his work when I first saw it, it was so raw, so dirty and aggressive compared to the sanitised mainstream comics I was used to. I was shocked, almost repelled, by his work, but also fascinated: it felt wrong but I couldn’t look away. Pretty soon though I started to grok and love it. And after all these years he is still underground, still fiercely independent, pushing the envelope and finding new ways to manifest his twisted vision.

Would you like to work in main stream comics or do you prefer underground Comix and why?

I relish the freedom that underground comix allows me. As underground cartoonists we are free to explore the human condition head on. The cowardly, self-imposed censorship of mainstream comics world rubs me up the wrong way, and producing work under those conditions holds very little interest for me as a creator.  Comics are a powerful medium and yet (in our society at least) we allow them to be ghettoised as kids stuff. In many ways the potential of comics outweighs other media like film or literature but we have allowed them to become tragic, stifled, censored… castrated things. That being said if Marvel Comics were to offer me the chance to do a Son Of Satan Grand Designs book I’d jump at the chance.

Your thoughts on censorship?

I find the concept of censorship way more offensive than the things people want to censor. I’ve seen some disgusting stuff in my time on this planet, some of them I learned from, others I simply looked away. But the idea that some third party should have the right to choose what I am allowed see or not boils my blood. We have to challenge and confront prejudices and taboos if the human race is to develop and grow.

Tell me more about Satanic Mojo film.

When I began the Satanic Mojo project I envisioned it as a multi-media, metaphysical history of the underground of pop culture. I set out to create artefacts that represented different genres that had been damned as ‘Satanic’ by reactionary, monotheistic, right-wing nut jobs like those responsible for the so-called Satanic Panic. So I was thinking about Heavy Metal records, RPGs, video nasties etc.

Satanic Mojo 1972AD was a reference to urban myths surrounding horror/exploitation movies. It was supposedly a lost film, all prints of which had been burned after its screenings inspired public outrage. We created a fragment of footage that was released anonymously on YouTube and artist Beatrice Schleyer shot a series of analog photographs, allegedly from the movie set, which some people believed really were from back in the day… to the point that, hilariously, a Christian rock band from America who were attempting to re-brand as satanic in a misguided attempt to jump on the current occult revival started to produced T-shirts with my face on next to the  caption ‘He Is Legend’. I had a hilarious time trying to persuade their coked-up manager that he was bootlegging contemporary art rather than out of copyright material.

Despite being a ‘fake’ film Satanic Mojo 1972AD does have a real poster designed by movie poster maestro Graham Humphreys. It was produced as a poster-zine which features the history of Satanic Mojo on the reverse.

More about Jason Atomic and his artworks can be reached by following this link.

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