by Ernest Hogan
We’re blasting through October. This summer has been long, hot, and unwilling to die without a fight. My corner of Aztlán still feels like what the rest of the world would call high summer, but I find myself breaking out my "winter" clothes. This weekend will be Día de los Muertos/Halloween.
It hasn’t quite fully mutated into the recombocultural Dead Daze that I wrote about in Smoking Mirror Blues, but the spirits are walking around, not respecting borders, especially the one between their world and ours.
An interesting artifact of this phenomenon is Día de Los Muertos: A Day of the Dead Anthology edited by Angela Charmain Craig. This collection has an incredibly wide range: horror and ghost stories, magic realism, whateverthehell you call “mainstream” these days. We get the veiwpoints of Anglos as well as Latinos. La Llorona, Santa Muerte, La Catrina, and mucho más folcolóismos. We also get that all important remembering of dead loved ones that gets forgotten in Halloween in its commercialized, corporate incarnation. It's a great party that will make you want to add more glowing colors to the weekend’s celebration.
The Day of the Dead: A Pictorial Archive of Día de los Muertos selected and edited by Jean Moss is a valuable resource. And even if you just want to look at all this classic calavera art -- including lots of José Guadalupe Posada -- it’s worth having. But better yet, it’s part of the Dover Pictorial Archive Series, so: “You may use the designs and illustrations for graphics and crafts applications, free and without special permission, provided you include no more than ten in the same publication or project.” And it comes with all the images on CD-ROM!
I took the famous anonymous calavera of General Huerta, “Tarantula of the North” (often attributed to Posada) and used GIMP to colorize and enhance it. It has something extra now -- like scorpions glowing in ultraviolet light. This opens the door to some astounding possiblities.
Let’s turn these images -- and spirits -- loose into cyberspace!
Ernest Hogan’s story “Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song” will be available in the anthology Alien Contact edited by Marty Halpern on November 1st. His novel Cortez on Jupiter will soon be available as an ebook. This is only the beginning.