Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Airy Monday, February 29

This week we take a look at an array of diverse stories of magic and religion. Take a look at a story of werewolves in Africa and another of vampires in Japan. Also featured: why sometimes the strangest stories are the most relatable. It's Airy Monday, our weekly segment on news about magic and religion in popular culture. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Werewolves are a regular feature of fantastical stories set in old Europe. But what about Africa? Comics Alliance interviews comics artist Paul Louise-Julie about the comic book The Pack, which mixes werewolf tropes with African mythology.

Sumer might be the oldest civilization in the world, but it's not often the subject of popular culture. However, singer and composer Stef Conner, harpist Andy Lowings, and producer Mark Harmer are hoping to bring some more love to the ancient Mesopotamian culture with their new album The Flood, which is composed entirely in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages.

Although not originally from Japan, vampires have become a frequent subject of fiction in the country ever since they were imported from the West. But even in Japan, not all vampire stories are the same. Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis reviews the rather unique series Kizumonogatari.

Two decades ago, after the critical and commercial successes of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, Disney Animation set its sights on blowing the film industry away with a film that would tackle racism and environmentalism while still working as a family feature. Unfortunately, the resulting film, Pocahontas, is now regarded as one of the studio's more notable failures of the 1990s. Why didn't the film work? One critic at offers an explanation.

Weird, by definition, means abnormal or strange, something that is outside the ordinary. Why then is it that weird tales often touch us more than those which are "normal?" Author and critic Charlie Jane Anders gives her perspective here.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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