Modern Mythmaking

  • Zerberobo, Treymurgian trickster god Graphic Rupert Bottenberg

Montreal author Claude Lalumière knew he was an atheist by age 10, as did graphic artist Rupert Bottenberg.

But neither of them quite knew how to reconcile their beliefs—or lack thereof—with their obsession with cryptomythology and ancient superstitions.

With the launch of Lost Myths.net, Lalumière and Bottenberg have officially entered the mythmaking game. But unlike their mythological forebears, they admit it’s all hogwash.

“I am an atheist, but I’m fascinated by myths. And I think that’s kind of common of atheists to really know a lot about [religion] and to be well versed in it,” said Lalumière. “I remember back when I was a kid in elementary school, I would finish my work really quickly so I could go pick up the dictionary and flip through it and I would always glance at those descriptions of gods and follow all the cross-references.”

Bottenberg approached Lalumière with a proposal while looking for a project to mark his return to his comic roots.

“I asked him, ‘Do you have one loose little short story lying around that I could use as a practice and an exercise?’ and his face lit up. It turned out he had a whole stack of stories that he’d gathered under the title of Lost Myths.”

Taking it from there, the two artists began their sojourn into mythmaking, sometimes beginning with an illustration by Bottenberg or a piece of Lalumière’s prose, or sometimes a bit of both.

The site features myths presented in comic form, in handy post-card size and as audio presentations read by Lalumière with accompanying orchestration, with all of the stories illustrated by Bottenberg.

“Claude is essentially channeling the fireside storyteller, which is at the root of the dissemination of mythology,” said Bottenberg. “For all the new media aspects of what we do, at its core, it’s actually very old media.”

As a visual artist, Bottenberg said he’s as inspired by cereal boxes from the ‘50s as he is by primitive folk art—the cave paintings at Lascaux, France being what he considers the “high point” of graphic representation.
“So much religious work has so much to offer me as a secular artist, whether it knows it or not,” said Bottenberg. “Often inadvertently it taps into some very deep, truthful things about the human experience.”

Whether or not the venture brings them financial compensation, Bottenberg said the bottom line for both artists is the sheer thrill and satisfaction of being the creators of their own creationist tracts that don’t purport to be anything more than tall tales.

“It definitely feels like Lost Myths is my life’s work, that this is what I bring to the table [that] no one else is bringing,” said Lalumière.

Lost Myths is updated with a new myth every Thursday at www.lostmyths.net

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