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For those of us not running for office or dosed with cosmic rays, the question boils down to this: how to transcend our crude selves? Our Anung un Ramas, our inner John Yoos? The twin discs of Hellboy’s sawn-off horns, to which he continually attends with brimstone-filing tools, offer us one excellent and salutary metaphor: practice spiritual hygiene! Another is offered by 2005’s Batman Begins, when the Dark Knight dons his cape of special “memory cloth” — a flexible material with a unique molecular structure, such that an electric current shot through it from microcircuits in the right batglove causes it to become rigid, to form, with a splendid snap of wind, the night-embracing batwings. Get the point? The magic cloth remembers its true design. Make a fist, flick the switch, and galvanize those semi-angelic pinions. Fly, O True Believer!

James Parker, a/k/a Cognito, can be reached atjparker@phx.com

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