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Coal Face

Dreamed recurrently, 1967, by Al Davison
astralgypsy.com

INTRODUCTION

When I was around 7 years old growing up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a strong mining community, news reports started to appear describing a strange phenomenon: coal eating. Pregnant women eating coal and having children that would only eat coal. A boy in my street was taken to hospital and force fed, because he would only eat coal. Another woman was accused of witchcraft after a neighbour she had a dispute with became addicted to coal; this in 1967!

This story... is a transcription of a recurring dream I had during this strange period of my childhood, and refliects my interest in the 'unusual' that I believe developed as a result of my spending much of this period of my life in hospital or bed-ridden, due to having Spina-Bifida.

--Al Davison

Page 1 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater. Page 2 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater.
Page 3 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater. Page 4 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater.
Page 5 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater. Page 6 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater.
Page 7 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater. Page 8 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater.
Page 9 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater. Page 10 of 'Coal Face', a comic by Al Davison telling a recurring childhood dream of a coal-eater.

Source: the comics anthology The Forbidden Book, v.2: Into the Uncharted Realm, 2001, Renaissance Press.

EDITOR'S NOTES

Note how political the dream is. The miners, in the last panel, are still in a hot, dark, cramped mine; but they're no longer covered in black dust. Carrying their ex-boss as their caged canary, they breathe cleaner air.

Bosses are best kept in cages.

Cartoonist Al Davison is well-known in the indie comics world for stunning autobiographical work like THE SPIRAL CAGE (1990, Titan; republished 2003 by Active Images with 40 pages of additional material.) It contains some vivid childhood dreams, but the real treasure-trove for dreamworkers is a collection, SPIRAL DREAMS (2000, Slab-o-Concrete); its last chapter, "Inexplicable", presents both predictive and apparently telepathic dreams, like the startling "Kolchec" story, with dream art by Davison and Sara Welponer. When the descriptions of two dreams seem similar, it could be coincidence; after all, words are vague. But when two dreamers are both gifted artists who draw and name portraits of the same bizarre dream-spook miles and years apart, well, it's a lot harder to brush off! Highly recommended.

--Chris Wayan



LISTS AND LINKS: recurrent dreams - childhood dreams - caves & mines - natural disasters - food - class, capitalism & violence - magic & miracles - transformation - birds - justice - dream-comics - ink - more Al Davison

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