[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Promethea.jpg]]

->"There are 1,000 comic books on the shelves that don't contain a philosophy lecture and one that does. Isn't there room for that one?"
-->--'''Alan Moore'''

Promethea (1999-2005) was an award-winning comic book series by Creator/AlanMoore, published by Creator/AmericasBestComics. Sorry, we're probably going to have to be more specific, huh?

The protagonist, student Sophie Bangs, while researching a college paper, discovers several references to a character named Promethea. These references are in a variety of literary works including epic poetry and comic books. Curious Sophie investigates and eventually finds Barbara Shelley, the wife of the now-deceased author of the latest incarnation of the character. Her attempt to interview Ms. Shelley is unsuccessful.

Her investigation has been noticed, and she is warned by Barbara Shelley. On her way home she's attacked by a LivingShadow, but is rescued by a curious figure - Barbara, dressed as the latest incarnation of the Promethea character.

After they escape, Barbara tells Sophie how her husband's imagination made it possible for her to become Promethea. She explains to Sophie that in ancient Egypt a magician tried to save his daughter from the religious persecution that would kill him by getting his gods to preserve her forever as a story. Barbara further explains that some authors including her husband enabled her to cross back into the material world through the power of imagination as the superhero Promethea. Barbara warns Sophie that they have only managed to slow the LivingShadow down. She suggests that Sophie try and use her creativity to summon Promethea or they are both doomed. Sophie retreats and writes about the character, imagining herself as Promethea, and succeeds in fully embodying her. She manages to fight back the creature as it returns, but her troubles have only just begun.

Now Sophie has to figure out how to be Promethea and herself. She has to learn to identify and deal with Promethea's enemies, and for that she seeks guidance from the former incarnations of Promethea. This involves journeys into the Immateria, where individual imagination and a more universal plane of ideas meet.

The series has a heavy focus on the occult, and its related spiritual and psychological questions.

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!!Tropes:

* ActionGirl: Most, but not all, incarnations of Promethea.
* AllMythsAreTrue
* AgentMulder: [[spoiler: Agent Brueghel, and most people on the planet, eventually]]
* AgentScully: Ball and Hansard.
* AsideGlance
** As Hermes explains to Sophie and Barbara that some gods who appear in stories may be real, he smiles at the reader.
** [[spoiler: Creator/AleisterCrowley]] smiles and makes an "Oh well, I tried" gesture at the reader after Sophie rejects his lewd proposition.
* AttractiveBentGender: [[spoiler: Roger and Bill]]
* AuthorAppeal: Creator/AlanMoore used the series to write about one of his favorite subjects, the western magic tradition.
* AuthorCatchphrase: An implausible number of characters use the term "incidentally", all the time.
* AfterTheEnd
* BadBoss: Mayor Sonny Baskerville, when [[spoiler: possessed by the Howling]].
--> "THE ONLY PURPOSE OF YOUR MILDEW-LIKE EXISTENCE IS TO DO MY BIDDING!"
* BiTheWay: [[spoiler: Grace.]]
* BreakingTheFourthWall
** The Painted Doll is fond of addressing the reader, particularly after a murder.
** As TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt approaches, [[spoiler: the series writer and artist]] make cameo appearances, as does [[ItMakesSenseInContext the reader]], when [[spoiler: Promethea, in her final revelation to humankind,]] acknowledges the story she's a part of, while emphasizing it's not ''just'' a story.
* ClicheStorm: The entire point of the Weeping Gorilla, an in-universe comic book character whose only function is to spout such maudlin, commonplace sayings as "Why do pets have to die?" and "I hate my body."[[invoked]]
* ClarkKenting
* {{Crossover}}
** An issue takes place almost entirely in Tom Strong's city.
** As Promethea triggers TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, heroes from Moore's other [=ABC=] Comics titles team up in an attempt to avert it.
** The final issue of ''ComicBook/TomStrong'' parallels the [[AfterTheEnd events]] in the penultimate ''Promethea'' issue.
* DeadpanSnarker: Stacia, Barbara, Jack, Grace, Roger, agent Ball, the Doll, Boo-Boo, Sophie and Trish (sometimes)... actually, about half the cast.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt
* EthnicScrappy: The ''Little Margie'' strips spoof this with Chinky, a ridiculously racist Chinese caricature. The Little Margie comic started in ''1901''; realistically, it probably could have been much worse.[[invoked]]
** Although within ''Promethea'' itself Chinky only appears in Moore's prose prologue to the series, Steve Moore (no relation to Alan), in ''Tomorrow Stories'', included him in two SpinOff ''Little Margie'' tales in the form of ''ComicStrip/LittleNemo''-style NewspaperComics. The first tale plays the trope straight; the second [[SubvertedTrope subverts]] it by having Chinky [[spoiler: reveal himself in his true form as a non-stereotypical Chinese prince, Ching-Ki]].
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys (apes, technically): The Weeping Gorilla.
* {{Expy}}: The Painted Doll inevitably reminds one of SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker.
* FriendlyEnemy: Jack Faust, initially introduced as an antagonist
* GenderBender: While Promethea is always female, one of the incarnations was male, and transformed when needed - the fact that he was a gay man was a factor in some unfortunate circumstances. There's also one of the Five Swell Guys, who seems to have suffered a [[FirstLawOfGenderbending permanent one-way transformation to female]]
* TheGhost: the Night Queen is referenced repeatedly, but never actually appears.
* HardDrinkingPartyGirl: Trish, at first.
* HelloNurse: Uvula Cascade, who's also the most overt FanServicePack. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that she's a porn star.
* HermeticMagic: it's by Alan Moore, what did you expect?
* HigherSelf: Promethea herself is a higher self to the various people who embody her. The Angel Boo-Boo definitely is, [[spoiler: being the guardian angel and divine expression of the previous Promethea, Barbara Shelley]].
* HollywoodPsych
* IAmLegion: The Howling are a series of demons - who eventually all find an already troubled person to possess.
* ImMrFuturePopCultureReference
* IntercourseWithYou: There was a whole issue dedicated to this, and it got an award for how it handled the subject.
* JokerImmunity: The Doll ''seems'' to have this [[spoiler: which becomes a plot point later]]
* KangarooCourt: Played with in "A Higher Court."
* KnightTemplar: The Temple, collectively.
* LaughablyEvil: The Painted Doll.
* LegacyCharacter: There were several incarnations of the Promethea character, and the latest one seems to have had to deal with some common adversaries.
* TheLegionsOfHell
* LittleRedFightingHood: A figment of Sophia's imagination that pops up when she fights the fear of wolves.
* LivingShadow: The smee.
* LovesMyAlterEgo
* MeaningfulName: [[spoiler: [[ItMakesSenseInContext Sophie Bangs]]]]
* MentalWorld: Trips into the Immateria seem to qualify as this.
* [[MrExposition Mr (and Ms, and Mrs.) Exposition]]: About half the cast.
* MonsterClown: Dollface of course.
* NobleDemon: Asmodeus, so long as one treats him with respect.
* NoSenseOfHumor: One of the female [=FBI=] agents, [[NamedAfterSomebodyFamous named]] Creator/LucilleBall.
* Odd-Shaped Panel: Frequently used in the mystic realms.
* PiecesOfGod
* PostModernism
* PygmalionPlot
* PygmalionSnapBack
* ParentsAsPeople: [[spoiler: Trish and Juan]]
* PassingTheTorch
* RealPersonCameo: repeatedly, especially [[spoiler: the near-ubiquitous Creator/AleisterCrowley]]. Toward the end, [[spoiler: [[BreakingTheFourthWall Moore and series artist [=J.H.=] Williams [=III=]]]]] also have a one-panel cameo each.
* RuleOfSymbolism
* TheScrappy: Little Margie is an in-universe example. As the fictional creation of Margaret, she's stuck [[TagalongKid hanging around]] for eternity in the Immateria with her and the other deceased Promethea hosts, and her ''ComicStrip/LittleNemo''-like exclamations get on their nerves.[[invoked]]
* ShoutOut: Every cover pays a homage to a certain artistic style, from Andy Warhol to Van Gogh's, including a simile of mid-20th century monster movies.
** Also references to everything from ConanTheBarbarian (Stacia) to Literature/TheBible (Solomon).
* TheSmartGuy: The Five Swell Guys actually have two of these, which later becomes a plot point.
* SophisticatedAsHell: The Angel Boo-Boo.
* SuperGenderBender: One of the former Prometheas was a male comic book artist called Bill Woolcott.
* TarotMotifs
* TransparentCloset: [[spoiler: Stacia]]
* [[spoiler: TurnedAgainstTheirMasters / AIIsACrapshoot]]
* UnfortunateNames: Lucille Ball. Not kooky, not a redhead, and snarking apart, generally not inclined to see the humor in anything, including her name. Also [[spoiler: (lampshaded by the character) [[DoubleEntendre Trish Bangs]]]].
* UnusualEuphemism: Chemise-lifters.
* TheVerse: Shares a verse with other America's Best Comics works by Creator/AlanMoore like Tom Strong, TopTen Splash Brannigan, Jack B. Quick, Cobweb and Greyshirt.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: The Painted Doll is surprisingly popular, as some people even wear t-shorts depicting him. He's actually referred in the media as a "celebrity omnipath".
** His publicity is ''too'' good. [[spoiler: One of his incarnations gets mobbed to death by fans wanting to be killed by him.]]
** Also the Mayor[[spoiler: post-possession]].
--> "'Hail Satan!', quipped the increasingly popular Mayor."
* VillainsNeverLie: The Goetia.
* TheWatson: Sophie fills this role very heavily at first, and then goes [[MrExposition MsExposition]] as she learns more [[spoiler: to Stacia and Trish, and even to Barbara, of all people]].
* WriterOnBoard
* YourMindMakesItReal: This seems to define how things are handled in the Immateria.
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