In the mid-1970s, Filmation had a successful Saturday morning live-action series Shazam!, about the adventures of Captain Marvel. This led to a follow-up show about an original super-female, Isis, named for the ancient Egyptian deity. Isis ran during the 1975-1976 and autumn 1976 seasons. In 1977-1978, the show continued, without the Captain's lead-in, as The Secrets of Isis.

JoAnna Cameron played a science teacher, Andrea Thomas, who finds a mysterious amulet while on an archaeological dig in Egypt. Naturally, it gives her super powers when she puts it on and says, "Oh Mighty Isis!" Her powers include strength, speed, and the ability to fly and to move objects. Each power requires a special incantation. For example, to fly, she whispers, "O Zephyr winds, which blow on high, lift me now, so I can fly" (Never mind that Zephyr is Greek, and not Egyptian). Her transformation also provides her with an Egyptian-themed minidress and a different hair-do, in which guise no one recognizes her. On a few occasions, her show did a crossover with the Captain's, and the two heroes joined forces.

After her live-action show ended, Isis appeared in the animated "Freedom Force," part of the cartoon Tarzan and the Super Seven.

DC also put out an Isis comic book; it lasted 8 issues. She later reappeared in DC continuity for the series 52, but then died.

This is a special name given by Oxonians (especially the ones you see rowing about all the time) to a river everyone else calls the Thames. The name applies only within the limits of Oxford itself; although a few people attempt to apply the name to the river above a certain point (sometimes, Dorchester, other times its junction with the Cherwell), people outside the immediate affect of Oxford call the river Thames all the way to its source in the Cotswolds.

No-one really knows where the name came from. Was it the real pre-Roman name of that part of the river? Did the residents of Oxford decide, for reasons lost to history, to abbreviate the Roman name for the river (Tamesis) differently? Did a don (who clearly had too much time one his hands) attempt to render 'Ouse' in a Classical language?

En subito frontem placidis e fluctibus Isis
Effert, et totis radios spargentia campis
Aurea stillanti resplendent lumina vultu.
Iungit et optatae nunc oscula plurima Tamae,
Mutuaque explicitis innectunt colla lacertis,
Oscula mille sonant, connexu brachia pallent,
Labra ligant animos. Tandem descenditur una
In thalamum, quo iuncta Fide Concordia sancta
Splendida conceptis sancit connubia verbis.

16th-century English poet William Camden's poem Connubium Tamae et Isis describes the "marriage" between 'Isis' and 'Tamae' (the river Thame, a tributary of the Thames). Isis flows down from his source, a rather elaborately decorated cave in the Cotswolds. Tamae flows down from her source on the northern slopes of the Chilterns, by the town that bears her name, and they are 'married' where the rivers meet in Dorchester. As the river flows by London at the end of the poem, there is no 'Thame' or 'Isis', only Tamesis, bringing to mind the Greek myth of Hermaphroditus. (Geomorphologists with too much time on their hands occasionally speculate as to whether this is recognition of an ancient stream piracy event). Camden's poetical allegory may be the origin of the name, or he may have borrowed it from local usage. Whatever the case, the name Isis now has Spenserian Authority after its appearance in The Faerie Queene.

1911 encyclopedia - River Thames

Dana F. Sutton, University of California, Irvine
William Camden, Poems and Epitaphs: A hypertext edition

Isis is a sludge/post-rock band from Boston that was formed in 1997. They are frequently compared to Neurosis, not only because of the strong similarities of their music but also because of the way the bands operate. Both groups have their own labels for releasing music: Neurot Recordings and Hydra Head Records, respectively (although Hydra Head actually predates Isis by four years).

Band members:
Aaron Turner (guitar, vocals)
Jeff Caxide (bass)
Mike Gallagher (guitar)
Aaron Harris (drums)
Cliff Meyer (electronics)

Chris Mereschuk (electronics, 1997-98)
Jay Randall (electronics, 1999-2000)

Over the years, Isis has changed quite a bit in terms of their music. Atlanta metal band Mastodon followed much the same path. They started with pure sludge, (Celestial for Isis, Remission for Mastodon) but eventually scraped the rough edges off a lot of the vocals and began exploring the lighter, more melodic sides of metal. Isis' early work is very heavy. Frontman Aaron Turner has a hoarse, raspy growl that fits into the bass-thick riffing perfectly, like cog teeth. Most of the guitar work was steady, down-tuned palm-muting, giving that throaty chugging-train sound. As time went by, Isis began experimenting with clean guitars and softer passages that became more and more common. Typical Isis songs play with quick transitions, from calm to frenzied, so their music was never a relentless onslaught. Every storm had its eye. In their later work, the focus begins to shift towards the eyes and away from the storms.

There are a number of recurring images or concepts in Isis' body of work. The first and most obvious of these is the ocean, or water in general. It's on the album art in the name of the Oceanic album, and many titles reference water in some way: "Red Sea," "Maritime," "From Sinking," "Holy Tears," "Not in Rivers But In Drops." Scattered throughout Celestial are sounds of sonar blips, though on that album a different theme is more evident: insects. The album cover is adorned with two very faint insect shapes, and the track "Swarm Reigns" brings locusts to mind. It's fairly overt on the early EP Mosquito Control, with track names like "Life Under The Swatter" and "Relocation Swarm". Mosquitos and water are linked, and at the risk of reading too much into it, one can see the dichotomy of life-sucking parasites dwelling in life-giving liquid.

The band has managed to retain an "Isis" sound throughout its existence, but that doesn't mean there is any clear consensus on what their best album is. Their discography is strong, and varied. I stand by Celestial, their first full-length album, and SGNL>05, the EP sequel. For me, Isis is at its best when it is at its heaviest, and despite Celestial's ferocity, it manages to be eerie and unsettling. Fans of fellow Hydra Head band Pelican usually tend to gravitate towards Panopticon, which offers long build-ups and rewarding climaxes, like a proper post-rock album. A lot of the tracks feature clean guitar for long stretches, and the vocals are relatively easy on the ears as well ("relatively" being the key word; even when not growling, Turner's voice is pretty rough). The emotions presented are much more complex than the raw power of Mosquito Control or Celestial. Oceanic is almost like an earlier version of Panopticon, but darker, and more menacing. Their more recent albums, In The Absence of Truth and Wavering Radiant actually sound heavier than the two before them, but that doesn't seem to signify a return to the old Isis. Wavering Radiant is more progressive metal than anything, and sacrifices the slow, introspective musing of Oceanic for prominent keyboards and overactive guitars that are unfortunately buried in the mix. Still, as a prog metal album, it's as good as the latest offering by Opeth or Mastodon; it just isn't the Isis it used to be.


Celestial (2000)
Oceanic (2002)
Panopticon (2004)
In The Absence of Truth (2006)
Wavering Radiant (2009)

Mosquito Control (1998)
Sawblade (1999)
The Red Sea (1999)
SGNL>05 (2001)

There are also five live albums, entitled simply "Live," as well as a four-volume Oceanic remix series.

Isis has released albums on labels such as Neurot Recordings, Hydra Head, Second Nature, Ipecac, and Escape Artist, among others.

On May 18, 2010, the band announced via blog post that Isis would go no further. With thirteen years of playing together and not a single bad release, they have chosen to vanish from the post-metal scene at their prime. I'm thankful to have been able to see them play. One final tour is in progress (accompanied by bands like Melvins, Tombs, and Cave In), and will end in late June in Montreal.

I"sis (?), n. [L., the goddess Isis, fr. Gr. .]

1. Myth.

The principal goddess worshiped by the Egyptians. She was regarded as the mother of Horus, and the sister and wife of Osiris. The Egyptians adored her as the goddess of fecundity, and as the great benefactress of their country, who instructed their ancestors in the art of agriculture.

2. Zool.

Any coral of the genus Isis, or family Isidae, composed of joints of white, stony coral, alternating with flexible, horny joints. See Gorgoniacea.

3. Astron.

One of the asteroids.


© Webster 1913.

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