Lately I've been thinking a lot about an idea that's become a standard trope in fiction the last decade or two, the "clandestine government agencies that investigate the occult." It's an idea that resonates with me, clearly, as a quick glance over my library of books, comics, and DVDs results in dozens of examples.
A couple of weeks ago, after rereading all of Mike Mignola's Hellboy and related comics, watching the first episodes of the new Fringe series, and enjoying the premier of Cartoon Network's terrific new series Secret Saturdays (which isn't quite the same thing, but close enough to push the same buttons), I decided maybe the universe was trying to send me a message. I've been tinkering with my own clandestine government agency of occult investigators the last few weeks, Bureau Zero (the American counterpart to the British agency MI8 that is featured in the forthcoming End of the Century), so I figured it might serve to run down the list of preiminent examples and see if I can't identify some common characteristics.
The result is an irregular series of posts on my personal blog under the heading "Secret Services," my blanket name for such outfits in fiction. So far I've worked my way through a little over a half-dozen examples, and I've only begun to scratch the surface. If this kind of thing interests you, come on over and check it out, won't you?