Cthulhu mythos - Well, obviously, I'm a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan. More than that, though, it represented such a nihilistic creativity that I was hooked at a young age. I picked up Lovecraft around age 12 or so, and was immediately struck by the differences between it and the rest of the crap I could get my hands on. This was horror that ran deeper than "ooh, the big monster is eating everyone" or "ooh, the killer is out to get these people" and whatnot. These weren't aliens that would just hurt you physically; physical pain fades and heals. No, the idea of something that could not be described, that would drive you insane simply by being seen...all that sent my mind to a whole new plane of thought. Besides, I liked that HPL was in contact with others, and that they expanded on the whole thing. Can you even conceive of this today? Fuck no, because they care more for the cash than they do for the art...which is what mass media entertainment has lost.
F.W. Murnau - I love old movies (again, probably partly because they were made with some artistic desire, not just to make a pile of cash). The older they are, the more I seem to like them. No surprise, then, that some of my favorites are from the 20's and 30's. You wanna really talk about artistic expression, you gotta go back to the German Expressionist flicks, and there, Murnau was a god. Murnau's Faust is just beautiful, and his Jekyll and Hyde is one of the best I've ever seen...and of course, you can't talk about Murnau without mentioning Nosferatu. Fun fact: another of the gods of German Expressionism, Fritz Lang (Metropolis), gave the funeral speech after Murnau's death.
Firefly - Hey, I grew up on Star Wars (the real trilogy, dammit), so a good "space opera" has a decent chance of hooking my interest. Oddly enough, I like the idea of the Old West (though I generally don't care much for Westerns). So, here's Firefly, a space opera AND a Western. Now, it had many strikes against it, as far as my interest went. I thought the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer TV series was completely stupid craperoo, so I wasn't going into it with the fanboy worship of Joss Whedon (quite the opposite). For that matter, the fact that it was a TV show at all was no great draw, again, quite the opposite. And yet, somehow, it worked. Well written, well shot, and believable...I was hooked in no time flat. I think it was the fact that, for all it's science fiction, it never slid into the realm of things I had to suspend my disbelief to understand or enjoy, it all made sense without having something that, should you explain it to someone else, would require you taking extra time to say "oh, that, well, here's the backstory on THAT." And besides, Mindy Clark showed up in the series, *mrowr*
Grendel - This refers to Matt Wagner's comic character, not the antagonist in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf. I can't really say what got me hooked on this, at first. Funny, really, since I was introduced to the whole Grendel thing by the Grendel: War Child series, which is fairly unlike any of the previous chapters. It wasn't until later, as I got into the previous history, that it really grabbed me. I guess that was what started it, actually. To read not only the history of the character, but to see how this history flowed from the past, though my present, and into the future, becoming something wildly different form how it started. To see how the spirit of Grendel passed from one person to another, and how each made it their own in a way you couldn't have guessed. The sheer amount of thought that had to have gone into this...it floored me (though I've always been curious if this was Wagner's original plan, or if just kinda happened!). I love the social commentary that is quietly underneath it all, and I like the ideals that came out in the open. Vivat Grendel.
Illuminati - I damn near just typed "You aren't cleared for this. Fnord." But OK, I'll be serious. Beyond the fun/silliness/what have ya of what the whole "Illuminati" thing has become in the recent past (thanks to people like Steve Jackson and Robert Anton Wilson), I've always been interested in the myth behind it all. The idea of the "secret chiefs," the "nine unknown men," the shadowy group behind the scenes that run it all. Sure, no way, right? It's all too paranoid to even think. Just imagine, though, for a moment: there are things going on, all day, every day, that you don't know about. The government, the one that is in control of you and your life, makes decisions that affect you without your consent, or even your knowledge. They deal with other world leaders, and decide how the world will run. They do most of this based on information that other people give them: reports, messages, memos. This is FACT. Is it such a stretch to go from this to the idea that a small group of intelligent and ruthless people manipulate this information to keep things they way they want them? And what state would that be? One of easy control. How to do that? Either give them conflict (give them an enemy, and they'll fight forever), or make them dependent on complacency (what would most people do if they no longer had TV?). How paranoid is it all, now? ;)
Kabuki - I knew TC would pick this, as she's an even bigger fan of it than I am. Kabuki, here, is David Mack's incredible comic series (yes, I like the Japanese theatre style, too). Originally, I was drawn into it by the dystopian future setting (I'm a nut for that kind of thing), but it was quickly overtaken by the story. What started as a pretty standard "kill the bad guys in a bloody manner, using hot chicks to do so" story turned into something deeper, more convoluted. The art changed and matured, and the depth increased until it was out of sight. Mack's art styles can be eclectic at times, but that's something I enjoyed. Even when I think he's gone a little wacky, it's still interesting.
Quantum Mechanics - Science will always be a deep love of mine. I like to know how things work. As a kid, I was the one that constantly had a screwdriver on me, taking things apart to understand their workings, and putting them back together successfully. I liked the logic of how cog turned gear, how spring kept time, how axle transferred power from motor to wheel. Funny, really, that I didn't become a mechanic and I don't know a fucking THING about cars, though I might have, if I hadn't been this genius level child, and thus was pushed into higher things...oh well. Instead, I wanted to learn how MORE things worked, things not as easy to figure as a gear and crank. I learned about biology, chemistry, physics. All these made sense...and then I found out about quantum theory. Wait, I thought, there's a point where this all just falls apart? I HAVE to know about it, I have to understand it! I guess I first got interested in it for the sci-fi aspect, but that quickly was put aside for the reality of it all. The idea that simple observation makes a difference to the outcome of something fascinates me to this day. Quantum mechanics led me to string theory, and man, there's something to blow your mind a little off to the left, too.
So, there ya go. Welcome to my mind.