To quote the advertising material of Box Brown’s series Everything Dies, the comic “answers every question you have about religion and features God’s penis." Whilst the former claim is very much tongue-in-cheek, I can confirm that the latter is absolutely true, and, let me tell you, God is suitably hung. Deistic dongs aside, Brown (the Philadelphia-based creator behind Bellen! and Xeric-funded Love is a Peculiar Type of Thing) has created a captivating new series that reflects on a selection of the world's major (and minor) spiritual traditions of life and death. In collecting and re-presenting this religious material, the comic offers a pensive, funny and sometimes even poignant look into the stories and metaphors our species has created to assess its own fragile existence.
Having such a wide selection of material to draw upon gives the comic an appealing variety of content, with the first two issues being comprised of three distinct but intermittent sections. The first to appear, "Heart of Stonework", features a young Buddhist monk undergoing tutelage from his wise master. Appearing twice in each issue, these strips communicate the maxims and teachings of the elder as well as their effect on his student. Understated and charming, Brown chooses to play these sections straight; his illustrations of the Master’s philosophies and analogies are endowed with subtlety and create a welcome counterbalance against the more outrightly comedic content of other sections.
“The Book of Job”, as one might imagine, is the retelling of the Hebrew/ Old Testament tale of the same name. Updated into a modern setting, the story of God’s gambit with Satan over one man’s piety makes for pretty funny stuff. Here, Job’s friends reason that the mysterious divine punishments placed on him (death of children, loss of wealth, physical disfigurement, etc) might have been incurred by his potential submission to the temptation of “bignaturals.com”. Whilst there's nothing innovative about the process of juxtaposing the old or ancient with the contemporary for comedic effect (like Arnold Schwarzenegger's
Issue 1: "The Book of Job"
Issue 2: "Omega"; Sounds like my neighborhood on a Friday night.