Monday, December 19, 2011

Bible Stories 019

Once again, I go off-text a bit and utilize other sources than Genesis. In this case, I'm setting up Milton's view that Satan entered the snake to tempt Adam and Eve, so I have to go ahead and introduce the concept of angels. Obviously, angels must have been created by God before "the beginning," so I'm squeezing them in here. If I had stuck with just the Genesis story as-told, I wouldn't have to mess with this stuff, but I do hope it will pay off.

The white angel asking for the dipped cone is Satan himself (though I wasn't sure at the time if this is what I intended), who appears in this form again in strip number 39. He's obviously the jealous angel God is talking about (and his "demonic" followers).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bible Stories 018

A talking animal! But that's explained in the next comic, so I'll wait until we get there to talk about that. For now, I'll just say that I needed another character (not God, not the Son) to have this conversation with Adam. I chose a bird.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bible Stories 017

I'm often not this meta with the strip, but even Adam himself can't get around the fact that this story feels metaphorical. How could you take it literally even if you were involved in it yourself in real life? It would be like if your parents told you, as a kid, to stay away from the Cookie Jar of Free Will and Consequences.

Another way of showing that the tree was beyond a regular tree was to make sure I pointed out what the Bible actually says: that God himself planted the tree. This either means that God was human-like and able to plant organic trees, or it meant that the tree was a magic, godly tree--made of spiritual stuff. In other words, metaphorical. It comes from the "deep magic from the dawn of time."

Thanks to John Milton, people tend to think of the tree as containing apples. When Milton wrote Paradise Lost, the word apple was a generic word for fruit, and since people get their Genesis from Milton more than from the Bible itself (whether they read either one of them or not), apple (as a specific fruit) stuck. I drew all kinds of fruit on my tree, to show that it didn't matter and to show the multi-faceted nature of the tree. I also wanted it to look otherworldly and pretty: tempting.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bible Stories 016

The first human (and penis!) in the strip. The design of the characters is similar to those in my "Carrie" comic, maybe even more basic and less stylized here. They're slightly fancy stick figures, which I wanted to be easy to manipulate.

I knew Adam and Eve would be naked, but I chose to just draw clothes-less sticks rather than accentuating naughty bits--unless, of course, those bits are needed, as in this case.

Adam is black, naturally, so he gets the appropriate skin color and hair. Throughout the strip, the skin color is different for every character. (Very few are identical.) Most of the time, the color is meaningless, but sometimes it has a purpose. I do try to mirror actual human skin colors.

Although Adam is human, I wanted him to have some pre-human features, too (the Son is calling him a "cave man"), mostly in the arms.

I considered using translations of the names of the characters throughout the strip rather than the proper names themselves, since most Hebrew names can be translated into words. Adam can be translated to both "man/mankind" or "earth/ground." Eve is "life." Though I still think it would be a good idea for a translation of the Bible, since it would make the stories make more sense and -- in this case -- would demonstrate the allegorical nature of the Eden (which translates to "delight" or "plain") story more apparent, in the end I decided to stick with the names themselves, which is how we know these characters. When spellings varied, I used the ones given by the New Revised Standard Version (my translation of choice, though the KJV is my artistic favorite).

Adam here, of course, isn't created from scratch by God. He is chosen from among existing humans who have evolved over long periods of time, all happening in this short amount of "days." (Notice that the sky is slightly darker now than in previous strips.) I don't think this idea goes against either account of creation (Genesis 1 or 2), since mankind was described as being formed out of the dust of the ground, which is still true here (and in science). The "breath of life" is the important thing, the "inspiration" of God, and the second panel lists some of the things used to distinguish men from beasts: anything that goes beyond mere survival and propagation of the species, what might be called "spiritual" things. Adam's first question seems to be a nice mix of both godly and beastly (though some would disagree).

So here we have him: the first "man."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bible Stories 015

I still wonder if this particular strip was a wise move, the reference to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the monolith. I do allusions in the comic, yes, but I never make a reader's knowledge of them necessary to understand the strip. But, with this one, you have to know the movie and the idea that the monolith promotes evolution (and use of tools).

The reference to Lucy the Australopithecus is fine, since it's not an allusion, just information that I assume everyone knows. In the end, I think I determined that 2001 is known enough to be used, but I still think maybe it crosses my art and Kubrick's art in too direct a way. (I use an actual still from the movie, after all.)

Besides my personal agonies, the strip introduces more frustration with the "laissez-faire" of the Son, more interference with the Father (this time unsolicited), and the concept of the "breath of life" that appears in Genesis, which I use as the thing that separates man from beast, the thing that makes man an animal with a little god inside of him.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bible Stories 014

Holy cow! Well, almost. Here is proof that cows were designated by God to be eaten. I put a lot of God's words to (eventually) humans here, which seems to work. The way the cow manure is drawn in the last panel is a reference to the DUSKBUSTERS!, but you already knew that.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bible Stories 013

Day six is when the land animals (including, eventually, humans) appear. This particular strip should give you an idea of how long a "day" is. The Bible, of course, doesn't have dinosaurs, but my strip does, since I felt they were important enough to be represented.

God "revealing" himself to a creature is just another way of saying that the creature is achieving a higher consciousness. According to this story, dinosaurs almost achieved it, but then went "extinct." I tend to side with those scientists who say that many kinds of dinosaurs evolved into birds (though some types became extinct in the usual sense of the word), and I figured an ostrich would be the closest visual approximation to get that idea across (whether the connection shown is scientifically accurate or not).

The fact that the Tyrannosaurus Rex evolves into an ostrich during the gods' conversation demonstrates not only the speediness of time (from God's point of view) but the slowness of God (from ours). So if it seems that 2,000 years between Jesus and now (for example) is a long time, it's not--not compared to the difference between panel three and panel four of this comic.

As far as technical matters go, I had to make the choice between whether to draw the animals myself (on the computer or by hand) or just use images from the internet. I went with the latter, obviously, figuring if this comic ever got picked up, I'd do the difficult work later (whether that meant replacing the images or getting permission).

Story-wise, the narrative seems to be following the Son trying his best to impress his dad and failing. But something tells me it will all work out for him.