Apr 04 2012

Six Interesting Interpretations of God in Comic Books

Published by at 10:00 am under Columns,Comics,Lists

What better avenue to explore creative license than attempting to visualize God in a comic book? Imagine the fun it would be to try to illustrate the concept. Yes, that is what God is, ultimately. A concept. No one has actually seen this God everyone speaks of, so we can only conceptualize what God may look like by our own terms. The great thing about comic books is, they do what they want. They put things to visuals in THEIR OWN terms, and then show us the end result.

Though some believe in God, and others do not, comic book creators have no fear of treading on the taboo and showing you what their version of God is, in terms of their story. Here are six wildly varying versions of God, as seen through the eyes of comic book creators and illustrators. Beware, if you believe in God, these could be considered potential life spoilers.

God in PREACHER

I will say this right now, Preacher is easily one of the greatest comic books ever created, and in terms of WTF moments and readability, it is in a league all by itself. Even outshining The Walking Dead by a great deal.

I am one of those few people who are very grateful no major movie company or cable channel has attempted to sully it’s perfection with what would ultimately end up being  a subpar adaptation. You could NEVER do material this twisted justice without scaring off a good deal of your potential audience in the process. But I digress.

Preacher is about a man who becomes fused with a being known as Genesis. Genesis is the offspring of a tryst between an angel and a demon. So, long and the short, an angel and a demon bumped uglies, a spirit was born, and that spirit flew to Earth and inhabited the body of a hard drinking Texas preacher named Jesse Custer. Who then inherited God’s powers. Without saying too much, the “word of God” power is my favorite comic book power of all time, ’nuff said.

But God is in this book, too. And, well, he is not the most pleasant guy.

What comes next we will never speak of.

This version of God is disgusted with the fact that man would have his knowledge, and looks at humanity as something that is under him. And while he visually looks like what you imagine a typical interpretation of God would look like, he is far from the loving God you learned about in Sunday school, and that is what makes this version so awesome and such a joy to read.

Also worth noting: The cover to each issue was absolutely mind blowing.

While I refuse to get into the intricacy of the relationship between God and Jesse, or how things play out for this version of God, I will say this: If you have not read, and/or are not reading this series (which has been conveniently collected in graphic novels from beginning to end) then you are doing yourself a huge injustice.

And God is watching. And this one is not too afraid to kick your ass.

God in The Fantastic Four

Alright, I will admit, this one is a little cheesy. But for fans of the Golden Age of comic books and fans of classic artists, this one was also a sort of Easter egg, and made a bunch of us fanboys smile.

Long and the short: Thing gets possessed by Dr. Doom and Mr Fantastic has to kill him. They then go off to afterlife to bring him back because, well, this is comic books, that is just the type of stuff comic books do.

So there are a lot of existential questions posed and metaphysics discussed, and finally, they arrive on God’s doorstep. And wouldn’t you know it, God looks an AWFUL LOT like Marvel Pioneer and artist extraordinaire Jack Kirby.

And he was one of their “creators” so this is actually quite brilliant and “meta”.

And maybe the coolest moment of all about their meeting, he uses his “magic pencil” (which is not as creepy as it sounds, I promise) to erase some scars on Reeds face from some recent altercations. It was a definite moment of deus ex machina, but it was an extremely cool, albeit slightly silly example of it.

A perspnal reason I put this on the list is a personal connection I had to it. My Father, who is the most amazing illustrator I know, had a picture of Jack Kirby hanging in over his desk through his entire career as an illustrator, so to really appreciate this moment, you need to appreciate what Jack Kirby meant to a lot of young artists and how many souls he would go on to influence and inspire.

If you have a golden age hero, there is a good chance Kirby helped create him.

Was the moment a bit silly? Ofcourse it was!  But sometimes, between all the heavy-handed, self-righteous, serious comic books, you need to be reminded that silly is not always a bad thing, and this moment with their version of God did just that. And Kirby is a comic God to many, so it was nice to see him get some respect.

God in SPAWN

So to even attempt to inform you on what lead up to the moment in the Spawn comic book when he met God would cause a seizure in even the most dedicated fan. Spawn had a tendency to do that from time to time ( meaning always), having stories that get so convoluted within the pretension of their world, that the story itself gets buried under “too much epic”, and that happened here as well.

Spawn comics RARELY shy away from using religious imagery for effect.

Don’t believe me? Alright pull up a chair: Armageddon is happening, and Satan and God are watching their armies clash on the Earth, and Spawn (who is a God himself now, don’t ask) just starts decimating both sides, to which God and Satan reply: Holy shit, we need to stop this dude.

They pair up their armies, the armies of Heaven and Hell, and Spawn is like “f**k this noise” and wipes the earth free of all inhabitants. AKA kills everyone. Spawn is happy all of the armies of Heaven and Hell are wiped out, but he kind of feels bad that he had to kill every human being on Earth, too, so he goes into a kind of emo phase.

But then, God and Satan kill Spawn, because, um, he killed everyone else. But then they realize that Spawn was the last element of humanity left, and they get REALLY mad at each other, and God and Satan begin fighting again. Endlessly, for all time.

See what I mean? This comic makes LOST seem easy to follow.

Apparently their basis for God was on the 90′s Latin pop star, Gerardo. Best known for his classic, Rico Suave.

But more importantly, this comic makes God look like a creepy, Spanish porn star (who even has a mullet) and that is, most likely, an image of God very few people had. Except for Spanish porn stars. I bet to them, based on visuals alone, this version of God is perfect.





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19 responses so far

  • http://www.mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    EXPLODING HEAD ACTION! Nny <3

    My boyfriend's favorite comic hero is Adam Warlock, who basically played out the role of 'Jesus' to a different planet.

  • HarshReality79

    That WWII comic cover just made my head implode.

  • trashcanman

    Dude. That last cover is the greatest thing man had created. Pure, distilled awesome. “Hitler crucified my son!!” WHOO! Check out “Testament” too. Amazing comic. And it doesn’t just have our God, it has all of ‘em! Jesse was a great protagonist and Preacher was a great book, but no way in hell does that story get adapted properly unless someone at HBO is looking to start a shitstorm of controversy and bomb threats.

  • https://www.facebook.com/asleepinsidemysoul Remy Carreiro

    @ Mandy, all I need to say to you is Squee.
    @HarshReality79, am not really sure, but I THINK the Unreality store has replacement heads at reasonable prices. LoL
    @trashcanman, Yeah, I printed out the last cover and am bringing it to kinkos to make a full size poster for my office, so I feel you. Agreed on Preacher, too. Kids would be trying to emulate arseface and botching their suicides on purpose. Hahaha

  • Darren

    WHEW! I was so scared that you were going to gloss over JTHM’s version of the small-a-almighty. Thanks for remembering him!

  • Charlie Ward

    God is not just a concept. He may be or He may not be, but you can’t definitely say that He “is”. That’s just as arrogant as stating that He DOES exist as if it’s an absolute fact, which I’m sure would rile some people up around here. It’s funny how the door never swings both ways. . . .

    Also, numerous people have claimed to see Him. You saying that no one has might be true or it might not be, but you don’t KNOW, so don’t pretend that you do.

    Sorry. The non-believers’ double standards are just a pet peeve of mine and my OCD insisted that this could not go unchallenged.

  • Chris Taylor

    Charlie you do understand that He talking about the concept of God, you can’t argue the concept of God doesn’t exist(literally talking about it proves it)

  • https://www.facebook.com/asleepinsidemysoul Remy Carreiro

    I was waiting for that^

  • code

    Yeah, dude, God as a concept IS true, whether or not God does exist.
    Also, no proof that those where anything more than hallucinations, so for all we know, if God exists, maybe he looks like the floating baby head from the Teletubbies, or maybe Gir from Invader Zim.. Hell, even an earthworm!
    But I do have a question. Why are you unable to talk about the last comic? It looks badass.
    Thanks for the great list. Love JTHM. :)

  • willroyboy

    what about the Chronicles of Wormwood’s god? a masterbating metally challenged old fart? or in Hellblazer? where satan also descibes god as a crazed freak who shit and pissed himself after reealizing that the ramifications of creating the universe.

  • https://www.facebook.com/asleepinsidemysoul Remy Carreiro

    @ Code, Nice counterpoint, thank you. And as to why I couldn’t talk about that last GOD comic, well, I couldn’t actually find a copy of it, and trust me, I looked. Good chance it is just some pulp art someone made, unfortunately. And all praise Nailbunny!
    @willroyboy, AHHHHHHH. *kicks self in ass* I rarely regret my lists, but awesome call on Wormwood. Slipped my mind completely.

  • Charlie Ward

    “Yes, that is what God is, ultimately. A concept.”

    That statement implies (through use of the word “ultimately”) that God is not ANYTHING MORE than a concept. That might be true or it might not be, but none of us actually know. I didn’t say God as a concept wasn’t a thing (Where’d everyone get that idea?), I was just saying that he’s not necessarily JUST a concept. Which is correct insofar as it can’t be disproven.

    If you didn’t actually mean to say that that was all God definitely was, okay, but then you shouldn’t have used the word “ultimately”. It was bound to needle. I’m a case in point.

    As for the “GOD” comic I think that’s the work of Erik Larsen. I remember it being a big thing back when I was reading Wizard as a kid.

  • R.J. Moore II

    There are two potential meanings to the word ‘god’.

    One, the one used by most people over almost all of human history, is the one that makes logical sense. A ‘god’ is a heavenly or at least inhuman being with super-powers. Thor is a god. So is Superman. Saying that Superman isn’t a god is just ‘no true scottsman’.

    There is another definition of god, which I will call Thomistic or Buddhist. This definition involves a bunch of undefmined and contradictory superlative forms thrown together. This ‘god’ does not exist because it is rhetorical nonsense and anyone defending it is a crank.

    Either way, god does not exist.

  • Grebo

    You forgot the God in the Chronicles Of Wormwood. He was a floating old guy who was constantly masturbating under his robes, who eventually gets spiked togethere with Satan by their sons the antichrist and the 2nd incarnation of jesus who hate their dads

  • assablanca

    Speaking of The Walking Dead, the actor that plays Shane in the tv show looks a lot like a real-life Jesse Custer to me. (You know, before he shaved off his curly hair. They also have the same nose, imo.)

  • https://www.facebook.com/asleepinsidemysoul Remy Carreiro

    @ Charlie Ward, I respect your opinion and did not intend to offend with that line. Well, that is a small lie. I do respect your opinion, but I think I realized when I put “concept”, which I battled with a little bit, I knew it might draw some controversy, and I did it anyway. But in doing it, I am not trying to undermine anyone’s beliefs. And I knew, if nothing else, it would spark some decent conversation in the comments, so I have no regrets, and I do appreciate you sharing our mind.
    @ RJ Moore, If I could have seen the future, I would have opened this article with that comment. Haha. You got a genuine LoL out of me when I reached the end.
    Grebo, Yeah, that is my one regret, I LOVE that book.
    @Assablanca, I want to tell you I agree with you about Shane and had never made that visual connection, but your name is making me laugh too hard….

  • zoezoewriter

    I came here because of JTHM.
    Now I’ve got a few more comics to read.

  • Jen

    I’m a big fan of the mini series Dawn: Lucifer’s Halo by Joseph Michael Linsner. It depicts God (Ahura Mazda) as one of many Gods. In the story, he and Lucifer were lovers. And when Lucifer disobeyed him he cast him out of Heaven and gave him Hell. He requests the help of the Goddess Dawn to retrieve Lucifer’s Halo and bring it back to him…but she has bigger plans.

  • Krazyjoe

    No Wally the Godboy from Peter David’s run on ‘Supergirl’ in the 90s?

    Shame on you for your blasphemy.

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