Digital Ash: 9/30/2013: Scherezade and JezebelA comic review article by: Bill Janzen, Daniel Elkin
1001 #1 and #2
I shouldn't have liked these comics as much as I did. I make no bones about it, I'm a superhero guy. So comics like this one that are of a non-superhero genre need to win me over. But the art in both issues is beautiful and on a level most indie comics just don't quite reach and made me want to pick them up. That and I must admit I do love trying indie comics.
Continuing our love affair with the great work put up by Study Group Comic Books, I submit for your enjoyment Jezebel by Elijah Brubaker. This comic is a retelling of the Biblical story of Jezebel, Ahab, and Elijah and all the hijinks inherent within – it puts the “ho ho ho” back in “holy” as it were, and I have no shame whatsoever for writing that.
For those of you less Biblically oriented, the story of Jezebel goes something along the lines of: Jezebel, once she married King Ahab, got him to go anti-Yahweh and go pro-Baal. This, of course, runs counter to that whole “You shall have no other gods before me” commandment. God comes to the prophet Elijah and tells Elijah to set up some good old-style smiting and stuff and, from there, the comedy erupts.
Elijah Brubaker has taken this tale of heresy, drought, and slaughter and made it pretty damn funny. He recasts everyone as either insane, petty, stupid, or clueless and, by doing so, turns a horrific story into some jocular comic-making. And he may be going to hell for it.
Nobody is spared in this one, not even Yahweh. Were I infused with more religious sensibilities, I could see myself getting really offended by this comic. And that may be the point. The ridiculousness of the violence of this story, as well as its inherent misogyny, is just ripe for parody. The Old Testament God sure did put his worshipers through the ropes and seemingly had little concern about slaughtering hundreds of people now and again just to make his point. Jezebel points this out, because, I guess, Brubaker thought you should know it.
This is a quick read. Pages fly by. Brubaker's clean, sparse art adds to the humor, and doesn't lessen the emotive timing needed to really stick the jokes. Were it not for the basic blasphemy inherent in the presentation (oh, and a couple of panels featuring Elijah's dick), I could see this being a regular feature in the Sunday funnies in your local newspaper.
But of course that could never happen.
Ted Cruz might filibuster it.
So read Jezebel and maybe the next time you hear a perfectly coiffed, blue-suited, bible-waving, pink-faced man calling some smart, modern, self-assured woman a “Jezebel”, you might remember this comic and, instead of rolling your eyes or getting angry at the chauvinism, you might just smile instead.
- Daniel Elkin
Jezebel can be found at the Study Group comics website.