Originally appeared as fourth post in PopIN as PopMuda:
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You might already know that I really adore comics. They are a great medium of telling stories through art.
Today, I’d like share some of my favourite graphic novels that can be considered radical in their deconstruction of what it means to be human, and the whole god, heaven/hell thing:
Preacher (by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon)
This one hell of a ride is what you get when you mix a Texan preacher, an Irish vampire and a sharp-shooter hottie. Preacher Jesse Custer lived a messed-up childhood under his righteous grandma who wanted him to grow up being a man of God. When the unnatural child of an angel and a demon accidentally entered his body and granted him the “Word of God”, he made it his mission to find God across the United States.
Hellblazer (by various writers & artists)
John Constantine might be many things—occult detective, thief, exorcist, demon hunter, liar, The Laughing Magician—but he’s just really a chain-smoking Scouse bastard. Once on the brink of death, he tricked the First of the Fallen to not only save his ass, but cure him of his lung cancer. One scene that continues to give me the chills is by writer Brian Azzarello, when John cursed some Muslims convicts to pray the other way for pissing him off.
Transmetropolitan (by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson)
In a dystopian future where humans have found hundreds of ways to live beyond our normal bodies, Spider Jerusalem is a gonzo journalist hell-bent on reporting the truth and bringing down corrupt politicians. When his stories were censored from mainstream press by the President and faced with assassination attempts, Spider continued to dissent in exile through guerilla internet-like “feedsites”. Somehow reminds me a lot of RPK.
Marvelman (by Alan Moore & various artists)
Formerly Marvelman, then Miracleman after a lawsuit by Marvel Comics, and recently Marvelman again after being bought by Marvel. He was initially a British version of Captain Marvel, but Alan Moore, master of reboots, turned it into a far more sinister story. Moore kept asking the question: “What would you do if you have the power of gods?”: Would you try to take over the world? Could you still stay with your mere human love ones? How would you remake Earth?
The Sandman (by Neil Gaiman & various artists)
Definitely one of the best tales ever made, and Gaiman’s greatest achievement so far. Sandman popularised the use of mythical characters in new settings and tales. Lucifer, for example, suddenly decided one day to quit his role as keeper of Hell, set free all its prisoners, and closed it, leaving the key in care of the titular character, Morpheus: The Lord of Dreams.
Something to think about.
My favourite story? Ramadan. Remember the enchanted Baghdad, with its palaces, flying carpets, beautiful harems, genies and wonderful creatures? Where has it gone, and why is it now a war-torn country full of misery? The answer, as told in this story, is because Caliph Harun al-Rashid had presented Baghdad to Morpheus for safe-keeping in the land of dreams, so that its glory will never fade and be remembered forever!
You might have realised that for someone who talks about rationalism and rejecting superstition, I am very fond of supernatural fictions. Well, it’s because that’s how I feel supernatural should stay as—fiction.
Now if I have succeeded in getting your interest, why don’t you pick some of these titles up? Comics are not all about superpowers and hot chicks, you know.