Tag Archives: Religion

Captain America Caption Contest in Support of Tolerance at Wing Luke Museum in Seattle

Captain America Caption Contest in Support of Tolerance

Can you think of a winning caption for the above cartoon? Details follow.

When this cartoonist decides to put on a Captain America costume, he knows it will get complicated. New York based cartoonist Vishavjit Singh has set out to open the hearts of his fellow citizens and it looks like he’s gaining ground.

If you live in the Seattle area, you will want to especially take notice of a caption contest for Singh’s new art show, “Wham! Bam! Pow!” at the Wing Luke Museum! Email your caption for the cartoon at the top of this post to whambampow@wingluke.org for a chance to win a $50 gift card to GoPoke, a pair of general admission tickets to the Wing Luke Museum, and a framed drawing of this comic from cartoonist Vishavjit Singh with your winning caption.

WHAM! BAM! POW!

Vishavjit Singh began drawing cartoons in 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks: as a Sikh American with a turban and beard, he had become the target of a toxic mix of fear, anxiety and ignorance. Vishavjit set out to challenge the label of the ‘other’ placed upon him (and many others of Sikh, South Asian, Muslim, and/or Middle Eastern extraction) by illustrating stories capturing the joys and predicaments of Sikh American life. His simple imagery and gentle humor often come with an edge that pierces stereotypes, prompts self-reflection, and promotes action.

In 2012, horrified by the deadly attack on a Sikh Gurudwara (house of worship) in Wisconsin, Vishavjit decided the world needed a superhero who fights bigotry and hate in our midst. Wham! Bam! Pow! follows Vishavjit’s journey as he explores America’s inspiring, contradictory values and discovers the heroic power of compassion.

Wing Luke Museum in Seattle

Don’t miss “Wham! Bam! Pow!” from May 4th to February 24th, 2019.
Now on display at The Wing.

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Filed under Comics, Editorial Cartoons, Middle East, Museums, Muslim, New York City, Seattle

Review: ‘Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus’ by Chester Brown

Mary Wept Jesus Chester Brown

Chester Brown is one of our treasured cartoonists, right up there with such greats as Seth and Daniel Clowes. Now, do the greats always get it right? No, I won’t say that but, on their worst day, I would prefer them over many another cartoonist. That said, Chester Brown’s latest graphic novel appears to be an ambitious continuation to “Paying For It,” his memoir on his relations with prostitutes. For his new book, he explores, among other things, the morality of prostitution by taking it all the way up to Jesus Christ in “Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus,” published by Drawn & Quarterly.

The narrative follows what seems like a loosely based collection of Bible stories but it turns out to be a carefully grounded argument in favor of the significant place for prostitutes in the Bible. In fact, Chester Brown argues here that the Virgin Mary was a prostitute or engaged in prostitute-like behavior. It can be asking a lot for some readers to accept. However, Brown provides a good deal of scholarship to back him up. And he lays it all out with compelling comics.

The book is really great in its honesty and clarity. I see where it might make an overly sensitive person feel sad with all the depiction of unfairness but that’s not the point at all. Chester Brown paints an authentic picture of the matter-of-fact harsh life of the Biblical era. Morality was a whole other creature in the Bible. We require this world depicted clearly in order to buy into the narrative.

Mary Wept The Bible Chester Brown

Brown is making the case that this is just how things were, this is how these people would have reacted to various behavior, and this is how the God in this Bible would have responded. It all follows a Biblical logic. And this allows Brown to make his argument seem all the less controversial. Sure, it would be well within reason that Mary could have, even would have, been a prostitute or engaged in prostitute-like behavior. It is not beyond the realm of what one would expect in the world of the Bible.

All this begs the question as to just how Brown and/or the Bible defines prostitution. How did people view prostitution in the world of the Bible? All things being relative, according to this graphic novel, residing in another village could inspire just as much, if not more, scorn than just being a prostitute. Ultimately, it was just another part of a harsh world. It was out in the open and, even if it inspired scorn, people were more honest about it than they are today.

Just as interesting as Brown’s observations on prostitution is his evocation of the world of the Bible. In Chester Brown Bible stories, we best see that world for what it is by having Brown turn up the heat a bit more. For instance, Brown includes the story of the prodigal son, the wayward lad who misspent his inheritance on prostitutes. The boy is embraced by his father and provided with a lavish celebration. There is the younger obedient son, the one who stayed home. But when he protests to his father, the father does not only ask for understanding, as commonly depicted in the Bible, he also explicitly chastises his loyal son for not having more initiative. The corrupt son is viewed as the hero. Might makes right. The industrious son is viewed as a fool. What Brown suggests is that this is going on implicitly in this story as well as in other Bible stories. It certainly feels that way.

“Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus” is a 280-page hardcover available now. For more details, visit Drawn & Quarterly right here.

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Filed under Chester Brown, Comics, Daniel Clowes, Drawn and Quarterly, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Seth, Sex

Interview: Marco Kalantari and ‘The Shaman’

Director Marco Kalantari on set of THE SHAMAN

Director Marco Kalantari on set of THE SHAMAN

“God sleeps in stone, Breathes in plants, Dreams in animals, And awakens in man.”
~ Ancient Hindu Proverb

I quoted back to the director one of his favorite proverbs. I was wondering about how it connected with his latest work, “The Shaman.” Marco Kalantari said he was looking for a way to create a synergy between today’s science fiction and ancient legends. And, on that intriguing note, we began our interview. “The Shaman” is definitely something unusual with shades of “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” mixed with a distinctive vision. It is one story with great potential for being expanded into a feature length film. What you’ll come away with the feeling you’ve just seen something unusual. And, if you’re in the New York metro area, you will get a first look at it during the Tribeca Film Festival, April 15-26. Details here.

Marco Kalantari is a talented filmmaker devoted to telling a good story with a quirky twist. His short film, “The Shaman,” (review here) is one of the gems you’ll find at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. His commercial work in the Asian market has led to some of the most remarkable sci-fi inspired mini-movies for such global brands as Nokia, Pepsi, Chevrolet, BMW, HSBC, and Panasonic.

The eccentric Austrian filmmaker started his international career with a Silver Lion in Cannes 2003 for his television commercial for “Medecins Sans Frontiers.” Within a year he became one of the most demanded directors on the Indian TVC market, and soon shot all over Asia, including China, South-East Asia, Hongkong, and Japan. Since 2010 Marco is managed by Savage/Prague in Europe and the US, and by AOI promotions in Japan, being the first foreigner to start such a relationship with a major Japanese production company.

As Kalantari states, he’s been working his way from the East to the West. And it is this Eastern tradition of focusing on stories with vivid characters and intricate worlds which informs his work. He considers himself a “professional dreamer.” In 2006, Buena Vista International released his first movie “Ainoa,” which also travelled to festivals around the world. And it is with “The Shaman” that he further demonstrates his powerful storytelling.

It is a pleasure to share with you my interview with the director. You can listen to it by clicking the link below:

Visit Marco Kalantari and keep up with “The Shaman” right here.

Marco Kalantari’s “The Shaman” will be on view at the Tribeca Film Festival. The first showing will be on Saturday, April 18. For details on The Shaman schedule during the Tribeca Film Festival, go right here.

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Filed under Interviews, movies, science fiction, Tribeca Film Festival

ECCC 2015: Top Shelf Productions and Shannon Wheeler & Mark Russell

IDW Publishing at Emerald City Comicon this year brings a wide variety of comics goodness. I wanted to point out that Top Shelf Productions, now an imprint of IDW Publishing, will be at booth #1225, where you can meet the creative team behind the hit satire “God Is Disappointed in You,” Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler! The book is very funny and informative. Read my review right here.

"God Is Disappointed in You," by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler

“God Is Disappointed in You,” by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler

Shannon Wheeler is a cartoonist best known for creating the satirical superhero Too Much Coffee Man, and as a cartoonist for The New Yorker. Find him here. Mark Russell is a writer and a cartoonist. His writing has been featured in McSweeney’s, The Nib, and Funny Times, among other places, and his cartoons are featured regularly at Nailed. Find him here. And, of course, you can definitely purchase “God Is Disappointed in You,” from Top Shelf Productions, right here.

Top Shelf Productions

I have a soft spot in my heart for the ebullient quality of Shannon’s cartoons. I include above a video interview I did with him at last year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego. Seems like the perfect blast from the past to share with all of you. Below are the details on the panel with Shannon Wheeler and Mark Russell:

Saturday, 2:00 – 3:00 Room Hall C (TCC 301)
God is Disappointed in You (The Sequel), with Mark Russell & Shannon Wheeler—Last year’s standing-room-only hot ticket returns — now with even more Biblical bewilderment! God Is Disappointed in You, published by Top Shelf, is the tongue-in-cheek “condensed” version of the Bible you never knew you needed — hilariously modern, but surprisingly authentic — packed with cartoons by Eisner-award-winner Shannon Wheeler (The New Yorker, Too Much Coffee Man). Join him and author Mark Russell (writer of DC Comics’ upcoming Prez) for an hour of unforgettable irreverence, including Q&A, audience sketches, and the hilarious-yet-accurate “ten-minute Bible.” PLUS: a taste of the Audie-nominated audiobook, read by Dr. Venture himself, James Urbaniak (The Venture Bros), and an exclusive announcement about the upcoming sequel!

For more details on the IDW schedule at ECCC, go right here.

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Filed under Cartoonists, Cartoons, Comics, Emerald City Comicon, God, Humor, IDW Publishing, Religion, Satire, Shannon Wheeler, The New Yorker, Top Shelf Productions

Review: The Wicked + The Divine #1

Wicked-Divine-Image-Comics

“The Wicked + The Divine” is the gorgeous and audacious new ongoing comic book series from the creative team behind “Phonogram,” brought to you by Image Comics. Yes, the whole team is back: Writer Kieron Gillen, Artist Jamie McKelvie, Colorist Matthew Wilson, and Letterer Clayton Cowles, along with Designer Hannah Donovan, and Editor Chrissy Williams. This is a world beyond the pop music, magic, and pretty people of “Phonogram.” There is that, of course, but this is both a world in touch with the real and very much its own fantasy. No one gets out alive either way. But some can return. And so they do.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Image Comics

Review: ‘Adventures from China: MONKEY KING’

Monkey-King-JR-Comics

The first thing to know about the Monkey King is that he is not exactly a hero. He is and he isn’t. He’s not exactly likable either. Basically, he represents just about everything you should not do if you were in a position of power. And he is quite literally willing to do anything to keep himself amused and one step ahead of any authority that would dare stop him. How did this Monkey King become such a stinker? Well, that’s quite a story. In fact, it’s pretty involved, part of a set of stories, based upon a work from 16th century China, Wu Cheng’en’s “Journey to the West.” Thanks to JR Comics, these stories can now be shared as high-quality comics with a Western audience.

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Filed under China, Chinese Comics, Comics

Easter Review: ‘God Is Disappointed in You’ by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler

God-Jesus-Easter-Bible-Shannon-Wheeler

Can you take a joke? That is a good question. Well, what if a few jokes do some good? What if they actually educate you about the Bible?

Anytime is a good time to brush up on The Holy Bible. Today seems like an especially good day. And what better way than through the irreverent, and informative, “God Is Disappointed In You,” the hilarious guide to the holy tome, published by Top Shelf Productions.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Reviews, Shannon Wheeler, Top Shelf Productions