Starting on January 9, Image Comics will release a four issue mini that answers all those pesky religious questions that muddle about in our heads with The End Times of Bram & Ben #1. Image describes the book thusly:
What would you do if you were caught in the Biblical End Times? When Heaven raptures total bastard Bram Carlson in a “clerical error” – he’s sent back and immediately uses Armageddon to his benefit! Can his anxious roommate Ben save Bram from himself – AND the gathering forces of Armageddon?
Written by James Asmus (Thief of Theives, Gambit) and Jim Festante (writer and comedian for Comedy Central and MTV) and drawn by Rem Broo, The End Times of Bram & Ben is essentially a buddy-comedy with Armageddon as the backdrop. And I dig that. Religion in comics is hardly new territory, nor is the idea of the afterlife somehow resembling the DMV. Execution, however, is crucial, and I already like what I’m hearing. I especially like the idea of a complete bastard getting a glimpse of Heaven and then immediately trying to use it to his advantage on Earth. The exploitation of the afterlife, the bigger questions about God and the machinations of eternal beings appeal to me, especially if there’s a sense of humor behind it. It would be one thing if it was solely about Bram dealing with his brief dalliance in Heaven, but when you factor in the odd-couple partnering with his morally conflicted roommate, Ben, the story takes on new possibilities.
Asmus and Festante, however, are treating the book as less of an exploration of the nature of religion and more of a glimpse into what religion means to people in general and what happens if, say, we were wrong the whole time. Says Asmus:
“Despite the giant, colorful, violent elements of the Biblical apocalypse—this isn’t a‘religious story’. The real story Jim and I were excited to tell is one that shows a bunch of people reacting to one earth-shaking question:What do you do when you discover that reality isn’t what you thought—and you’re about to be punished for getting it wrong?“
Kinda reminds me of the South Park episode where everyone goes to Hell except Mormons. It’s like one big cosmic joke that we were never in on until the punchline hit us straight in the unmentionables. Make no mistake, it’s not like Asmus and Festante will be answering all of the big questions – it’s only four issues, for cryin’ out loud – but having them as part of the narrative makes for an interesting roller deck of existential problems to ponder. I mean, how do you react to the end of the world? How do you deal with acknowledging that Heaven and Hell actually exist? How do you wrestle with the idea that your jerk of a roommate made it into Heaven at all – however briefly?
So color me intrigued. I’m looking forward to reading this book in celebration of surviving the Mayan Apocalypse. And what better way than with a book about The Rapture?