Beyond The Goddamned: The 7 Best Bible-Inspired Comics

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Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera—the masterminds behind one of the greatest noir comics of all time, Scalped—have joined unholy forces once more to tell a forsaken tale set before the biblical flood that wiped clean God’s slate, allowing Him to grace the Earth with the current crop of heathens. Released this week, the pre-apocalyptic world of the The Goddamned is awash in sin and beasts, and a wandering protagonist who literally embodies the book’s title.

Biblical themes invariably run through a great deal of literature created since Christ was recorded to walk the Earth, so it’s no surprise that the secular world of comics would intersect with tales of fiery otherworldly dimensions, strange abilities like walking on water and retcons that bring beloved characters back from the dead. The seven comics below may not earn His approval, but they undeniably owe a debt to divine inspiration.

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

Writer/Artist: R. Crumb
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

At this point, you know what you're getting into when you pick up an R. Crumb jam, so what makes Book of Genesis so shocking isn't counterculture cool and ingrained sexism (beyond what's already in the Bible, anyway), it's the cartoonist's exacting faithfulness to the source material. Crumb delivers exactly what he promised: the Book of Genesis, illustrated by one of underground comix's most enduring figures. By eschewing metaphorical interpretation, Crumb allows the rich characters populating the Christian creation myth to come alive in ways they never did in Sunday school.

Clive Barker's Next Testament

Writer: Clive Barker, Mark Allen Miller
Artist: Haemi Jang
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Much of horror legend Clive Barker's oeuvre flirts with the scary, sexy side of monotheism, from the sadomasochistic Cenobites who populate an infernal dimension in The Hellbound Heart (better known via the novella's film adaptation, Hellraiser) to first-person demon journal Mister B. Gone. This largely overlooked BOOM! maxi-series with arresting art from Haemi Jang takes Barker's transgressive ideas a step further: God has returned. God is a monster. It's a heady, bloody high concept that sits comfortably among the author's most boundary-pushing works.


Writer: Mike Carey
Artists: Peter Gross and Others
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics

The jury is still out on how the Morningstar's new ongoing series from novelist Holly Black and artist Lee Garbett will measure up to Mike Carey and Peter Gross' sweeping, redemptive Sandman spinoff, but little could tarnish this modern Vertigo classic's place in history. Carey's Lucifer builds on Neil Gaiman's portrayal of the former angel who abandons his throne in Hell, choosing instead to live brazenly in rebellion of his predetermined fate. Or is even this mutiny destined to occur? The embodiment of evil has never been so existentially relatable.

Perry Bible Fellowship

Writer/Illustrator: Nicholas Gurewitch

Cartoonist Nicholas Gurewitch's perverse Perry Bible Fellowship doesn't have much at all to do with The Father, The Son, or the Holy Ghost outside of a few strips like "Satan's Hell," but laughing at these jokes probably qualifies you for a one-way ticket to Lucifer's fiery abode. Gurewitch specializes in universally taboo punchlines that land just after you read the final panel, eliciting a guilty guffaw and burning cheeks. Two print editions have gone out of print, but the entire run is available for free on his website.


Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Steve Dillon
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics

Before it was AMC's hot new show, Preacher was the definitive statement on Texas gospel as crafted by a pair of surly Brits. This tale is anything but devout, though, and paves its road to Damascus with angel/demon sex trysts, inbred Jesus descendants, and a Saint of Killers out to gun down God himself. Ennis has since become a bit of a parody of himself, but this evergreen Vertigo masterpiece is among the best four-color sacrilege money can buy.


Writer: Douglas Rushkoff
Artist: Liam Sharp
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics

Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff and 2000 A.D. artist Liam Sharp's transhumanist saga may have bitten off more than it could chew, but couldn't Moses relate? Set simultaneously in Biblical times and the near-future, Testament allowed Rushkoff, the man behind the term "viral media," to indulge his fears and fantasies of the world to come, while making a statement on the cyclical nature of humanity. There's no faith to be found in this grim Vertigo outing.

"The Trumpets They Play!"

Writer/Artist: Al Columbia
Publisher: BLAB!

Enigmatic and reclusive cartoonist Al Columbia isn't known for long statements, but this reimagining of the Bible's big, bloody finale, the Book of Revelation, puts the fear of God in readers over the course of eight densely packed pages. Columbia wrangles Nazi imagery, corporate consumerism and the oppressive omnipresence of Disney into one of the most original and wholly terrifying depictions of creation's final days.