Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hopefully not getting Baron & Rude in as much trouble as Parker & Stone:

Even as I still can't watch that episode of South Park that I missed and Everybody Draw Muhammad Day falls through (links via The Bureau Chiefs) I knew this reminded me of something. The Prophet Mohammed (spelled such there, I'm not sure if 'Muhammad' is the more accepted nowadays) appears in Nexus: God Con; along with Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Yahweh, among others.

This storyline opens with Nexus's world of Ylum plastered with posters for "God Con One," placed by the Buddha, who appears as a young boy. After establishing his bona fides, Buddha explains that by popular demand, the gods are there to debate the question, how can a just god permit suffering, cruelty, and death?

Later, Horatio (the titular Nexus) is visited by Jesus, and is more than impressed with him.

Jesus is concerned about how his father will take this, being an Old Testament, 'thou shalt have no gods before me' kind of God; but actually seems more worried about what evil will do when it shows up. And it does, causing a bit of a ruckus before settling into a more pleasing, seductive shape:

Playfully, evil introduces herself to Nexus as Bernice.

Badger also shows up, not for his god Myrtle, but working security for a Thune earth mother. As the con opens, Jesus and Buddha work the dunk tank for charity, in probably the best scene of the book:

The first issue ends with Bernice opening up a ton of hell, and Yahweh arriving to put an end to evil forever. You can probably guess how well that's gonna work...
Hmm...reminds me of that Savage Dragon, "Don't **** with God" bit, although offhand I couldn't tell you which came first.

I think there may have been a few offended readers of this one, and long-time Nexus inker Gary Martin comments on the letters page about the story's liberties taken with Jesus and God. I don't know if Muslims were put off, though. Personally, this wasn't my favorite storyline either, since I'm mostly godless; but if you're offended or your feelings are hurt or you don't think your deity would act like that or you don't believe in any of them, you can just say it's a mysterious alien power taking a shape that would be recognized.

I've been a fan of Mike Baron's writing for years, but I also always thought he was on the liberal side of the fence; and in recent years his conservative views have been made more public. So I've been wondering if I've been seeing messages in his work that aren't there, or completely missing the point of what he was getting at. I thought the moral of God Con was that the real root of suffering and injustice in the universe was that there's always going to be the weak and the wicked that choose the tempting path of evil and wreck things up for everybody. I could be wrong...but I'm sticking with that one.

Scans from Nexus: God Con #1, written by Mike Baron, pencils by Steve Rude, inks by Gary Martin.

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