GRAPHIC NOVELS

Jesusfreak

Man of Action: Image. Mar. 2019. 64p. ISBN 9781534311749. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9781534314214. Teen+. historical fiction
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In 26 CE, a young Nazarean carpenter named Jesus is plagued by strange visions and a sense that there must be more to life than toiling under a brutal Roman regime. An encounter with the traveling preacher John the Baptist sends Jesus on a journey of self-actualization that results in his rebirth as a Kung Fu expert with spectacular powers and a keen devotion to freeing his people in mind, body, and soul. Author Casey (New Lieutenants of Metal) has long specialized in using classic comic book genre tropes to explore consciousness and the nature of reality, and here he finds an able partner in Marra (Night Business) who has likewise made a name for himself by masterfully subverting the look and style of comics from the 1960s and 1970s.
VERDICT In their introduction, the creators insist that “This is not a religious story,” and indeed their interests seem to lie more in exploring self-realization and the visual style of pop art comics produced in the mid-1970s. As a result, this volume is both far less sacrilegious than it sounds and nowhere near as subversive as fans of the creators’ previous work might expect or desire

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