GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Big She-Bang: The Herstory of the Universe According to God the Mother

Harper Wave. Nov. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9780062905666. $30. Rated: Teen+. F
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Humankind is dizzyingly weird, and all our attempts to define it and historicize it cleanly erase so much of the complicated, chaotic reality of any given moment. In her new graphic novel, Acocella (Ann Tenna) dives straight into the chaos and drags readers kicking, screaming, and laughing hysterically along with her. The basic premise of this work is a semichronological conversation with the marginalized women of religious traditions, from pre-Abrahamic fertility goddesses to Eve to ancient Babylon, Egyptian symbols, Greek goddesses, and far beyond. It echoes The Da Vinci Code on hallucinatory drugs—the divine feminine balancing masculine energies and completing divinity. Visually, it’s a technicolor glam delight, with a mascara-eyed Mother Earth and a disco-sparkly Universe Goddess overseeing the proceedings. Best read as an eye-opener rather than a reference, it’s sure to pique curiosity about Acocella’s exhaustive (and undivulged!) diversity of sources.
VERDICT A perfectly imperfect read for a moment of existential reckoning with masculine conceptions of spirituality, this book gleefully reminds us how much feminine energy lies bubbling underneath patriarchal systems, barely concealed, and nearly ready to burst free.

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