Jesus the Asshole
Jesus the Asshole is a US-sized, half-fold black and white comic zine letter to Jesus in which Richard shares his confusion, doubts, and other thoughts about Jesus and, by extension, Christianity.
I have had this zine for a while and wasn’t quite sure what I’d make of it when I read it. But, besides a bit of a rough time with mentions of rape, murder, and slavery, it turned out to be an even more interesting read than I anticipated.
Jesus the Asshole opens with a letter from Richard to the reader letting them know that this zine isn’t meant to be rude or disrespectful for the sake of being rude or disrespectful. He explains that it is ‘the honest ramblings of a young mind’ and even invites readers to make a zine of their own to help him understand things if he’s misrepresented anything. This introduction certainly got me curious about what was to come but also reassured me that this isn’t the zine you might think it is going by the title alone.
Please note that, on that note, this review is the same. I mean no disrespect in my comments. Only pondering and curiosity along with the things Richard has asked in this zine.
From there we get into the comic. Richard writes (and draws) about searching for Jesus, asking questions about Christianity that were never quite well answered. Asking more questions about things like, for instance, if everything is for a plan or purpose, why are there starving children in the world? If it’s up to man to take care of man, then that must be free will and thus not everything happens for a reason.
There’s more where that comes from as well with curious thoughts about the nature of hell, forgiveness, evil, and more all presented in this letter to Jesus form that makes it all the more approachable for the reader.
I quite liked the look of the zine with less structure and more words and drawings all over the page. It had the feel of someone who was also drawing while writing their letter or drawing while on the phone about the topic. Some of the words were hard to read at times, but not so much that I didn’t have any idea what was happening.
As someone who grew up with a church and asked a lot of questions (and wasn’t responded to very positively by adults for asking those questions), this zine really took me back. It also gave me comfort in its own way because I don’t feel alone in this part of my life. Logically I know I’m not, but it’s always nice to see it in zine form as well.
I especially appreciat that, toward the end, there is a gentle reminder that you don’t need to have a religion or be a member of a church to be a decent human being. You can still be good.
I can understand why this would be a sensitive zine for many, but I found it to be a great read. It got me thinking, made me feel less alone, and had a comics element as well. Definitely one to pick up if you’re comfortable with the subject matter.