Oh they are, they really are…… Rob Jackson has a few words about Gods….
by Rob Jackson
The cover, the title… I was smiling as I saw it. And as befits the cover, “The Gods Must Be Bastards” turns out to be very Pythonesque in content and style.
Rob Jackson’s comics are always going to be rough and ready affairs. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying so. His art is uncultured, but it works within the context of his stories… there’s a playfulness, a vicious streak of fun and comedy all the way through his work, much of which I’ve talked about and looked at here on the FPI blog. And before seeing a huge Gilliam foot there on the cover I’d never really thought of the whole Python-esque nature of some of Jackson’s ideas. But now I have seen it I can’t stop thinking how apt the comparison is.
In his latest, underneath that great cover and title, is an equally good idea – what if the Gods really were complete bastards? And what must it be like to be scientists trying to explore the laws of physics when all the Gods want to do is screw everything up to extend the status quo?
(Guess which bastards are behind the failure of the latest scientific discovery? Absolutely – those bloody Gods. From Rob Jackson’s “The Gods Must Be Bastards”)
Taking the ideas of vengeful ancient Pantheons of Gods and making a grand adventure comedy out of it, using the old cultural clash of science vs religion – that’s the key idea behind The Gods Must Be Bastards. We’re in a world dominated by religion, and the small team of renegade scientists are doing their best to advance scientific knowledge, but find their experiments continually sabotaged from on high.
The not so logical conclusion they come to in this world ruled by random acts of religion is to steal an experimental ship, and venture out onto the high seas, with a vague idea of travelling to fabled Atlantis, climbing to the top of Mount Majumba and confronting the Gods themselves.
Okay, as plans go, it’s not perfect. As they find out when things go wrong on route and get worse when they come face to face with a Pantheon of Gods whose characters range from vengeful to out and out stupidly homicidal:
(Bolto and the rest of the Gods – brilliantly portrayed, ridiculous stereotypes. From Rob Jackson’s “The Gods Must Be Bastards”)
The fun I had with The Gods Must Be Bastards is pretty standard for Jackson’s comics now. I enjoy what he does, his typical turns of funny, cutting dialogue and absurdist ideas. And with The Gods Must Be Bastards Jackson’s on really great form. In terms of good, ridiculous comedy and silly humour it’s a great read. His Gods are delightfully stupid creations, and the ridiculous nature of the confrontation plays on Jackson’s strengths.
I’ve held off the Python references all the way through, but once I saw it, and read the comic with that in mind it played out beautifully as a long-form absurdest sketch, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The Gods Must Be Bastards is a great, stupid, ridiculous, funny, high concept, low humour sort of comic with a simple idea. It’s a good read and a lot of fun.
The Gods Must Be Bastards is available from Rob Jackson at his website for just £4.