Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pizzeria Kamikaze and the Gospel According to Judas

The coming of Palm Sunday helped me make a couple connections. The first piece was picking up Pizzeria Kamikaze at Rocketship. It’s an Israeli comic, done gorgeous in silver and black, about several characters who killed themselves and exist in an afterlife (what’s the Hebrew word for purgatory?) much like their former lives, except the characters keep the wounds and disfigurement from their offing. The continuity of the afterlife with their former lives is reminiscent of Will Self’s story The North London Book of the Dead.

There are two particularly poignant episodes. The first, the two main characters (who are Israeli) enter a bar full of Arabs, the bar tender having been a suicide bomber. The exchange offers leveling perspective of the Palestinian conflict.

The second episode features Joshua, who had first offed himself in a sacrificial suicide. Even if you didn’t know that Joshua and Jesus are the same Hebrew name, the connection is clear. The short of it is J kills himself a second time, plunging him to a place with more despair with other second suicides.

I only now thought about Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and Jose Saramago’s The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, both of which offer intriguing perspectives on the Passion, great “truth” telling from the devil (dare I say devil’s advocate?), and suggest that damnation under an omniscient, omnipotent god is suspect. As one might guess, the real link in all is this is the announcement of the Coptic manuscript of the Gospel of Judas this past week.

In PK’s absence of a Judas, there is no distinction between suicide and self-sacrifice, there is only premeditated death (with the expectation of resurrection in this case). The newly revealed gospel argues that Judas was only disciple who understood that Jesus must die to conquer sin. Still Judas’ cardinal sin lingers not as treachery, but as despair in the act of suicide, and as argued by Guirgis, the despair of mortal incapable of knowing the future.
In contrast, Jesus, as God incarnate, knows all. Saramago imagines, not just of resurrection, but of Christian persecution at the hands of Romans, of slaughters in the name of Christ in crusades, inquisitions, colonization, and the holocaust.

Thus, the cause of Christianity has many sacrifices, but Jesus was the only one who could rise again. One can read it as a blessing or a curse.

In other Messiah related news, if Elijah knows what's good for him, he'll show up Wednesday at J&M's for the most excellent charoset, not to mention company, ever.


Blogger Brian J said...

Thanks for reminding me that PK is out. I have bits and pieces of it in the brothers' single issues of Bipolar, but haven't seen it as a whole work yet. None of my local stores actually have it, so I'm going to go ahead and special order it. I'm assuming you give it thumbs up.

Thanks for the good observations, and the nob to other readings, as well.

Wednesday, 19 April, 2006  
Blogger Sam Teigen said...

Well, a conditional thumbs up. I was annoyed by the typos in the copy, and the visual consistancy didn't seem so consistant. Nonetheless, the silver (there's my judas) ink is so slick, it bought me off.

Thursday, 20 April, 2006  
Blogger Brian J said...

Ack, the typos drove me crazy in the single issues I had picked up (in the $.25 box, no less). It's always disappointing when they don't make those corrections when preparing the trade. The library has it on order and I put a hold on it. I'll start there.

Saturday, 22 April, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home