Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2005
By: Steve Saville
Creator(s): David C. Hill
Publishers: Creation Comics (Self Published)
First impressions can be deceiving. At first sight Glory Be looks very similar to the irreverent Viz. Not only is there a physical resemblance but both are also British and b are "humerous." That is where the similarities end though. Whereas Viz is a crude, often smutty satirical comic Glory Be is overtly Christian in subject matter and humour. For a non-churchgoer such as myself this posed a bit of a problem, can Christian comic be funny? Earnest, yes, well intentioned, definitely but funny?
Glory Be is set in the "fictional" church community of Riverdale and the characters are all linked to the church in some way or another [Pastor Peter Loftus for example and Sam Sayers the school kid breaking away from his agnostic family]. It does attempt to deal with some big issues such as homosexuality and the nature of demons but for the most part it is firmly rooted in the mundane issues of the worryingly normal characters. So asking a girl out on a date, whether to work on the Sabbath and having less that totally positive thoughts about every other member of the human race etc. tend to dominate. This is only marginally a comic, it is more of an annual with character profile. Letters and emails sharing the billing with the strips and single frame cartoons.
In reading Glory Be visions of The Simpsons constantly flashed through my mind. The characters themselves bear a faint artistic resemblance to the inhabitants of Springfield although I am sure that Bart would be fairly dismissive of this particular comic if it ever fell into his hands. But it is more than that, the whole comic just has a sort of Ned Flanders feel to it. The humour is there but it is gentle and often buried behind an earnest paranoia, much like Neds. Much of the humour is cross referenced to iconic British characters such as Rupert the Bear, Dan Dare and Doctor Who.
At four quid it's not cheap. True the production is of a high quality. Top quality paper, colour throughout, nicely designed. Many elements of this comic are very appealing to the eye. On the other hand Glory Be is essentially a computer generated comic, at least it is the use of computer technology that dominates. This in itself is not a bad thing but it can [and in this case does] create a soul less feel to the art [no pun intended]. Humour inevitably struggles if this is the case.
Ultimately then this is a comic for the converted. I felt like a considerable amount of the humour seemed a little lame, possibly because it is about a social group that I have very little knowledge of or contact with. I am sure that Dave's Church group will spend many a happy hour chortling away as they thumb through the pages and good on them for that.
I fear that one of the intentions of Glory Be is to challange the stereotype of young Christians as being boring, nerdy types. If that was the case then I am not sure it succeeds. In fact it comes across a tad sanctimonious and in places preachy. The non-Christians are portrayed boorish heathens who swear all the time and seem to see being a Christian and being gay as equally shameful.
I must say though that Dave himself comes across as a nice guy. He thanks his Mum and Dad for putting up with him and he misses his Dog, Ben, who died a year ago. Now that later detail is something I can relate to and anyone who has known the companionship of a good dog must be a decent sort. Good on you Dave, you probably haven't saved my soul but then again you probably never wanted to and anyway who needs the likes of me when you have the Riverdale church community.
In a Word: Faith-full.
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