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The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 05/24/06
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara

Each week we look through the upcoming releases to offer our two cents as to what's hot and what's not. You can agree with us or not, but spend your money wisely.

Loaded Bible: Jesus vs. Vampires
writer: Tim Seeley
artists: Nate Bellegarde and Mark Englert

It would have been so easy to write this book off as a high concept potshot, especially coming out on the heels of The Da Vinci Code. For the first couple of pages, it looks like Loaded Bible will just play out as an easy parody of current events taken to a bizarre extreme.

By throwing in the presence of vampires, however, Tim Seeley just follows a natural conclusion with his political commentary. The rest of his set-up doesn't feel like parody so much as sad observation.

That's not to say that this book isn't going to offend. It is. But for less conservative Christians that believe in reading something before getting worked up about it, Loaded Bible offers an indictment of man, not God.

If you can get that far, and like a good post-apocalyptic vampire story, then Loaded Bible has a lot to offer.

After the religious right has tightened its grip on the American government, vampires make their presence a certainty. Either it was a stupid tactical move on their part or a surveillance-obsessed government made it impossible to hide anymore; Seeley doesn't make it clear.

What is clear (or was clear, as all this is told in flashback from hundreds of years in the future) is that vampires make incontrovertible proof of Satan. Even Lilith, the mother of all vampires, has no quibble with the existence of G*d and the Devil. The vampires do, however, have a problem with whether or not their nemesis, a warrior in white claiming to be Jesus, really is the Second Coming.

So should the citizens of the last dome of Christianity, dubbed New Vatican City. This Jesus seems to fit all the criteria for at least a few hundred years of faith. He's handsome, white (though Seeley once planned on making him black), can heal with the laying on of his hands and of course can kick vampire butt. On the other hand, tellingly never mentioned, almost everything else about his return seems to be missing from the story.

Despite the luridness of its title and its cover, no beliefs should be harmed in the reading of this comic.

Seeley throws in a lot of detail to his world, nicely brought to life by Bellegarde and Englert. As has been fashionable for the last decade or so, the vampires have several different grades and even species preying on humanity, some looking more zombie-like and some looking suspiciously like Bartok from Anastasia.

Though the artwork veers into the cartoony, it's still consistent within its own reality. Filled with grotesques, it's still recognizable when a character is supposed to be beautiful, as occurs when the vampires send temptation in the path of Jesus. A small detail, yet more artists than you'd think get carried away with design and forget to draw something recognizably attractive.

The end hints at a second issue, which actually I hope is forthcoming. As set up here, the concept has a lot more life to it, but as it's also a fully satisfying read in and of itself, it's satisfying to know that Seeley and company remember the first commandment of comics: thou shalt be entertaining and economical.

Page 2: The American Way #4, JSA Classified #12, The Last Christmas #1 and more...

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think, or talk about it on the forums!

Derek McCaw

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