The Bible is big in comics this season, and just a month after Drawn & Quarterly released Chester Brown’s Mary Wept Over The Feet Of Jesus, Top Shelf is publishing Apocrypha Now, the follow-up to Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler’s 2013 book God Is Disappointed In You. Pairing Russell’s irreverent prose interpretations of Biblical legend with Wheeler’s droll single-panel cartoons, Apocrypha Now offers a comedic take on stories left out of the canonical Bible, including the Midrash, the Apocrypha, and the Gnostic Gospels. It’s a jam-packed read that turns these ancient texts into engaging, accessible narratives, with a strong sense of humor that draws the reader into these tales.
This excerpt from Apocrypha Now offers Russell and Wheeler’s take on the Midrash’s version of Cain and Abel, which begins with Eve cheating on Adam with a Satan-snake that impregnates her with her first child, Cain. The myth still follows most of the same beats as the canonical Cain and Abel story, but Russell and Wheeler freshen it up by adding a layer of dark comedy to the climactic moment when Cain takes his brother’s life. These creators’ strong point of view enlightens these stories, and readers can discover many more Biblical reimaginings when Apocrypha Now hits stores at the end of this month.