Forgive us our sins - montrealmirror.com
Local illustrator Salgood Sam and author Jim Munroe create a post-Rapture work in Therefore Repent!
by VINCENT TINGUELY
When prolific indie author, quick and dirty filmmaker and DIY organizer Jim Munroe got a grant to create Therefore Repent!, a full-length "post-Rapture" graphic novel, Montreal-based, long-time Munroe fan and sometime collaborator Salgood Sam jumped at the chance to render it. "I'd read an early Munroe novella at a zine fair when I was 19 or 20 and I really liked it," says Sam. "I've been following his stuff ever since. When you really identify with a writer's vision, they've tapped the voice you hear inside yourself, they're appealing to you on that level." Sam spent more than a year meticulously bringing Munroe's ideas to life, drawing on skills honed in both the indie comics realm and through years of grunt work for the likes of Marvel. "Jim's a good writer to collaborate with because he was into gearing it into what I was into doing," Sam says. "I didn't have to do any contortions to visualize the script as I was reading it." Munroe agrees. "He's perfect, because he can do the hipsters and the hellspawn," says Munroe. "He can do urban settings very well and true to life, but also fascinating fantastical things."
Therefore Repent! begins with the arrival of the fascinating and fantastical Raven and Mummy in a near-future Chicago. Munroe, who's based in Toronto, set the story in an American city because, as he quips, "They go together like peanut butter and jelly, America and the Rapture." 144,000 Christians have floated up to heaven, Jesus has joined George W. in the White House, and heavily armed angels from on high are descending to do the Lord's dirty work on Earth. Things would seem quite hopeless for the rest of us godless (i.e. not fundamentalist) sorts, except that magic is afoot...everything from Eastern cosmic insights to transubstantiation actually works. Soon enough, a grassroots magical insurgency starts to form.
"I was inspired by this idea that the most powerful people in America purport to literally believe in Christians floating into the air, into heaven, which is what George W. Bush says he believes in," says Munroe. "That's pretty mind blowing, that in their own mythology they'd have something that wild-especially when the conservatives have problems with Harry Potter."
After a more ambiguous approach to the idea of evil in An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil, Munroe decided to go for a dark fantasy scenario in which, if miracles, angels and such were to be given free play, then other forms of magic would be just as valid. "Well, if people are going to float into the air, how about less top-down magical manifestations?" Munroe says. "Religion is very top-down, it's God or who God specifically anoints. But if there is magic from on high, then it is going to emerge from below as well, if people are willing to explore it and not kowtow to the powers that be. I like the idea of it being nascent in all of us, but only if we embrace it-individual power, rather than waiting for other people to anoint us. The whole DIY, coming from the grassroots thing."
Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Drawn & Quarterly
Bookstore (211 Bernard W.)
posted by max at 12/06/2007 04:29:00 PM