Jan 26, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 336: The Lost Books of Eve #1, December 2006

We'll start off the day with another Biblically-inspired work, though this one is head and shoulders above Chick's vitriol from yesterday. If you can't tell from the cover, this comic is just beautiful. The art has an incredible kineticism to it, and somehow manages to combine manga and DC Adventures-style art into a gorgeous hybrid creature. Which, really, considering Eve's origins, is fairly apt.

We all know poor Eve gets short shrift in the Bible. She's blamed for a host of sins (well, all of them, really), and, as HE in this comic says, it's the fault of free will. I think I disagree. Free will is not the thing that pushes Eve to taste the forbidden fruit; it's curiosity. It's easy to choose not to do a thing if you're not curious about the consequences of that action. And what Josh Howard sets up here is an interrogation of Eve's flaw: not that she was defiant, but that she was curious.

Unfortunately, as the series opens, her curiosity has caused Adam to be abducted, and it's up to our uncorrupted hero to find her mate. This is an interesting moment to be offering stories of Eve. She's in what's referred to as the pre-lapsarian moment of the Eden story, in that she hasn't fallen from the grace of God yet. What this also means is that, as she ventures from Eden in order to find Adam, she is still an innocent - no knowledge of evil, of pain, or, as an amusing moment with the angel Asherah drives home, of nudity.

I bought this comic in a quarter bin, but I'm hoping I'll be able to find the rest of the series. Howard's art and storytelling are great. His choices of concealing moments for Eve's nudity are amusing and well-handled (in this comic is a depiction of the Luckiest. Butterfly. Ever.), and his respect for the source material, whether he cleaves to it or not, is evident. Sure, a comic about the scantily clad mother of all humankind (supposedly) venturing out with a demonic-looking angel to rescue a kidnapped Adam could verge into realms of disrespect for those who believe in the story, but instead Howard's depiction of Eve is that of a strong, curious, feisty woman ready to take on all comers, including God, to rescue the man she loves. We don't often see Adam and Eve as a love story, but rather as a tragedy. Milton gives us some beautifully romantic and erotic moments in Paradise Lost, but in general it's about falling. This story, however, seems to be more about climbing, about ascending. Unfortunately, that just means there's, inevitably, further to fall.

More tomorrow.

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