Jesus, Conan and the Airbrushed Van
“The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ” Published in Heavy Metal Magazine 284
(writer) Grant Morrison
(artists) Matt and Kevin Molen (credited as the Molen Brothers)
Warning: This review contains imagery and themes which may offend
What if Jesus was Conan?
It’s a pretty simple question and one that Grant Morrison looks to answer in “the Savage Sword of Jesus Christ”.
I guess you can see the sense to it when you consider that Morrison spent much of 2016 posing a similar question “What if Santa was Conan?” in his secretly amazing BOOM series Klaus.
“the Savage Sword of Jesus Christ” is the lead story in the Morrison-curated Heavy Metal Mythic Special which was unleashed on unsuspecting readers just in time for the 2016 holiday season.
Morrison apparently drew on inspiration from a 40 year old issue of the Roy Thomas / Sal Buscema Conan series to bring us a tale so hyperbolic and bombastic that it could only be brought to life by artist Ken Kelly, the nephew of legendary Frank Frazetta, and a man whose images have no doubt been air brushed onto countless minivans and motor bikes. Kelly is perhaps best known for painting Heavy Metal He Men for album covers for bands like KISS and Manowar.
In just 8 sense-shattering pages Morrison re-imagines the story of the Passion of the Christ into a muscle rippling, gore dripping, broadsword swinging, high testosterone adventure tale.
But it wouldn’t be a Grant Morrison story if it was that simple and unsubtle. There is a twist but not one that I’ll spoil for you here, well at least not much anyways. It should come as no surprise to anyone with more than a passing familiarity with Morrison’s work that Savage Sword… is a story about stories and myths and the way they shape our world and the narrative of who we are as a species and a culture.
Ken Kelly provides the poster / cover art to the story while interior chores fall to Matt and Kevin Molen, credited as the Molen Brothers. The Molens are also responsible for another hyper surreal Sci Fi Series from Heavy Metal called The Aftermath which I will definitely be checking out after reading this. Their painted art style is reminiscent of frequent Morrison collaborator Frazer Irving as well as other splatter punk inspired painters like Simon Bisley and Glen Fabry.
This sequence in Heavy Metal 284 serves as a prelude to the full story of Jesus’s Magical Muscular Mystery Tour. A release date for the full story has not been confirmed at time of writing.
Is it over the top, yes!
Is it offensive, well it’s probably not for everyone!
Is it irreverent and tongue in cheek, most certainly yes!
Am I in the tank for what comes next, Good Lord I am!