Where I live in Hawai’i, the recent Rapture hullabaloo didn’t get much press, and I’ve been so fascinated to catch-up on the excitement this last week during my Bay Area visit. It reminded me of a brilliant web comic made by my friend Patrick Farley years ago. You must read: Apocamon!
Apocamon is the Book of Revelation drawn in Pokemon style. This morning I asked Patrick some questions about its origin and the response.
Me: What made you think of Apocamon and why did you create it?
Patrick Farley: Apocamon came to me in December of 1999 when I was at a church, for a friend-of-a-friend’s wedding, and made to sit by myself while the Christians went and took communion. There was a Bible sitting in front of me, and for lack of anything better to do I decided to read the Book of Revelation. It had been much-discussed recently with the millennium approaching, and I decided I wanted to read for myself how the end of the world would unfold. It just so happened that I had been purchasing Pokemon toys for my nephews a week earlier, and I had had to make sense of all the monsters in the Pokemon universe. Now here I was trying to make sense of all the monsters in the New Testament universe, and… well, the heavens parted and God gave me “Apocamon.” So yeah, it happened in church. Divine inspiration, I guess
Me: Reading Apacamon, I was shocked at how bizarre and gruesome it is. As you researched the book of Revelations, what was the strangest or most disturbing thing you came across?
Patrick Farley: The most disturbing image in Revelation is when a giant winepress appears on Earth and the angels throw millions of people into it. And then Jesus, in the form of a mile-high giant, steps into the winepress and literally crushes the people under his feet, creating a lake of blood miles across. I haven’t yet drawn this. I’m not sure I *can.*
Me: How does the Pokemon meme affect the telling of the story? Does it affect how the reader perceives it?
Patrick Farley: Revelation is filled with a variety of bizarre monsters. Pokemon provides a bizarre taxonomy for classifying imaginary beings that is easy to understand. Comparing Revelation to Pokemon also underscores the absurdity of Apocalyptic narratives, which are primarily used to frighten children. I know a lot of people who aren’t even religious experience deep-rooted anxieties when confronted with Apocalyptic imagery. This is my way of showing the silliness of it all by being as true to the original text as possible.
Me: I heard that a Christian Sunday School wanted to use your work in their studies. What happened with that?
Patrick Farley: The Sunday School is an interesting story. Actually, the Sunday School teacher who contacted me was also an Air Force captain. He wanted me to paint the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on four bombers under his command. He said he couldn’t pay me for it, but asked me if I’d do it anyway, for patriotism and prestige. He also mentioned that he’d been using Apocamon to teach Revelation to his Sunday School class. I told him (a) my comic was intended for adults and was inappropriate for children, and (b) painting religious imagery on military equipment was a really bad idea. I never heard back from him.
Patrick has a knack for using the strengths of the clickable internet environment to tell stories. Check out his other amazing creations at Electric Sheep Comix.