Bellen! than he launches the site for his latest comic, Everything Dies.
Unlike Bellen!, Everything Dies began life as a print comic, and Brown now has four issues available fore sale. The comic looks at religion, myth, transcendental knowledge, and, of course, what happens to us when we die. They're issues Brown has touched on lightly in his book Love is a Peculiar Type of Thing, but Everything Dies is a more thorough meditation, examining the Book of Job, creation and apocalypse stories, Mormon beliefs, and Buddhist wisdom.
The Everything Dies website offers a taste of Brown's religious travels -- three "web exclusive" stories -- and I'm mightily impressed at how his visual style has grown in the past several years. I'm not a particular fan of "Demonstrable Proof," simply because it doesn't add much to the atheist's manifesto (although perhaps it codifies it), but the imagery is striking. And the style carries through the more narrative "Christ of the Ozarks," which details the life of Gerald L.K. Smith, the controversial (read: anti-Semitic and racist) political figure who commissioned the giant statue of (Caucasian) Jesus near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
My favorite of the stories so far -- and the most revealing -- is "Pre-Need," where Brown outlines what he would like to see happen upon his death. So much of religion involves the stories we tell about death and what comes next, and Brown spins a comforting death for himself. He imagines himself getting old, dying in a hospital, surrounded by loving family, leaving behind friends who mourn his death -- but not too much. For all of Brown's personal detachment from religious faith, he still hangs on to that very vulnerable, very human desire to control the circumstances of his death and what happens next. It works nicely as a personal prologue before his adventures into other people's beliefs.
Now I can't wait to see those end-of-the-world stories.