Category Archives: Blog
In a surprising turn of events, having not done a single page in 2016, I managed to get 4 pages down at one time here at the start of 2017. These pages were in a holding pattern for most of of last year but I cleared enough of my freelance work to focus on getting them done finally.
Hopefully I do a few more before 2017 passes on by like 2016 did.
You can read Old Things from the beginning here: http://www.sagaofsamuel.com/comics/old-things/
So I didn’t manage to post a single page for the comic this year. I got bogged down by freelance work and work in general. I hope to remedy my lack of updates in 2017 but I can’t make any guarantees. While I didn’t draw any comics I did do other art throughout the year. Below is the majority of what I was doing in 2016…
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You can get the movie here: Holy Ghost
So I recently watched this movie and this is my review of “Holy Ghost” (Should either my grammar and/or spelling be lacking, you will forgive it of me)
First off, I think I’m a fairly plugged in fellow but I knew nothing about this film at all until it appeared in my Facebook feed as an upcoming event. I was immediately wary of it, because if I had a “Dances with “Wolves” type name it would be “Rains on Parade”. When my personal Red Flags go up I always hope to be proven wrong but it never works out that way.
So, if you want to save your self some time from reading my lengthy review (aka diatribic ramblings)…it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting but it still wasn’t good in any way either.
The Holy Ghost film bills itself thusly: “Holy Ghost is a feature film documentary that follows filmmaker Darren Wilson as he travels the world attempting to make a movie that is completely led by the Holy Spirit. At times challenging, but always uplifting, Holy Ghost reveals a God far bigger and more active than previously thought.”
Well, right off the bat you have a hyperbolic statement that the film is going to reveal “a God far bigger and more active than previously thought.” and the trailer makes the arrogant claim that they are going to “make God famous”. Hyperbole and arrogance aren’t exactly great starting points for your Holy Ghost movie guys, OK?
So the movie “Holy Ghost” basically consists of a bunch of “Talking Head” and “Man On The Street” interviews. The talking heads are various church/ministry/other leader types and also Lenny Kravitz and Michael W. Smith espousing opinions on the nature of The Holy Ghost. None of which really stuck with me, except Michael W. Smith who said his music may have touched many lives but he’s not sure it’s had any impact on the culture at large. There’s a more interesting movie in that one statement than in this whole movie.
Anyway, the talking head interviews are pretty standard fare if you’re a christian, lots of “relationship not religion” and “stepping out in faith”, your basic christianese speak. I had some issues with some of what was said but most of it was just kind of “meh”. The interviews and thereby the movie, doesn’t really dig deep biblically/theologically/historically on the nature of The Holy Ghost. It glosses, it skims but there’s no meat on these bones. It’s really about everyone’s feelings about The Holy Ghost, not really about The Holy Ghost Himself. Christian’s “Feelings” are the downfall of Christianity. Get yourself a biblical foundation my fellow Christians and stop feeling so damn much, but I digress…
OK, so, my main issue with the movie is the man on the street interviews, which is supposed to be the Holy Ghost led heart of the movie. They basically consist of the filmmaker and his team going up to people and talking to them and asking to pray for them. Which is perfectly fine except for the fact that they almost immediately start guessing at possible ailments of the person they’re talking to. “Do you have back pain?” “How about knee pain?” “Something wrong with your shoulder?”. It just reeks of the worst Psychic charlatanism. (See: Cold Reading) Once the filmmaker team has something to work with they immediately start praying about that. There’s lots of “Do you feel that?” and commanding The Holy Spirit for “More!” As if The Holy Spirit is hooked up to some kind of machine and He’s running back and forth turning dials and pushing buttons trying to get the elusive “More”.
Once they’ve prayed over these people with their fairly minor issues they stare at their subject with a wild eyed enthusiasm probing for confirmation of The Holy Ghost’s divine healing and almost all of the people they’ve prayed over have this kind of bemused, playing along expression on their faces. One guy near the end of the movie has an actual look of genuine surprise on his face after someone prays over his bad knee. Everyone else just looks like they’re being nice. Maybe the filmmakers were just too focused on their narrative, or have really bad emotional IQ’s but when the majority of your movie consists of people amusing you…well, that’s probably not a good thing.
I seriously can’t state enough how much these interviews bothered me. Did you ever see one of those David Blaine specials where the dead-eyed magician does some random card trick and people freak the hell out? This is the exact opposite of that. Basically the movie presents people receiving supposed divine healing being 100% less enthusiastic than anyone who ever had the soulless lich Blaine pulling the King of Hearts out of their neck folds. (FunFact: I went to High School with David Blaine. He was a turd pickle but he wasn’t a dead-eyed lich back then)
The movie culminates in the city of Varanasi, which it claims is “the oldest city in the world” except for the fact that a simple Wikipedia search disproves that, but OK. So, the filmmakers, having been “led by The Holy Ghost” go to Varanasi where both Hinduism and Buddhism dominate. There’s a big set up of the danger of preaching Christianity there and how bold what they are doing actually is and how they could be straight up killed and their bodies dumped in the Ganges River and they get there and…not a whole lot happens. They sing some songs, do some praying. They say at some point someone tries to grab the singer’s guitar but they don’t catch that on film for some reason. Once they’re done with the signing and praying they ask their guide? Protector? The guy that keeps the marauding band of Ganges Body Dumpers off their backs? to take them to his temple, because hes’ the high priest of the monkey god (If the “monkey god” had a name the film didn’t provide it) Instead he takes them to the temple of Shiva, One of the main gods of Hinduism, because he’s also the High Priest of Shiva too! A high priest of multiple gods? Must be hard during holidays.
So a big deal is made about how amazing it is they are going to be able to go to the temple of Shiva and they get there and a guy tries to grab their camera but they say their with multi-high priest guy and they’re left alone and then they…walk through the temple and film people worshiping Shiva. They don’t pray, preach or sing about God, Jesus or the film’s namesake while walking through the temple of a false god and then the movie just kind of ends.
The movie that was supposed to reveal “a God far bigger and more active than previously thought” ends with people in bondage to a false god and the filmmakers doing nothing but walking right on by those people. That’s going to “make God famous” all right.
Unless of course the “god” that’s far bigger and more active is actually Shiva. Well then, bravo, what a twist!
- The very first guy they walk up to, the very first one, claims he and his friends slept in a graveyard once and has been haunted by spirits ever since. The filmmakers don’t question that at all. Look, I have no problem believing evil spirits roam the Earth. Jesus was casting them out of people here and there throughout the Gospels but I’m pretty sure you don’t sleep in a graveyard and “catch evil spirits” like they’re a cold or something. He had to have been involved in something before he snoozed in the cemetery but the filmmakers don’t probe past his initial statement at all. It’s almost as if they care about curing the symptom and not the cause.
- Twice one of the praying guys says something to the effect that “there’s thousands of gods but”…and he goes one to say how there’s only one Holy Spirit basically. Here’s the problem. There’s not thousands of gods. There’s thousands of idols mankind has made into gods. While one could imply that that’s what the guy meant the lack of definitive clarification that there is only one singular God is disturbing to me.
- A section of the movie is dedicated to some members of the band Korn. Before one of their concerts they go out among the crowd that’s come to see them and ask if they can pray for people and, like I said before, start asking if anyone has bad legs or backs or something and this one guy says his friend has a bad back so one of the Korn guys jumps right on that and brings him over to some steps and starts praying for the guy’s healing. He grabs the guys legs and says people with back problems have legs that don’t line up or something. Thanks for the medical expertise guy from Korn. Anyway he prays for the guy and the camera focuses on the Korn guy holding the broke back guys legs and the way the guys legs are being held it looks like there’s a half inch difference between his legs and the Korn guy is praying with the “More!” and stuff and look the guy’s legs line up evenly right there on camera! It’s not like “Faith Healers” have been pulling this trick for more than a century. Nope, divine healing! Afterwards, the “healed” guy looks both confused and extremely high.
- Look, I absolutely, positively believe in divine healing and since the filmmakers both believe in it, and believe themselves capable of it, how much better of a movie would it have been if they walked into a burn ward or a children’s hospital and healed those people right there on film? Wouldn’t that, above and beyond anything, “make God famous”? Instead we get parlor tricks and people kinda, sorta saying maybe they’re healed? Great job!
- The one thing I was hoping for was a follow up at the end of all the people that were prayed for throughout the movie. What happened to them since? What’s different now? But the film can’t be bothered with that. All throughout they talk about how The Holy Spirit led them to this person and how that led them to another person and how that led to them to this place but at the very end when they can literally tie it altogether into some kind of definitive narrative about The Holy Ghost..they just don’t.
- Several people in the movie, maybe more, refer to The Holy Ghost as just “Holy Ghost” and/or “Holy Spirit”. They purposely drop the “The”. I’ve heard it before and it drives me insane! There is something about it that makes a clarion bell of falseness ring in my head. The Spirit of God is not first name “Holy”, last name “Spirit”! Not only is dropping the “The” grammatically wrong (“I had tea with Queen of England today.” Ugh, no!) but dropping the “The” is basically dropping the singularity and uniqueness of THE Holy Spirit. If, as established in the bible, that there are other spirits on the earth. Then it goes to say that any spirit can call itself “Holy”, but only the one true divine being that is The Holy Spirit can call itself THE Holy Spirit! Stop doing it!
Ok, that’s all I got. If you read all this you deserve a cookie! I’m sure the filmmakers had good intentions and I’m not really questioning anyone’s motives or faith when it comes to making this movie but I think there’s way too much misguided enthusiasm and way too little grounded theology displayed throughout the film. It’s a thumbs down for me Roger.
And who am I? I’m just a guy with a blog who writes and draws comics and this is The Internet!
Hello, howdy, how ya’ doin’? Old Things page 16 has arrived and wants to inhabit the inner recesses of your mind. You can click Sam’s scared face there or: CLICK HERE! to read it (I know you have to scroll down through the comic each time but when it’s all done it’ll be a singular read, unlike most webcomics where you have to click and keep on clicking)
If you read my last blog post or follow me on social media (and if not…why not? I’m terribly fascinating) you know that I’ve started a Patreon page: www.patreon.com/artistxero. Pleading to become a Patron of The Saga of Samuel helps me to get the comic out faster and more regularly and isn’t that what we all want? Your pledge also gets you behind the scenes sketches and designs and you also get new pages one day earlier than everyone else. I may add more incentives over time but I haven’t figured out what yet.
The comic will always be free to read but being a Patron helps spur things along. If I have enough Patrons each pledging a little bit I could make Samuel full-time. I’ve got a big backlog of stories in my skull. I’d love to actually get them out into the world faster than I’m doing now. Think about it eh?
Enjoy the new page and Page 17 has been started.
…And, I’m back and working on new comic pages. I had, what you might call, a severe bout of paying freelance work.
Look, can I be honest here? (its my website, so I guess I can) If I had my druthers I’d work on the comic all day/every day but, alas…my druthers, I do not have. The hobgoblins of time and money are what plague me. There’s never enough of either and it’s the comic that suffers for it.
I believe in what I’m doing here, so I keep coming back even though a part of me feels like this is a big waste of time. How can my bible-based, fantasy comic ever find it’s audience, (if one even exists) when I can’t update it with any sort of regularity? I’m always having to sacrifice my time to make money on other people’s projects, while mine rots on the vine like an overripe tomato that I can never get around to picking. Or, to put it another way, it’s like working all day to feed my boss’s kid while my own kid starves.
That’s a curse too many artists suffer from, and I want to break that curse…
So, despite knowing that I’ve garnered little to no loyalty from anyone who has ever read the comic, I’ve started up a Patreon page…
Whats Patreon you say? Glad you asked! Patreon is a play on the word “patron”. Patronage is how art got done way back when. Basically rich people would financially support artists so that they could, well, make art.
Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and Beethoven all benefited from patronage in some way. Ol’ Ludwig didn’t have to bust his hump making coffee for hipsters all day, only having time to compose his music after a long and tiring workday. No, he had Patrons.
…and that’s what I need, Patrons! But you don’t need to be some millionaire to be a patron nowadays, you just need to be a dollaraire (that’s not a word, but you get the gist).
Patreon is a website that allows lots of people to give a little, (as little as a dollar) instead of one person giving a lot, to fund artists…giving those artists the ability to do the work they want to do, not the work they have to do.
Now, if you wont buy that for a dollar, or can’t, or whatever but would still like to help out somehow please post my Patreon page to whatever social media you use. The more it’s out there the greater chance it wont return to me empty and I can work towards making The Saga of Samuel into something truly great.
And if nothing comes of it, if I can’t get a single dollar out of a single soul…I’ll still be here updating the comic whenever I can because it needs to get made and I need to make it.
Thanks for reading this, once again, here’s my Patreon page: www.patreon.com/artistxero
(Also, if you hate my face for some reason or something like that, then fund someone on Patreon. Give money to the arts, it’s a noble cause.)
Anyway we learn a bit more about Enoch. Enoch’s story in the bible always fascinated me…”Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Where’d he go? What happened to him? The bible itself doesn’t elaborate. Extra biblical stories exist aplenty though.
All that extra stuff added to Enoch’s story really comes off as a kind of Ancient Fan Fiction. Which makes it perfect for my little bible based fantasy comic here. We’ll get more into what Enoch’s duties are in the world of The Saga of Samuel as the story progresses.
Alright then, Back to drawing…
I’d like to preface this review by saying I’m a guy who writes and draws a bible-based fantasy comic. Since Noah is essentially a bible based fantasy movie, I’d like to think I now about what talking about. Either way…SPOILERS ABOUND!
So I saw Noah. I went into the movie with an open mind. I wanted to like it. I dismissed the controversy swirling around it as over reaction and hype. I love the bible and I love a good, hearty bible movie. I don’t have a problem with some added elements or some general story skimming. I mean Moses wasn’t a well spoken Chuck Heston type or Jesus a good-looking, blue-eyed, long-haired hippie. Moses stuttered, Jesus wasn’t much to look at. The bible clearly states those things. Hollywood chose to do its own thing.
Ultimately the determining factor in a good bible movie is accepting and embracing the source material. Noah fails at that completely.
There’s so much potential drama in the Noah story (Genesis 5-9). Imagine if your family was tasked with building a giant boat, the care taking of thousands of animals and also knowing that everything and everyone you know is going to be wiped out except for your immediate family. SO. MUCH. DRAMA! Instead we’re giving the made up elements that Hermione can’t have kids and Percy Jackson can’t get a woman. Whatever.
The movie’s major failure is not showing the relationship between God and Noah. In the bible God straight up tells Noah whats going to happen and why. There’s a relationship there. Direct communication with no vagueness of what’s going to happen. God wanted to wipe out all of mankind. All of it. Except for Noah. God likes Noah. Thinks he’s a righteous dude and God wants to spare him because of it. That right there says so much about both the character of both God and Noah.
The movie version gives us a God who is a non-communicative, non-entity and a Noah who gets the idea to build the ark from drinking his grandpappy’s spiked tea. Not exactly an improvement on the source material.
The movie’s second major failing is that, since God is non-existent as a character, we’re told that the main reason “The Creator” wants to destroy the world is because man done fouled it up. We see cut down forests, and the land stripped of its natural resources. The movie makes the earth look post-apocalyptic because of that. The fact that everyone dresses like they’re part of a second-rate Mad Max cosplay group doesn’t really help matters. There’s no mention of sin or how the evil of men grieves God. There’s one brief scene where see “bad things” happening in the bad guy camp but it’s so vague and zips on by that it’s seems like they just put it in the movie as if to say “mankind isn’t always nice to each other but really, if we didn’t cut down trees or eat animals, things would be ok.” Terrible.
I’ve seen some people saying that even though they didn’t like the movie at least it looked great and I just don’t agree there either. Since they went with the strip mined world motif the earth looks like an ugly place to live. Barren and dry. There’s one green spot, the mountain where Anthony Hopkin’s Methuselah lives. (I think Anthony Hopkin’s should join Liam Neesan, Harrison Ford and Sam Jackson in the “Actors Who Stopped Trying Long Ago” Club). Either way both pre and post flood views of the earth are nothing as visually beautiful as any single swooping shot of New Zealand Peter Jackson gave us in his LOTR movies. The whole film is ugly…except for Emma Watson. She’s nice.
In the end Noah is a bible movie stripped of any of the reasons it’s in the bible. God’s grieve, Man’s wickedness, Noah’s righteousness and ultimately God’s promise to the Earth. Since God is made into a new agey, nebulous “Creator” His grieve over Man’s sins and His promise not to destroy the earth by flood again are not even part of the story. Man’s wickedness is not because of his sin it’s because he’s cut down the trees, wants to eat animals (which in the bible God tells Noah and his sons to do after the flood) and has stripped the land of magical glowy rocks. (seriously).
So it all comes down to Noah. The character, as the movie presents him, is a flat-out terrible human being. Since the movie creates no real relationship between Noah and God, Noah is solely dependent on a couple of dreams and one drugged out hallucination to give him motivation to spend his and his family’s lives building the ark. Now, one can say that’s a fine example of faith but again, since no personal relationship where God has the courtesy to tell Noah directly what’s going to happen exists, it’s actually an example of extreme arrogance and outright madness. Noah’s family blindly following him makes them a bunch of patsies as well. When Noah decides he has to kill the potential daughters Hermione is miraculously pregnant with the character becomes unredeemable. The fact that he doesn’t kill them doesn’t change anything. Both the decision to kill and then not kill are both come from Noah’s ego and assumptions, because once again the movie doesn’t even try to make God an integral part of the story. Therefore the movie is about an arrogant, crazy Jerk and his boat full of animals. Fun times.
So, for me, the movie fails as a bible movie, fails as any kind of judeo-christian story, fails as a character study of the Man we call Noah and even fails at being the pseudo pro-environmental post apocalyptic movie it seems to want to be. It’s a failure all around.
At least Captain America: The Winter Soldier will stomp it out of existence next week. Yay Cap!