The End Times of Bram and Ben
Written by James Asmus and Jim Festante
Art by Rem Broo
(Interested in previous installments in the Comics My Girlfriend Made Me Read series? Click Here)
What made you Get The End Times of Bram and Ben?
The title seemed cool, and when I flipped through it the art reminded me of something from Adult Swim.
What do you like about the book?
It’s really funny, like really funny and has a lot of stuff from Revelations in it.
Why should I read it?
….. (cold hard stare and then walks away, I’m just gonna delete this question)
When Diane first handed me the End Times of Bram and Ben, my initial reaction was “c’mon not another Image book…whattaya own stock or something”. Then I saw it was co-written by James Asmus and I was like “alright fine… but next time let’s try a different publisher already”. Secretly I was glad. I’ve been wanting to read anything of his to gear up for his Quantum and Woody debut over at Valiant.
I’m glad I did. End Times is a total laugh riot. The concept is so funnily original, it alone had me hooked. Ben and Bram are two buddies, Ben a more straight-laced special needs teacher and Bram a slacker lay about, both of whom experience the Biblical Rapture in two different ways. Ben, a severely lapsed catholic was left behind (like most folk), Bram was surprisingly whisked away to heaven. For oh,.. about thirty seconds. That’s when Heaven decided it made a clerical error and quickly sent him back.
This experience scarred Bram, what was thirty seconds away from earth for everyone else, was actually 2 weeks in heaven for Bram. And he hated every minute of it. Yeah everyone in heaven was naked, but they were old. Or fat. Or old and fat. To quote Bram “the only reason these people didn’t sin was because no one would sin with them”. (This was always a personal belief of mine as well, totally good heavenly people are boring). And apparently Angels are clingy.
Now Bram and Ben find themselves living in a post rapture world, Ben still pursuing his love; Gym teacher Laura and trying to figure out why she and other seemingly good people were left behind ( as a cool gimmick, whenever anyone questions why they were left behind, it’s immediately followed by a one panel shot showing why! Like: sniffing a students panties or rolling joints from bible pages), and Bram getting skilled by their Afro-sportin’ apocalypse survivalist pal Tibul (who just can wait to kill a zombie!). Bram realizes that this is the seven-year period where people left behind are to choose sides, he decides to warn everyone about the boredom of heaven (and in doing so keep the “slut percentage” on the rise!) by interrupting a news broadcast to tell his tale… and announce his candidacy for Anti-Christ, a decision that doesn’t sit too well with Ben.
The rest of the mini-series deals with Bram’s developing a cult like following in his beliefs, with a little help from a demon, and Ben opposing him with the coaching of an angel, who only seems to only speak in homo-sexual double entendres. Asmus, Festante and Broo do a fantastic job of presenting both sides of the argument in a philosophically comic way. Asmus and Festante’s stand-up and improv skills are abounds throughout the book with literally too many one liners and jokes for me to quote. Needless to say you find out what happens when you take up an up-skirt shot of an Angel with your cell phone cam, who the real Anti-Christs (yes plural) are, and take a look at the cover to issue #3, the list of band names playing at Burning Bram are hysterical.
Broo’s art is fun and light-hearted, his use of foreshortening for the sake of comedy in some scenes is hysterical, as well as the designs of the angels and demons, who looking pretty cool and threatening for such a humorous tale, The action scenes are over the top and funny as hell, you really need to drink in all the goings on in the two page angel vs demon battle in the middle of a Burning Bram concert.
If you’re a fan off Preacher, Dogma or Ugly Americans you’re gonna love this book. It had me in stitches and resolves in way that not only makes sense for the book, but in a lesson for all religions in general. It also leaves it open for a sequel or two:
The Tribulations of Bram and Ben – cmon guy’s please!