Years ago, when I was an undergrad, I did some basic research work on the 14 Stations of the Cross used in Christian texts, detailing the last few hours of Jesus Christ on Earth. My interest was in determining whether or not the portrayal of the 14 stations in the many churches of the world, specifically Catholic ones could be considered as sequential art, or if you would like an artefact of a comic strip. The answer is yes, of course.
It’s no wonder that comic art – through sequential art has found itself all over the world. But art historians that have pondered the meaning of the twelve stations, each depicting a crucial moment in Jesus Christ’s last few hours before his execution on the cross have not really bothered to look at the sequential nature of the popular artefact. In some depiction, the artwork relies on sculptures, etchings and engravings. In others, paintings , My point in arguing this simple premise about the 14 stations and comic art is of course to show how omnipresent and an important part of world culture the comic book is. It’s so important, that every year on Good Friday, Christians observe and walk to each station, praying and commemorating the last hours of Jesus Christ. Millions of people pray to a comic book, yet comic books are still frown upon and ridiculed.
What’s a man to do. There is much more that could be said about comic books, sequential art and the 14 stations of the cross, but just in case there are any doubters left, I’ll end this article with a few illustrations from Filipino comic book artist Palabok. He’s taken the stations and redrew them as comic strips. There’s no mistake about the 14 stations and their comic strip origins. Find out more about Palabok’s project on his blog.
First Station - Jesus is condemned to death
Second Station - Jesus carries His cross
Third Station - Jesus falls the first time
Fourth Station - Jesus meets his mother
Fifth Station - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross
Sixth Station - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Seventh Station - Jesus falls the second time
Eight Station - Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Ninth Station - Jesus falls a third time
Tenth Station - Jesus' clothes are taken away
Eleventh Station - Jesus is nailed to the cross
Twelfth Station - Jesus dies on the cross
Thirteenth Station - The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross