BIBLE BLACK is a unique marriage of literature & animation based on the graphic novel by J. Morvay. The episodic series feature vignettes that spin horrific tales on a variety of dark subject matters, wherein almost nothing is off limits. Just a few examples of these include; a trek through the horrors of Nazi Germany, a redemption seeking fetus that survives a back alley abortion, and even a scenario in which God struggles with the consequences of watching his created beings commit murderous & immoral transgressions for millennia after millennia.
The animation is as dark and morbidly creative as the story telling that accompanies it. With images that will both intrigue & horrify the viewer, the look of the series varies greatly from chapter to chapter. A number of different artists contribute their work to specifically assigned stories, which keeps the viewers eager to see what upcoming visual horrors will be revealed next.
One of the first images we are shown consists of a near naked being, possibly God, with arms outstretched in an ambiguous pose. Is he praying or falling? He is crowned with a flaming halo & his hands appear tethered, as if he were a marionette from both heaven & hell. Crimson streaks flow from his head & drip down frame as we hear the story. A background of orange & gold burns like fire all around, but this is no ordinary sunset. Depicted as a glowing skull, the Sun looks ominous & foreboding, with molten flares rising from hollow sockets.
A subsequent chapter shows a voluptuous maiden kneeling before an open book resting at the foot of her bed. Her clothing, torn & ragged, exposes more flesh than it covers. She gasps in fear as billowing smoke rises in a wispy plume from the pages of the book. Beastly creatures erupt from the vapor, all with heads of differing description. “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord, my soul to keep. Demons & Angels stand near my bed. One at foot & one at head.”
In yet another chapter called ‘All Aboard’, the narrator recites a cheerful & eerily misleading description of an arriving Nazi ‘Death Train’ bound for Auschwitz. As the out of place & upbeat music plays, its almost as if we are watching an extermination commercial selling tickets to the Holocaust. I told you this series is dark. For this particular vignette we see a nightmarish vision in black & white. The ‘Death Train’ sits in the foreground, while frightful imagery of starvation & death fill the background. Thick black fumes swell upward from grizzly smokestacks as gigantic meat grinders are packed full of emaciated corpses. Bodies are piled onto conveyor belts one after another as they take their final ride into the gaping maws of industrial-size brick ovens.
I truly enjoyed this first episode of BIBLE BLACK. The stories & artwork kept me intrigued, horrified, & entertained. The sound design & voice work is competent, although they could have been a bit more varied. Overall, I would recommend this series, but I would be remiss to omit my one complaint & warning to viewers; there is one image that I found to be quite racist & highly offensive. The single graphic seemed very unnecessary, even when considering its contextual usage. It is on screen for only a few short moments, but that does not diminish its derogatory tone. That being said, I truly enjoyed this first episode & am looking forward to seeing future installments of J. Morvay’s BIBLE BLACK.