Why You Should Be Reading… Image Comics & Top Cow’s The Tithe!

Welcome back folks… Grainbelt is here for another installment of… WHY YOU SHOULD BE READING…

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Comic fans unite, we have another awesome title making the column this week and I hope you guys enjoyed last weeks “THE DIG” concept. It is definitely something we will be dipping into from time to time, and hey to honest if things get a bit slow new release comic wise, something that may happen more frequently.

Now turning focus back to this week, I took a good look at some of the past articles and I must say, we have tackled a few deep topics on here. Sitting down preparing to write this it dawned on me we have discussed things from race topics, points of view on feminism, and also dived into comics displaying the chaotic state of affairs in the world today. I am proud to say the movement of Why You Should Be Reading is not only exploring comics, but taking that extra step to diversify your reading, helping shape what makes up your media intake moving forward. I felt that this week it was only fitting to continue that trend by taking on another deep topic……. Religion.

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The Tithe made its way into my hands last Wednesday, I was picking up my order for the week and continued to browse as I always do. I’m going to be honest and say, I picked up The Tithe number 2 simply because it had a black guy on the cover (yea I know this is brutally honest). Now I don’t need to go there again (read my Why You Should Be reading Shaft) but having an African American on the cover doesn’t happen as frequently as it could, so this definitely got me excited as into what were the contents of the series. Seeing this I decided to take a chance since number 1 was sitting behind it, making it easy to catch up in 2 reads, happy with my choices I purchased all my books and exited, patiently awaiting to see what my next reading session has in store.

Fast forward to this week, me and The Tithe meet yet again this morning as I picked up today’s releases. Despite the other bunch of comics I was ready to purchase, after reading them all Tithe ┬ábecame ┬ámy favorite out of the group prompting me to push this article ahead dropping it this week instead. Now that I laid out the inspiration for this weeks edition of the column, let us dive into the story a bit shall we? After all this of course, this is why we are here.

The Tithe comes at you straight up like a pastor lobbing to gather your money, no seriously the first panels in Issue 1, are of a pastor running the donation proceedings for his church. As we continue writer Matt Hawkins does an excellent job conveying the love and obedience of the crowd when it comes to the lord. Growing up in a Christian Baptist home (do not practice today, not my thing) I remember being in these settings as a child wondering how people could be so engulfed in the significance of these stories, and how they can continue to be led in a pre determined direction.

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Enter group Samaritan, infiltrating this issue as they did during the service we are reading upon, flashing incriminating evidence against not only the pastor, but the Church itself for embezzling its flock of followers and loyal patrons. During the video vignettes we see a well calculated heist as Samaritan breaks into the church and manages to gain access to the safe, stealing all of its contents and assets. Once the money is recovered and following a distraction, the crew makes a clean break seemingly rich after pulling off a well planned mission. It is not until later in the story we understand the true nature that is Samaritan.

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Now insert FBI agents Dwayne Campbell and James Howard, they have been entrusted by the Bureau to capture and bring Samaritan to justice, the question becomes what is the actual meaning of justice in this case? It is then revealed that Samaritan isn’t a group hell bent on stealing money, they are not in it for the money involved, cash simply doesn’t matter, they are not some terrorist group praying on the love and money of good bible folks that donate every week, they are actually liberators. Samaritan’s goal is simple, take down corrupted Churches who are using their influenced and the crutch of Religion to steal money from their believers. Adding a interesting dynamic one of the Samaritan representatives is in constant contact with FBI agent James Howard, giving us a cat and mouse game of sorts, Samaritan is seemingly always one step ahead, and in addition they also provide the FBI with all the incriminating evidence that could easily indite the Churches and their leaders that are being taken down. Since the higher ups in the Bureau are more interested in squashing Samaritan and pushing the perception of domestic terrorism, they seem to have no interest in the wrong doing these Church establishments are committing, making this a tangled web of politics, corporate agenda, and most importantly greed. This giving us a clear notion to cheer for the anti heroes known as Samaritan.

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With bright colors and a smooth feel, adding the the addition of great detail drawn in facial expressions, the artwork flows well with suspenseful writing, making it clear writer Match Hawkins, and artist Rahsan Ekedal came together not only in creating this project, but executing it in quality fashion as well. This has instantly become a comic I look for as it made my pull list immediately, for those not intimidated by the use of religion, i think you will find not only is this a compelling story with action and suspense, but a story with a much needed look into the depths of greed and corruption.

Well readers I hope you enjoyed this week as always, that’s it for me, and I go out saying this…

Keep On Keepin On…

-Grainbelt Jones

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