Armageddon illustrated
Lt. John Corbin fights his way through Armegedon Now: World War 3 a Christian comic about the end of days.
January 24th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Armageddon illustrated

By Gabe LaMonica, CNN

It’s the end of the world: Terrorists release deadly gas in New York City, then set off a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles, while an earthquake in the city of Jerusalem collapses the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Then a million soldiers are killed in “the greatest single battle in the history of the world.”

At least that's how it's envisioned in a new graphic novel, "Armageddon Now: World War 3," the collaborative brainchild of Phil Hotsenpiller, a pastor who specializes in prophecy, and Rob Liefeld, one of the most polarizing artists in the comic book industry.

“Ezekiel actually talks about what happens prior to the battle of Armageddon,” said Hotsenpiller, explaining his use of Old Testament passages in bringing scripture to life in comic book form.

The Book of Ezekiel is "really a summary of a war that happens in the Middle East before Armageddon, where you have this coalition of nations that come together to try to destroy Israel, and Israel prevails in that situation," Hotsenpiller said.

"What we find is a coalition of a lot of armies that make life very difficult, but there’s a miracle that’s won there, and that’s before the entrance of what the Bible refers to as the anti-Christ,” Hotsenpiller said.

On September 11, 2001, as people ran from the billowing white clouds and acrid dust chasing them down streets and alleyways, Hotsenpiller watched from the air. He and his wife were flying past the World Trade Center on their way out of LaGuardia. Before the towers collapsed, they saw the thick line of black pitch piping from one of the twin towers. He, like many others, didn’t know what was happening.

Essentially it is here that Liefeld and Hotsenpiller begin their graphic novel, which sells for $24.99 from Image Comics and is available on the iPad. A sunny and normal morning in New York City turns devastating when a deadly gas that “no one could outrun” is released into the air.

As if the visuals weren’t enough, a narrative box - there’s virtually no dialogue - states that scenes in which mobs of New Yorkers run for their lives with clouds of dust and smoke overhead are “reminiscent of a scene from 9/11.”

In "Armageddon Now," the gas is called M-4211. I asked Hotsenpiller about its significance.

“You’ve got some element of truth, some element of fiction, so we just made the place where they would discover this mystery ... Grand Central Terminal," he said. "Grand Central [is] on 42nd [Street] ... and we tied it back to ... Orion."

The Orion Nebula, also known to astronomers as M42, contains the star Betelgeuse, a red giant several hundred light years away. Some scientists believe it will go supernova in our lifetimes - or maybe in a million years. When it does, it will set the Earth’s night sky ablaze in a light more than equivalent to the full moon.

“In our story, we use it more as a marker," Liefeld said. "Perhaps the birth of Christ, maybe that was a constellation that was lighting up that was guiding people, so that when it is utilized again, it’s more of a signal. So that’s where Orion, without giving away too much, is more or less utilized throughout our story."

Liefeld is an illustrator who has sold 60 million comics for Marvel and Image. He compares himself to Lebron James, “how he transitioned eight years into his career from a hero to a villain and … how LeBron is handling that," he said. "I’m telling you … if it was comic books, you could put my name in there."

People either love Liefeld or love to hate him. In describing his ascension, he quotes from the movie "Blade Runner": “When the scientist tells Rutger Hauer, playing Roy Batty, [he's] gonna die soon, he says, 'The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy,'" Liefeld said.

"You’re burning so bright, you’re causing all this attention, but it burns out. I have enjoyed a fantastic 25-year career,” Liefeld said.

"Armageddon Now" is a seminal book in Liefeld’s body of work. Committing himself to vivid landscapes dripping with color, he still can’t seem to pull completely away from the overwrought muscles and too many pockets and ammo magazines that blow his characters out of proportion - and that his critics have loved to ding him for since his meteoric rise in the 1990s.

Hotsenpiller is known for his sermons on prophecy at Yorba Linda Friends, a Christian megachurch in Southern California. He marshals groups of nearly 10,000 people to three-day-long prophecy conferences - one of which Liefeld attended.

“Really the Armageddon book is not designed to be this Biblical commentary text on Ezekiel," Hotsenpiller said. "It’s really meant to be entertainment and fun, and it adds an element of biblical truth in it.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • California • Christianity • United States

soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Nook Faith Books

    Awesome! Thanks for posting this.

    July 11, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  2. LSumm

    So much vitriol for such a beautiful Book. A Book that extols Love above all virtues, and places Love at the top of the commandments. AND, a Book that has withstood all attempts of the haters throughout history to destroy it. Not a single historical fact in this Book has been disproved. In fact, the more science discovers, the more historically accurate it is shown to be. Pretty impressive for a Book containing ancient text!

    If one gives it an honest chance and actually READS it with an open mind, one would be hard pressed to revile it so much.

    January 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • guest 101

      Ironically I've been studying the book of Genises all day today ( from a scholarly point of view ) and I've found that within it it there is no "religion"
      It apperars to be an historical recording of the events of pre-histtory
      In my study I actually tryed to disprove the Biblical account.........but can't !!

      February 13, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  3. Jay

    Luke– if you won't look at Dr. Hugh Ross's explaination of the big bang, go study Steven Hawking's work. Dr. Hawking would agree with everything I said about what modern astrophysicists believe happened in the first few milliseconds of the big bang. I might just know what I am talking about. Check it out for yourself.

    People will throw up so called "scientific" objections to prevent them from believing the truth of the Bible. Scripture calls this "science falsely so-called" (I Tim 6:20). Friend, your problem is unconfessed sin and spiritual rebellion. You really need to rethink your life and get yourself turned around. Seek out and try Jesus. You will be surprised how wonderful he is. Your 8th grade understanding of science will reform well by the touch of the master's hand.

    O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Ps 34:8

    I am signing off now from this blog. It has become tedious to argue with people who are narrow minded and closed minded. You people really ought to be more tolerant of other people's opinions.

    January 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  4. Jay


    January 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  5. Jay

    Hello back Luke– I must have missed your former comments. This blog is getting really long...

    The point exactly is the question of what the Bible says. So my request to Mr. Second Yeoman was spot on. He will not reply to my request because there are NO SCRIPTURES that teach the sun revolving around the earth, the earth being flat, or the earth being 6000 years old. He is refuting claims that appear nowhere in the Bible, so his objection is BOGUS!

    Go to Hugh Ross's website http://www.reasons.org/ for a thorough discussion in scientific terms how light was created before the stars. To sum up in lay terminology, after the first microseconds of the big bang, there was an amorphous energy field. Then light, photons, erupted out of the field. The bible describes the amorphous energy field as "without form and void". Then the bible says, "let there be light". The best current astrophysics understanding of the first microseconds of the big bang event agree completely with the Genesis account. There is no way that the Genesis author could have possibly known this, hence, evidence of inspiration.

    There is a shifting viewpoint in the first chapter of Genesis. The first viewpoint is a viewer looking at the creation event. The next viewpoint sees the creation of Heaven (firmament). The next viewpoint is on earth ("let dry land appear"). Then the viewer standing on land on the earth sees the creation of plant life ("let the earth bring forth grass"). Then the viewer looks up to the sky. There would have been thick clouds in the atmosphere left over from the creation event. The paleontologistS tell us that the earth was much warmer hundreds of millions of years ago shown by evidence of the antarctic being forested. After the earth cooled enough for rain to begin, the thick clouds parted to reveal the sun, moon, and stars. So a correct reading here depends on seeing things through the eyes of the viewpoint character and author, the human author of Genesis. So plant life on earth began with light filtering through the clouds. There was a sun in place by then, but to the viewpoint character, it was not visible. That is why the sun, moon, and stars are not mentioned until Gen. 1:14.

    Bring on your other questions. Discussion invited.

    January 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Luke

      Nothing you wrote jives with modern physics. It's complete and utter bogus nonsense, to be honest.

      January 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  6. Jay

    Mr Second Yeoman, can you please quote chapter and verse for those three items? I thought the age of the earth was determined by Bishop Usher in England and included as a footnote. Footnotes don't count. Chapter and Verse, please...

    January 26, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Luke

      That's besides the point. I replied to one of your statements above about the creation myth to which you never replied. Could you please explain to me how your god, according to Genesis, created light before the stars? How he created trees before the sun? I could go on and on, but let's start with these two.

      January 26, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  7. second yeoman

    the bible also tells us the the sun revolves around the earth , the earth is flat.. and the earth is 6000 some odd years old ...does anyone see an intellectual disconnect here ?

    January 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.