Art and Literature

Entries about creativity in all its forms, plus original creative material.

Arvid Nelson on "Rex Mundi's" Final Arc

"Rex Mundi" #15 on sale now (cover by Gerard Way)

Written by Arvid Nelson, “Rex Mundi” is an epic story set in an alternate history in which the Catholic church dominates Europe with Kabbalistic magic and its police force of Inquisitors. The Dark Horse series rockets toward its conclusion this week with the release of issue #15. Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra “Rex Mundi” was planned as a 38-issue miniseries (the first twenty issues of which were published by Image Comics) and will end with Dark Horse’s issue #19. With the first 35 installments now complete, time is running out for Dr. Julien Sauniere to find the Holy Grail and save Europe from the Duke of Lorraine's machinations.

CBR News spoke with Nelson about “Rex Mundi,” its less-obvious religious influences, and the progress of Johnny Depp's planned film adaptation.

Two issues into Book 6, the final arc of the series, “Rex Mundi” is now entering the endgame. In issue #15, Lord Lorraine, Genevieve, and Julien Sauniere all experience certain reversals of fortune, while Teniers works toward his own ends and Isabelle finds new resolve.

Nelson said that the end of “Rex Mundi” represents the payoff to story threads that have been established throughout the series' run. “The first side of the story, we were writing a lot of checks,” the writer told CBR News. “Now we're cashing them.”

Nelson also promised “lots of twists and turns” before the final issue. “One of the characters is safe, that's what I promised myself from the beginning,” he said. “Some major characters will die, and some will die before story ends.”

Though Nelson has indicated that Book 6 will focus less on this world's history (which has by now been well established), the underlying quest for and mysteries surrounding the Holy Grail will play a key role in the resolution of “Rex Mundi.” The religious aspect, too, remains close to the heart of the series, though some of its influences are less apparent than others. In particular, the writer's own Baha'i faith gives a particular shape to the story.

{josquote}Rex Mundi' shows the similarities between the religions, the idea of religions being not so much confrontational as coming together.{/josquote}

“I converted to Baha'i in college, so religion is interesting to me. I think it's an important part of the human experience, and will always be a important part of my writing,” Nelson explained. “I think there's a lot of emphasis today on how different the major religions are from each other, Christianity from Islam, from Buddhism, and so on. The way it's conceived is that there' s an unbridgeable gulf--but Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, they all share the same prophetic origins. This clash of cultures is not how it’s meant to be, it's not how they were originally framed. It's certainly not the Baha'i perspective.

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I like Devon Gundry’s song and video very much. I love Mr. Gundry’s voice, and Justin Baldoni’s directing and all the actors are fantastic. I agree with all the Baha’is out there who have heaped praise on the video. The first time I watched it, though, something seemed off, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I’ve been thinking about it, but I’d like to get some feedback.

Why is so much stress put on the religious affiliation of the characters? This isn’t just an old couple, this is a Jewish old couple. And the Jewishness is important. Same with the military wife’s Christianness and the homeless man’s Muslimness. It’s as if the director is saying, “Hey, look! She’s a Christian! He’s a Muslim!” The video doesn’t just portray people experiencing grief and pain. The video portrays a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim experiencing grief and pain. Why? And then why do they all recite Baha’u'llah’s words?

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Edith: Baha'i jewelry from Haifa

Edith jewelry was established in 1941 by the head of our family, Shalom Botbol. It has since become one of the leading brands in the design and production of exclusive fine jewelry in Israel. Our jewels are crafted to meet the highest standards, combining art and tradition harmonically.

Despite its success, we make every effort to keep the familial characteristics of our business. Visiting the galleries you will always meet members of our family, including Edith, after whom the business is named.

Over the years we've had the pleasure to serve numerous Baha'i pilgrims, and have designed a unique line of products to meet their desires.

We will be looking forward to seeing you in one of our stores, but in the meanwhile we're proud to have you visiting our site.

Botbol family.

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As featured in The Blingdom of God

Faith in a flight of fancy reality for filmmaker

Documentary lovers will be glad to know that a man and his movie camera is now on his way home to New Zealand to show his debut film The Wayfarer. Jess Firth has just completed an epic journey that started with a “bit of travel through the Holy Land” and culminated in a documentary on the Baha'i faith. Having just screened the film in London and managing to get out of Thailand via a gruelling overland journey he looks forward to showing it to his home audience.

{josquote}“All the big names in the larger religions, be they Moses, Mohammad or Jesus are all recognised prophets.{/josquote}

“This film is almost split two ways,” says Jess. “Although it focuses on the wonderful differences and similarities between all kinds of people who make up this world and later, more about the Baha’i faith – I first of all started out to document what many a young Kiwi will do – head off all over the world.

“Although maybe not so many New Zealanders would be as keen to put up with certain border controls as much as I have,” he adds.

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5-day "Art and Spirituality" workshop

February 2 - 6, 2009 at the Desert Rose Baha'i Institute in Eloy, Arizona.

The workshop will be presented by Hong Foo Tat and will explore the essence of spirituality through art using eastern and western techniques and philosophy.

Born in Penang, Malaysia, Hong Tatt Foo is an internationally known artist whose paintings are cherished in many public and private collections around the world. After receiving a Masters degree in Art Education at the University of Illinois, Mr. Foo taught art in New York, Malaysia, and Africa. In April 2003 he had a retrospective show of his paintings sponsored by the Penang Art Museum, Penang, Malaysia, followed by several major exhibits in China and Singapore. A second book of his works Poetic Impulse and Fragrance of Spirituality has been published. For more information, visit

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