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Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2007

Dave!Last night before I went to bed, three bloggers I read announced they were quitting. I wonder if there's a virus going around or something?

After reading such upsetting and tragic news, my mind turned to Jesus.

This was a strange experience for me, because I'm not a Christian. But I am a hardcore art lover, and Jesus has served as an inspiration for a lot of really good art throughout history. His story, while inspiring to those whose faith is built upon it, has always seemed quite sad to me... the poor guy was given a destiny to die horribly for the sins of the world, and that cannot be an easy burden, even for the son of God. But, like it or not, Jesus accepted what he had to do, and believed his sacrifice was the entire purpose for his being.

The one I really feel sorry for in this story is Mary.

She may have been the vessel for Christianity's savior but, when you set that aside, what she really was is a mother.

A mother who loved her son very much, only to have to watch as he was tortured and killed. I don't care how deep your faith is, this is something that no mother should have to experience. And yet I am reminded of it over and over again as I traverse art galleries around the globe. For the most part, the bulk of this art is divided between the two most significant events in any life... birth and death.

First there's all those images of Madonna and Child. Jesus has just been born and Mary is always depicted cherishing him, just as any mother would feel toward their new baby...

Madonna and Child

And then there's the pietà, which shows a grief-struck Mary cradling her dead son. I don't care whether you are a Christian or not, this is a powerful and painful image. And no interpretation of this event is more heartbreaking that Michelangelo's masterpiece, La Pietà, which is housed at The Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica...

La Pieta

It's difficult to get from a photo, but the sadness carved into Mary's face is enough to bring a lump to your throat and make your heart ache for her. What could be more tragic?

Certainly not somebody shutting down their blog, but that does make me kind of sad too.


All this talk about Jesus has reminded me of a drawing I created last year for a digital Christmas card that I sent to some of my art friends, but never dared show on my blog... until now...

Madonna And Child

I always worried that people would see this and think "OH MY GAWD! DAVE THINKS HE'S JESUS!!!" But that was never the intent. I just used Baby Dave to make this interpretation of Madonna and Child my own. As the above text hopefully illustrates, I have the upmost respect for Jesus, Mary, and their story... and this drawing is meant to be an homage, not ridicule. I put a lot of care into creating it, and it's easily one of my favorite DaveToons ever. I'm probably inviting all kinds of hatemail by showing it, but it seems a shame not to share when it means so much to me.

Unlike most interpretations, where Jesus is somber and stoic, I wanted my Madonna and Child to depict baby Jesus as happy and joyful as possible. This was not easy given how crude the drawing is, but I tried my best because I like to think that Jesus was a happy baby. Given his ultimate sacrifice, it would be nice to think that he had a happy childhood... wouldn't it?

Hmmm. I am tired enough that I may actually get a good night's sleep tonight.

Categories: DaveToons 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Mooselet says:

    Well since Baby Jesus looks so darned serious in the first picture you’ve chosen – looks like he’s about to give a sermon – it’s nice to see Him happy in yours.

  2. whit says:

    I loves me the baby Jesus!

  3. Iron Fist says:

    This cartoon is great, because so many times in my life when I find myself in some sort of moral dilemma, I ask myself “What would Lil’ Dave do?”

  4. Wayne says:

    One school of thought is that the halos depicted around “enlightened” people in older works of art are their auras, so incredibly powerful even normal people could see them. The thinking goes that some folk can read auras of everyone, but when someone is so incredibly awesome on a universal-energy-thought-light level, their aura becomes visible to all.

    So I’ll ignore the fact that your halos look like a spin-the-prize wheel.

  5. Dave2 says:

    Mooselet… I’d say most Renaissance art depicts Jesus being incredibly somber. I think it’s out of respect for his destiny or something, but I always thought it was kind of sad Jesus wasn’t a happy baby in these images.

    Whit… Somebody’s going to heaven…

    Iron Fist… That’s pretty much the story of my life, trying to live through my inner child. 🙂

    Wayne… In religious art, particularly Christian religious art, a halo is used to visually depict divine grace, and distinguish holy figures in an image from “regular people.” In any event, you have to keep in mind that I study the Buddhist faith and tend to lean towards their imagery when drawing a halo, so I’ll ignore the fact that you reduce everything to a game show…

    Buddha Halo

  6. NYCWD says:

    That is by far my favorite DaveToon now.

    Thanks for sharing this one.

  7. I was sad to learn of some bloggers quitting too. It’s a shame because I enjoyed them a lot.

    I love your happy Christmas card, and I don’t think it’s disrespectful at all. Quite the opposite.

  8. Avitable says:


  9. Beth says:

    As a Christian I’ve been in many classes where the discussion leads to why there are not accounts of Jesus as a child. There is an account of Him as a young child getting separated from Mary and Joseph and them being stricken with worry. They later found Him in the temple and He replied similar to a pre-teen – “DUH, where did you think I’d be?? Hello, Son of God in a TEMPLE!!” Of course, these words are my interpretation. We have often discussed that Jesus was likely a regular happy go lucky kid. But I do like the Toon, it’s hard to be mad at Baby Dave.

  10. timothy says:

    Game show!

    That’s funny!

  11. Mike says:

    Two things:

    1) You mom looks a lot like you (or is it the other way around?).

    2) Don’t worry about hatemail so much. Cartoons and religion are the safest things you can mix together.


  12. Miss Britt says:

    When I saw La Pieta in Italy I actually started to cry right there on the spot. I was only 16 and it’s the first time I remember being physically moved by a piece of art.

    Until now.

    Baby Dave gets me all choked up.

  13. kilax says:

    Dave, you are my Jesus.

    I only know of one blogger who quit yesterday, but I was so sad… I loved their work. 🙁

  14. Bre says:

    I think Jesus must have had a happy childhood – especially considering the great lengths that Mary and Joseph went to for his birth. This is a really powerful post – I don’t often find many of them out there on religion that I agree with, but I think you’re spot on in many things.

  15. bogup says:

    Thanks Dave for this blog entry.
    Mary is special, and the best mother we could have. I often pray the Seven Sorrows of Mary for its inspirational impact. Mary certainly suffered while watching her Son’s agonizing death on the cross but her life was filled with much joy and with hope. For example she asked Jesus to perform His first public miracle at the Cana wedding feast and even though He didn’t want to, He did it. Mary was crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth after her assumption into heaven — and she answers every prayer and request.

  16. Jason says:

    Hey Dave,

    I am a Christian, have gone to Bible School and I’m ordained.

    First, I read your blog every day and, of course, I have different viewpoints on many things. But not Quiznos. We agree on that.

    Why do I continue to read? If a person only wants to hear people who agree with him, then he’s bound to ignorance. And because your right to think something different than me is your right to free will. To get upset over that is sheer hypocrisy and, quite frankly, stupidy. Have you ever made me mad? Of course. But that’s part of the nature of passionately believing something.

    So, that said, great blog. Particularly this one. As somebody who cares greatly about the things of their faith, who is conservative (although I wouldn’t go so far as to say Republican. I think both parties need a good shaking and perhaps a slap or twelve), who has committed his life to ministry, I take things like this seriously.

    And I think you have it spot on. Art in most representations of Christ depict somber, stoic and, frankly, depressed figures when the truth is, they were real people. People who cried, laughed, slept, ate and pooped. What you’ve done is to take out a large chunk of the religiousity and replace it with humanity, which was certainly a part of who Jesus was.

    That is something I am trying to convey every day of my life: that the creator of life might just know how to enjoy it and how to live it.

    He might have been a morning person (I’m not).

    So thanks. I appreciate your guts in posting it.

  17. sizzle says:

    i don’t know dave…when i think of you i often think of jesus.

  18. Stephen Ananian DMD says:

    Little Dave is at his best when he’s being provocative, so even if the image is sacrilege (it ISN’T) it’s still great! Anyone who would be offended needs to think a little deeper. Besides, lil’ Dave can do no wrong. I have been reading your blog for about a month and I have enjoyed it very much.

  19. Hilly says:

    Since you already know what I think about the bloggers saying bye bye, I’ll move on to Baby Jesus….

    As someone who does believe in Christianity, I do not find your toon offensive at all. In fact, I love it so much that if you ever made a print of it, I’d buy it! It’s actually truly beautiful to see how happy and peaceful your Mary looks and more importantly how amazingly happy Lil Baby Dave Jesus looks. It’s true that there are not enough pictures where Jesus is happy as a baby. He HAD to be happy as a baby so I don’t know why we don’t see that more often.

    And not that you asked, but if anyone comes here and really thinks that YOU think you are Jesus, they are warped. You and I have a completely different faith and yet, I consider you one of the most decent and kindest people that I know…so there :p.

  20. Troy says:

    Dave!!! You’ve turn me back on to Christianity.

    Oh wait. Sorry – it was just indigestion! 🙂

    Though like you I have respect for the man Jesus, just not for some of the crazies who follow him!

  21. Lela says:

    Was your Baby Dave born with teeth? Ouch!! 🙂

  22. RW says:

    My group teaches the kids that “there is that of God in everyone.”

    Even little Dave!

  23. Holmes says:

    That DaveToon is hilarious. Sad that there are people who can’t see the humor in things like this just because it tips one of their sacred cows.

  24. That was a cool Christmas card!
    Nothing sacrilegious about it.

  25. Dave2 says:

    Watchdog… Thanks! Someday I’d like to re-draw it and make things a little different in spots but, overall, I like it too!

    Tai-Tai… Yeah. But I guess it’s something each blogger has to decide for themselves, so I’m at peace with it. 🙁

    Avitable… Thanks! If it had to come from somebody, I’m glad it’s you!

    Beth… I really do hope that Jesus’ life had moments of humanity and happiness. It would be hard for me to think well of a God that would heap nothing but suffering on his only son.

    Timothy… Especially when there’s some poor bastard on Jeopardy who isn’t very smart and gets clobbered by some genius with a quick button reflex!

    Mike… I think in DaveToons everybody looks like everybody… there’s not a lot you can do with two dots and an oval head!

    Britt… It was very difficult for me to choke back the tears. It’s a very emotional piece of artwork, and I feel very lucky to have seen it a couple times in my life.

    Kilax… Well, you don’t have to worship me… but feel free to send money!

    Bre… Well, it’s kind of difficult to debate how sad it was to be Jesus’ mother. Christian or not, she’s a strong symbol of motherhood.

    Bogup… I think Mary is special to a great many people who aren’t even Christian. As a symbol, she’s very important to me, anyway!

    Jason… Well, if I’m not offending a man of the cloth with my entry, then maybe I don’t have to worry about hatemail after all! Likewise, I think life is best experienced by getting to know as many people and viewpoints as possible. Life would be pretty boring if we were all the same, so it’s nice to know God had a better plan!

    Sizzle… Yes, well, as one who believes that we are ALL children of God, Jesus and I have some things in common. 🙂

    Stephen… Thanks for the kind comments! It is hard to be upset with Lil’ Dave, because he’s so darn cute! Bad Monkey, on the other hand…

    Hilly… I guarantee that if I just posted that image with no explanation, I would have been eaten alive by nasty comments and hatemail. What surprises me is that people are actually READING the entry to understand what I’ve done rather than just seeing a graphic and coming unglued (which is what usually happens).

    Troy… Whether one believes in Jesus or not, I think everybody can appreciate that his story is inspirational. That’s all I’m saying! 🙂

    Lela… No, but baby Jesus was special in so many ways…

    RW… And hopefully Bad Monkey. That little hellion NEEDS a little Jesus in him!

    Holmes… Yes, but faith is a very personal thing to people, and in today’s harsh world it’s easier than ever to take offense. It’s those who take offense without trying to understand or make sure they’ve understood intent that bothers me.

    Bombshell… I certainly didn’t think so. But I learned a long time ago that things posted on a blog can (and very often will) be misinterpreted.

  26. amanda says:

    I don’t think its disrespectful, I think its nice. I get the simplicity of it, its nice to see Jesus being joyful instead of so serious.

  27. ADW says:

    What is it with the Jesus posts? Britt and you and even I have one, freaky weird. But I do like the drawing – noone ever thinks about Jesus as a happy little baby, so kudos.

  28. Dan says:

    Would anyone care if I stopped blogging (aside from you Dave?)

  29. turnbaby says:

    This is awesome!

  30. Not only do I love this, but I just Stumbled it with a review. I’ve written about Mary and Jesus a couple of times and always felt a little sick about publishing it because I was afraid people would misunderstand. I’m far from a religious blog.

    Eh, you can’t please ’em all. Risk it all, instead.

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