Cover Image: High Heaven

High Heaven

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Member Reviews

It's a new story told through old tropes. It's has hints of whimsy but the author tends to ground that in the grit of real life, but unfortunately not in an entertaining or exciting way.
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My Rating : 2🌟

Graphic novels are one of my favorite genres and I was really excited about this book because of the illustrator. But I was not really impressed with the storyline itself. The artwork was really good and I loved it. The total pages is around 40 and it was slightly boring and very short. It was definitely not for me.
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An enjoyable read, with a really obnoxious asshole of a main character. David, a joe schmo loser kind of guy, has his best friend play a cruel prank on him, the woman he loves turns him down when he confesses his feelings to her, and a piano falls on him, killing him. When he gets to Heaven, he complains so much everyone hates him; even Saint Peter wants to kick his ass. Heaven turns out to be disappointing- the "mansion" David is promised turns out to be a crappy apartment in a slum, the food is vending machine junk like those cheez & crackers packs, and you don't have genitals. When an angel takes pity on him and hints at a way to get out of Heaven, David is lead down a dark path that exposes the truth about what Heaven really is. Everything wraps up with a satisfying ending (made me feel better, anyway!). Entertaining, a little rough, but a good quick read.

#HighHeaven #NetGalley
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David is an overweight, sadsack of a man who dies an untimely, quirky death.  Residents of Heaven are tired of his complaining before he even gets through the pearly gates.  When he does, Heaven seems to be even more of a mundane existence than his life was.  Everyone hates him, his constant complaining draws the ire of the archangels and St. Peter.  But his constant dissatisfaction could lead to the dark underbelly of Heaven.  A pretty humorous, dark satire from Tom Peyer and Greg Scott.
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High Heaven: The Austerity Gospel is an entertaining read but also a bit of a disappointment. Not sure how much of that is with the book and how much with my expectations. I am rating slightly higher simply because I like the concept, or what I perceive it to be.

The story, such as it is, is mediocre. Two stories really, how David and Ben end up in heaven and then the story of what takes place there. I didn't dislike the narrative, I just didn't really like it either, it simply was.

The idea of there being levels of heaven is where the interest is for me. I know that some people see it as "regular" people get a regular heaven while those who did more get high heaven, but that isn't how I read it. I read it as illustrating the asinine doctrine of prosperity or austerity Christianity. That those people who have more in this life will have more in the next. Not that they did more to make the world or other people's lives better, just that they have and get and especially keep more than other people. In other words, a destructive capitalistic heaven. The majority of people in regular heaven learned in life to just be content with what was dealt to them, the crumbs from the austerity "believers." So in heaven they accept what they are dealt, a shitty heaven so that the faux believers, the prosperity/austerity people, can experience an extravagant heaven.

But, alas, the book didn't deliver what I was expecting and didn't provide a particularly strong alternative. Just some funny little comic bits and loose threads trying to be a story.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Why did the chicken cross the road? It's one of the oldest jokes that you might still hear told every now and then. The thing about this joke is that it's all set up. There are countless answers, and some of them are even funny, but the thing that matters most is the question itself. High Heaven is like that.

The set up for the story is perfect. David arrives in Heaven, only to find that it is just awful. His surroundings fail to meet the standards of even the worst motels, the staff are at best unsympathetic, and all the other inhabitants hate him. The early pages mostly involve David seeing just how disappointing Heaven is, and this is when the book is at its best.

Both the writing and the artwork do a great job of showcasing just how mediocre heaven is. The food is tiny, and nothing really works. The creative team achieve exactly what they set out to do in showing what it would be like if your eternal reward turned out to be just as disappointing as a bad package holiday.

High Heaven's problem is that, much like the question of why the chicken crossed the road, it eventually has to lead somewhere, and it isn't as good when it tries to have a plot. There is a side story set on Earth while the main story plays out in Heaven, and it doesn't amount to much. It involves something of a climax but it all proves to be insubstantial.

The main plot fares somewhat better, and the ending is fitting, but it doesn't feel like much has been achieved. It could be argued that this is the point, given the way it ends, but there is a difference between a story about someone who fails to achieve much ,and a story which fails to achieve much itself.

In all honesty it feels like the time that was spent on the conspiracy and David's personal quest could have been spent with the character just milling around heaven some more. Doing so would have allowed for more time for the character to interact with other people around heaven. They are all repeatedly shown to hate him, but none of them spend enough time in the book for that hatred to feel either deserved or understandable.

High Heaven is different. It takes the statement that "Hell is other people" and imagines what it would be like if that sentiment was just as applicable to Heaven. It is worth checking out to see its main character struggle with the reality of the afterlife, and it even has a few answers for why Heaven is the way it is. Unfortunately, just as with the chicken and the road, the question being asked proves to be more engaging than the answer the book ultimately provides. It's good; the writing is sharp, and the art manages both glamour and grime, but it definitely could have been better.
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I feel like this had the bones to be something really entertaining, but there just wasn’t enough follow through. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of there being a ‘low heaven’ for people that weren’t great but weren’t terrible, and then the high heaven for those that truly deserved to be there. I enjoy the satirical comedy of that. High heaven included all the things you would want; pool parties, food, partying, drinking and sex. Low heaven basically consisted of large, dull, low-income apartment complexes that you had to share with a roommate. Everything is literally just ok. Not terrible and not great. The main protagonist is dead set on figuring out how to get into high heaven, and maybe even get all the way back to Earth to be reunited with the woman he loved when he died. He is also determined to find out what happened to his parents.

Unfortunately, every single one of those plot threads are completely dropped and the story just ends with no real conclusion at all. For that, I’m giving this story 2 stars. I just kind of felt ripped off by a half-baked story. Also, this is a completed product, just so everyone is aware. There will be no sequel or additional volumes, this is it. If there had been, I would’ve been happy with this graphic novel. But with how it stands I personally don’t think it should’ve even been released.

Received via Netgalley. All reviews and opinions are expressly my own
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A jolly romp through the afterlife, when a sad sack tries to hit on the office hottie, only for a piano to fall onto his head.  But if he thinks life on Earth is bad enough, check out what happens when St Peter lets him through the pearly gates, because there is heaven, and there is HEAVEN.  It tries to say stuff about making your own bed, getting rid of the mundane from your life being one of the best things you can do with it, and so on, but doesn't quite nail its message while it's too busy being a redemption caper.  But still, it's fun enough entertainment.  Three and a half stars.
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I attended a NYComicCon panel for the publisher of this comic and thought the idea for this comic was very promising - someone who goes to heaven only to have everyone there hate him, how could I not want to check it out. I was most definitely not disappointed! There were some twists that I did not see coming and so many laugh-out-loud moments. The graphics are dynamic and engaging. This is a new depiction of heaven and the angels and certainly a version I don't think I would ever want to see. I'm really looking forward to seeing more from this series.
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High Heaven: The Austerity Gospel by Tom Peyer et. al. is a free NetGalley e-comicbook that I read in late May.

Hyperspeed, David Copperfield (the novel, not the magician) style biography to bring a reader up to speed on a character who (hmm) is also named David, has died, and on his way to face the judgement of Saint Peter and less than spartan afterliving conditions, which he complains about endlessly and thanklessly. He cannot reunite with his parents, who seem to have been similarly thrown into an in-between, not quite heaven, not quite hell as David has. In the struggle to reach a level idyllically above or devilishly below where he is now, there is realistic, somewhat grotesque face rendering.
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Contrary to popular belief from my friends, I am quite the religious guy. I have faith in God, in Heaven, and the afterlife that awaits us. But what if the ultimate reward turned out to be more like a cheap timeshare with a hostel instead of a mansion? Then you are in the right mindset for High Heaven from Ahoy Comics.

David Weathers is not that great of a guy, he is that constant complainer we all know and tolerate, and life hasn’t been too kind to him. But after being rejected by a woman, played for a fool by his best friend it sends him raging off in anger, it all ends- badly. Like a piano falling on you, crushing you to death bad. That sends David to the other side, in a massive line to meet Saint Peter, when he learns that he is going to Heaven. What a relief, right? Wrong. Because Heaven for David is a dreary, mundane version of the afterlife. But there is a Heaven-Heaven, a High Heaven, but David doesn’t get to enjoy that.

It turns out there is a Heaven for all the not so great, but not so bad people, and it is all tied to L-Meat. We get to see a very different take on the afterlife, and how life and death don’t always go as planned. Imagine Heaven being a dorm room where you have to share with the best friend that drove you to death in the first place? The irony, right? From Tom Peyer, Greg Scott and Andy Troy, we get a dark, humor-tinged view of the hereafter, and done so in a very entertaining way. We see the angels and saints, and we see how this mediocre version of Heaven came to be, and what exactly the future holds for David. Is there a happy ending for this guy? We also see how Heather, the woman that rejected David and was engaged to the jerk best friend of David, deals with the loss of two people close to her and heads up: not well.

This is an entertaining, matured rated book, focusing on the stereotypical version of Heaven and injecting some real-world lessons into the afterlife. The artwork here clean and gritty when needed and the designs here are fantastic. High Heaven hits the high notes as Ahoy Comics has impressed me once more.
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This is an odd graphic novel. The art is alright. But mostly I was turned off by the odd storyline and the devolved plot.
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David Weathers dies in a freak accident and finds himself in heaven but it is not what he thought it would be. Instead of living such a lack lustre afterlife he decides to break out with the help of an angel, but not before getting into fights, meeting relatives who died and were not missed, and realising that there seems to be some kind of class system in heaven and he is at the bottom of the pile. The idea behind the story is certainly original. The artwork wasn't a favourite of mine. It was certainly an interesting first volume amd it will be good to see how the series develops.
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A Spotty Story Arc, With Quite A Few Funny/Edgy Bits

We start with David, a whiny complainer with a side of sour and sadsack. He's in that "Curb Your Enthusiasm" category of love-hate, but mostly hate, characters. Not a promising start. The best description of David comes from his Uncle who meets up with him in Heaven and remembers the ice cream store incident. (In that, young David insisted on getting rum raisin ice cream and then cried when it was as disgusting as he had been warned. As Uncle Pat observes, "What kind of miserable little d&@#  cries when you take him for ice cream?".) 

So, if this were just David whinging it would get old fast. But there's a plot, of sorts, and some other set pieces that buoy the project. MILD SPOILERS. First off, there's real High Heaven, which is sweet. David is in regular Heaven. Think of the difference between a top of the list cruise line and a cutrate cheapo cattlecar cruise line. Or a five star hotel across the street from a decrepit housing project. Intriguing. Are we making some class divide points here? You can read it that way, and that works. (By the way, there are only a few references to Hell, but what you get makes Hell sound like a fun degenerate booze cruise. Worth exploring more in later issues.)

Anyway, after David wears us out with all of his gripes about crappy Heaven, we learn why there are two versions. The flashback to all of the big time saints working out the details is the best part of the book, even though after this point the story pretty much goes off the rails in terms of coherent action. What we also learn is that Saint Peter is a major dick, (think nastiest maitre'd ever), and he steals every scene he's in.

You see what I mean by episodic? David is not especially engaging, the plot is haphazard, some of the twists are krazy kat, but along the way there is enough pointed, edgy, and clever riffing to make the whole read worthwhile, entertaining, and skewed enough to be thought provoking. An interesting one of a kind sort of find. I didn't actually think I was liking it as I read it until I realized I couldn't put it down.

(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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Regular schlub David Weathers has an extremely bad day, culminating in his death. Luckily for him, he gets to Heaven; unluckily, it turns out to resemble a particularly characterless holiday resort, where everyone hates him for being apparently the only person who complains about this. To make matters worse, there turns out to be a High Heaven which looks like it's genuinely fun (for starters, they still have genitals there); Hell, even Hell looks like it might be fairly entertaining. So what gives? This is by no means a Good Place rip-off; if anything the tone is closer to Ty Templeton's little-remembered-except-by-me metaphysical satire Bigg Time. But I'd be surprised if that show's success hasn't made 'unexpected afterlife shenanigans with thought-provoking implications' a considerably easier pitch than would once have been the case. As tends to happen with new comics publishers, I'd noted Ahoy as vaguely promising (yes, despite their name), and then kept half an eye out for their first appearance either on Netgalley or in the Comixology sales; this was duly yanked from the former. Nice and early, too, though that comes with its own issues, like the introduction being lorem ipsum by A.Writer (though to be fair, I've read plenty worse). The comic itself, however, is pretty good. I believe Tom Peyer mainly worked in editorial, but I know he was hanging around and plotting with Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Mark Waid in their nineties heyday, and when I have read his stuff, it's generally been pretty good in an off-kilter sort of way, something which definitely applies here too. That's bolstered by Greg Scott's art and Andy Troy's colours, which really sell the sense of this supposed heaven as both surprisingly solid and yet utterly dispirited and ersatz.
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The protected PDF file is the only option available and it is not compatible with iOS in Safari or Chrome. I tried twice in each browser and got nothing but a 1 kb .acsm file that neither browser nor iOS knew what to do with.
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David is having a bad day. First, he confesses his love to a co-worker. Her response is that she is engaged to the very co-worker that encouraged him to express his love. Second, he is crushed by a falling piano. High Heaven is the story of how even heaven disappoints David on this horrible day.

Initially, David is surprised and relieved to be let into heaven by Saint Peter. However, he then sees his “mansion” that looks more like a jail cell and smells strongly of ammonia. The only food on offer is generic cheese crackers and feathers are floating everywhere. When David complains, constantly, he is ostracized by the other residents.

High Heaven is a good idea that needs fleshing out. There is a need to enlarge the characterizations and explain the why behind some of the characters’ decisions. Unfortunately, this is the entire series’ run so I will never find the answers I seek. Therefore, this book gets only 3 stars.

Thanks to Ahoy Comics and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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