Sexy Mermaid Jonah and other biblical coloring book disasters


Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

My Coloring Book of Old Testament Bible Stories

Author/Artist: None listed
Date: 1994
Publisher: Landoll, Ashland, Ohio
Discovered at: Thrift store
Perfect if you have ever: Wanted to see Jonah star in Madonna’s “Cherish” video.


As a former Sunday school boy, your Crap Archivist can assure you that the raw and horrifying stories of the Old Testament — say, Abraham prepping his son-gutting knife — are best introduced to children via the medium of felt on flannel board.

Coloring books are easier, though. But unlike felt, which is cheerfully abstract, the thickly inked pages of a coloring book demand detail that is often beyond the capabilities of the artists.

That means that during the story of Joseph five year-olds might get distracted with questions like, “Where’s that other camel’s head?”


A perilous desert crossing is no time to attempt a Camel Centipede!

While artists behind My Coloring Book of Old Testament Bible Stories botch hands, faces, composition, basic perspectives, and any suggestion of divine majesty, it’s animals that most confound them.

Meet Joseph’s Ass of Many Heads:


The other kids were jealous until they saw him milking its back teats.

A New Testament volume from the same publisher exhibits all the same problems.

Did you know that the donkey Jesus rode through Jerusalem had been smuggled inside a disciple’s robe?

Sometimes, the artists give up. Here, Jam Band Jesus is touched by the grace of God . . .



Yes, Jesus has been imagined in countless forms over the centuries, but something about this guy is just off.

Calmed an angry sea or jazz-handed at his high school’s track?

Here, his holy pupa parts, and Christ emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

Or maybe it’s an avocado throne. Or a Slanket. Or Duchamp’s Fountain.

But I’m getting ahead of the story! We may never know who drew this travesty, but this page offers an important clue about the author:


Story credit goes to Mel Gibson!

(The first laziest, of course, can be found in The Rambo Coloring Book.)

And here’s yet another awkward T. moment.

As long as they keep turning up, I am duty-bound to keep archiving ’em.

But, really, wouldn’t our culture be greatly improved if more masculine role models dared to project feelings beyond hardness? To paraphrase Ray Charles, that Ultimate Fighting aggro-bot in the movie ain’t fit to carry the original T’s shit bucket.