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Philip Garside Books

Gone Astray - Print.

Gone Astray - Print.

Regular price $10.00 NZD
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Gone Astray: A Collection Of (Sac)Religious Cartoons By Jim

By Brendan Boughen

Published: 2006
Language: English
Soft cover, 96pp, b/w
Dimensions:149mm x 210mm
Words: 2280
ISBN: 9780473118860

Was $19.99, now $10.00. Two copies only available at this special price as at 14 Dec 2023.

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Church folk often take ourselves too seriously. Jim’s warm-hearted, but edgy, cartoons help us to see the funny side of church life. No one is spared – clergy, organists, parishioners – all get a gentle prod. Good, thought-filled fun, well balanced between the trite and the bite of cartooning humour.

Crazy Christians – fuming fundamentalists – loopy liberals – batty believers – oddball organists – vivacious vicars – peckish preachers – antsy angels – Elvis, Jesus and the occasional sheep. This book proves why religion and cartoons are a dangerous mix. You might just die laughing. Jim has been drawing (sac)religious cartoons for more than 10 years. This is his first collection.

“If you’ve ever been a member of, or simply attended a church for any length of time, you might find some characters to be quite familiar. You’ll meet conservatives, liberals, fundamentalists, progressives, grumpy Lutherans, crazy Anglicans, Buddhists, rebels, organists, terrorists, organists who are terrorists, angels who are pigs, agnostics, antagonists, atheists, and Jesus himself … who I don’t think minds being drawn.
First up though, you’ll meet a guy called Jeff. If you can follow the thread of his spiritual journey over this decade of cartoons, you’ll have some small sense of my own path during that time.

By the end, I hope you’ll feel that maybe cartoons and religion aren’t such a bad mix. After all, they do have a lot in common.

Both are paths to uncovering truth and revealing the meaning of life. But while religion is about finding order and solace in the face of the apparent random swirling chaos of the universe, cartoons are about laughing in the face of that terrifying reality.

I hope you’ll find something in these cartoons which will provoke some deeper thought about those realities, as well as a few laughs.” Jim, from the Introduction

Praise for Gone Astray

“For those who haven’t come across Jim’s collection of vicars, elders and the places they lurk in, think of the cartoons by Melbourne’s Leunig and divide by pew. Gone Astray is a collection of some 80-odd gags with a strictly religious bent, in a similar format and tradition to the Muldoon joke book. Jim manages to pack an effective punch with a fairly limited stock of characters, poses and a very basic drawing style. Jim utilises a number of comic devices ranging from word and picture puns, commentary on current events and surreal juxtapositions to provide a much-needed counterpoint to the serious business of worship and evangelism. Funny faces are a rarely employed device reserved for the Anglicans. Jim’s cartoons are generally warm-hearted and his best work captures some of the attitudes that must make non-Christians wonder what planet Christians inhabit. If laughter is the best medicine, then this collection of partially polished gemstones from a Lutheran tumbler may be anointed with gifts of healing.” Paul Marcroft, Stimulus Magazine

“Jim’s cartoons are a good mix. This collection covers the whole range, from twists on biblical subjects, borax on our religiosity, to a commentary on historic events. He pokes his humour in all directions, at that which would absorb us unnecessarily, at the foibles of the church, at me, (possibly you!) and, I suspect, at himself. This is good, thought-filled fun. It is well balanced between what I would call the trite and the bite of cartooning humour. Jim’s side kick Jeff appears from time to time through the book, a searching fellow in more ways than one. No matter what one’s theological prejudice, there is plenty of joyful fodder here, made in New Zealand and it fits great.” Rev Don Biggs, Touchstone magazine

“Most of Jim’s cartoons poke gentle fun at religious culture, in the way that only someone with intimate familiarity can. His cartoons trace a journey that has involved an unflinching examination of forms and traditions. The easily offended may perceive insult within its pages. But it’s hard to imagine anyone who has sat through a church service failing to raise a wry smile. Like Adrian Plass, Boughen practices a brand of humour that magnifies the foibles of the Church without negating its heart. His subtle attacks are aimed at ‘churchianity’ that forgets its foundation rather than Christianity itself. I love these cartoons. They’re intelligent, funny and moving. Despair over bizarre traditions or institutionalism is transmuted into the sense that with laughter comes hope, and that perhaps even God might even laugh. Collected together in this book, the individual cartoons form a greater whole and reward repeat viewings.” Amanda Wells (Spanz Magazine)

“William Fry said, ‘a belly laugh is internal jogging.’ The health benefits are enormous. Laughter lowers blood pressure, increases circulation and improves heart health. Laughter is even used in some psychotherapy. Laughter is also great spiritual practice. It stops us from taking ourselves too seriously. It’s a lesson in humility, and not taking life so personally. That’s why I’m so excited that my friend Jim has published a collection of his funniest cartoons in a collection called Gone Astray. Jim, aka Brendan Boughen, and I were partners in ecclesiastical crime in Auckland, New Zealand. Jim pokes fun at the church, church leaders, fundamentalism and literalism. No one is spared in this riotous collection. You will laugh, you will wince and ultimately you will find your life and health enhanced by reading Gone Astray”. Ian Lawton (Christ Community Church, Spring Lake, Michigan)

“Jim’s characteristic style and insightful take on all things church and religious holds no punches. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and sometimes it may even make you scratch your head. Recommended pew-side reading for all.” Anthony Dancer (The Social Justice Commission of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa , New Zealand and Polynesia)    

“Jim does cartoons about church things. Quite a few puns, which I particularly enjoyed. Jim is coming from the liberal end of Christian goings-on, so people of a similar ilk are likely to particularly enjoy what he does. But I think people of most ilks will enjoy it actually.” Dave Walker (Cartoonist &  internet columnist)

“Brendan Boughen’s book of irreverent cartoons, Gone Astray, is a must-have for any church-person with a sense of humour. The book contains a tribute to WMN and the wonderful cartoon series featuring Elsie Schmidt and her guardian angel the flying pig, as Elsie grapples with her sense of call and studying theology. If you need a good laugh then buy this book!” Helen Lockwood (Women’s Ministry Network, Australia)

“Brendan’s cartoons are all about intelligent humour. What he does is observe the simple things in life and brings our attention to things that normally we take for granted. I love his sacrilegious cartoons in particular for their dry wit and insight into how very closed communities operate. His cartoons are a great example of what great communication does – it’s simply complex – like Shakespeare you can take it at different levels. That, in my view, is what makes his cartoons a joy, you can read them once and read them again and again and get different things out of them, rather than a one-off gag. That’s quite an achievement in one frame. Most film directors can’t manage that in millions of frames. Jim is the Shakespeare of religious cartoonists.” Jake Pearce (

“Gone Astray is an irreverent dig at religion. In cartoon form, with captions, this will bring a smile or even a chuckle. The cartoons are somewhat crudely drawn; however, they have a message, and it never hurts for us to look at ourselves as others may see us. Religion, like politics, suffers the same jibes from a discerning public. Jim draws and speaks from his own experience as a Christian, through a character named Jeff. Jim says in the introduction, ‘If you have been a member or simply attended a church, many of the characters will be familiar.’ That is an observation and not a criticism. There is a wonderful mix of humanity as it is, and even if we dislike it, the way it will probably remain.” Rev. Lyn Corr, The Anglican

About the Author

Brendan Boughen’s (Jim’s) cartoons have featured in magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

He has drawn cartoons for businesses, hospitals, community organisations and churches, and is an associate member of the Australian Cartoonist’s Association.

Jim draws black and white gags, full-colour cartoons, single panel or comic strips that aim to go a little deeper than most and work on multiple levels.

In December 2006, Jim published his first book, titled Gone Astray: A Collection of (Sac)Religious Cartoons by Jim (now available as an eBook in ePub. Kindle and PDF formats and as a print-on-demand book)

His 2016 book Sounds Like a Game Changer (Now available as an eBook in ePub. Kindle and PDF formats and as a print-on-demand book) gathers more than 100 of Jim’s best tech cartoons alongside his written thoughts on his experiences communicating about technology as it’s evolved over the last crazy, game-changing decade.

These days, Jim’s cartoons can be seen monthly in the editorial pages of the New Zealand Methodist Church’s Touchstone magazine and randomly in a variety of publications around the world. 


  • Introduction
  • Jeff
  • By the book
  • Churchianity
  • Of the cloth
  • Lutherans
  • More Jeff
  • Acknowledgements
  • About the author
  • About this book
  • Also by Brendan Boughen (Jim)
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