The Book of Jonah keeps changing shape as I look at it, and each little part opens like a flower. The name Jonah means "dove," so as you can see I gave him a few. This became all the more appropriate when I learned that Jesus likened himself to Jonah, on account of they both spent three days approximately dead before being approximately reborn: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Jesus was a dovey guy too. The one speaking here is sitting in what is supposed to be an almond tree, which is biblical: Genesis calls it "among the best of fruits," and it is one of the first Israeli trees to flower, so it seems fitting for beginnings like the first panel of a comic.
So what is Jonah's problem? Why doesn't he want to go to Nineveh and prophesy? It's not as if he's never prophesied before: he does it in 2 Kings, in which he has a walk-on role as "Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher." (Joppa was about sixty miles from Gathhepher -- not an inconsiderable distance if you have to walk or ride a camel, but a lot closer than Nineveh, which was about 550 miles away.) Partially it could be because being a prophet wasn't a great way to make friends: just ask Jeremiah (if you can find him; he got exiled). But also it's going to turn out later that Jonah just doesn't like the Ninevites. Jonah, you see, is kind of a jerk, and that's one of the things I like so much about his book. He spends the whole time kvetching, disobeying, and putting innocent people at risk, and why? All in an attempt to trick God into destroying a city. (Like God's going to say, "Well, I was going to give Nineveh a chance, but Jonah got on a boat instead so what the hell, I'll just smite them.") It's a good thing Jonah chooses the technique known as "running the hell away," because God can cope with that pretty readily. You naughty prophet, I didn't say go to Tarshish. I said go to Nineveh, back there.
And hey, where the heck is Tarshish? We don't know, evidently. It's to the west, and it might be Tarsus, where Paul is from, but then again it might not be. It might be Carthage or part of India or one of a bunch of other places. It might not even be an actual place at all, but instead biblical shorthand for "way far away." I think I will start saying "Go to Tarshish!" when I'm being dismissive.