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American Comics, Literary Theory, and Religion by
Publication Date: 2014-11-19
Just as often as superheroes journey into the afterlife, they also return from it. Their surprising immortality has created its own set of storytelling rules and expectations; it also has come to influence their secular readership in new interreligious investigations of narrative character and personal selfhood. Unlocking a new and overdue model for reading comic books, this unique volume explores religious interpretations of popular comic book superheroes such as the Green Lantern and the Hulk. A. David Lewis argues that the superhero subgenre offers a hermeneutic for those interested in integrating mutiplicity into religious practices and considerations of the afterlife.
Graven Images by
Publication Date: 2010-10-21
Comic books have increasingly become a vehicle for serious social commentary and, specifically, for innovative religious thought. Practitioners of both traditional religions and new religious movements have begun to employ comics as a missionary tool, while humanists and religious progressives use comics' unique fusion of text and image to criticize traditional theologies and to offer alternatives. Addressing the increasing fervor with which the public has come to view comics as an art form and Americans' fraught but passionate relationship with religion, Graven Images explores with real insight the roles of religion in comic books and graphic novels. In essays by scholars and comics creators, Graven Images observes the frequency with which religious material—in devout, educational, satirical, or critical contexts—occurs in both independent and mainstream comics. Contributors identify the unique advantages of the comics medium for religious messages; analyze how comics communicate such messages; place the religious messages contained in comic books in appropriate cultural, social, and historical frameworks; and articulate the significance of the innovative theologies being developed in comics.
American Theology, Superhero Comics, and Cinema by
Publication Date: 2013-06-26
Stan Lee, who was the head writer of Marvel Comics in the early 1960s, co-created such popular heroes as Spider-Man, Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and Daredevil. This book traces the ways in which American theologians and comic books of the era were not only both saying things about what it means to be human, but, starting with Lee they were largely saying the same things. Author Anthony R. Mills argues that the shift away from individualistic ideas of human personhood and toward relational conceptions occurring within both American theology and American superhero comics and films does not occur simply on the ontological level, but is also inherent to epistemology and ethics, reflecting the comprehensive nature of human life in terms of being, knowing, and acting. This book explores the idea of the "American monomyth" that pervades American hero stories and examines its philosophical and theological origins and specific manifestations in early American superhero comics. Surveying the anthropologies of six American theologians who argue against many of the monomyth's assumptions, principally the staunch individualism taken to be the model of humanity, and who offer relationality as a more realistic and ethical alternative, this book offers a detailed argument for the intimate historical relationship between the now disparate fields of comic book/superhero film creation, on the one hand, and Christian theology, on the other, in the United States. An understanding of the early connections between theology and American conceptions of heroism helps to further make sense of their contemporary parallels, wherein superhero stories and theology are not strictly separate phenomena but have shared origins and concerns.
Databases and Journals
International Journal of Comic Art
The International Journal of Comic Art is published two times yearly. International and multidisciplinary in scope, IJOCA aims to publish scholarly and readable research on any aspect of comic art, defined as animation, comic books, newspaper and magazine strips, caricature, gag and political cartoons, humorous art, and humor or cartoon magazines.
A typical issue includes about 500-700 pages, averaging 30 articles and more than 200 illustrations. More than 50 countries of every continent have been subjects of articles. Additionally, International Journal of Comic Art features editorials, book and exhibition reviews, bibliographic essays, resource columns, a portfolio of cartoons worldwide, and interviews.
Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels
Primary source database focusing on adult comic books and graphic novels. Beginning with the first underground comix from the 1960's to the works of modern sequential artists, this collection contains more than 75,000 pages of comics and graphic novels, along with 25,000 pages of interviews, criticism, and journal articles that document the continual growth and evolution of this artform. Volumes I & II.
The storyline focuses on Priya, a human woman and ardent devotee of the Goddess Parvati who has experienced a brutal rape and the social stigma and isolation resulting from it. The Goddess Parvati is horrified to learn about the sexual violence that women on Earth face on a daily basis and is determined to change this disturbing reality. Inspired by the Goddess, Priya breaks her silence. She sings a message of women’s empowerment that enraptures thousands and moves them to take action against GBV around the world. This project highlights the threat of sexual harassment and violence that women face on a daily basis unless deeply rooted patriarchal norms are challenged.
Comics and the Superhero Afterlife
In this wide-ranging interview with A. David Lewis, comic books are presented as an irreplaceable cultural medium for engaging with issues of mortality, identity, subjectivity, and cosmology. With an overwhelming slate of comic book driven television series (Walking Dead, Gotham, Flash, Green Arrow) and a rising tide of superhero films and franchises (X-Men, Fantastic Four, and the Avengers), there has never been a more essential time to recognize the cultural merits of comic books and seek out their academic rewards.
The Homepages of A. David Lewis, Religion, English, and Graphic Novel Polymath