Sunday, May 5, 2013

Comic books and the gospel

On Saturday May 4, 2013, on my way to church, I saw the longest line that I have ever seen in Canada. It was a line that started at the comic bookstore and went all the way down to the end of the street, turning the corner unto another street. My wife commented "it is as if they are lining up for an important document". Unknown to her, but not to me, it was Free Comic Book day. Even still, it was surprising to see so many persons lined up in the sun, waiting to receive a free copy of a comic book! Some were even in costumes! Nevertheless, it tells of the human's fascination with heroes and villains and such narratives.

In my consumption of spiritual perspectives on comic books and superheroes, I have come across the view that states that comic book heroes are simply replacement gods. This view is thus articulated in the following paragraph:
Every culture since the dawn of time has told fantastical tales of heroes that have saved humanity from some unspeakable evil. The effect these mythological tales had on humanity when the true Savior Jesus Christ arrived on Earth was devastating, many didn’t recognize Him because they were seeking a much different hero. Did the Devil blind us from Christ’s first coming by flooding the world with counterfeits of God’s prophesies? Since Super Heroes in comics are based on classical myths, is the Devil blinding us again from the greatest supernatural event the world will ever witness, Christ’s second coming?
 Alternately, I have also read another spiritual perspective that suggests that
While [superheroes] themselves might not always speaks  outwardly about religion and the Gospel, their storylines make implicit, and sometimes explicit, points about theology. In this way the superhero myths direct readers toward the interface between popular culture and religious ideas... (Oropeza, 2005 p. 4)
Considering this, my perspective on the matter is simply that as Christians, while we may not share the beliefs and mythology as presented in comic books, we must recognise that comic books sometimes base their storylines on Biblical imagery (such as apocalyptic battles) and are the stories that the current generation and age are well versed in. It is important then for us to study to show ourselves approve, knowing the storylines and the way that comic books take Biblical ideas and imagery and twist them or use them to rewrite the theology of our everlasting gospel. But most importantly, we must be conversant in these stories to be able to engage the culture and share our gospel with them. I look at how Apostle Paul was able to engage the Hellenic or Greek community, because he was cognisant of their mythological views.

This does not mean that we must arduously consume comics. None theless, at least knowing the narratives and storytlines from Wikipedia or encyclopedias should be sufficient to give us some level of acquaintance with the narratives in order for ur to be able to identify similarities and differences between comic narratives and the Bible narrative.


Oropeza, B.J. (Ed.). (2005). The gospel according to superheroes: Religion and pop culture. New York : Peter Lang.

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