The Gospel According to Superheroes: Religion and Popular Culture
The Gospel According to Superheroes: Religion and Popular Culture offers an intriguing look at superheroes in light of the spiritual and mythological roles they play in our lives. B. J. Oropeza takes you through the adventuresome quest of three comic book eras as you read about the popular narratives of superheroes such as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Wonder Woman, the Fantastic Four, sci-fi film heroes, pulp heroes, antiheroes, and more. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in viewing the superheroes as both sinners and saints instead of mere good guys taking on the forces of evil.
Also consider the following resources:
Do The Gods Wear Capes?: Spirituality, Fantasy, and Superheroes (New Directions in Religion & Literature)
Brash, bold, and sometimes brutal, superheroes might seem to epitomize modern pop-culture at its most melodramatic and mindless. But according to Ben Saunders, the appeal of the superhero is fundamentally metaphysical – even spiritual – in nature. In chapter-length analyses of the early comic book adventures of Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and Iron-Man, Saunders explores a number of complex philosophical and theological issues, including: the problem of evil; the will-to-power; the tension between intimacy and vulnerability; and the challenge of love, in the face of mortality. He concludes that comic book fantasies of the superhuman ironically reveal more than we might care to admit about our human limitations, even as they expose the falsehood of the characteristically modern opposition between religion and science. Clearly and passionately written, this insightful and at times exhilarating book should delight all readers who believe in the redemptive capacity of the imagination, regardless of whether they consider themselves comic book fans.
Holy Superheroes! Revised and Expanded Edition: Exploring the Sacred in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Film
Spider-Man. Batman. The X-Men. The Fantastic Four. Comic books and the characters they have spawned have become twenty-first-century mythology. Greg Garrett helps us see the profound depth that can be found in the glossy, fast-paced, and often violent world of comics, graphic novels, and the films they inspire. Holy Superheroes! provides extensive discussions of some of our most beloved comic heroes and concludes with an appendix of twenty-five comics and graphic novels for discussion of spirituality and comics.
Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books & Graphic Novels
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.
Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes
From occult underground to superhero! Was Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luthor based on Aleister Crowley? Can Captain Marvel be linked to the Sun gods on antiquity? In Our Gods Wear Spandex, Christopher Knowles answers these questions and brings to light many other intriguing links between superheroes and the enchanted world of estoerica. Occult students and comic-book fans alike will discover countless fascinating connections, from little known facts such as that DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz started his career as H.P. Lovecraft’s agent, to the tantalizingly extensive influence of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophy on the birth of comics, to the mystic roots of Superman. The book also traces the rise of the comic superheroes and how they relate to several cultural trends in the late 19th century, specifically the occult explosion in Western Europe and America. Knowles reveals the four basic superhero archetypes–the Messiah, the Golem, the Amazon, and the Brotherhood–and shows how the occult Bohemian underground of the early 20th century provided the inspiration for the modern comic book hero. With the popularity of occult comics writers like Invisibles creator Grant Morrison and V for Vendetta creator Alan Moore, the vast ComiCon audience is poised for someone to seriously introduce them to the esoteric mysteries. Chris Knowles is doing just that in this epic book. Chapters include: Ancient of Days, Ascended Masters, God and Gangsters, Mad Scientists and Modern Sorcerers, and many more. From the ghettos of Prague to the halls of Valhalla to the Fortress of Solitude and the aisles of BEA and ComiCon, this is the first book to show the inextricable link between superheroes and the enchanted world of esoterica.
Exploring religion in film, the spirituality of television shows, and meaning found within popular culture.
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