(Like cereal some shifting and settling may occur while shipping, so the views espoused may have changed since the writing transpired. This writer reserves the right to change his mind, evolve, adapt, modify his views, adjust and be proven wrong. )
Love, hate, war, peace, honor, duty, courage, fears, these important things are what make comic books the great medium they are. The essential things in life is what I believe Christianity should deal with as well, love, death, and how to treat one another.
But first let us break down the two industries as they present themselves. The comic book industry like the Christian church have two major factions, Marvel and DC. On the church side it is the Protestants and Catholics. So which is which.
Well Marvel is like the Catholic Church, one major organized cannon, one major city, all organized and coming out of one place. If you want to know what is going on in the Catholic Church look towards Rome, more precisely the Vatican. If you want to know what is going on in the Marvel Universe look towards their version of New York City. The Vatican has the Pope and the College of Cardinals. Marvel’s New York City has Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, the home base of the Avengers, Daredevil, Hero’s for Hire (for all you who are not familiar this is Luke Cage aka Power Man and his partner Iron Fist). Heck even the X-Men’s original home base of operations was right outside New York City in Westchester County, even being outsiders like they were, they were not that far geographically speaking from where everything was going on.
Now DC Comics is more like the Protestant church. No central location. If you want to find one place to look to, a place to say this is the center you will not find one. The Protestant church is spread out and divergent. I could not even begin to tell you where the major denominations call headquarters, just like the DC universe. Batman has Gotham, Superman has Metropolis, and the Flash has Central City.
Which brings us to another point about DC it is a hodge podge of different companies and creators. Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for Detective Comics. Superman conceived by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster two high school students living in Cleveland, Ohio who later sold their creation to DC comics. Wonder Woman created by a psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston for American Comics, which later merged with another company that later formed DC. I could go on but I think you see my point. Marvel had one core group of creators under one brand going back to Captain America in 1941, with a major player, Stan Lee that almost everyone knows along with some lesser known but equally important writers and artists, based in NY.
But whereas DC is now one big company the Protestants are just a label covering a variety of groups from the Nazarenes, Methodists, Baptists, and Lutherans and so on and so on.
Time for a disclaimer: I am a Christian, Born Again, Bible reading, church going, Sunday School teaching, washed in the blood of The Lamb, Christian. Now a lot of people reading that will automatically think hypocrite, judgmental, stick up his buttocks, closed minded jerk. And I might be all those things in your opinion. But the way I see myself, I am flawed person who tries to follow a great God. My God tells me to do two things first and foremost. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’….And second is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ” (paraphrased from Matthew Chapter 22) So when I get those first two down, when I can love God fully and love everyone as good if not better that I love myself, I will begin to worry about the other things like same sex marriage, whether or not Adam and Eve had a belly buttons, was the world created in 7 days or did God contract it out. All things that are highly important to some people, but for me I am still trying to get the love thing down.
Back to comics vs. Christianity. All superheroes have an origin story. Peter Parker and the radioactive spider, Batman and his parents getting killed, and Superman’s parents dumping him at the Kent’s in Kansas. Well the Christian faith has a whole holiday around an origin story, ever hear of this thing that happens every December 25th, called Christmas. All built around the origin of the man who split time in half, Jesus Christ.
Sidekicks, almost every superhero has had them. Batman/Robin, Captain America/Bucky, Green Arrow/Speedy, heck Marvel had one guy that was almost a professional sidekick, Rick Jones first with the Hulk, a time with Captain America and a period with the Avengers, and a very strange storyline with Captain Mar-Vell.
Now the Bible has sidekicks it just not called them that, but that what they were, supporting cast to the main character. Moses had Joshua (who later went on to his own career as a hero.), King David had his three mighty men. Jesus was such a hero he had twelve sidekicks, it later turned into 11 when one turned to the dark side (sorry mixed my mythos there). Even in the early days of the Christian church their chief missionary, Paul, was always picking up a sidekick along the way; Silas, Barnabas, Timothy.
Comic books like Christianity does not let death get in the way of telling a good story, just like Christianity the death of the main character is the point. Superman was killed by Doomsday in 1992 but somehow he is still around and wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants. Captain America did not stay dead after dying in 2007 and is back and throwing his shield making those around him yield. I could go on and on but death in the comic book world is not always dead, heck sidekicks have even been immune from death, the second Robin, Jason Todd came back from the great beyond.
But the point of death in Christianity, death is not the end. I personally don’t believe death means game over. Am I a body with a soul, or am I a soul that happens to live in a body for now? My answer the body is temporary, the soul is everlasting. The question is where my soul will spend eternity, now that is the question. A question I think I have found the answer for in my faith in Jesus Christ.
I believe each person was designed by God to be a hero, a hero with a very specific mission in life. To love the ones placed in their life like no one else. I believe everyone is a hero in their own book, maybe not with a cape or a fancy gadget that defeats bad guys, but a hero never the less. But if you want to wear a cape go ahead, I will try and love you anyways, and Jesus loves you always cape or no cape and no matter what is going on behind your mask.
Categories: Comic books Vs. Christianity, My Views On The Real World
I wonder whether you have read “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon. If not I’m sure you will enjoy it:
Not yet, but it looks likes something I should add to this summers reading list.
If you enjoy reading about the history of comic books you will enjoy this novel. As a bonus it is superbly well written.
Enjoyed this piece, especially as a Lutheran (one time Quaker) who has always been a big Marvel fan. Although I like a lot of the DC lines as well.