This was a lecture presented by Stephen Garner from Auckland University for the Centre for Theology and Public Issues.  The subject was god and religion in comics and graphic novels, which can be an overlooked part of popular culture.  As always I came away with some thoughts.  These come to mind:

Like Garner I encountered those comic book tracts that circulated in earlier decades.  I believe he refered to them as Chicks Comics.  Peter Rollins also refered to them in his book Insurection.  Rollins noted that after the moment of decision-making for or against accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour death is almost instantaneous, meaning the soul went directly to judgement before Christ on the great white throne without having lived out a life in the physical world where everything happens.  Those who rejected Jesus were condemned to eternal damnation.  I found that creepy and disturbing.  I think it’s made me a universalist.

Mention was made of Neil Gaiman and his Sandman series.  It was noted that Gaiman doesn’t do Christianity.  I think he makes comment on religion and theodicy in an important story in that series where Lucifer in a deliciously evil scene abdicates from Hell and gives the lord of dreams the keys to Hell.  Morpheus must then decide what to do with the responsibility for that domain, and its consequences.

The DC universe has a cosmogony where god is the Source, the Voice and the Word.  It is part of this cosmogony that people keep on coming back.  Death’s kingdom has a revolving door.  Creative artists want to bring characters back.  Our understanding of the characters evolves as new generations of artists and readers consume comics.  The characters are always in the first generation, the discovery of the new thing.  They are on the path of the hero, but unlike the heroes of legend and history, they can never reach the closure of their quests.  The commercial requirements of the comic industry colluding  with the reading public demands that they are always ‘marrying and giving in marriage until the days of the flood’.  We demand it of them.