That’s right, dear reader, you read that correctly. I wrote a book! A year ago I announced I had signed a contract with Claremont Press to write a volume for their Religion and Comics Series. I promised to update you all with more information when I had it and when I could and…(drum roll please)…that time has come! Ahhhhhhhh, I wrote a book AND I get to tell you about it. It’s a super exciting day :D. So read on, dear reader, and I can tell you all about my upcoming book. YAY!
My text will explore the intersection of modern superhero comics with the prophetic tradition in scripture. When we talk about the Bible and prophets, it’s easy to conflate divination with prophecy. Divination is telling/predicting the future. However the prophets were God-anointed, spirit-filled individuals who critiqued societal injustice, reminding those who worship God how far they’ve strayed from the world of justice, equality, inclusion, and love God calls us to create. The biblical prophets were rarely popular. Even today, who wants to hear how badly we’re messing things up let alone how the comforts of our lives come at the expense of the oppressed and that we have a responsibility to upend our comforts to make a world of justice for all? Often the prophets weren’t overly excited to accept God’s call either but, reluctant or not, they spoke with passion, fire, and fury to call out the sins of society and challenge all who heard them to live differently. The prophetic call was, in part, to abandon the corrupt ways of the world in favor of the ways of God.
My book looks at modern superhero comics which do the same. Now, this text doesn’t make the claim that “everything in these comics is about God” nor that the authors were writing explicitly religious stories with explicitly religious messages. But it will outline how messages naming the corruption of systemic sin in our world and models of alternative paths which build more just societies can be found in comic books, in the combination of the right character in the hands of the right creator.
To that end, the book will examine the runs of five specific creators on five specific characters/titles:
1) Kelly Thompson’s Deadpool (2019-2021)
2) Eve Ewing’s Ironheart (2018-2019)
3) Jason Aaron’s Thor (2012-2019)
4) Ryan North’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2015-2019)
5) Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther (2016-2021)
How do these authors use these characters to name and challenge systemic injustice in our world and model paths to building a more loving, inclusive, and just world?! And where do the messages in those comics intersect with the messages of the biblical prophets?! Well, you’ll have to wait for the book to find out ;D. But I’ve finished my initial writing and now the text has moved into peer review which will lead to formal editing and all that fun stuff! You can count on my letting you know when you can preorder, buy, and read it yourself, too!
In related blogging news, long time readers will know how often I used to write about Squirrel Girl, Thor, Deadpool, Black Panther, and Ironheart and may’ve noticed their absence in articles over the last few years. As I was writing this book, I had to stop writing about those characters here because I didn’t know what I would end up including in the text. But now I know! And that means I can start writing about all the other thoughts, insights, and feels I have about these characters on my site again!
So let the excitement commence because it’s time to eat nuts and kick butts on this blog once more! (And, you know, obviously I’ll do Black Panther, Thor, Ironheart, and Deadpool stuff a lot, too, but they don’t have an as easy-to-incorporate catchphrase like Squirrel Girl does.)
I’m very proud of the book I’ve written (and so thankful for the people who helped me get the text to this point) and in sharing this news with you, dear reader, I feel very full. So thank you for sharing in this moment with me and I hope you have a beautiful day yourselves. You’re magnificent and I love you :).