In M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson, playing the character of Elijah Price, states that comic books are an ancient way of passing on history. They are our version of the ancient mythologies.
I’ve never been that avid a comic-book reader, and it’s something I have some regret over, so I’m hoping that you all will help me out with comments, as you have in my past attempts to write about the media’s coverage of comic books and religion. I will say that after watching Superman Returns I was somewhat impressed with level of religious imagery. But without that background, it would be easy to completely miss, which is why I believe many movie reviewers missed it.
But on to more comic-book news.
Saturday’s Washington Post carried an excellent piece on the longstanding battle between the two comic-book titans, DC and Marvel. The article, written by Hank Stuever, makes many comparisons between the two publishers, but largely leaves out the subject of religion:
DC Comics, led by Superman, was for people who adored the fantasy, the Ubermensch triumphant. These readers loved skyscrapers and archvillains and sidekicks, billowing flags, unerring ethical strength.
Marvel, led by Spider-Man, was a place for the smart but troubled reader, the deeply weird. They loved the night, the underground, accidents in the lab. All that dialogue, so many thought balloons! The heroes always on some emotional ledge, and the hubris of it all — a grittiness that came with saving the world.
DC was about younger kids in back yards, wearing bath towel capes, leaping from treehouses.
Marvel was about older kids in basements, possibly stoned, deconstructing Thor.
DC invented places to go — Metropolis, Gotham City, Paradise Island.
In the Marvel universe, New York is New York, and it’s nothing but trouble.
DC: It was always the Fourth of July.
Marvel: It was always Halloween.
DC: Comic books are a wonderful escape.
Marvel: Comic books are a dark refuge.
Does a discussion of religion in these two comic book empires have a place? I wouldn’t be able to say for sure because, as I said, I am not an avaricious reader of comics. I would say, after seeing Superman Returns, that the folks over at DC Comics appear to be more in tune to the religious side of the world, but I don’t see why that would be any different over at Marvel Comics.
So you tell me. Did this article miss something?