ReligionProf Podcast with A. David Lewis

ReligionProf Podcast with A. David Lewis March 27, 2019

There has already been a lot of attention to A. David Lewis’s revival of the Muslim superhero Kismet, and so I’m both delighted to have the chance to have David on the podcast, and also a bit embarrassed that it took me quite as long as it did to make this happen. But it was a truly fantastic conversation, as I’m sure you’ll agree once you listen to it if you haven’t already done so!

Meanwhile, on a different podcast, Matt Brake talked about a book that he is co-editing with David about religion and comics.

In the rest of this post, I’ll include links and multimedia materials about Kismet, but also about anything else that has to do with religion and comics. Hope you find it all interesting!

First Muslim superhero returns after 70 years, just in time to take down a few Nazis

Interview: A. David Lewis embraces Kismet

There are video trailers for the comic books too:

David himself blogs, and not long ago he blogged about a new graphic novel featuring Jesus. Hemant Mehta also blogged about it, as did at least one other Patheos blogger:

Some Christians Say DC’s New “Jesus Christ” Superhero is “Blasphemous”

“Blasphemous” Jesus Christ Comic Was Killed, But Creators Seek Resurrection

No Second Coming for DC/Vertigo

Comic With “Blasphemous” Jesus Character Gets Resurrected By New Publisher

David also blogged about Crucified.

Stephen Garner continued his series on comic books and religion with Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and then in addition, he also blogged separately specifically about Batman.

I also had an extended review of Batman vs. Superman shared with me, prompted by my own long-overdue review of the movie. Here’s an excerpt from that review, on the subject of theology:

In one moment of pop theology, Lex Luthor uses the old theological paradox: if God is all powerful, he cannot be good, and if God is good, he cannot be all powerful. Luthor said this paradox to Superman, referring to Superman and his impact on the world. What I found unforgivable was that at no time did Superman CORRECT Lex. Superman as I know him would have made it very clear that he is NOT GOD, and thus any discussion about him needs to start from a different place. It was disturbing and troubling, and clearly, it sets up some pretty ugly possibilities for the future of the DC Cinematic Universe.

See too David Walker on his graphic novel biography of Frederick Douglas, Marlon James on mythology and trauma in Tolkien, and Gita Jackson on writing about race in video games. The new Pattern Podcast explores the work of Octavia Butler. Pastor Will Rose wrote about comics and the art of the cliffhangerDoug Cowan gave an interview about Stephen King as theologian, to which Regina Hansen responded.  John Morehead blogged about the Golem movie. Ken Derry’s and John Lyden’s work on Star Wars was reported on.

I have an idea for a comic book or graphic novel of my own, that I hope to pursue. It would relate (albeit not overtly) to information literacy. At the intersection of information literacy and comics, Jennifer Posner shared the news that a project she has been working on has led to a comic for younger readers on media literacy.

Also of possible interest are two calls for papers related to upcoming conferences:

https://relcfp.tumblr.com/post/183090829515/cfp-die-figurlosigkeit-des-b%C3%B6sen-in-der-popul%C3%A4ren

https://relcfp.tumblr.com/post/183280648290/cfp-altern-in-der-popul%C3%A4rkultur-d%C3%BCsseldorf

And for those who aren’t into comics (yet)…

 

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  • John MacDonald

    One problem with Superman is that if he got angry, or drunk, or manic, or crazy, or went sleepwalking, he could destroy humanity in a matter of seconds (eg. stop the earth from spinning; push the earth into the sun; etc), so I can see where a desire to get rid of superman might come from.

    It’s not only an issue of whether Superman becomes Evil, but of all the real existential human crises that might arise simply from Superman being a person.

    I had a friend who lived a normal life until he was 28, but then developed Bipolar type 1 and lost his job, was committed to a psyche ward around 15 times for being delusional, and was arrested a number of times for bizarre behavior. The problem with Superman is that you never know what could happen, not just that power might corrupt him.

    Consider the movie Superman 3. Gus and Vera, disguised as Army officers, give Superman the flawed Kryptonite, which has no immediate effect, but Superman soon becomes selfish; his desire for Lana causes him to delay rescuing a truck driver from a jackknifed rig hanging from a bridge. Superman becomes depressed, upset, and casually destructive, committing petty acts of vandalism, such as blowing out the Olympic Flame, and straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Superman goes on a drinking binge, is overcome by guilt, and suffers a nervous breakdown. In a junkyard, Superman splits into two personas: the immoral, corrupted Superman and the moral, righteous Clark Kent. They engage in a battle, ending when Clark strangles his evil identity. Restored to his normal self, Superman repairs the damage his counterpart caused. What might have happened if the immoral Superman won?

    So, I understand it being an issue of questioning whether we need to get rid of Superman simply because he is as powerful as he is.

    • John MacDonald

      Given the frailty of the human mind, it also raises the question of how much power our political leaders should have – like whether the instruments of Nuclear War should be entrusted to just one person …

      • John MacDonald

        One last thought.

        Stan Lee taught us that with great power comes with great responsibility. We all remember what powerful Anakin did in a moment of profound anger to the Sand People for what they did to his mother. Imagine what an infinitely more powerful Superman could, in a moment of profound anger, be capable of if something similar happened to Lois Lane. I am reminded of the end of the powerful/moving Survivors episode of Star Trek TNG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNbQZ_jMR2E