A few months ago, I stumbled across a blog called Geek Goes Rogue. At the time, it only had three posts, but the premise looked interesting: a blog that was in part about faith and geek culture. Religion and Stan Lee are two things I’m pretty familiar with, yet I never would have thought to put them together. So it got me to thinking about what the Bible and comic books have in common. Here’s what I came up with:
Different Versions Told By Different People
Comic book series aren’t just one, ongoing narrative. Instead, they’re tweaked and updated with new plots and characters. Likewise, the Bible isn’t one book written by one author. It’s a collection of books, written by various people at different points in time with different views. And both can be wrapped up in different packages across cultures, too. In terms of comic books, just see Spider-Man: India.
Likewise, Bibles are published for different groups; there’s the Protestant Bible, and the Catholic Bible. There are Bibles for women, Bibles for teens, and even green Bibles for believers who are especially conscious about the earth.
The Stuff Great Stories Are Made Of
Since comic books, video games, fantasy tales, and the Bible all contain so many complex stories, these stories all share common themes. There’s family drama, with sibling rivalries. Cain vs. Abel in the Bible, and Loki vs. Thor in the Marvel universe. There are accounts of long-lost family members who are later redeemed, as in Star Wars and the tale of the prodigal son.
Both the Bible and The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring contain deep and loyal friendships: Just as Sam runs into the river at the end of the film to join Frodo on his trip to Mordor, Ruth refuses to part from Naomi when the latter decides to return to Bethlehem.
Then there’s the ever-popular story of the underdog. Moses was a stutterer. Peter Parker was an unlucky nerd. But then, with a shift of fate, they both become something much greater. And of course, every underdog suffers alienation and misunderstanding, two things Jesus experienced in spades.
Beings With Incredible Abilities
Both comic books and the Bible revolve around people who can do great things. Superman can fly, run at the speed of light, and handle heavy objects with ease. Green Lantern can imagine anything he wants into existing. Batman does pretty well for himself, in spite of not having any actual superpowers.
And of course, there are the Biblical “superheroes.” Jesus walks on water and heals people with just a touch. Mary bears a son without ever having intercourse. Her husband Joseph…also does pretty well for himself, in spite of not having any actual superpowers.
They’re A Source of Community
Worship gatherings help church goers find a place that’s warm and welcoming. At church, the faithful can come together and meet new people and feel God’s presence in that community. Something like this happens with nerds, too—especially at conventions, which are like worship gatherings for Whedonites: They feel so much love for the one thing that has brought them all together, and each person feels energized about what’s happening right in the moment, whether their favorite cast member has just walked on stage or they’re singing the lyrics to a theme song.
So these were the most obvious things I could think of, but I know there are several more. Comments are welcome. What say you, comic book/Bible enthusiasts? What other similarities can you think of?