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Thursday, June 29, 2006

At the comics shop, religion goes graphic by Alex Johnson

Judeo-Christian themes woven into comic books you might not expect


“With comics,” said Greg Garrett, the author of “Holy Superheroes! Exploring Faith & Spirituality in Comic Books,” “the fact that we’re dealing with ultimate questions of good versus evil — all of those things that we wrestle with in theology — it makes it a natural place for those to be part of any important story.”

Those ultimate questions are being asked in unexpected places. Four years ago, we learned that The Thing is Jewish when he was shown praying in Hebrew over the body of a friend he had sought to protect. (“It’s just ... you don’t look Jewish,” a surprised character tells the enormous, destructive orange rock-man, who explains to another character that he never said anything about it because he didn’t want to embarrass other Jews, seeing as he was, after all, an enormous, destructive orange rock-man.)

Reading the roll
You can track who’s what by diving into a database at, a project of the exhaustive religion reference site The database links to closely argued, heavily referenced essays that, for the most part, build compelling cases for its identification of a particular character’s church ways.

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