Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books

This one book I want to read. I have at least 3 different books examining Christianity and its themes in superhero comics, but Graven Images from Continuum aims to open the door to many religions. It has some impressive contributors including G. Willow Wilson (Vertigo’s Air, and more recently Superman) and is edited by A. David Lewis who wrote The Lone and Level Sands OGN from Archaia, and helped organise a conference of the same name as this book. Press release below, and Graven Images is available from Continuum now. There’s a preview on their site and a look at the contents including essays on Superman, From Hell, Preacher, Invisibles, Sandman, Blankets, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and more. Phew.

Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels
Edited by A. Davis Lewis and Christine Hoff Kramer
Includes Essays By Douglas Rushkoff, G. Willow Wilson, and scholars around the world
Original Cover Art by Carla Speed McNeil
A multifaceted exploration of the role of religion in comic books and graphic novels- “the illuminated manuscripts” of today.

Available Now

Comic books have increasingly become a vehicle for serious social commentary and, specifically, for innovative religious thought. Practitioners of both traditional religions and new religious movements have begun to employ comics as a missionary tool, while humanists and religious progressives use comics’ unique fusion of text and image to criticize traditional theologies and to offer alternatives.

Addressing the increasing fervor with which the public has come to view comics as an art form and Americans’ fraught but passionate relationship with religion, Graven Images explores with real insight the roles of religion in comics books and graphic novels.

In essays by scholars and comics creators, Graven Images observes the frequency with which religious material- in devout, educational, satirical, or critical contexts- occurs in both independent and mainstream comics. Contributors identify the unique advantages of the comics medium for religious messages; analyze how comics communicate such messages; place the religious messages contained in comic books in appropriate cultural, social, historical frameworks; and articulate the significance of the innovative theologies being developed in comics.

A. David Lewis is a national lecturer in Comics Studies, an award-winning graphic novelist, and a PhD candidate in Religion and Literature at Boston University.
Christine Hoff Kramer holds a PhD in Religion and Literature from Boston University and is a Department Chair of Nature, Deity, and Inspiration at Cherry Hill Seminary, South Carolina.