A while ago, I was linked to a page on The New Humanist’s blog that listed comics that would be suitable reading for their regular audience. I’m an agnostic theist, but even I could see that they had some great titles in there. Seriously, go read the NH article. I’ll wait.
… It’s good stuff, right? But while I agree with the selection, I know full well that there are good comics with a pro-religious theme as well. Given recent events, I finally decided to compile such a list to prove that religion can be a force for good. Agree, or disagree – you have the right to do either.
Daredevil: Born Again (w: Frank Miller, a: David Mazzucchelli)
The idea of redemption is as old as time, but there are very few works of fiction that explore the concept as openly as this story arc from Miller’s defining run on the character from ’86. Matt Murdock is torn down in the most ruthlessly systematic way possible, and his journey from rock bottom is filled with all kinds of Catholic imagery.
The Bible (w: Sheldon Mayer, a: Joe Kubert & Nestor Redondo)
There have been many comic book adaptations of The Bible (they became almost de rigueur after The Comics Code neutered the horror and crime genres) but none of them have ever matched the grandeur of this graphic novel that was published by DC in 1975. While Sheldon Mayer does slip in a cringe-worthy jab about scientists not knowing everything early on, that’s soon forgotten when you see Kubert and Redondo draw such amazing renditions of scenes from The Book of Genesis. This is considered by many to be Kubert’s best one-off comic, and it’s not hard to see why.
The Spectre (w: John Ostrander, a: Tom Mandrake & others)
When you have a comic about a being with almost unlimited power that’s written by a former theology student, then you know you’re in for one hell of a ride. John Ostrander finally managed to figure what you do with a comic book character that can do whatever he feels like; give him somebody to question his methods. Father Richard Craemer (who was first shown in Ostrander’s Suicide Squad run, which has never been bettered) is arguably the most well-rounded religious character in comics, and his own personal story arc must be seen to be believed.
King David (w & a: Kyle Baker)
While Kubert & Redondo’s adaptation of The Book of Genesis was a tour de force in its sheer scope, Baker chooses to adapt parts of three Old Testament books (Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles) in the most offbeat manner. Seeing characters shift from the typical stilted dialogue usually found in The Bible to modern patter is really weird, but in a cool way.
Ms Marvel v3 (w: G. Willow Wilson, a: various)
When I hear about a new “legacy” superhero who also happens to be a minority, I tend to assume it’s an attempt by comic book companies to pull some “very special episode” guff. However, the fact that the current Ms Marvel title is written by an Islamic convert lends the title an authenticity that is hard to duplicate. Add in well-written dialogue and a likeable cast, and there’s really no reason not to love this.
Cairo (w: G. Willow Wilson, a: M.K. Perker)
Wilson’s first (and arguably best) foray into comics. She essentially tackles Islam’s past, present and future. She doesn’t shy away from any uncomfortable topics; suicide bombing is denounced as a cruel and selfish act, and culture clash and government censorship are routinely brought up throughout the narrative, because why deny the truth? The whole thing feels like it should be complicated, but it’s so easy to read.