ComicsAlliance: Bible Adventures!



Today at ComicsAlliance, I’ve got a piece rounding up ten strange comics inspired by scripture, proving once again that I can work Devil Dinosaur into a list of anything.

I did leave one thing out that I wanted to include, however: All Star Superman. It doesn’t quite fit with the rest, as you’ll see (hence me omitting it), but it did give us maybe my favorite Morrison quote of all time:


I don’t want anyone to think I’m taking this literally–it’s not like Jimmy Olsen’s one of the disciples or Lois is the Magdalene–and imagine how different Western religion would be would be if God had rocketed Jesus to Earth so that he could escape the destruction of Heaven.


For the record? In my religion, Jimmy Olsen is totally one of the disciples.

40 thoughts on “ComicsAlliance: Bible Adventures!

  1. Kaine? No way. Even when we were in our most gullible years, nothing about the Clone Saga was the jam, unless you’re talking about the consistency of my brain after reading Maximum Clonage.

  2. Brother, if you’re gonna try to tell me that I didn’t take “Mark of Kaine” everywhere up to and including a week-long stay at a camp outside Greenville when I was 13, then you’re gonna be lyin’.

  3. I love how in Kingdom Come the bomb that kills Captain Marvel (and I guess almost everyone else) explodes in a cloud that looks like a cross.


  4. “In my religion, Jimmy Olsen is totally one of the disciples.”

    But which one? I’m reasonably sure he never kissed then betrayed Superman, but did he ever deny Superman three times? Or doubt Superman? Or– well, okay, I’m out of references (Sunday school was a looong time ago, and none of the other ever really get mentioned in any detail in the readings during Mass).

  5. Reminds me of a puff piece my local ABC affiliate did on the publication of “The Gospel According to the World’s Greatest Superhero,” a book released in the summer of ’06 arguing that Siegel and Shuster intentionally and happily conceived Superman as a Christ allegory, citing such rock-hard evidence as “Lex Luthor sort of sounds like Lucifer.”

  6. Thank you for not mentioning Jack Chick and thank you for not mentioning Daredevil’s incredibly mediocre Ten Commandments arc. I always liked the one where Superman fights the Spectre so he can punch his way into Heaven, but it’s not really scriptural at all.

  7. Just out of curiosity, how could you not give Lucifer more than just a brief mention?

    On a less serious note, I have to draw attention to Eev (Devil Dinosaur) and her stylin’ afro/beehive hybrid hair.

    And, is it just me, or does Pagus (Tales Designed to Thrizzle) look a lot like Zandor of the Herculoids?

  8. Casey, I remember the book you’re talking about. There was a whole series of those that came out around that time, like “Gospel according to the Matrix” and whatnot. Except for Richard Donner’s insistence on it, I don’t really know where the Superman-as-Christ metaphor comes from. It’s incredibly unpersuasive. It’s not like Superman wants us all to go to Krypton when we die.

  9. Jimmy Olsen as a disciple?

    Sounds about right – guy gets into trouble, calls his powerful friend to come get him out of it, yet the same thing happens the very next week.

    Though the disciples only tried to go fishing during lake storms, and Jimmy Olsen…well, where do I begin?

    And I don’t remember Jimmy Olsen ever hustling guys for their donkey because Superman needed it. But then again, I haven’t read all of his Silver Age adventures.

  10. I absolutely love Kirby’s work once he started writing and drawing everything himself, but I always thought it was ridiculous that the first issue of each new series would have a text piece by Kirby trying to explain why the title actually did or could have or could yet happen. Come on, Jack, you don’t need to justify a story about a world populated with talking tigers and apes or a monkey boy riding a semi-intelligent dinosaur.

  11. The main reason I’m willing to give the seemingly superfluous new Web of Spider-Man series a shot is because they’re leading off with a Kaine story.

    Sure, he’s 90’s extreme at a level that could only be worse if you gave him pouches (dark reflection of the hero who kills, long hair, costume has some spikes, constantly in agony, gets beaten up a lot for a supposedly unbeatable dude), but come on. The guy’s still awesome. He kills people with LETHAL SUCTION POWERS. The guy has STYLE.

    Up until Osborn finally took the next step in villainy, Kaine was the best thing to survive the Clone Saga (even if he was in limbo for nearly the entire time since then…).

  12. Someone should do a comic about my favorite Bible parable, where Wheelchair Wanda asks Jesus about his gun and it makes him so angry he takes a nap.

  13. Tim, it’s not “Superman as Christ”; it’s “Superman as the Messiah” which is something completely different. The concept has been kicked around for some time for obvious reasons. To crib from Alan Moore, Superman is about a man who comes from the sky and does only good. It’s a supernatural savior descending from the heavens in order to make life better for everyone.

    The Messianic Superman is far from the only thing in mix of influences that make up the character but it’s clearly there.

  14. He kills people with LETHAL SUCTION POWERS.

    In other words, he sucks so much it kills people!

  15. Yes, Boneman. And that makes him AWESOME.

    And that’s why he’s interesting. He’s a man of contradictions.

  16. Great list. I have to find and read some of those comics for good.

    Now a question, since I’ve only read the original Wrightson’s Swamp Thing and the megafamous Moore’s run on it: am I going to feel disappointed by Veidt’s run? I mean, how do you follow anything Moore has done?

  17. Veitch’s run is very similar in tone to Moore’s and makes an excellent follow-up, right ’til Doug Wheeler comes on in the middle of a story. But even then it’s pretty decent

  18. Ditto on Veitch’s run on Swamp Thing.

    Looking back, the Moore/Veitch ST was the point where DC firmly put Heaven and Hell in the DC geography. (I.e., not just place of light and angels / place of flame and guys who like to wear red.) Gaiman further fleshed it out in Sandman, with the Silver City et. al., but it started there.

    I’m not sure if the concept has been firewalled within the Vertigo titles in recent years. Etrigan sort of anchors the Dante-like hierarchy of Hell whenever he shows up, I guess.

  19. Some Guy, I think what pushes it into Christ-specific imagery with me is the addition of Jor-El as the wise father who so loves the world that he sacrifices his son, or even as the guy who has given Superman his mission, which I do detect in Donner’s Superman. And I’m very very bleh on Superman as Christ. If people besides Donner say that he’s messianic, rather than “saintly” or “angelic,” I don’t know enough about other religions’ views of messiahs to argue. So you’re probably right, but I still have reservations, which I lay out below, if anyone cares.

    First of all, it’s powerful, powerful imagery, that the strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men actually WANTS to do right. It’s gives a really comforting sense that the universe is a fairly benign place. But I feel like a Messiah, as opposed to a Nice Guy from Space has to do more than fight to maintain the status quo.

    I guess what I’m thinking is something more like the on-again off-again notion of Wonder Woman as the person who came to Earth (for all practical purposes) carrying god-given wisdom and wants to teach this particular wisdom (and light bondage) to others. She has a mission to liberate humanity from bad male behavior by teaching people to enjoy being tied up and listening to their feminine side. In contrast, Superman always does the right thing, but if you asked him if he had any great wisdom to impart, he’d say “Aw, shucks. Floss after every meal and don’t do drugs.” Maybe he liberates people from “crime,” I don’t know.

    Another example, this one may be kind of a cheat, if so, I withdraw it: Adam Warlock. Specifically, the story of his creation by the High Evolutionary, who sends him to Counter-Earth to save it from the Man-Beast. Obviously explicitly designed as a Christ analog, but messianic because he has a particular job of world-saving to do, after which Counter Earth will live happily ever after.

    I mean, if all this comes down to is my specific definition of “messiah” versus everyone else’s then clearly my position isn’t worth arguing over, but Superman as Christ, at least, is a definite non-starter for me.

  20. My favorite was the Marvel Pope John Paul one-shot where he met Spider-Man and fought a reborn Joseph Smith.

    Wait…that might have possibly been a fever dream.

  21. Tim, I think you need to strip the concept back a bit. Irregardless of which religion you’re looking at (Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, whatever) a messiah is a superior being who comes to a troubled world to fix things and save people. It’s just that simple. Modern writers have piled motivations onto Superman and the theme gets choked out a bit by the serial nature of comics but underneath it all Superman is acting as a messiah. He catches the falling plains, props up railroad bridges, and ends natural disasters because that’s the way his story is structured. Also, other messiahs have the duty of fighting evil gods who want to end creation and that’s ties things together nicely.

    I don’t think bringing up Adam Warlock is a cheat in this case; he’s just an instance of a very specific Christ analogue (at least until Jim Shooter changed everything). And I think you’ll see a lot this repeated in comic books thanks to Superman as the ur-superhero.

    That does get us back to the Batman/Superman divide since Batman grew out of another set of story telling traditions…

  22. Strange Girl remains one of my favorite things that Rick Remender has put out- the art’s great too.

    Has anyone read Millar’s “Chosen”? I have yet to, but thought it may end up on this list (though I have to say, I like hover board David better)

  23. Some Guy, I don’t want to make too big a fuss (although I am enjoying this), but I’m afraid that if we strip the concept back THAT far, the word “messiah” becomes interchangeable with just “hero.” Is that what you mean, that they are interchangeable? Or is there something about Superman that makes him more messianic than Doc Savage or Shazam or Green Lantern, all superior beings (and/or the direct representatives of superior beings), fixing a troubled world?

  24. Just want to remind everyone that Siegel and Shuster were Jews, so I’m pretty sure Superman wasn’t originally patterned after Christ. Moses is a closer parallel, with a baby being sent down in a basket downriver (or in a rocket through space) to avoid certain death.

    Of course, writers since then have been incorporating Christ elements.

  25. @Phill:

    Discovering that the Silver City was introduced in More Fun Comics fills me with great bubbling glee. Thank you!

  26. PS:

    I always get Chosen confused with Saviour, which may be Millar’s first published work.

    Saviour == the Antichrist as Superman. Raw and unnerving at the time, but the subject’s been done to death since then (particularly by Millar.)

  27. Tim, we’re getting into archtype structures here. It’s hard to make absolute definitions because they grow out of different sources. Generally speaking a messiah is going to have an aspect of the divine in some form, be altruistic, and overturn the bad things in the world to make it a better place for the mere mortals suffering in it. They can be (and the major examples I can think of are) a hero but a hero is not necessarily messianic. Batman, for example, is definitely not. Captain Marvel I would say is not because his theme is being a chosen mortal but I could see someone putting a good argument forward on it. This is literary interpretation so it’s far from an exact science and people will always bring their own worldviews into it.

  28. “Moses is a closer parallel, with a baby being sent down in a basket downriver (or in a rocket through space) to avoid certain death.”

    Don’t forget how Moses could shoot laser beams from his eyes.* :)

    *Yeah, yeah, I know heat vision was a later developement…

  29. I’m not sure Siegel and Shuster wouldn’t do a Christ parallel just because they were Jews? I’m not sure how their being Jews prevents them from playing with the concept of hey you know the Jesus story just needs 100% more laser vision and then it’d be an awesome comic book.

    I mean it’s not as though writers have never incorporated other religions into their writing take a look at all the abuses of Eastern Mysticism And All That Chi-Blast Zen Stuff, Man in comics.

    That said Superman could as easily be told as the perfect American dream immigrant story. Just change your name and make references to the Midwestern heartland and no one will know you’re an alien!

  30. The Nestor Redondo art in the treasury size The Bible from DC is really great. Cool seeing you post stuff from it.