Comics and religion

The religious discourse of comics.

Research project: The religious discourse of comics Since the mid nineties a new trend has emerged: American and Franco-Belgian comics have started to intensively and explicitly deal with the world’s religions, in particular with Christianity, Islam, Judaism but also with non-theistic beliefs. This novelty may be seen in connection with a similar intensification of this trend in other media, first in historic novels, then in thrillers and last but not least in movies as well as in television. Seen from the point of view of social sciences and theology, such trend appears to be an aspect of the attention given to religion which started in the nineties and which attributed to religion a certain amount of importance and relevance (either in a positive or a negative sense). This project examines this new religious discourse on comics and provides a theologically informed analysis of comics. The results thus obtained are going to be interpreted from the point of view of social sciences and theology within the framework of the current discussion on the secular and post secular characteristics of the late modern “Western” societies. The project is carried out in three partial projects to be dealt with in consecutive order: (1) “Conspiracy and religion”: Firstly, we will study conspiracy stories which since the 90ies have become a popular component of historical novels or thrillers. (2) “The world’s religions in comics”. We will study the manner in which the world’s religions are represented in comics. Thus, the perspective is generalised. (3) “Transcendent powers and forces”: Individual transcendent forces will be considered. Thus, sub genres are created which deal with certain types of figures – above all, the evil personified by the devil and demons, but also angels which have gained great popularity in esotericism. Due to this part of the project genre-theoretical differentiations are possible. Pre publications of partial results: Hausmanninger, Th.: Mythen von Religion. Comicverfilmungen in den USA; in: Bohrmann, Th. et al (published in 2008):Handbuch populärer Film und Religion 2, Paderborn: Schöningh