The Religious influence on Comic Books Many individuals perceive mythology as a thing for the past, however, after keen observation one notices that mythology runs deep within the modern society. The only changing factor that has occurred concerning mythology and occultism in the modern times is the channeling avenue. Comic books take a center stage in the presentation of ancient religions such as mythology and occultism in the modern world. Actually, religion appears as a constant theme in most comic books. Religion in comic books does not only determine the plot development in comic books, but also how characters appear in the same books.
In comic books, religion determines themes and plot development. Plot development determines the actions performed by the characters. In the comic book, “Our Gods wear spandex” religion (mythology and occultism) takes center stage in driving the plot. The lives of characters in this novel revolve around four key historical periods, the modern times, the Egyptian mythological times, the Roman times and the Greek mythological times(Knowles 30). Each religious period, produces characters with unique personal traits and moral understanding, extensively influenced by the respective period (Wandtke 26). This comic book narrates the emergence of comic superheroes in the 19th century (Knowles 44). It also relives how each character transforms as a response to drastic cultural change of this period. “Our Gods Wear Spandex” extremely focuses on the rapid spread of occultism in Western Europe and America during the late 19th century (Knowles 50). The spread of occultism during the late 19th century gives rise to four key categories of characters in this comic book. The Messiahs (Superman, Captain America and Spiderman), are selfless individuals. they sacrifice their lives to save the human kind (Knowles 53). The Amazons (Wonder Woman), the female collaborators of the Messiahs, they come in handy in saving lives (Knowles 56). The Golems (Wolverine and Punisher) are the antagonists. they are evil to the core. The fourth group known as Magic Men (Green lantern) applies magic in saving the world (Knowles 59). In this case, in respect to the period of history in which a comic book focuses on, religion plays a critical role in determining and developing personality trait of each character presented within the book.
Secondly, in comic books religion presents the characters as subjects to super natural powers such as magic. Thoth the Egyptian lunar god was the pioneer of magic and one of the founding fathers of the Hermeticism practice (Wandtke 30). Some of the notable characters in the comic book “Our Gods Wear Spandex” like Green Lantern trace their existence to magic (Knowles 74). Most individuals perceive super heroes as the height of power and immortality. Religion in comic books on the contrary, strips off this stereotype of super heroes as always powerful and knowing (Wandtke 32). Instead, religion represents comic characters as similar to mortal beings in terms of being dependent on divine powers (Wandtke 33). Religion in comics books acts as the origin of comic superheroes. Apart from the character Green Lantern, Superman also originates from a religious and mythical background. Both mythical and biblical characters Hercules and Samson respectively act as the point of inspiration behind the creation of superman (Knowles 80). In proving this, a picture of the character superman in Actions Comic #1, is an imitation of an original painting by Antonio Del Pollaiolo displaying an image of Hercules maiming a hydra (Knowles 80). In such a scenario, religion in comic books represents the superheroes as mere imitation of other immortal and powerful mythical characters.
Knowles, Chris. Our Gods Wear Spandex. Newburyport: Weiser Books, 2007. Print.
Wandtke, Terrence R. The Amazing Transforming Superhero. Wisconsin: McFarland, 2007.