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Comics and Sacred Texts - Reimagining Religion and Graphic Narratives

Comics and Sacred Texts

Reimagining Religion and Graphic Narratives

Edited by Assaf Gamzou & Ken Koltun-Fromm
Paperback : 9781496819475, 322 pages, 52 b&w illustrations, November 2018
Hardcover : 9781496819215, 322 pages, 52 b&w illustrations, October 2018

How comics, graphic novels, and sacred texts work in concert to expand our sense of the holy


Contributions by Ofra Amihay, Madeline Backus, Samantha Baskind, Elizabeth Rae Coody, Scott S. Elliott, Assaf Gamzou, Susan Handelman, Leah Hochman, Leonard V. Kaplan, Ken Koltun-Fromm, Shiamin Kwa, Samantha Langsdale, A. David Lewis, Karline McLain, Ranen Omer-Sherman, Joshua Plencner, and Jeffrey L. Richey
Comics and Sacred Texts explores how comics and notions of the sacred interweave new modes of seeing and understanding the sacral. Comics and graphic narratives help readers see religion in the everyday and in depictions of God, in transfigured, heroic selves as much as in the lives of saints and the meters of holy languages. Coeditors Assaf Gamzou and Ken Koltun-Fromm reveal the graphic character of sacred narratives, imagining new vistas for both comics and religious texts.

In both visual and linguistic forms, graphic narratives reveal representational strategies to encounter the sacred in all its ambivalence. Through close readings and critical inquiry, these essays contemplate the intersections between religion and comics in ways that critically expand our ability to think about religious landscapes, rhetorical practices, pictorial representation, and the everyday experiences of the uncanny.

Organized into four sections—Seeing the Sacred in Comics; Reimagining Sacred Texts through Comics; Transfigured Comic Selves, Monsters, and the Body; and The Everyday Sacred in Comics—the essays explore comics and graphic novels ranging from Craig Thompson’s Habibi and Marvel’s X-Men and Captain America to graphic adaptions of religious texts such as 1 Samuel and the Gospel of Mark.

Comics and Sacred Texts shows how claims to the sacred are nourished and concealed in comic narratives. Covering many religions, not only Christianity and Judaism, this rare volume contests the profane/sacred divide and establishes the import of comics and graphic narratives in disclosing the presence of the sacred in everyday human experience.


"This is a strong volume with a number of creative essays from many established scholars. There is not a single essay in this collection that is not worth reading."

- Matthew William Brake, INKS

"Generally, all of the essays are excellent, and the mixture of intended audiences brings a great deal of life to the collection. All or almost all of the essays will be of interest to scholars of graphic novels and scholars of religious studies who wish to dabble in sequential art."

- Jennifer Caplan, Towson University, Reading Religion

"Comics and Sacred Texts offers a wonderfully interesting and diverse collection of insights into the world of sacred meaning and graphic texts. It continues and advances important work across a variety of fields. Scholars of religion, comics, and literature more broadly will find meaningful new ways of thinking about how one sees the sacred and about how one engages the many graphic materials so many so thoroughly enjoy."

- Stephen J. Lind, author of A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz

"This excellent collection demonstrates in detail the special ability of comics writers and artists to illuminate, interpret, and question some of humanity’s most important and powerful beliefs."

- Stephen E. Tabachnick, author of The Quest for Jewish Belief and Identity in the Graphic Novel