Danny Anderson returns from hiatus with an episode about why superheroes and horror just don't mix very well. Joining the show today is Dr. Sam Cowling who will discuss some of the philosophical foundations of horror and why they seem to be incompatible with superhero comics. Up for discussion today is Batman, Swamp Thing, Blade, Underworld, and so very much more. Also, there is a bonus discussion about the current boom in horror that is taken seriously by mainstream critics.
That discussion is available to Patreon subscribers, who help make so much happen here. Head over to https://www.patreon.com/sectarianreview for more info on how you can get more content from the show.
In this episode, Danny is joined by Dr. Angelo Letizia to discuss the usefulness of Batman's mythology for teaching civics in American classrooms. Letizia advocates for creative approaches to teaching civics and one of his assignments is having students adapt an image from Batman's oeuvre to a current political event or controversy. At stake in Letizia's approach is an ideological question of whether civic education should be a) about making responsible citizens, b) empowering citizens to participate, or c) created justice-oriented citizens. Comics, for Letizia, becomes a great medium to tap into this justice-centered goal, and Batman provides plenty of fertile soil for the political imagination.
Angelo Letizia on Twitter (Academic Comics)
Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class, Christopher Newfield
"Cultural Acupuncture:" Fan Activism and the Harry Potter Alliance, Henry Jenkins
Popular Culture is obsessed with apocalypse. Avengers: Endgame is the most recent pop drama that explores variations on eschatology, but it is by no means unique in doing so. Joining the show today to discuss this theological concern in pop culture is Joshua Wise, scholar, writer, and podcaster who has two books coming out that explore this very subject: No Avatars Allowed, and Eschatology and Pop Culture. Danny and Josh discuss such topics as Mad Max, the Fallout video game, Zombie Films, Kingdom Come, and much more.
No Avatars Allowed pre-order page
No Avatars Allowed podcast
Theology and Pop Culture Series (Eschatology and Pop Culture forthcoming)
All Ports Open Network
Joshua Wise on Twitter
Danny Anderson welcomes back Matthew Brake from Pop Culture and Theology for another discussion. This time, we explore the ways in which comics offer occasions to theologize, or think about God. The conversation breaks down into three basic parts. First, what are some ways in which religion has been represented in popular comics? Second, how do comics address religious concepts or motifs through metaphor (i.e. Superman as Christ-figure). Finally, what are some primary theological concepts that are explored through comics? Along the way, look for discussions about Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Batman, the X-Men, eschatology and much much more.
Pop Culture and Theology
G. Willow Wilson
Frank Miller’s Holy Terror
Peter Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation
X-Men God Loves Man Kills
A. David Lewis’s Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels
Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing
Grant Morrison’s Animal Man
Neil Gaiman’s View from the Cheap Seats
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman
Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come
Carl Schmitt Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty
Excelsior! In this mighty episode, Danny is joined by the Christian Humanist Podcast’s own Nathan Gilmour to talk about the cultural impact of the late Stan Lee. Lee, who died a few weeks ago, was a staggering figure in American culture, helping to create many of the icons that have captured the imaginations of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, Daredevil, and Dr. Strange all trace part of their roots back to Lee. In this episode, learn about: the social media response to Lee’s passing, Lee’s controversial history of collaborative artistry, Lee’s place in Jewish art, the political subtext of the Marvel universe, and much much more. Stan Lee helped provide a “superhero mythology in a religiously pluralistic world.”
“Stan Lee Built the World I Live In,” by Wayne Wise: http://www.legacy.com/news/celebrity-deaths/notable-deaths/article/stan-lee-built-the-world-i-live-in
“Marvel Icon Stan Lee Leaves a Legacy as Complicated As His Heroes,” by Spencer Ackerman: https://www.thedailybeast.com/rip-stan-lee-the-man-who-sold-the-world
Recorded live at the 2018 Mount Aloysius College Charity Comic Con! Join us for a very special episode in which Chris Maverick of the Vox Popcast rejoins the show to discuss a fascinating take on the Superman mythology. Mark Millar’s “Red Son” version of the Man of Steel posits the question: what if Superman landed in the Soviet Union rather than Kansas? From this premise, Millar’s comic revises major characters: Lex Luthor becomes the quasi-heroic President of the United States, Batman becomes a Russian dissident terrorist, and Green Lantern’s ring is an artifact of the Roswell UFO crash. Red Son also ponders philosophical and political questions; about the nature of Communism and Capitalism, Superman’s innate goodness, and freedom versus happiness. In addition, the book tackles difficult theological questions about the incarnation of God among humankind. All this and much more is covered in this extra-special episode of the Sectarian Review Podcast.
Alan Moore’s Watchmen forever changed the way we view superheroes. Ultimately, the argument of that graphic novel is that the superhero is an inherently fascist figure. Thinking about this got Danny to wondering what on Earth a socialist superhero might even look like. Well, to answer that question, Danny called on Wayne Wise and Chris Maverick from the Vox Popcast. Wayne and Mav both recommended that Danny read Alan Moore’s earlier exploration of this subject, Miracleman. In this podcast, we explore the really complicated publishing history of the most important comic you’ve never read, and then we dive into the book to find out what it is about superheroes that makes socialism a seeming impossibility. Plus, a discussion about postmodernism and Moore’s aesthetic, and the profound religious implications of Miracleman. Plus a major dose of comic book recommendations!
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An article on Coates’s Black Panther
The October Faction
The Vision: Little Worse Than a Man
Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain
East of West
The Wicked + The Divine
This episode explores one of the most divisive movies in the Star Wars franchise. Upon its release, The Last Jedi has been superbly received by critics, yet reviled by certain members of the massive Star Wars fan base. What is behind these polarized opinions? Danny Anderson is joined by Nathan Magee, Director of Theater at Mount Aloysius College, and together these rebels seek answers from across the galaxy. What are the legitimate problems with this new take on the Star Wars formula? How do these reasonable complaints differ from the vitriolic reactions of “fans?” Plus, listener feedback, some astounding predictions for 2018 and our latest host-recommendations! Follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and at sectarianreviewpodcast.com
“The Last Jedi Isn’t For the Fans” by Andrew Kahn
“Sense of the Faithful Says There’s Something Amiss About ‘The Last Jedi’” by Charlie Camosy
Danny Anderson, Jordan Poss, and Jay Eldred discuss the complicated, sometimes appalling legacy of Jack Chick and his "Chick Tracts." What theological tradition do these comic books participate in? Where do they go off the rails? Is there anything laudable about Jack Chick's bleak theology? Special Treat: hang around for about the 1 hour 45 minute point to hear Danny's impromptu Alex Jones imitation!
Chick Tract Evangelism on YouTube
"The Imp" Chick Tract Parody
LA Magazine Retrospective
Jack Chick 'Official' Biography from Chick.Com
"The Wiles of the Devil" by Charles Fuller
"Meet Jack Chick," by Jimmy Akin https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/meet-jack-chick
"The Death Cookie" http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0074/0074_01.asp
"Dark Dungeons" https://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.asp
"Somebody Loves Me" https://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0006/0006_01.asp
MST3K style parody of "DD" https://www.fecundity.com/darkdung/darkdung.php?page=1
In addition, this episode introduces the first of an occasional new segment for the show: "Spider-Web Christianity" (provisional title). In these brief segments, we explore institutions that structure Christian Culture. What are the networks that drive Christian thought and conversation? To start us off, Danny talks about the publicity company Grace Hill Media.
Grace Hill Media website
"Disney Sells Faith Side of Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' with Whispers, Not Shouts"
"Secular Hollywood Quietly Courts the Faithful"
"The Secret Christian Message in This Weekend's Highly-Anticipated Horror Film"
A peek behind the curtain of academia. Danny and two of his colleagues, Dr. Jessica Jost-Costanzo and Christopher Burlingame, deliver conference papers at the 2017 Pennsylvania College English Association conference at Indiana University, Pa. The panel was about trigger warnings, safe spaces, and the teaching of violent comic books. Danny's paper applies Lionel Trilling's moral anxiety to his experience teaching Alan Moore's Jack the Ripper book, From Hell. Burlingame explores the possibilities for teaching critical thinking through Fight Club II. Jost-Costanzo, talks about Art Spiegelman's Maus and her own experiences encountering disturbing literature. Each brief paper (about 15 minutes each) engages with the ongoing controversies around political correctness and the college campus.
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Link to the panel's accompanying slide show.
The Christian Humanist Podcast's Nathan Gilmour joins Danny Anderson for discussion about the Theological and Philosophical underpinnings of Marvel's Netflix series' Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Listen for the following and more:
Why are the villains so important to these heroes? Why is Daredevil a Catholic? How is Jessica Jones able to offer a rich and complex matrix of feminisms? Why are minor characters so important to the philosophical questions the shows ask? How do Daredevil's action sequences demonstrate the philosophical arguments the show makes? This was a fun talk and we hope you enjoy listening as much as we did talking.
This episode also has some important announcements, along with listener responses and this week's new Facebook Page followers!