Chicago Man Creates Jesus Comics

|TOP|A 29-year-old man in Chicago will distribute a comic book titled "Loaded Bible: Jesus vs. the Vampires" just a few days before Easter.

With the Islamic world uproar over Danish political cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed still in the air, comic book writer Tim Seeley and his art is being talked about by peers in the industry and already have been attacked by Christian e-mailers.

However, Seeley says that the comic books are "under a
veneer of a really fun, over-the-top-crazy, sacrilegious idea." He is subtly criticising the mutual manipulations of organised religion and government since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"There is a trend right now where people are using religious themes and religious ideas because they make great stories," said Ben Avery, 31, a high school English teacher in South Bend, Indiana. In his spare time, he is editor in chief of Community Comics, a four-person Christian studio that is creating a Christian fantasy, "ArmorQuest," as a graphic novel in three 72-page volumes.

|AD|Avery thinks that part of the interest among believers and non-believers alike springs from the success of two movies, "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Whether intentional or not, comic books and their superheroes have regularly dealt with spiritual themes of temptation, transgression, sacrifice and redemption, said Gregg Garrett, author of "Holy Superheroes: Exploring Faith and Spirituality in Comic Books."

"You don't have to look too hard to realize that Superman is Jesus, a messiah figure sent to Earth by a powerful father to help human beings," said Garrett, an English professor at Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and a master's student at an Episcopal seminary in Austin.

"One of the things comics do is to give us this good versus evil conflict, and they do it in a larger-than-life way, which is one of the reasons it is such a valuable place to look for spiritual lessons."

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