Hey there, AFB. We need to have a little talk about language. Specifically, the graphic variety. Specifically specifically, the graphic as in obscene, vulgar, or expletive variety.
Comic books are for kids. Right?
Christianity is family friendly. Right?
Hopefully I've started to show that both assumptions are wrong. Comics meant for kids are actually in the minority these days. Many of the mainstream superhero titles, such as your Batman, X-Men, Green Lantern, Deadpool, etc. have content that would receive the equivalent of a PG-13 rating. Nothing too bad, but it ain't Dora the Explorer. But then there's also the "mature" comics, such as DC's Vertigo imprint, Marvel's MAX, and many of the other, smaller publishers. If these comics were movies, they would be rated R, easily.
It's often in these "mature" titles where the topics of God, religion, and theology are addressed. There are probably many reasons for this. Religion may be more of an adult, or at least, controversial topic. The freedom to be obscene probably allows creators to be a little more controversial, too. What I'm trying to point out here is that if you're looking for Wednesday Theology, you're probably going to have to delve into works that contain explicit language, sex, and violence.
Much like the Bible. Or have you already forgotten about emissions and cutting off hundreds of foreskins?
Anyway, what I'm getting at (if I ever have a point) is censorship. You may have noticed in the past I have censored some quotes, mostly from Grant Morrison or The Unwritten. But the more I think about it, I conclude I shouldn't do that anymore. For one, we all know what words are meant even if I replace some of the letters with dashes, so what is it really accomplishing? Then there's the fact that the creators made the intentional decision to use such words in their story and art. I would like to respect that. I'm probably doing enough damage to the integrity of the source material by excising a single panel or quote. And finally, we're all adults here (are there seriously any younglings out there interested in theology in comics? But hey, if there are, hit me up, I'll recommend some stuff). I want this blog to be a place of frank and open discussion about these topics. And that may require taking a step back from our personal beliefs and views and looking at these things with an open mind.
For some you in the AFB, this is probably no big deal. So there might be some quotes on here with some F-bombs? Big deal. But for some, I can understand if this might make you uncomfortable. I certainly don't wish to offend anyone. So, with that in mind, I will place a Not Safe For Work [NSFW] notice in the title of a post that contains some obscene content.
Of course, the greatest failing in this is that it's left to me to decide what is or is not "obscene." That can't be good for anyone.
Anyway, that's the plan for now, and we'll just see how it goes. It will go into effect pretty soon, because I have some quotes coming up this week with some F-bombs. But I think they're fantastic quotes. There's a brilliant discussion in The Unwritten about messianic stories and Y the Last Man has some great lines about the human failings of the church. Trust me, it's good stuff, just profane.
But, really, so is theology. We are the profane trying to talk about the Divine. No matter how reverent we are, our language about God will always fall short of accurately or suitably discussing him.