Thursday, November 6, 2014

Live Tweeting Noah

I lamented to myself the other day about the lack of a theology minded MST3K that would comment on religiously themed movies.  So, I decided to do something about that.  This ended up being watching Noah starring Russell Crowe and tweeting my reactions to the film.  I wasn't very funny, or even entertaining.  But, if you care, here are my thoughts on Noah, rock monsters and all.

Mild spoilers follow, I suppose.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Dealie

Satan: So, if candy wasn't the motivating factor, Grim, what made you think I would enjoy this Halloween dealie?
Grim Reaper: Well, I just keep hearing on TV about groups who condemn it as a day in which you're worshipped.
Satan: Really? I haven't been getting any presents or anything.
Grim Reaper: Yeah, I know, That's why I figured we'd come up here.
Satan: Well, let's see if they are right.
- "Candy for All, Justice for None" in Hector Plasm: Totentatz
by Benito Cereno and Nate Bellegarde

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ramblings: Prayer and The Punisher

On occasion I listen to a podcast entitled Theology Nerd Throwdown.  That certainly sounds like something I would listen to, doesn't it?  I would direct you towards it, but that would violate these ramblings' current ban on links, footnotes, and other cumbersome formatting which inhibit productivity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ramblings: Faith and Fables

Nobody ever told me how much my faith would change as I grew up.  At most I was told I would grow deeper in my faith, meaning I would believe what I already believed, but with more conviction.  Well, that didn't happen!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ramblings: Abba's Child and Alien 3

Recently I read Brennan Manning's Abba's Child.  Like all of Manning's books, it is an incredible book worth your time.  Manning had a knack for writing about love, and this book does not stray from that pattern.

One of the central themes of Abba's Child is the idea of finding my value in God's love for me.  Seriously, God loves me and that should be the primary source of my value and self worth.  It makes sense on a cursory level, but when you examine it closely, it becomes rather tricky.  How many of us do this?  I typically don't, but having the idea brought to the forefront makes me consider it deeply and strive to engage with it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ramblings: An Exercise

I'm going to try something new here.  But let's be honest, I have a history of starting many new things only to give up on them rather quickly.  Well, maybe not give up on them, but more like get easily distracted.  Oh, that's just a polite way of saying I give up on them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

You're A Moron

Father Sterling: Of course! And it makes perfect sense that Jesus would choose to come to America! God blessed this nation over all others! That's why he's on our money.
Dr. Clark: You're a moron.
- Punk Rock Jesus
by Sean Murphy

Monday, September 1, 2014

New Ideas

Poor Mrs. Dittman. I think this is harder on the religious people.
Such a fixed expectation.
That's what faith is I suppose, an unwillingness to accept new ideas.
Revival # 7
by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

MitchWords: Part Twelve

Somewhere down the road it became rather customary for me to write a MitchWords on my birthday.  I suppose I will continue that tradition today and once again talk about life, love, and comic books. With some theology thrown in.  Doesn't that all seem just a bit ridiculous?

The Folly of Wednesday Theology

Thursday, July 31, 2014

No Faith Without Doubt

...She said there can be no true faith without doubt.
"It's the dissenting voice that's most worth preserving."
- Archer & Armstrong #3
by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry with Pere Perez

Sunday, July 27, 2014

MitchWords: Part Eleven

Searching for the truth through stained glass windows,
Covered up in shame, things that only I know,
Strike a match and light another candle,
Raise my hands a sing a pretty song.
If anybody knew this ugliness inside me,
Would they throw a stone, would the crucify me?
How heavy was the crown of thorns? I wonder if I'm too far gone?

“Dark Hills” by Day of Fire

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ammunition for the Culture War

A guy like Clyde Birch knows he can just roll in, latch on, and ride our town right into international headlines.
And it's not just the right wing assholes.
Every leftie, atheist "progressive" is just waiting for a scientific explanation for Revival Day so they can do a little dance on the grave of organized religion.
We let them keep this up, and we're gonna have Ted Nugent and the Dixie Chicks playing dueling benefit concerts on Highway 51.
The riot we saw today is gonna look like a bar fight compared to the shit we're gonna have to deal with if this escalates.
I hate to say it, Mayor. I do. But we're not people anymore. We're ammunition for the culture war.
-Revival # 8
by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Faith So Weak

Archer: Ma'am, I do not know how you can stand there and let our Lord -- your faith -- be insulted by this drunken degenerate?!
Sister Thomas Aquinas: Simple, child...
...My faith is not so weak it can be threatened by a differing opinion.
- Archer & Armstrong #3
by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry with Pere Perez

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

Looking at my stack from this week, I noticed that it is definitely Image heavy. I got one from Dark Horse. The Unwritten is Vertigo, which is technically DC. But the rest is Image. How did the house of Spawn and Witchblade turn into the publisher of some the best comics out there?

Pick of the Week: The Unwritten: Apocalypse #5

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The blank page is my enemy. It is a fierce and terrible monster. Before I even attempt to attack, the monster taunts me. It mocks and ridicules me. It calls me a fool and a dreamer. I should back away and find an easier, simpler, less ambitious task to pursue. For I will fail, the monster tells me, I will fail if I dare to face it.

I weigh its advice. I consider its tempting taunts. But I know deep within me that I can slay this fiend. Raising my sword, I begin to thrust. Wait. I halt. Delete the few marks from the page. I recalculate my tactics, reconsider my words. Recomposed and confident, I proceed with my initial attack. My sword clashes with the monster's and slips through, knocking a chink into its armor. Bringing the sword back around again, I allow its momentum to carry me froward, strike after strike.

Progress is slow. The fight is laborious and tiresome. But every letter, every word, every sentence breaks its armor a little more. The monster cries out in anger and defiance. It tells me I can't continue. It's noticed my growing weariness and exhaustion. What if I run out of ideas? What if I simply cannot continue? It tells me to leave the battle for a rest. The monster will wait right here while I recoup and regain my strength. It knows, oh, this devious demon knows, that I will likely never return from such an interlude.

I look down at the monster. Its armor is nearly half gone. We both realize that if I persist the battle will shortly be mine. Its words are no longer confident taunts but pleas of desperation. I tighten the grip on my sword. Every swing connects and shatters the monster's armor a little more.

The cursor still blinks, but the page is no longer blank. It is full. The monster, however, is empty. It is empty of its energy, its insults, and its mockery. Raising my sword high, I swing it through the air with all my might, slicing through the monster's neck and lopping its head off for a final, definite victory.

I lower my sword and breathe heavily. Exhausted, but victorious, I smile as I gaze upon my accomplishment and the once blank page now filled with words. I have slain my foe. I have won.
The cursor drops to the next line and my worst fear is realized. The demon rises up, completely whole, completely armored, and completely empowered. The taunts of the blank page begin anew.

 - Mitch Alfson
May 21, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

Some of you may have missed this feature last week. I dropped the ball on that one. But I have a good excuse! My brother got married! Plus he and his wonderful bride got me this awesome Batman mug you see pictured above. LOOK AT THAT AWESOMENESS!

Man, typing in all caps is super tacky. Don't do that. But I feel the awesomeness of that mug required it.

Anyway, so here we have my rambling on new comic books I bought yesterday. And a few from last Wednesday I quickly purchased before skipping town for the festivities. And even a few from Free Comic Book Day which was way back on May 3rd.

Let's get started!

Pick of the (past couple of) week(s): Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, and Other Stories

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

It's Thursday! For those of you who don't know, that means that yesterday was Wednesday (duh) and new comics were released (yay). I try to read what I buy Wednesday night and write about it Thursday morning. This is nothing fancy, just a short paragraph on each issue to give my general impression. If something sounds interesting, go try it out! Or hit me up through the various forms of internet communication available and ask about something that intrigues you. Also I tried to do something new with the covers this week. I'm sorry.

Pick of the Week: CMYK #1

There Was A Man

Rennes-Le-Chateau? That's in France, right? Where have I heard that name?
There was a man. A priest. Named Berenger Sauniere. Who came here a hundred or so years ago. Perhaps you've heard of him.
- The Invisibles #7
by Grant Morrison and Jill Thompson

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In My Own Story

The villain always thinks he's the hero in his story. I've been arguing and fighting with people, trying to justify why we're working together.
I've told people that our plans are sound, that our goals are just... Trying to convince them that we knew what we were doing...
...all that time I think I was just trying to convince myself I hadn't turned... Hadn't lost sight of who I was--
--Hadn't become the bad guy in my own story.
Well, news-flash... We were... We are.
- Invincible #100
by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

You know the drill. Yesterday was Wednesday. I bought some new releases after work, spent the evening reading them, and I spend my morning sipping coffee and writing random thoughts about them. No, I don't assign a grade or a score for each comic. I've watched too much Adam Sessler to do that. But, hopefully from the short reaction I give to each issue, one can get a sense that I either like it or didn't like it. However, I am ever the optimist, especially about  things I paid cold hard cash for, so if I even seem to waffle on whether an issue is good or not, you should probably take that as an indication that you can go ahead and skip it.

Should I do a pick of the week? Is that what people do? Fine. Let's give it a try. Now, it won't necessarily be the best by literary or artistic criteria each time, but more along the lines of just what I enjoyed reading the most each Wednesday night.

Pick of the Week: The Fuse #3

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Reads

Okay, Okay, so Easter is only a few days away

I messed up on that one. But I just thought about this last night so I'm trying to make it happen. Bear with me.

Anyway, what examples of graphic literature do I recommend one read to commemorate this holiest of times in the Christian calendar? I thought about it and picked out five titles that one could read around Easter to contemplate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. No, none of them is a comic book adaptation of Mel Gibson's movie (if such a thing exists). But, come to think of it, I would totally read a comic series based on Murtaugh and Riggs from the Lethal Weapon movies. Somebody at IDW should get on that!

Seriously, there was a Die Hard prequel comic.

Back on track! I could have delved into individual issues, but I decided on stories which are readily available in collected editions from retailers such as Amazon or ComiXology (mostly).

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

All right! Look at this! I did another thing on time! Crazy! Okay, so it helped that my purchase pile wasn't too big this week. Man, just imagine if I included digital comics in this. That would be incredibly unwieldy. You have no idea. But here, on this Thursday morning, I present to you the print comic books I read last night. I hope you enjoy. I sure did.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

"I don't sleep because sleep is the cousin of death."

Actually I don't sleep because my throat feels like it's filled with shards of glass and I'm worried my chest will rupture with every violent coughing fit that strikes me. But, coughing yourself awake at 4am gives you the prime opportunity to finish the comics you bought last night but weren't able to finish.

So, I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Against Violence

Though Judaism was shepherded through history by many violent military figures like Joshua and David, the Pentateuch had some strong things to say against violence, possibly as early as the 1400s BCE.
The prophet Isaiah, writing around 700s BCE, described a perfected future where "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."
- "A History of Nonviolence" in Occupy Comics #3
by Caleb Monroe and Theo Ellsworth

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

Go read Trillium!
I said the first time that I might not always have the opportunity on a Thursday morning to do this. And that clearly happened for the past several Thursdays. But I'm back! I've got a pot of coffee brewing and some good comic books to briefly talk about. I'll even play a little catch up with issues from the past few weeks that I haven't covered. Are you excited? Are you ready?

Christ's Armies [NSFW]

Caution? With the Lord on our side? What kind of a show of faith is that? Do you fear these devils so much that you forget what it is we're fighting for?
While the holy monastery is raped before our very eyes, you fucking squabble about tactics? We are the Lord's soldiers, his right hand...
...Gabriel's sword itself could not be more suffused with his love!
Such a lack of faith is troubling...and dangerous!
I should be surprised if the Lord himself did not twist your very form into that of the enemy, to be cut down by our own swords!
For all we know this could be the start of the last days, Armageddon itself with us as vanguard for Christ's armies.
So show a little fucking spine, you stupid old man!
- Northlanders Vol Three, "Lindisfarne" Part 1
by Brian Wood and Dean Ormston

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

Yesterday was, of course, Wednesday. This is what I read:

Invincible #109
I still hold that Invincible is Robert Kirkman's love letter to the superhero genre. It hits all the common plot lines, events, and tropes littered throughout 70 plus years of comic book history. While Kirkman's more popular book, The Walking Dead, is grim and dark, Invincible is just plain fun. Last issue ended with the title character trapped in an alternate dimension. I could easily see this story arc lasting several issues to resolve, but Kirkman ramps up the pace. So, at the end of this issue, instead of continuing to wonder what Invincible will do to get back home, I'm left wondering what he will do when he gets back home to the one who stranded him in that alternate dimension. Things are probably going to get a bit messy in the Invincible family.

Monday, March 10, 2014

In This World

As for the poor... Well! You'd think they'd be honored to suffer as our Lord suffered... But Nooooo!! They want justice! They want equality! They want contraception!
It isn't enough that the church has secured their salvation in the next world. Now they want us to do something about their pathetic existence in this world!
- Ragmop
by Rob Walton

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday Morning Theology Hangover

In a perfect world I would have plenty of time to read all my Wednesday purchases that night and give a brief recap the next morning. However, this is far from a perfect world. I mean, really, HBO makes it impossible to watch Game of Thrones online without subscribing to their network. Does that sound like a perfect world to you?

Sorry. That was a tangent. Anyway, these are the books that came out yesterday and that I read last night. I may not be able to do this every Thursday. Honestly, look at my track record for posting things consistently and on time. It's not very good. But we'll give it a shot.

Also, this doesn't mean these titles are full of theological insight. Most of them aren't, but I feel it might be nice to offer a snapshot of what I'm reading for fun. Also, these are really, really good books.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wednesday Theology Condensed: Language and Characteristics of the Format

"Part of the problem stems from the fact that language is not static. Language changes, grows, fluctuates, and evolves. Elizabeth Johnson says that 'words about God are cultural creatures.' God may not change, but our ways of speaking of God surely do. Particularly, as Christianity spread through the world its language adapted from Greek to Latin and onward to other languages. Few people, when they proclaim the name of Jesus, take the time to reflect on how nobody used that particular pronunciation of his name to refer to Jesus during the New Testament period. 'As cultures shift, so too does the specificity of God-talk,' says Johnson."

What does all this mean? If we are going to use graphic literature to talk about God, we need to know how the language of graphic literature works.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ms. Marvel #1

A couple months ago Marvel announced a new Ms. Marvel title with the relaunched hero assuming the form of a teenage Muslim girl. The internet, as you can imagine, had some things to say about this matter. The decision was celebrated by many pining for more diversity in characters and creators in the comic book industry. Others, though, were not so fond of this development.

A pastor I follow on twitter expressed his displeasure with the idea of a Muslim superhero and snidely asked if Marvel even had any Christian superheroes. I, being who I am, replied in the affirmative and listed off a couple prominent Christian characters, such as Daredevil and Nightcrawler. Of course there was no reply to my comment. I assume he intended his snarky comment to be taken rhetorically. I can relate. I am often annoyed when people point out my wrongness when I'm trying to be clever.

But if you say something stupid on the internet about comic books and religion, don't be surprised if I call you out on it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Comic Snaps

Kids these days - Runaways Vol 2

Runaways! Volume Two! It's good stuff. There may have been a vampire. Here's some snaps chronicling my reading experience.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Comic Snaps

I would pray too if I was attacked by a raptor - Runaways Vol 1
Hey you guys! Have I ever told you how much I love Saga? Or Y: The Last Man? Well, I do! Recently I grabbed some digital trades of another series authored by Brian K. Vaughan, Marvel's Runaways. And boy, it is good!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Comic Snaps

SSSKKWWARRRR! - God is Dead #5

More snaps of random awesome! We got more Coffin Hill! Rat Queens! God is Dead! Astonishing X-Men! This has very little to do with theology, but sometimes I just need to embrace the wonder and joy of the Wednesday: comics!

Join me, won't you?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Comic Snaps

Coffin Hill #2
The other day I was lamenting that more people should add me to snapchat. While the app is mostly known for more unseemly antics, I mainly use it to share pictures of food I make and random/strange/crazy/cool/awesome panels/scenes/lines from comic books as I read them. Instead of making more friends, I decided I would just take screenshots of the pictures I take and throw them up here. Yes, that seems a little backwards and crude, but it might also be considered artsy? No, probably not. It's probably just dumb. Oh well.

Oh yeah, don't expect any context. I think lack of context adds to the intrigue of it all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Had A Dream

I had a dream last night that I was attending a lecture at seminary. I don't know what the occasion was, but it wasn't an ordinary lecture. Several professors and my advisor were in attendance. Nor do I recall who was presenting the lecture, but it was about the early church. I found it very interesting, partially because the PowerPoint was illustrated by sci-fi artwork by some famous comic book artist I have yet to recall/identify. 

So now I'm dreaming about aspects of Wednesday Theology, maybe? But what do I make of this? How about the missionary journeys of Paul presented as a sci-fi space opera? Would that be a thing people would be intrigued by?

One other thing. The lecture kept referring to one individual from the early church only by the name "The First Dismissive" or "The Formal Dissmissive." Anybody have any idea what or who it could refer to? Otherwise I think it's a pretty cool name and maybe I will use it for something some day. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wednesday Theology Condensed: Names and Interpretations

Chapter One of my thesis is entitled "Names and Interpretations." Why? Because what we call the format impacts our perception of the format. But why is this important? At a basic level, it is partially because theology attempts to discuss complex and lofty concepts with the utmost precise language. If we hope to utilize the comic book medium to engage in this discourse, then we should likewise make an attempt for our language about comics to be similarly precise.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Wednesday Theology Condensed: Intro

I did not post a lot in 2013. For that I am sorry. In my mind I can make up plenty of excuses about work and other engagements taking up too much of my time. But those are just excuses. Really it comes down to laziness, a lack of drive, and a lack of passion. Man, that is depressing.

So now it's 2014 and I need to combat those detrimental mentalities. So how do I reclaim some of that passion and reinvigorate both myself and this blog? Well, let's do what any good comic book property does when it desires a new start: retell the origin. And that's what the first few posts of Wednesday Theology in 2014 will be about. I am embarking in an exercise of true narcissism and reading through my own thesis once again and will summarize each section in a (hopefully) easily digestible blog post. My thesis launched this site, so lets go back to the beginning examine the ground floor of this ridiculous enterprise that is my theological passion.