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GOD IN THE GUTTER: EXPLORING RELIGIOUS DOUBT THROUGH THE EMOTIONS OF COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS

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dc.contributor.advisor Koltun-Fromm, Ken
dc.contributor.author Levy, James M.
dc.date.accessioned 2019-04-05T15:56:54Z
dc.date.available 2019-04-05T15:56:54Z
dc.date.issued 2018
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/20665
dc.description.abstract Comic creators Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, and Miyazaki Hayao focus on intimate, reflective emotion to show religion as an internal struggle. Imagery styles blending sacred and playful elements encourage an engagement with fraught spiritual questions from which their readers may have been buffered in previous encounters with religion. Here, there are no buffers to deflect frank questioning. The comics offer liberating spaces for contemplating and imagining a personally meaningful, portable spirituality that addresses uncertainty, fluidity, and change in people’s lives. The characters’ emotions draw spiritual seekers into unsettling internal explorations, all based on the conviction that doubt is not only an inevitable aspect of spiritual formation, but it is a patently desirable component. The artists stimulate affective interaction by zooming in on faces to a proximity from which the reader cannot turn away. The drawings minimize or eliminate surrounding details so that the reader’s eye concentrates its attention on subtle glances and grins, or expressive body language. Additionally, the artists play with internal and external voicing, blending their characters’ use of speech and thought bubbles in ways that manipulate consciousness and create palpable sensations of contact with the divine. These transcendent moments look different in each of the three authors’ treatments of their characters’ internal struggles: Mignola focuses on a gentle, tortured man beneath the demonic exterior of Hellboy, who is trying to live morally while under a curse of great evil. Gaiman charts the internal anguish of angels who find themselves caught in a spiritual pickle between what they know to be right and just, and the apparent divine stance on the same matters. Miyazaki illustrates the inner turbulence of a salvific figure, Nausicaä, as she strives to embrace the humanness of suffering without causing more suffering for others. In each case, the author shows religion as an internal struggle being glimpsed through the window of emotion.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Religion
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
dc.subject.lcsh Comic books, strips, etc -- History and criticism
dc.subject.lcsh Faith in art
dc.subject.lcsh Faith in literature
dc.title GOD IN THE GUTTER: EXPLORING RELIGIOUS DOUBT THROUGH THE EMOTIONS OF COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access


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