Cover image for Drawing on Religion: Reading and the Moral Imagination in Comics and Graphic Novels By Ken Koltun-Fromm

Drawing on Religion

Reading and the Moral Imagination in Comics and Graphic Novels

Ken Koltun-Fromm

COMING IN DECEMBER

$34.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08775-7
Coming in December

280 pages
7" × 10"
38 color/39 b&w illustrations
2020

Drawing on Religion

Reading and the Moral Imagination in Comics and Graphic Novels

Ken Koltun-Fromm

“This project takes a compelling place within the hermeneutics of religion and literature as a way of studying religion. Most impressive is Koltun-Fromm's subtle interpretation of the material, showing that it sustains very careful analysis, proving itself worthy of close reading and moral probing. Drawing on Religion models a productive integration of textual and visual materials and does so with clear prose and no jargon or excessive theorizing.”

 

  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Comics traffic in stereotypes, which can translate into real danger, as was the case when, in 2015, two Muslim gunmen opened fire at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, which had published depictions of Islam and Muhammad perceived by many to be blasphemous. As a response to that tragedy, Ken Koltun-Fromm calls for us to expand our moral imaginations through readings of graphic religious narratives.

Utilizing a range of comic books and graphic novels, including R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis Illustrated, Craig Thompson’s Blankets, the Vakil brothers’ 40 Sufi Comics, and Ms. Marvel, Koltun-Fromm argues that representing religion in these formats is an ethical issue. By focusing on the representation of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu religious traditions, the comics discussed in this book bear witness to the ethical imagination, the possibilities of traversing religious landscapes, and the problematic status of racial, classed, and gendered characterizations of religious persons. Koltun-Fromm explores what religious stereotypes do and how they function in comics in ways that might expand or diminish our imaginative worlds. The pedagogical challenge, he argues, is to linger in that space and see those worlds well, with both ethical sensitivity and moral imagination.

Accessibly written and vibrantly illustrated, this book sheds new light on the ways in which comic arts depict religious faith and culture. It will appeal to students and scholars of religion, literature, and comic studies.

“This project takes a compelling place within the hermeneutics of religion and literature as a way of studying religion. Most impressive is Koltun-Fromm's subtle interpretation of the material, showing that it sustains very careful analysis, proving itself worthy of close reading and moral probing. Drawing on Religion models a productive integration of textual and visual materials and does so with clear prose and no jargon or excessive theorizing.”

Ken Koltun-Fromm is Robert and Constance MacCrate Professor of Social Responsibility and Professor of Religion at Haverford College. He is the author of Imagining Jewish Authenticity: Vision and Text in American Jewish Thought and coeditor of Comics and Sacred Texts: Reimagining Religion and Graphic Narratives.

Figures List

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Ethics of Representation

Chapter One: Stereotypes and the Moral Challenges of Aesthetic Narration

Chapter Two: The Ethics of Scriptural Play: Race, Gender, and Moral Sources

Chapter Three: Imagining (Superhero) Identity

Chapter Four: The Nativist Imagination in Religious Comic Stories

Chapter Five: Graphic Violence and the Religious Self

Conclusion: The Ethics of Lingering

Notes

Bibliography

Index