Friday, June 19, 2009

6/19: Religion Watch

Hey, everyone. This coming week, I'll be on vacation, but you won't be without new webcomic-related content. Through the power of automated updating, I'll be delivering a small reader-interaction post scheduled for Tuesday, and returning TWIW guest blogger Jen Mau will bring you Friday's regular post. But that's next week in webcomics. This week, I it's time for...

1: Shortpacked!, Monday, 6/15

I'll just come right out with it--I wasn't impressed with this comic. It has all the wit and insight of the familiar joke, "You know what happened to make God mellow out between the Old Testament and the New Testament? He got laid." It's not even clear why Robin is sitting around reading the Bible; it strikes me as David Willis using her character as a vehicle here for his opinions.

And the thing is, Willis can do better. He has done better. Just look at his comics featuring the theological-fiction Bus Stop: here, he makes a substantial, valid criticism of Christian hypocrisy regarding standards for children's fantasy novels.
Plus, I think Aslan's longsuffering, dignified demeanor and wit help temper the criticism, elevating the comics above mere "Christians-are-such-nutjobs" gags.

It's quite a contrast to this past Monday's strip, with its frat-boyish caricature of God--and a similarly frat-boyish level of depth.

2: Joe Loves Crappy Movies, Sunday, 6/14

Here, Joe Dunn takes his review of Moon in an unexpected direction with his own caricature of God. Taking the idea of a personal deity to its logical comedic conclusion, he depicts God with the same insecurities and self-esteem problems as any other person--an odd juxtaposition for the all-powerful Creator of the universe. I'm not sure why I prefer it to Willis' caricature, but I do. It could be that it's trying to make a joke rather than a point. Maybe it's that his caricature of God is more sympathetic.

If you'll allow me a tangent...even though He hasn't made an appearance in this week's comics, I really like Dinosaur Comics' God. He's a silly God--somewhat self-important, with his boldfaced capital letters and authoritative pronouncements contrasting with colloquialisms like "dude"--but you get the sense that Ryan North is more interested in exploring religious ideas through Him than making a statement, even if he (North) does happen across some truths about religion and belief along the way. North gives religion a fair shake, and even when he's criticizing it, you get the impression that he's taken the time to understand the other side. Am I just picking on Shortpacked here? What do you think about depictions of God in these various webcomics? Drop a comment, let me know your opinion.

So much, then, for heavier considerations. Let's wrap things up with a few religion-related bullet points.

And that wraps up the Religion Watch. Tune in on Tuesday for automated updates from beyond the grave while I'm on vacation, stop by Friday for Jen Mau's guest entry, and I'll see you all again in a little over a week!


John K said...

I personally feel there is a little too much religious jokes in webcomics. I feel like it is kind of the go to joke, which i guess is beter than bashing minorities, but i think that these jokes are overwhelmingly hostile to anyone of faith. (which I must say I not... not even a little.)

I get that a bible thumper is annoying, but being told how annoying and hypocritical religion can be is a close second.

DJ Trousdale said...

I agree with John. It seems that thought-out perspectives on religion, whatever the tone, are becoming rarer and rarer. I appreciate jokes that have gotten past being like the editorial page, even if they aren't positive.

Jackson said...

It's worth noting that since I wrote this post, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has been particularly culpable of religion-sniping. There is a bit of a trend going on lately.