Christmas and Comics

One of my favorite comics-related columns is “Grumpy Old Fan.” The writer is a DC Comics fan that is often, well, grumpy. He revels in “the way things used to be” and yet holds out hope comics will get better. His views often mirror my own in the industry, so it’s fun reading for me. (To my nerd cred, I worked in comic shops for seven years and have been reading comics since before I can remember.)

Imagine my surprise when, in his annual Holiday-themed post, he doesn’t reference Santa once, but instead points to Jesus!

Some background: The comic book industry is slowly dying. Less people are buying comics than ever and even the big names like Superman are struggling to find an audience. Every comic is looking to advertise “jumping on points” where a new reader can join without fear of not knowing a character’s seventy-year history. As the columnist continues, he inserts this paragraph:

At the risk of being sacrilegious, Christmas is literally the ultimate “jumping-on point for new readers.” It’s the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies which lay the groundwork for the promise of eternal bliss.  I take Christmas very seriously, don’t get me wrong; and that is why I say that change for its own sake is meaningless. At the heart of the Christmas story is the realization that the very course of human destiny changed in the blink of an eye.  Just picture the void of a black, silent night, interrupted suddenly and joyfully by that multitude of the Heavenly Host, praising God and singing. There were in the same country shepherds, who went on to visit the Christ child, and to tell others what they had witnessed. Therefore, it’s not just the event, it’s the follow-through.

I find it surprising that this man would write a paragraph like this. Granted, it’s not a full statement of beliefs and there’s no mention of sin or forgiveness (at least not a direct reference), but it’s much more religious than I normally find in a comics discussion and certainly much more Christian! Comic books are generally a non-Christian or even anti-Christian environment these days. To see someone say this — well, it makes me smile.

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