by The Phantom Websurfer
©2005 Bard and Cubist -- all rights reserved
Just in case you discovered our April Fool joke before you found the genuine April/May issue: No, Virginia, we have not got Religion. We are not going to proselytize. And while we will continue not to actively sneer at those of our readers who are devout, at the same time we will also continue to take religion exactly and precisely as seriously as we do anything else -- which is to say, "not at all". And if you desire some reassurance along those lines, you need look no further than this issue's featured links!
Who's that Middle-Eastern deity with Spidey?
The superhero genre has always been an 'everything and the kitchen sink' kind of deal. Victims of laboratory accidents? They're in there. Divine and semi-divine representatives of historical pantheons? They're in there. Normal humans with exotic equipment and/or an insanely high level of training? They're in there. Mages of varying degrees of competence? They're in there. Designed products of scientific experiments? They're... well, you get the point.
Given that the superhero genre is so wide-open, you might expect that gods show up in those stories fairly often -- and you'd be right. Thor (and the rest of the Norse pantheon) is a major player in Marvel Comics; on DC Comics' side of the fence, the Greco/Roman gods and goddesses are regular guest stars with Wonder Woman; and so on, and so forth. Interestingly enough, however, while Satan is known to show up under various guises every now and then, the Judeo-Christian deity -- Jehovah -- is conspicuous by his absence. Fortunately, the resulting spiritual imbalance has recently been remedied, at least in part, with a kind of anthology of Spider-Man's greatest Biblical feats. Check it out!
Quick, Altar Boy! To the Tract-o-mobile!
Christianity has always had something of a love/hate relationship with secular culture. On the one hand, Christians are enjoined not to be part of this fallen world; on the other hand, Christians have a long history of co-opting various aspects of secular culture (not unlike Microsoft's 'embrace and extend
and extinguish' strategy), going back at least as far as when they slapped the 'Christmas' label on what had previously been a perfectly good pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice.
And don't think the 'co-opting' thing isn't happening today! Case in point: BibleMan. In ten words or less, BibleMan is Mighty Morphing Power Rangers with a Christian accent. We're talking cheesy non-actors, performing cheesy fight scenes in cheesy costumes and makeup, liberally decorated with cheesy special effects, all in the service of extra-cheesy scripts. It's anybody's guess how many souls have been saved by watching BibleMan videos, but at least they've got enough paying customers to make it worth producing a series of the things for home viewing...
For further details, check out the official BibleMan website.
If you know of any sites whose subject matter renders them suitable for inclusion in TSAT, send us the URL!