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Holy Superheroes! Revised and Expanded Edition: Exploring the Sacred in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Film Paperback – January 31, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; Expanded edition (January 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664231918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664231910
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Holy Superheroes! tells us not only that comics are fun but also that they explore and express important values and longings. Greg Garrett writes with the delight of a true fan and the insight of a wise spiritual guide. Highly recommended! --Brian McClaren, author of A Generous Orthodoxy and A New Kind of Christian

About the Author

Greg Garrett is Professor of English at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He serves the Episcopal Church as Writer-in-Residence at the Seminary of the Southwest and as lay preacher at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of numerous books, including the critically-acclaimed novel Free Bird.

More About the Author

Greg Garrett is the Austin, Texas author of twenty books of nonfiction, memoir, and fiction. His latest book is Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination, which explores the stories we tell about death and the afterlife--and why we tell them. BBC Radio has called Greg "one of America's leading voices on religion and culture," and he has also written on such topics as spirituality and suffering, film, U2, Harry Potter, and the boom in superhero narratives.

His most recent novel was The Prodigal (2013, written with the legendary Brennan Manning), which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. His first novel, Free Bird, was chosen by Publishers Weekly and the Denver Rocky Mountain News as one of the top debuts of 2002. His other novels are Cycling and Shame.

Greg's work has been covered by or he has been interviewed by The New Yorker, USA Today, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, BBC Radio, BBC Scotland, National Public Radio, CBS Radio, msnbc.com, The Bob Edwards Show, The National Review, Poets & Writers, Commonweal, Mens Health, and many other broadcast, print, and web publications. Greg writes regularly for Patheos, The Huffington Post, OnFaith, and for print and web publications ranging from The Washington Post to Poets & Writers. He has spoken at venues across the US and Europe, including the American Library in Paris, Cambridge University, Kings College in London, and the Washington National Cathedral.

Greg is the 2013 Baylor Centennial Professor at Baylor University, where he has taught since 1989. He serves as Writer in Residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, Wales, and as a licensed lay preacher based at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. Greg lives in Austin with his wife Jeanie and their family.

Customer Reviews

He has designed this book to be great for discussion groups.
David Crumm
Garrett discusses many of the most popular superheroes found in our current films and explores their cultural influence and spiritual connotations.
Jennifer Simms
This book gives those of us that love such a medium a way to relate what we read and watch to the faith.
David Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Nantista on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here is a decent light read with food for thought, examining the American phenomenon of the superhero and highlighting the religious influence on and messages of superhero comics and movies. Chapters deal with such issues as vigilantism, justice, evil, the apocalypse, etc., with reference to popular characters, comics, movies, and graphic novels. For those familiar with these points of reference and interested in morality and religion, this book can provide some enjoyment.

The author's politics comes through at times, which may be off-putting to those who don't share it (e.g. disapproving references to American foreign policy), but this does not dominate the discussions. The text repeatedly and nearly exclusively quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Tutu, with a few words from Karen Armstrong and Joseph Campbell. Garrett also has the annoying habbit of quoting his own other book, a similar treatment of the Matrix movies. A final quibble is that he seems to be a bit sloppy in the quotes inserted at the head of the chapters. For example, doesn't the Mighty Mouse song say "Here I come to save the day!", rather than "Here he comes..."?, and doesn't Jessica Rabbit say, "I'm not really bad; I'm just drawn that way," rather than "I'm not evil"? Pop culture buffs notice these things.

This intriguing combination of topics deserves a more in-depth treatment, but this is a start, and the price is resonable. Besides, the cover illustration is really cool
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mac S. on April 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Garrett clearly has a love of Superheroes, and an interest in spirituality. He's one of the leading authors in the field right now and has published other books as well as articles for the Society of Biblical Literature. The book provides an entertaining look at spirituality in superhero comic books. Using superhero stories like sermon illustrations and pointing to specific incidents in comic history where faith and religion actually make in onto the pages of popular comic titles, Garrett shows that there is a connection between spirituality and American pop-culture. The disappointing thing about this work is that it fails to give any new or specific insights into either America's cultural religion or into Christian spirituality. As a youth minister, I reccomend this book for Christian teenagers who enjoy comics and superheroes, but for the serious student of the two issues that Garrett examines, you'll need to look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback
Don't be put off by the "Revised and Expanded" part of the subtitle. Even if you own a copy of Greg Garrett's earlier version of this book -- this is so different than the earlier text that you shouldn't think twice about ordering the new book.

If you're new to Greg Garrett's work, you may want to order this book -- and his book, "The Gospel According to Hollywood," as well.

Today, the men and women we are interested in reaching to explore spiritual themes are far more adept at swimming in the seas of popular media than they are in the seas of traditional faith. In this book, Baylor University's Greg Garrett helps us explore our deep fascination with superheroes over the past century of comics, since the creation of Superman in the 1930s.

He has designed this book to be great for discussion groups. The main text is only 120 pages and the dozen chapters are smartly divided around themes likely to spark discussion. Plus, he offers an appendix that recommends "essential" graphic novels and comic collections that anyone seriously attempting to lead a group in this field should explore.

The one problem with picking up a copy of Garrett's book is that it's almost guaranteed to make you want to read more books -- graphic novels. You won't want to read just one.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Delroy A. Brooks on March 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I appreciate the work and research displayed in this book. As a former comic book collector and now youth pastor, I found many of the conclusions in the book to be pretty on target. I thought he was going to go in a different direction, but was pleasantly surprised.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter M. Wallace on August 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a long-time pop culture geek and a person of faith, I approached this book with some trepidation. Others have tried to find spiritual lessons and insights from comic books, with widely varied--but mostly weak, pedantic, and obvious--results. In Holy Superheroes, Greg Garrison hits it out of the park. It's extremely insightful and engaging. It forced me (gladly and willingly!) to think through the key issues of life, faith, human history, and culture as witnessed by and expressed through comic books. Greg clearly knows his comic books, and his faith, and so reading this fascinating overview of the nexus of those two great worlds was deeply fulfilling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Miller on February 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is actually a book I wanted to write, imagine my suprise when I found it already in print. Garrett deals with one of the loves of my life in the Myth found in comics and superhero movies. This book gives those of us that love such a medium a way to relate what we read and watch to the faith. Don't pick it up for any heavy, devotional or theological reading, but it is a fun romp between pop culture and the Faith. Give it a shot if you're a Christian that Loves Superheroes.
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