Review: COMIC BOOK CHARACTER
David Zimmerman has written a book that, pardon my frankness, has a really cheesy cover and a fairly cheesy subtitle, Comic Book Character: Unleashing The HERO In All Of Us (copyright 2004, InterVarsity Press). But I was really surprised when, shazam, the book being promoted with all this cheese was actually as un-cheesy as anything I've read in a long time. I'm not an uber comic geek - I bought my share of comics in the 70s and 80s, stuck mostly with DC in my growing years and wish I'd paid more attention to Marvel as the better films are being made now. I figured this book would either be such geekspeak that I'd be turned off in the first chapter, or, being a work of "christian non-fiction", this book would be so much prooftexting about how Superman leads us to Jesus. Did I mention that this book, in my first impressions, had everything working against it - and I loved it anyway?!?
I appreciated Zimmerman's style. Perhaps he's been able to refine what he does from his own adventures in blogdom (Strangely Dim), because it read like a collection of good, well-thought out long blog entries that you'd want to share with like-minded friends and casual web surfers. The prooftexting was mercifully absent - when scripture is referenced, it just fits - and there are whole chapters where the author paints in broad general strokes around the Biblical story and the comics mythology in a way that uses one to point to the other without having to make some benignly pointless point. What do I mean? It takes guts to write "christian non-fiction" that (1) rarely quotes scripture, (2) dwells on costumed freaks in colorful panel pages, and (3) make meaningful sense out of the whole thing by relying on the readers' ability to connect the dots as intelligent readers.
I think that's what I liked: I wasn't looked down on as a fan of comics, or as someone who needed to see Jesus in the pages of X-Men. Rather, I was taken along as a buddy, engaged in a more conversational style that caused me to want to interact and think for myself. Quoting from Thomas Merton, Nietzsche, Stan Lee and the Apostle Paul makes for a really good conversation, and I finished the book wishing I could sit with all of them, and with Dave, at Starbucks over a caramel macch and this weeks new comic titles.
Did I say that I really enjoyed this book? Just checking.