Call for Papers: Theology and Spider-Man
Volume Editor: George Tsakiridis, PhD
Abstract and CV Due: November 30, 2019
Final Paper Due: May 1, 2020
He’s the classic superhero of the Marvel age: Spider-Man. Marvel comics wouldn’t be the titan of content it is without him. He’s been portrayed in multiple comic books, television series, and movies. His marketing is ubiquitous. There are few superheroes of the last fifty years that match his prominence. Spider-Man is a perfect match for the Theology and Pop Culture series.
Spider-Man has always been a fun superhero. He exemplifies youthful innocence combined with deep love and loss. This volume will explore themes of identity, happiness, and relationship, as well as look at bioethical issues. After all Peter Parker is a scientist at heart, and bioethics and science are interwoven into the narrative and the villains in ways far greater than other superheroes of his prominence. Salvation and anthropology will be central also, as most all superhero explorations are. The nuance and flavor changes, but the key themes remain the same. In complement to a themed volume, I encourage essays that look at individual presentations of Spider-Man and the theology contained therein. For example, looking at the theology of the multiple cartoon series, the comic books, and many multiple series of movies.
Some potential topics will include:
-Bioethics in Spider-Man (I can foresee more than one entry on this topic given the fact that science and experiments are such a central part of the series, i.e. Lizard, Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man, etc.).
-Harmatiology/Soteriology in Spider-Man
-Theological Anthropology in the Villains of Spider-Man (and Spidey himself!)
-Identity as a Theological Construct in the Various Incarnations of Spider-Man
-Theology and Religious Themes in the 1967 Cartoon Series
-Theology and Religious Themes in Television and Movies
-An Iconography of Spider-Man: Toys and Marketing
-The Icon of Spider-Man: Differing Portrayals by Different Artists – The Visual Theology of Steve Ditko to Todd McFarlane and Beyond
-Feminist Theology and the Women of Spider-Man: Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, and The Black Cat (to name a few)
-J. Jonah Jameson: An Examination in (not so much) Care for the Other
-Applying Theological Categories to Spidey in Video Games.
-Spidey in Two-Natures: The Symbiosis of the Black Suit and Peter Parker (and Venom)
Other topics, theses, and overall great essay ideas are welcome, but the predominate focus should be on the portrayals of Spider-Man in various media forms and the theological categories that transcend those forms.
Abstracts should be between 500 and 750 words and should present a basic outline of your potential contribution to the volume and potential methodology. If you make the initial cut, you will be contacted by Dr. Tsakiridis to discuss and finalize your contribution to the volume. Send an abstract and a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. Final drafts will be approximately 5,000 to 8,000 words, but exact word counts for each article will be discussed at the time of acceptance.
George Tsakiridis holds a PhD in theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and is a Lecturer of Philosophy and Religion at South Dakota State University. He is currently working on another volume in the Theology and Pop Culture Series, Theology and The Americans. George is also a contributor to www.popularcultureandtheology.com (check out his essay on Fleabag!). He has been a fan of Spider-Man since he was a young child and looks forward to your proposals!