Call for Papers: Religion and Horror Comics

While many genres offer the potential for theological reflection and exploration of religious issues, the nature of horror provides unique ways to wrestle with these questions. Since the EC Comics of the 1950s, horror comics have performed theological work in ways that are sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, but frequently surprising and provocative. This volume will bring together essays covering the history of horror comics, with a focus on their engagement with religious and theological issues.

Essays have been accepted on the topics of the morality of the EC Comics, the liminality of John Constantine, cosmic indifference in the work of Junji Ito, and the reincarnated demons of the web-comic “The Devil is a Handsome Man.” We are seeking essays on a wide range of other topics, possibly including but not necessarily limited to:

  • Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Post-Humanist Theology
  • Religious Pluralism and The Sandman
  • Lucifer in the Sandman Universe
  • The Theological Universe of Gideon’s Fall
  • The Function of Islam in Infidels
  • Folk Religious Practices and Harrow County
  • The Human and the Divine in Chu
  • Horror as a Theological Turn in Superhero Comics (particularly how Batman and Daredevil use horror)
  • Cain and Abel in House of Secrets/House of Mystery
  • The Joker’s Theology
  • Seeking the Divine in Werewolf by Night
  • The Unseen Realities of Outcast
  • Concepts of Hell and damnation in Hellboy and Spawn

As there has already been a large amount of scholarship on The Walking Dead, we will not include any essays on it in this volume.

This volume is a part of the Religion and Comics series, published by Claremont Press. It will be co-edited by Brandon R. Grafius and John W. Morehead. Grafius is associate professor of biblical studies at Ecumenical Theological Seminary, whose recent books include Reading the Bible with Horror (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic) and a handbook on the film The Witch in the Devil’s Advocates Series (Auteur Publishing/Liverpool University Press). Morehead is the proprietor of TheoFantastique.com, and is a contributor, editor and co-editor to a number of books including The Undead and Theology, Joss Whedon and ReligionThe Supernatural Cinema of Guillermo del Toro, and Fantastic Fan Cultures and the Sacred. Together, they have co-edited the volume Theology and Horror (Lexington Books, forthcoming), and the Oxford Handbook of Biblical Monsters (forthcoming, 2023).

Abstracts of 300-500 words with CVs should be sent to johnwmorehead@msn.com and bgrafius@etseminary.edu by December 1, 2020. The submission deadline for drafts of manuscripts of 6,000-8,000 words is scheduled for June 1, 2021.

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