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Marvelous Myths: Marvel Superheroes and Everyday Faith

SKU 9780827223387

By Russell W. Dalton


BONUS: Includes an Interview with Stan Lee

Marvel superheroes are more like us than we may think. These heroes were not perfect heroes who lived in a perfect world, but fallible people with physical ailments and personal problems like our own. Discover how you can live heroically in today's world as you carry out the ministries God has in store for you.

What makes someone a hero? In the early 1960's the image of a superhero was someone with a square jaw, a muscular build, and a quick smile whose biggest personal problem was trying to keep their girlfriends from guessing their secret identities. Then writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko created a group of superheroes who revolutionized comics. These heroes, including The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, The X-men, Iron Man and others, were not perfect heroes who lived in a perfect world, but fallible people with physical ailments and personal problems like our own. 

While the authors and artists who created them did not intend to write explicitly religious stories, their tales of imperfect heroes who try to do the right thing despite the many challenges they face provide us with the opportunity to reflect on our own faith journeys as we strive to live heroic lives in the real world.

Each chapter reflects on the heroes' most famous adventures and discusses the ways in which we are called to overcome many of the same types of obstacles they face as we strive to carry out the ministries to which God calls us. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection or group study.


“I couldn’t agree more when Professor Dalton says that being a hero isn’t just about fighting villains or gaining glory, but about the struggles all of us have to be the best person we can be. Here’s hoping Marvelous Myths will inspire people to try to live heroic lives themselves.”
-Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the X-Men, Thor, and many more 

“Loving one’s enemy is a pill just as hard to swallow now as it was over two thousand years ago—or anytime for that matter. Dalton advances this idea, as well as other moral and social concepts in his intelligent and thoughtfully written book Marvelous Myths, and he applies them in an area that few would ever dream of—the modern comic book super hero.”
-Herb Trimpe, long-time Incredible Hulk artist, Episcopal deacon, and author of The Power of Angels: Reflections from a Ground Zero Chaplain

Marvelous Myths may not tell you who would win in a clash between the Hulk, Wolverine, Thor, and the Silver Surfer, but it will highlight the triumphs, losses, and values of these and other superheroes so that the readers can relate such experiences to their own…This intriguing book invites us to ponder the character and stories of the heroes from Marvel comics as role models who struggle with adversity.”
-B. J. Oropeza, Azusa Pacific University, author and editor of The Gospel According to Superheroes: Religion and Popular Culture

“This engaging, accessible, and thoroughly theological book will invite you not only into the worlds of the superheroes, but into our own world and its deepest discontents, yearnings, and hopes. This book summons us all to take heroic action seriously, and to imagine all of the ways in which God invites us into creative, collaborative, missional action in the world.”
-Mary Hess, Luther Seminary, president, Religious Education Association: Association of Professors, Practitioners and Researchers in Religious Education