Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What are you reading, Blair Wilgus?

Greetings! I am the new Chair of the Online Undergraduate Ministry Program. I've only been at Hope for a few months now and I've been reading the course catalog and other dry materials in an effort to learn more about the programs at HIU. This is why, when I get home, I like to relax and read something entirely different. I grew up reading comic books, and I have recently picked the hobby up again. Mark Millar is a big reason for this. His books tend to feature excessive violence and language and I consider them a bit of a guilty pleasure, but there is something about his heroes that really captivates me. They tend to be weak or average before rising to a challenge. When I saw his title American Jesus, a book about Jesus returning as a twelve year old boy in central Illinois, I really had no choice but to pick it up.

I had really hoped that this wouldn't be as "edgy" as some of his other works due to the "sacred" story he was telling. To be honest, there is some dialogue and subject matter that might offend. What upsets me most, however, is that this is just the first of a three part series that likely won't be finished for a year, maybe more. It turns out that Millar is not very good at meeting deadlines and has even abandoned some of his series, so this story might never be finished.

Despite these criticisms, I really enjoyed the book. The artwork was different than the other books I've read by Millar, and it really fit the story. And, as always, I was immediately drawn towards the main character, "Jodie Christian." In retrospect, I really enjoyed the inner dialogue I had while reading the book. I liked seeing the miracles that "Jesus" performed in comparison to the miracles he performed in the New Testament. I also liked the fact that it caused me to reflect on how Jesus would live and perform miracles today.

Finally, I enjoyed the interviews with the author and artist at the end of the book as well. Both are Catholic, but they have different degrees of commitment to the faith. To be sure, this isn't a book that will inspire faith. But as a person of faith, I found it very fun and interesting to read. (There were two afterwords by two Catholic monks, both of whom added a genuine and sincere proclamation of faith into this work.)

So, if any readers do happen to pick this up, I'd love to talk with you about it. I feel as if I've seen a movie no one else has seen, and I don't want to spoil the surprise! Plus, I need a chance to meet more of our faculty and student body.

We were very excited to invite one of our newest professors, Dr. Blair Wilgus, to contribute to our blog. He has worked here at Hope for two months now as the Chair of the Online Ministry program, teaching in the area of Old Testament. Some of his favorite things to do are teach, watch movies, and travel to new placesand Dr. Wilgus has definitely traveled to a few places. Growing up on the East Coast, he started his education in the Midwest, and then went all the way to Scotland to finish it! He tells us that he is slowly getting used to West Coast life, however, and wanted to let everyone know that he is looking forward to meeting more of the Hope Community!

American Jesus, Volume 1: Chosen by Mark Millar and Peter Gross, Image Comics, 2009.

You may purchase this comic book from, Barnes and Noble, and Better World Books.

You may also find this comic book at your local library by searching

We'd love to know what you are reading. To join the fun, fill out the "What are you reading?" questionnaire and submit it by following the instructions included.

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