Morningside College professor gives presentations on religion, superheroes and comics

December 18, 2018, in Latest News, Religious Studies

Elizabeth Coody, assistant professor of religious studies at Morningside College, recently gave presentations on religion, superheroes and comics at the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach, Va.

During her first presentation, “Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Mary Magdalene: Origin Stories that Shape Women’s Power,” Coody explained how the origin of each of these women as a “monster” or hero offers an example of how perceptions about where women come from can limit their perceived power. Using the narrative flexibility found in comics, Coody suggested a more nuanced origin story for fictional, historical and contemporary women.

During her second presentation, “Imagining the Scandal of the Cross through Comics and Graphic Novels,” Coody looked at how comics present the cross in a way that increases the power of biblical texts for present-day readers. For countless adherents to the Christian tradition, the cross functions as a symbol of divine power. For the earliest Christians, however, the cross represented only a traumatic event. Coody put New Testament passages that interpret the cross into dialogue with comics and graphic novel portrayals of the life and death of Jesus. 

Coody joined the faculty at Morningside College this fall. She most recently taught at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colo., as an adjunct faculty member. She created and served as director of the school’s writing lab for graduate students, and she served as communications coordinator for the Iliff School of Theology. She has a Ph.D. in religious and theological studies from the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology.