Eric W. Jepson
Comics! Sunstone #160
For decades the comic form has languished as a derided genre, seemingly fit for only the fantasies of adolescent boys. But recently comics have come into their own, winning awards such as the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the Printz Award. In the hands of dedicated storytellers and artists, comics have become a potent medium for exploring what it means to be human in fresh, invigorating, and insightful ways. Art Spiegelman gave a startling new voice to the Holocaust in his gritty graphic novel Maus, where he portrayed Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and Americans as dogs. Marjane Satrapi made Iran’s Islamic Revolution relevant to the Western world by drawing her girlhood lived beneath the shadow of fundamentalism.
Though they are many, today’s Mormon comic artists have had few venues that encouraged them to draw creatively on their Mormon roots. No discourse had been established to nurture the creation and sophistication of Mormon comic narrative. Theric Jepson changed that when he guest-edited issue 160 of Sunstone. Drawing on years of research, networking, and interviews with Mormon comic artists, Jepson brought together a landmark collection of Latter-day-Saint-penned comics, most of them created especially for the collection. He gathered representation from all comic genres—from mainstream to underground to manga—highlighting the diversity and excellence of Mormon comic art. He also gathered articles covering past Mormon comic artists, portrayals of Mormonism in mainstream comics during the past century, and the effect of comics on the lives of everyday Latter-day Saints.
Like A Believing People, the first collection of Mormon literature, this is the first publication to establish a discourse for Mormon graphic narrative art. It has created a foundation we hope will initiate a legacy of quality comics that takes Mormon literature in new and exciting directions.