Monday, March 7, 2016

Fandom Round-Up: Jesus in Smallville

What were our heroes and loves like before they were our heroes and loves?
That's a common fandom question.

Smallville, for instance, is an American TV show (2001–2011) that imagines Clark Kent before he became Superman, struggling to get a handle on his superpowers. 
Tied to a cross in a cornfield? I admit I have not actually seen this show.

But the premise reminds me of the Tring Tiles:
a medieval comic strip (in clay) that show Jesus as a boy, struggling to get a handle on his superpowers.

They're pretty funny in their recognizable humanity, 
imagining Jesus as a petulant teenager. 

Here > > >
for instance, Jesus restores with his foot someone he'd killed in anger 
(the guy had messed up a pool Jesus was making)--
because his mother, Mary, is making him. 

["Fine, I'll do it.

 But you can't make me like it."]
Below, left:  
A boy jumps on Jesus' back (in front of a schoolteacher), and Jesus smites him dead [signified by his being upside down]. 
The boys' parents complain to Joseph. According to the "Infancy Gospel of Thomas", When Joseph saw what Jesus had done, "Joseph arose and took hold upon his ear and wrung it sore."
Jesus restores life to the boy, who walks away. [I'm not playing with you anymore!]

Luckily, as he grew up, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and grace."

Tring is in England. According to the British Museum, where the tiles live,
"They illustrate scenes from the stories told in the Apocryphal Gospels of the childhood of Christ, which were very popular in the fourteenth century."

I got thinking about this because Michael sent me a link to a scholarly article, "A Most Violent Martyrdom". 

The author writes:
The stories told within the Apocrypha were irresistible to many
Christians, perhaps more so due to the stories’ unofficial,
unsanctioned status among church leaders. 

In many ways, exploring and adding to apocryphal stories was an early form of fan fiction...." [bf mine]


Michael Leddy said...

Synchronicity ( or something) — I just replied to your comment, before seeing this post, and thought for a sec of saying that I now live in Smallville (that is, the opposite of a big city). But I’ve never met the Kents.

Zhoen said...

Oh, that's brilliant. Stories of the saints are that sort of thing, right?

Fresca said...

MICHAEL: Thanks for the push to look this up.

ZHOEN: Oh, definitely!