“The Apocalypse of Adolescence”: Use of the Bildungsroman and Superheroic Tropes in Mark Millar & Peter Gross’s Chosen

Authors: Round, J.

Editors: Lewis, A.D. and Hoff Kraemer, C.

Pages: 188-202

Publisher: Continuum

Place of Publication: New York

ISBN: 9781441158475


‘Dogs work in mysterious ways’ and Chosen (Dark Horse, 2004) is a comic as strange and inverted as this quotation implies. It’s a twist story about Satan and the end of the world, in which we are led to believe that the twelve-year old protagonist, Jodie, is the reincarnated Jesus Christ. However, tricks throughout the narrative build to a surprise ending that reveals that Jodie is in fact the son of Satan and will be leading this side in Armageddon. To tell this story, Chosen uses traditional narrative and superheroic conventions to re-present religious dogma as subjective rather than objective, using a variety of paradoxical and contrasting methods.

This article discusses these methods, defining them as subjective, and arguing that there is a particular focus on the superheroic. In Chosen Mark Millar breaks down the clear-cut Manichaean morality that often underpins religious texts. He rejects absolutes and fixed morals by leading the reader to misinterpret events and presumed signs. By tricking us into having sympathy for the devil, the narrative’s sudden ending forces us to question every step of what had seemed either an obvious parable or an expected church-bashing. Instead, Chosen reveals it has been telling us an entirely different story: one that calls attention to the assumptions and inconsistencies in our treatment of religious content. As social commentary, the comic reflects contemporary concerns about belief within today’s culture of religious diversity, evangelical atheism and widespread agnosticism. By debunking our expectations, Chosen’s apocalyptic ending forces us to examine our assumptions and beliefs: putting faith into practice.


Source: Manual

Preferred by: Julia Round