SALT LAKE CITY — The "Mormons and Comics" panel at Salt Lake Comic Con, presented to a full room on Saturday, Sept. 7, discussed the rise of Mormons within the comic book genre.
Theric Jepson, who joined by video due to a missed flight, and Mike Homer, a scholar, shared a timeline of Mormon appearances in comics and the eventual rise of Mormon artists within the genre.
Since the 1800s, Mormon and Utah culture have been highlighted in popular series. One of the most famous, Homer said, is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Study in Scarlet," the first novel in the Sherlock Holmes series.
“‘Study in Scarlet,' while not one of the most well-written of Sherlock Holmes, it is certainly one of the most diffused across the world and in comics," Homer explained. "As a 'Study in Scarlet' morphed into comics, these images (of Mormons) started to emerge."
Brigham Young, Porter Rockwell and dozens of other Mormon figures have made appearances in comics.
Spider-man, Superman and even Godzilla have visited Salt Lake City in their respective comics — "but the historic (Salt Lake) temple survived," Jepson said.
While Mormon and Utah culture have made plenty of appearances in comic books, Mormon artists have also become quite successful in the business.
"Often online people have discussed whether or not a comic book character was Mormon in part because the artist who created the character was Mormon," Homer said.
Fans have theorized that Captain Canuck (the Canadian Captain America), She-Hulk and Apollo and Serena in Battle Star Galactica were Mormon due to the faith of their creators.
Other Mormon artists have worked on the Phantom, Mickey Mouse and scores of Web and newspaper comics, such as Schlock Mercenary, Laugh out Loud Cats and Pickles.
Katie Harmer is a journalism graduate of Brigham Young University and writes for Mormon Times. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: harmerk