Road to JJ #2: Defining Themes

by | Jesus Jumpkick

Recently, I’ve begun preparing for JJ #2 by sharpening my storytelling tools ahead of finalizing the story.

I’ve been primarily focused on brushing up in these three areas:

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Theme

Plot and Character Development

For plot, I recently wrote the post, DC on Writing Comics: 5 Takeaways! which I’ll reference to polish the story in the near future.

For character development, I’ll be using the steps from Charles Euchner’s book, Characters: Creating Heroes, Villains, Mentors, Sidekicks, and Other Characters for Your Story, to flesh out the characters of prominence in JJ #2 this weekend.

Themes of the Series

Finally, on theme, I’ve recently been reflecting on those of JJ, not just for issue #2, but the series in general, especially since these will mostly apply to every story, including this one.

With the understanding that “theme” is less about the plot specifics and more the ideas/beliefs the author is expressing indirectly through it…

These are some major themes I have in mind for the series:

  • Our culture under values the biblical saga as an epic story, Jesus as a “super” hero and his life as the climax of a grand narrative.

  • There is a related dramatic tension between people’s expectations for Jesus & the Jewish Messiah and what Jesus actually does and teaches (ie. dramatic irony).
    • At times, inherent in that tension… people’s doubting Jesus/God’s own goodness via this misunderstanding?
    • Of particular relevance here, such misunderstanding is often born of the limits of what people can see with their eyes vs the deeper spiritually reality of what Jesus is truly doing.
    • “He is Epic…” a David-like warrior King… at the deeper level that matters most.
  • The Bible makes an understanding of all the above available, if we only have “eyes to see” it says.
    • While this “seeing” is admittedly made more elusive by Scripture offering such understanding in seemingly subtle and mysterious ways, especially for modern eyes, this should also offer great dramatic and artistic opportunity to “unveil” said truths.
  • The life of Jesus can be seen as more dramatic than its often treated, given the role God gives human free-will in shaping biblical events and reality.
    • Ex. God could have just stopped Herod’s slaughter of the innocence dead in its tracks… but instead more practically warns Jesus’ family in a dream to escape to Egypt to protect him and later to locate to the tucked away Nazareth for the same reason.
    • If God chooses not to just snap his fingers for instant victory, despite having the option, we needn’t assume Jesus does either. The reality is evidently more interesting and dramatic than that.
    • Hence we needn’t handicap our efforts at making dramatically compelling modern depictions of the life of Jesus to reflect some less interesting and less scripturally-grounded sensibility otherwise.
  • Ultimately through the series, I want people to be left with a compelling sense of the cohesive epic of scripture that culminates in the life of Jesus and to have gained this understanding via a fun ride.
    • Here, the inclusion of the spirit realm as another “half” of the story, gives extra space to explore the above and contextualize – but still be consistent with – what is explicitly described of Jesus’ life in the gospels.
    • I’ve also explored five “epic” facets of the life of Jesus in an earlier post here.

The Road Ahead

That probably sums it up for major JJ themes! Any themes unique to JJ #2 or any future issue I’d expect to be “minor” or sub-categorize of the above.

Other than the character development work I mentioned above, it’ll be on to polishing story and script!