Having just narrowly avoided a deadly encounter with a Nazgül, Frodo sits amongst the ruins of Osgiliath devoid of hope; the Ring he seeks to destroy has been taking its toll; nothing makes sense anymore, let alone his quest. But Sam, his erstwhile gardener turned companion, rallies the hobbit: “It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered” (The Two Towers, 03:21). When things got bleak and everything seemed lost, the heroes pressed on no matter what. These stories were the ones of importance, “Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why” (03:22).
According the The Lord of the Rings, these stories aren’t just an escapist fantasy, a problem embodied…show more content… His teachings are taken as gospel by over two billion people, but for all the speeches spread across the world, Jesus himself did very little lecturing. Instead, the Gospel of Matthew says that “Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables” (Matthew 13:34, NLT). In other words, Jesus was a storyteller. He didn’t spend hours preachifying about religious precepts, he told stories with his messages embedded within them. Rather than giving a sermon about some topic, he constructed a narrative with characters for the audience to identify with. Take the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Within it is a clear protagonist who decided to claim his inheritance, “moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living” (Luke 15:13b). After a stint feeding pigs, he returned home hoping to work as a servant only to be welcomed back with open arms. The elements of story are there, the normal world, the call to adventure, the nadir, the climax. The takeaway is clear: A father’s love (and in this case, God’s) is unconditional and forgiveness comes no matter what. Jesus uses the form of a narrative to communicate his message to an audience without beating them over the head with it; stories allowed him to present topics in a palatable…show more content… A comic book series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, Sex Criminals is about Jon and Suzie, two people who stop time when they orgasm and decide to rob banks with their ability. Given its subject matter and explicit art, it’d be very easy for the comic to just be pornography, but rather Sex Criminals is about two people and the nature of relationships, depression, and sexuality; or as Matt Fraction put it in the letters column of issue 12: “We are in the business of HARD. CORE. LOVE. STORIES” (Fraction, Zdarsky “Fluids” 28). For all the frivolities of time-stopping orgasms and ensuing bank robberies, Sex Criminals is a love story. Making sex central to the story allows for the discussion of ordinarily taboo topics, which due to the comedic nature of the series has Suzie imagining her attractive, male gynecologist performing a striptease as he explains various forms of contraception in a presentation sourced from Planned Parenthood’s website (Fraction, Zdarsky Big Hard 166). The fantastical nature of the stories also allow for a deeper exploration of things usually taken for granted. Jon and Suzie suddenly find themselves with another person to share what has hitherto been the most personal part of their lives. For Jon, this means having reason to take steps to confront his depression, which in the refreshingly honest world of Sex Criminals actually means going to therapy and acknowledging that it’s okay