Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Another Hanukkah Story!

As we noted in our recent podcast episode, there just aren't enough Hanukkah-themed comic book stories out there. But there was one that we forgot ... and fortunately, our Internet buddy (and friend of the network) Chad Bokelman found it!

'Batman: The Brave and the Bold' #14 features a holiday story in which Batman teams up with Ragman  to defend Gotham City from evil Real Estate investors. 

On his Ragman-themed blog "The Suit of Souls," Chad plans on doing a pair of posts related to this story. In this first entry,he interviewed the writer of the story, Sholly Fisch. In the interview, Fisch talks about his inspiration in writing the story, and in emphasizing the Jewish heritage of the Ragman.

In his second entry, Chad promises to review the issue. That entry has not been posted as of the posting of THIS entry, but check back on his site regularly to look for it.

UPDATE: Here is a link to Chad's review of the story.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Podcast #003: Holiday Special 2015

In this all-new, super-special third podcast episode, Emily & Alan talk about a terrific Hanukkah comic book story, one of the few they've ever read. It's from issue 188 of Justice League of America, from all the way back in 1981.

Then they open up a terrific Christmas present -- all of the feedback they've received from listeners.

Season's greetings, Merry Christmas, and have a blessed 2016!

Click on the player below to listen to the episode:

Right-click to download the episode.

You may also subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or the RSS Feed.

Link: Anderson Cale's music 
Link: The Crossover Nexus: Podcast Initiative

We would love to hear from you about this issue, the podcast episode, or the podcast in general. Send e-mail feedback to 

You can follow Alan on twitter @ProfessorAlan

Monday, November 23, 2015

Podcast #002: The Spectre's Wrath

In this all-new, super-special second podcast episode, Emily & Alan talk about the comic book character The Spectre, a superhero who is also the embodiment of God's wrath. 

They cover his 75+ years in comics,talking about stories from the Golden Age to the current day. Works from Alan Moore and John Ostrander are also covered. And (of course) the Constantine TV show.

Click on the player below to listen to the episode:

Right-click to download the episode.

You may also subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or the RSS Feed.

Link: Anderson Cale's music
Link: Johnny Cash: American IV

Special thanks to Michael Bailey for his vocal contributions.

Next Episode: The 2015 holiday special! (and feedback!)

We would love to hear from you about the Spectre, the podcast episode, or the podcast in general. Send e-mail feedback to 

You can follow Alan on twitter @ProfessorAlan

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Alan's Christian Comic Corner

The Cross and the Switchblade, Barbour Christian Comics, 1972.
Written, drawn & inked by Al Hartley. Cover by Al Hartley.

This is a comic based on Pastor David Wilkerson’s account of his ministry work among the gangs of New York City in the late 1950s and early 1960s. These efforts were chronicled in Wilkerson’s 1963 book (written with John & Elizabeth Sherrill) of the same name.

The young minister feels called to New York City, specifically seeking out the toughest of the gangs. He eventually is able to befriend Nicky Cruz, the leader of the Mau Mau gang, who becomes a Christian and begins his own ministry. Although not part of this comic, Cruz tells the story of his life, including his interactions with Wilkerson, in his own memoir Run Baby Run.

Al Hartley is a longtime comic book professional, so the technical aspect of the book are competently done. I mention this, because professional competence is not always the case with Christian comics. The biggest problem that this comic has is that even with a full 32 pages of story, there are necessary shortcuts taken in the storytelling. But that is always the case in adapting a 200-page book into a single issue of a comic.

Hartley is most famous for drawing Archie comics, and there were moments in reading that I noted how similar some character looked to characters I’ve seen in Archie comics. But that was a minor issue. One of the oddest aspects is that the book’s most famous scene is on the cover of the comics, but does not take place inside the comic. This is when Wilkerson tells Cruz that even if the gang member cut him into a million pieces, each one would continue to love Cruz. This again speaks to Hartley’s struggle fitting all the material from the book into one issue of a comic, that he has to use the cover to portray the book’s most dramatic scene. 

As a comic, the fast pace and Archie-style drawings don’t necessarily age well. Writers of non-fiction also face the burden of their storytelling choices being limited by the actual events being told. But as a 40+ year-old adaptation of a 50+ year-old book, it’s actually … not bad.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Podcast #001: The Martyr of Hell's Kitchen

In this all-new, all-different first podcast episode, Emily & Alan talk about the Netflix Daredevil series, specifically the excellent episode 9, "Speak of the Devil."

Their conversation includes a discussion of the symbolism of the fight scene, Matt Murdock's faith, and the two awesome conversations he has in this episode with with Father Lantom.

Click on the player below to listen to the episode:

Right-click to download the episode.

You may also subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or the RSS Feed.

Link: Anderson Cale's music
Link: Dave's Daredevil Podcast


We would love to hear from you about the Daredevil show, the podcast episode, or the podcast in general. Send e-mail feedback to 

You can follow Alan on twitter @ProfessorAlan

Saturday, August 22, 2015

About Our Background Image

Our background image, which you may not be able to make out very clearly ... is the remnants of a viking funeral.

For most of its almost thirty years, the Cornerstone Festival beckoned our family, and it took us far too long to finally make the pilgrimage. I (Alan) went on my own in 2007, to "check it out" before taking the family in 2010. We had a great time, and were generally planning to go every three years or so as our family vacation. Their motto of "music. art. community. faith." was right up our alley.

We were very disheartened in the early spring of 2012 to hear that that year would be the last year for the festival, especially since we weren't planning on attending. After Emily pointed out the obvious, "We are going to the last Cornerstone," we decided to go to the last Cornerstone.

The last night of the last Cornerstone, a viking funeral was held. There were a few miscues with flaming arrows, but eventually the boat was set aflame in the middle of the lake, and the festival was officially over.

Until the next morning, someone noticed the remnants. The crossbar and the tattered sheet made from some pretty awesome pictures. And some pretty awesome memories.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fox Mulder, Bible Scholar

In the X-Files Episode "3" (season 2, episode 7), vampire cult killers leave behind a message in their victim's blood.

John 52:54

Fox Mulder demonstrates his knowledge of Scripture by quoting the verse in full. "He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood shall have eternal life. And I will raise him up on the last day." He then makes a crack about "big-haired preachers" and their feeble literal grasp of the Bible.

One problem. The verse doesn't exist. What he quotes is in fact John 6:54, although the wording did not precisely match any popular English translation that I could find.

I'm not going to hypothesize on why the episode's writers decided to make up a Bible reference instead of using an actual one. But whatever the reason for referring to the words of John 6:54 as John 52:54, it stands out as a choice that is ... just weird. 

Yes, this was in the long ago days before Google and Bible Gateway made looking up verses really easy. But still ... aren't there fact-checkers in the organization somewhere? And the cynic of course wonders why nobody in the ENTIRE production crew noticed the mistake.

Again, they get Jesus' words correct, which I appreciate. They didn't make up words and put them in the Bible. But they made up the place in the Bible where those words are found.

It's just weird.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Comic Book Review: Gotham By Midnight #2

Gotham By Midnight #2, DC Comics, cover-dated February 2015.

"We Will Not Rest," by Ray Fawkes, with art by Ben Templesmith. Cover by Ben Templesmith.

We pick up where issue #1 left off, with poor Internal Affairs Agent Rook learning that “Precinct 13” really does handle the hard cases. During his first supernatural case in Slaughter Swamp, he reveals exactly where his head is at:

“Look, I’m basically an accountant … just shoot that thing!”

Fortunately, Detective Jim Corrigan is on hand to handle the witchy apparition of a creepy nun-like being. He’s freaked out, and realizes that he doesn’t have a lot of time. “The Spectre is almost here.” He is able to subdue the entity and free the children she was holding. But they are speaking the same gibberish language that the Attwood children are speaking.

Back in Gotham Heights, Sister Justine realizes that something terrible has been done to the Attwood children. In a flashback we learn how she met Detective Corrigan and his alter ego, and how she became part of the Midnight Shift.

Sister Justine recognizes five of the gibberish words as names. She’s heard them before. By the end of the issue, Corrigan sums up where we are and where we are going:

“Something big and bad is moving into Gotham. Something that’s either got five names or five bodies. Or both.”

Again, it’s hard to think a better artist that Ben Templesmith to introduce readers to the eerie weirdness of this title. Not only the supernatural apparitions themselves, but the human’s reactions to the apparitions are suitable creepy.

Sister Justine is the featured character in this issue. The idea that the Spectre saved her once both gives insight into her past, as well as asks questions about the Spectre’s relationship with Corrigan. Justine’s word bubbles are smaller than the others’, indicating that she is meek, perhaps still traumatized by her past. But Corrigan realized he needed her on the team, and that in itself is an interesting fact.

I like the fact that the Spectre is staying off the page, at least for now. The idea that what they have faced SO FAR is not worthy of the Spectre’s attention is a bit scary, as it means that something even creepier and more evil is on the way. This is the way that suspense is supposed to work, laying down one puzzle piece after the other.

This issue was slightly slower than the first, as it has to actually develop character, as opposed to just introduce characters. But it was quite a gripping read.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Who Are We? Why Are We Here?

This project is a spin-off of sorts, a side project. Since the summer of 2013 we (Emily and Alan Middleton) have produced comic-book podcasts via the Relatively Geeky Podcast Network.

While doing those podcasts, we would occasionally run into topics related to faith, spirituality, and theology. And while we are both very interested in these topics, we thought that a comic-book podcast wasn't the best place to dive deep into those topics. But maybe if we created a separate place to discuss these topics ...

And that is where this initiative comes in. The purpose of Dorkness to Light is to give us a place to explore religious and theological topics, especially where those topics intersect with pop culture. We anticipate conversations about comic books, movies, TV, music, church history, current events, and anything else we can think of. Those conversations will take place here, on our Tumblr, and occasionally on podcasts.

At least that's what we think will happen here. As this is just the beginning of this project, it is hard to say where it will go. But we invite you to join us on our journey, wherever it may lead.
Emily Middleton is a Millennial who works at a public library. A recent college graduate, she majored in Sociology, with minors in Ancient Studies and  Religion.

Alan Middleton is Emily's father, a business professor and noted connoisseur of inexpensive comic books.