Monday, October 31, 2022

It’s Iimi! Blasphemous!

With Kismetta’s process of conversion becoming general knowledge, people have been coming to her, hoping to bring her about to their cause. They mostly give up, disappointed, when she proclaims she’s becoming Catholic. But one person isn’t put off, because he believes that the Catholic Church is “Great and Abominable Church” of the “Great Apostasy.” He hopes to persuade the entire group to join him. The problem is, when it comes to their claims about God, Iimi can see they are… Blasphemous!

Post-Comic Notes

The picture on the cover is The First Vision, by Gary Kapp, and is shared under the Creative Commons permissions (see HERE and HERE). It was chosen because I was looking for art that was clearly Mormon and distributable under Creative Commons… there are fewer of these than you might think.


There are many other issues that divide Mormonism and Catholicism. I may cover some of them later. However, the difference in beliefs about the nature of God are the greatest. Because they claim that God the Father is a man-made God, I don’t think the issue title is unjust. That doesn’t mean we can reject religious dialogue with them or treat members in an unchristian manner. Note how Iimi shut down Krysta’s mocking immediately. But saying, “we must reject this,” is not uncharitable.

Monday, October 24, 2022

It’s Iimi! Ancient Geek Warfare

People fight viciously over various fandoms. (What’s the best way to start a fight among Tolkien fans? Say “The Eagles should have flown Frodo to Mordor.”) Because these things are about fiction, it might seem like we could just dismiss it as unimportant. But the thing to remember is, we can sin against charity in fighting over fiction just as much as we can fighting over real life. That’s the danger of… Ancient Geek Warfare

Preliminary Notes:

This is a comic about Catholic moral obligations in avoiding rash judgment Iimi herself had no interest in is not taking sides in the lore fights, and is simply asking, “is that really true?” in the face of blanket accusations about the motives. Making a universal claim can be contradicted by showing even one example of something that goes against it. 

If you want to see my personal opinions about Rings of Power, see the post-comic notes. 

Post-Comic notes: One of the tricky parts in doing this comic was avoiding bogging it down with debates about different fandoms. That’s both irrelevant to a Catholic themed comic and going to be boring to people who don’t care about that particular fandom. For example, I don’t care about Doctor Who or Game of Thrones. I wouldn’t care to read a comic debating it. So, I mentioned a few of the most famous ones and tried to make the arguments apply to real life moral obligations.


The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture is a reference to the manga series Genshiken.

If you’re really curious about my thoughts on the parts of Rings of Power I could force myself to watch (it’s irrelevant to the Catholic moral discussion), I’d say this:

I don’t think the creators get it. Even if you set aside questions about whether the racial makeup of the cast fit in with the lore (something I stopped thinking about almost immediately), the characters were either entirely uninteresting or entirely unlikeable. Also, it had the problems with bad story, and boring pacing It probably could have completely dropped the Harfoot plot, and completely revamped or removed the character of Galadriel.

The problem is, they tried to create an original story in Tolkien’s universe without the talent of Tolkien. None of us have that, of course. But this didn’t feel like Middle Earth. So, we got something I thought was boring where the only thing of note is the background (which was impressive).

I think the problem in general is: many people no longer trust Hollywood to tell a story without an agenda. Regardless of whether that fear is justified or not, if they see a race, sexuality, or gender swap, these people suspect something is being pushed.

And, as Iimi pointed out, that can be rash judgment too.

Monday, October 17, 2022

It’s Iimi! Torn Asunder…

As the Dhumzur family gets closer to their move date, underlying tensions threaten to widen. Mother and daughter are divided as Sumeja fears Kismetta will corrupt her sons. Resentments flare over polygyny and Zara. When the family finally does move, the question is whether the family will stay intact or be… Torn Asunder…

Post-Comic Notes:

Eid Mawlid an-Nabi was held on October 8th 2022 (Saturday).

Sunni Muslims (except for Salafi and Wahhabi) celebrate, though there can be some disagreement as to whether or not to celebrate. The reason for the dispute sounds similar to the claims made by some Christians that Christmas should not be celebrated… that there is no command to celebrate it. But as I’m a non-Muslim, it’s not really my place to take a side. 


Islamic educational institutions in the United States often hold lectures or classes on Muhammad’s life and how Muslims can live an honorable life. They may also invite non-Muslims to communal meals and lectures or discussions on Islam. Generally speaking, these events usually aim to increase the understanding of Islam in the non-Muslim community, rather than to convert people to Islam. Hence Assistant Imam Hamdan’s reluctance to go along with Najiyah’s suggestion.


Some communities hold open-air celebrations or parades. People attending the parades may carry green banners and men and boys wear green clothing or headgear. Girls often wear pink and white clothes. A communal meal may be held, or birthday cake may be distributed at the end of the celebrations. The food is often also shared with non-Muslims. 

Kismetta’s poster, which “seems off” to Sumeja, is a kakure (隠れ, meaning “hidden”) Christian pattern. During persecution in Japan, Catholics would sometimes wear Christian symbols in the patterns on their clothing that weren’t immediately apparent to persecutors. Sumeja clearly doesn’t see the symbol. Kismetta, recognizing how unhappy her parents are with her conversion, sees this as the best option.

Monday, October 10, 2022

It’s Iimi! Schwerpunkt!

When Ms. Machen brings up the topics of dictatorship and political factions, the questions seem targeted only in one direction and against one person. Can Iimi explain why her views are different than she is accused of? Or will she fall prey to being the focal point of the…  Schwerpunkt!



Preliminary Notes: Schwerpunkt is a German military term that doesn’t carry across fully in an English translation. Roughly it means center of gravity, crucial, focal point, or point of main effort. In the context I’ve seen, it seems to give a sense of “everybody, attack this point until it collapses!” As the regular reader of the comic knows, the Schwerpunkt target of the comic is Iimi.


I suppose I could have just used the English phrase but, just as things sound more profound in Latin, they sound more menacing in German…

Post Comic Notes:


The trick in writing Otios and Machen is to accurately represent the modern anti-Christian attitudes that seem prevalent in secular society without making them seem one-dimensional. They truly believe what they accuse us of, but have only a superficial understanding at best, and often miss the point. 


The Cover art was originally conceived of with Ms. Machen giving a Nazi salute. I decided to change it to her pointing because I wanted to avoid giving people the impression of “her side are the real fascists.” Remember, Iimi’s point is, unless everyone starts following the Christian concept of justice and the golden rule, either faction is fully capable of becoming tyrannical through self-interest. They won’t think they are, of course. But trying to limit your rivals by doing what you refuse to accept for yourself is a short road to that destination.


Monday, October 3, 2022

It’s Iimi! I Wanna ROCOR Roll All Night…!

When Krysta sees the transfer student, Tasha Marov, acting like she’s pursuing Daryl, she desperately wants to wreak vengeance, only stopping because she knows she’ll be seen as a bully for doing so. When Iimi suspects that Tasha might be a member of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and might be trying to convert Daryl away from Catholicism, Krysta asks her to save Daryl, despite Paula’s concerns over Iimi’s Aspergers. Will Iimi flee? Or will she say… 


I Wanna ROCOR Roll All Night…!


And, no, I’m not apologizing for such a stupid pun…


Preliminary Notes: 


As always, the behavior of the antagonists is never intended to be a stereotype of “All of X act this way.” But I have personally encountered people who do act the way Tasha does.


ROCOR stands for “Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.” They’re a semi-autocephalous group, and members I encountered online were intolerant, spreading anti-Catholic literature and falsehoods and are generally opposed to the ecumenical outreach between Catholicism and the Orthodox churches. I’ve personally experienced members calling on God to curse me when I opposed misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and history. For a brief history, you can see this Wikipedia article.


ROCOR members I have personally encountered online do act with the level of aggressiveness portrayed here. though I toned it down from the abusiveness I’ve experienced. Much like my encounters with online athiests and fundamentalists, they do tend to run from argument to argument without acknowledging refutations.


But remember the fallacy of hasty generalization. The ROCOR trolls online do not necessarily represent all members of the group—let alone the all of the Eastern Orthodox churches in general.


Post Comic Notes


Those unfamiliar with anime and who want to learn more about the ojousama anime trope Tasha represents can see HEREand HERE.


For those surprised about Saul, this is an attitude I’ve encountered: Certain fundamentalists want to learn about Christian history after the accounts in the Bible but, rejecting the Catholic Church as a source, look to Eastern Orthodoxy. Will Saul reject it as “too Papist?” Will he become attracted to Orthodoxy? Too early to say yet. But both have happened in real life.