Clergy Keynote - Intrigue of the Empire
Fr Turbo Qualls
Understanding the nature of evil & it’s influence through the medium of fandom & pop culture.
Fr Turbo Qualls is the rector at St. Mary of Egypt, Serbian Orthodox Church in Kansas City Missouri, where he lives with his wife Juliana and their 8 children. Fr. Turbo has an undergraduate degree in addiction counseling and science and a MTh in pastoral counseling. He has facilitated trauma and depression groups for vulnerable individuals in the urban core of Kansas City and continues to apply the patristic tradition of healing within his community. Fr. Turbo is also a retired professional tattoo artist who has studied iconography within the Prosopon School of Iconography and most notably under the contemporary master iconographer, Fr. Stamatis Skliris of Athens. Fr. Turbo further augmented his education and skill in iconography by completing the Antiochian House of studies course in theology, with an emphasis in Iconology. Being raised in a golden era of fandom & sub culture, Fr. Turbo has a deep appreciation and experience with pop and sub culture.
Lay Keynote - A (Meaning) Crisis on Infinite Earths
Richard W. Rohlin
Although it was by no means the first crossover event in comic book history, DC Comics' 1985-6 twelve-issue miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths was the most ambitious comics event in history. Ostensibly developed to streamline DC's sprawling continuity and bring it more up-to-date to vie with the edgier and more modern Marvel Comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths established a pattern of ambitious, continuity-altering events which both DC and Marvel would follow in the four decades since its publication. But Richard Rohlin will argue that Crisis and its 9 successor crises do more than simply tidy up messy continuity -- they are attempts to address questions of meaning, identity, and nihilism which lie at the heart of the modern project. This lecture will introduce Crisis and its successor events for audience members who may not be comic book fans, and will then take a deep dive into the DCU to see what we can learn about hope, identity, and how to combat nihilism in our world today.
Richard W. Rohlin is an Orthodox Christian, author, podcaster, medievalist and data analyst living in Grand Prairie, TX. A husband and father, he is the co-host of The Amon Sul Podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, regularly contributes to Jonathan Pageau's The Symbolic World YouTube channel, and currently has a number of both fiction and non-fiction projects under development, including Akboritha (a work of fantasy literature), Rood Screen: The Story of Early English Christianity, and Finding the Golden Key: Essays Toward a Recovery of the Sacramental Imagination. Although he is most well-known for his lectures and podcasts on the Inklings and medieval universal history, Richard has been both reading and writing superhero stories nearly his entire life. His superhero pulp novel Guardians: The Eye of Horus is currently under development as a graphic novel.
Heroes of Vice: How the Anti-Hero Lost the Anti
S. K. Ehra
From the legends of The Iliad, to the Arthurian knights, to the champions found in comic book pages, fictional heroes have reflected societal values. So what does that say for a society that gravitates toward the anti-hero? Heroes of Vice will analyze the history of heroes, how our fictional champions mirror and influence social values, the anti-hero’s rise to replace traditional heroism, and why this elevation of vice over virtue diminishes stories.
S. K. Ehra is an author of fantasy, horror, and all that lies between. When not reading or writing, she can be found wandering the woods and, while skittish, is friendly when approached.
Horror Films and the Redemption of the Victims
In horror, the protagonists’ suffering forces them into an encounter with the truth about their own actions and character. Even the victims (of their own bad choices, of other people's cruelty, of social forces or supernatural beings) may discover that they need redemption. Suffering may be a psychological crucible melting away characters’ lies and self-deceptions, or the medium of a mystical communion, restoring shattered communities and relationships. I'll look at several classic horror films as examples of how to tell powerful stories about redemption.
Eve Tushnet is the author of two novels, "Amends" and "Punishment: A Love Story," as well as two nonfiction books about the spiritual lives and needs of gay Christians. She also writes regularly on subjects ranging from forgotten '80s punk films to medieval friendship traditions. This is her third Doxacon presentation.
HAN SHOT FIRST! How Revisionism in Star Wars Reflects Our Culture's Distortion of Grace
Bryan J. L. Glass
Often analyzed as the “Rise, Fall & Redemption of Anakin Skywalker,” the Star Wars Saga has inspired over 40 years of allegorical allusions to Christian Redemption. Yet with one notorious revision, a common misunderstanding of Grace and Redemption is exposed: the redeemed, like Han Solo, must be shown worthy of redemption. To offer heroes suitable to their heroic roles, revisionism has actually stripped this particular epic of any need for personal redemption. When compared with our Christian community’s frequent penchant for judgment in direct contrast to its fascination with depravity when framed within the context of redemptive testimonials, we’re challenged to ponder through what filter do we view our own trespasses and sin? Is “Daily Bread” merely to be consumed, or also an allusion on how we should view the temporal world and its sinners through Eternity’s lens?
Bryan J. L. Glass is the Harvey Award-winning co-creator/writer of The Mice Templar from Image Comics, the superhero series Furious from Dark Horse Comics, narrative world-builder of the DogamíNFT, author of Quixote: A Novel and the upcoming SF series BJLG’s Dark Spaces. A contributor to DC Comics' Adventures of Superman, his Marvel Comics credentials include Thor: First Thunder, Crown of Fools and Valkyrie, the video game Thor: Son of Asgard for Disney Mobile, as well as the comic book adaptations of Raymond E. Feist’s Magician, the Riftwar Saga and Cirque du Soleil's KÀ.
Doppelgängers & Divinity: The Christian Potential of the Unheimlich
Eleanor Bourg Nicholson
In “speculative fiction” genres, the plot requires a radical encounter with some threatening “Other”. In a Christian mode, the alien or the monster reflects the inner woundedness of the Everyman and cries out for the need for Redemption. The Christian reader (and writer) can be poised to recognize the most radically challenging moment of the uncanny: when mortal, fallen man comes face to face with the Divine Reality. Will we, with the protagonist, accept that our monstrousness cannot obliterate the truth of the Imago Dei? Will we, with the protagonist, experience the pain of purification and be made new? Come and gaze into the “fun-house mirror” of the unheimlich (the uncanny) and find therein a rich breeding-ground for Christian understanding.
Eleanor Bourg Nicholson - In addition to scholarly pursuits, Eleanor Bourg Nicholson occasionally strays into fiction, including her epistolary novella, The Letters of Magdalen Montague (Kauffmann Publishing, 2011; Chrism Press, 2021), and her Gothic novels, A Bloody Habit (Ignatius Press, 2018) and Brother Wolf (Chrism Press, 2021). A former assistant executive editor for Dappled Things, she is assistant editor for the Saint Austin Review (StAR), as well as the editor of several Ignatius Critical Editions of the classics and has collaborated with other editors to provide footnotes for numerous other works. Her work has appeared in the National Catholic Register and Touchstone, as well as with First Things and The Catholic Thing. The resident Victorian literature instructor at Homeschool Connections, Eleanor, with her husband, homeschools their five children. By night, she reads the Victorians, writes Gothic novels, and cares for small children.
Embodiment of Evil and the Battle Against Diabolic Foes
Rev. Robert L. Lewis, Jr.
Faces of Evil have been a part of comic books since their earliest days. These illustrated stories are seldom subtle about morality. Often the personification of evil is made up of devils, demons, and other corrupt and dishonorable beings who are easily identified and enlisted to be villains, adversaries, and enemies for the heroes to battle. Over the years, evil became less stereotypical. This paper will explore examples of the embodiment of evil and discuss how comics from mainstream and popular independent publishers can expand on teaching and exploring ethics.
Rev. Robert L. Lewis, Jr. is the pastor for the Conococheague Lutheran Parish in Washington County, Maryland. He is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Maryland Global Campus, where he teaches in the areas of Humanities, Philosophy, and Ethics. Robert is an avid comic collector and co- contributor of a podcast about the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Righteous Demon Spawn: Redeeming a Demonic Bloodline in Merlin Mythos, Hellboy, and Teen Titans' Raven
While many comic book characters are aesthetically aligned to the pursuit of justice (like Superman and Wonder Woman) or the pursuit of evil (like Red Skull and Doctor Sivana), comic book authors often enjoy subverting aesthetic expectations to feature a dark, spooky character as a hero: most famously, Batman. Occasionally, however, comic book authors enjoy subverting not only our aesthetic expectation for heroes, but exploring ambiguities in our metaphysical and moral judgments about where powers come from and whether they are inherently good or evil. The clearest example of this occurs in several half-human/half-demon characters whose superpowers derive from their demonic heritage. This talk will highlight major themes from three characters in fiction: the earliest Christian Merlin retellings (whence half-demon heroes seem to originate), the first Hellboy comic run, and the arc of Raven in the 2003 animated Teen Titans. All three are clearly heroes, but each have different things to teach us about heritage, destiny, freedom, and redeeming the curse of one's birth. Though the latter two are not intended to have deeply Christian themes, all three together confront us with the momentous possibility of our own choices.
Edmund Lazzari has taught philosophy and theology at various universities, most recently at Prince George's Community College and Marquette University, where he is a doctoral candidate in systematic theology and ethics. While professionally trained in philosophy, he is grateful to be talking about those things that first taught him metaphysics: stories. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles on traditional and offbeat theological topics (like angelology in Tolkien and the New Blackfriars article "Would St. Thomas Aquinas baptize an Extraterrestrial?"). Releasing in July of 2022, his first book is entitled Why Nature Matters: Unlocking Catholic Doctrine through Common-sense Philosophy. He spends his free time doing archery, swimming, making music, and thinking with his new daughter Anastasia and his wife Erin, a fellow Doxacon presenter.
Pain Made Holy: Sacrificial Redemption in Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion
Though not religious herself, Lois McMaster Bujold nonetheless was among the relatively few authors working in speculative fiction who not only wrote about religious characters but wrote religions in a convincing way. The Curse of Chalion, the initial offering in Bujold’s series The World of the Five Gods, was inspired by a class she took on medieval Spain but features an invented pantheon of five gods. In The Curse of Chalion, the lifting of a curse on the ruling family of Chalion depends on the willingness of one ordinary man chosen by a Goddess to sacrifice his life in accordance with Her will. Bujold’s meditations on what it takes to sacrifice one’s own desires to fulfill the will of (a) God are worth bringing into dialogue with Christian theology. In Chalion we meet heretics, saints, ordinary believers, atheists, and those who have become unbelievers because their prayers haven’t been answered.
Sarah Slater has been reading fantasy at least since completing the Lord of the Rings at the age of 9, a requirement her father set before allowing her to watch Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Rings movie. When not reading, Sarah works for Rehumanize International, an educational nonprofit focused on the Consistent Life Ethic. Sarah has a Master of Arts in Theology from Duquesne University where she concentrated on ethics and Catholic Social Teaching. Sarah makes her home in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, which she continues to defend as the greatest city in America.
Glorious Purpose: The Role of Forgiveness and Sacrifice in Redemption
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:23) Gaius Baltar (Battlestar Galactica) and the MCU’s Loki have one thing in common: They are arrogant and self-serving and have inflicted terrible pain on their worlds. The writers have also given them redemption arcs with another thing in common: forgiveness. This presentation explores how forgiveness, love, and sacrifice play a role not only in the antagonist’s redemption, but in the protagonist’s redemption as well. This presentation will focus on the redemption arcs of Gaius Baltar in Battlestar Galactica and Loki from the Disney+ series and will explore how leading protagonists such as Lee Adama (BSG) and Mobius (Loki) and Loki himself are redeemed through their choice to forgive and forsake vengeance.
Amy Browning-Dill has been involved behind the scenes at Doxacon since 2012. Amy is often found at the center of conversations on nerdom, genre fiction, and religion/philosophy, so has a passion for communities like ours that are at the intersection of all three. She is an artist, art teacher and mother of three girls. She teaches drawing and painting at The Art League School in Alexandria, VA and enjoys sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for the visual, literary, and performing arts.
Will the Fairies be Redeemed?
Cynthia June Long
Faeries are cute, diminutive, winged sprites, right? Not so fast. Some call them nature spirits, while others consider the “Fair Folk” to be the fading memory of Celtic pre-Christian gods. At the turn of the 20th Century, a number of rural villagers reported that faeries are really fallen angels! Of curious interest: multiple tales reveal the fey inquiring into their eternal destiny. Two Celtic folktales will be presented in an oral storytelling performance, followed by a discussion informed by our Orthodox worldview to answer the question posed by these tales: “Will the Faeries be saved on the last day?”
Cynthia June Long is a librarian, writer, storyteller, and Celtic folklorist. She has published poems and fiction about the faeries and has written for Orthodox Christian Network’s “The Sounding” blog. She presented “Old Enough to Start Reading Fairy Tales Again” at Doxacon 2017. She blogs about faeries, saints, folklore, and literature at cynthiajunelong.wordpress.com and attends St. George Church in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Goodness at What Cost? An Investigation of Scar in Fullmetal Alchemist
Before the two critically-acclaimed animes was an award-winning manga. Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist showcases numerous themes and topics worthy of exploration, which could all be discussed at great length. However, this talk will address the journey of Scar, a member of an ethnic minority whose people were recently the target of eugenic extermination. Introduced at first as a terrorist and an antagonist, he finds himself some unlikely allies along his road to revenge. What is revenge or redemption worth if it means to save your people but lose your soul?
Erin Lazzari is a wearer of many hats, both real and metaphorical. By day, she is a professional proofreader and copyeditor whose clients include Baen Books and Word On Fire Press; by night, she quibbles about church architecture on Mars while working on her latest sewing project. She has opinions on everything.
Resistance is No Longer Necessary: Changing Attitudes towards Transhumanism in Star Trek
Fr. Brian Russell
Some of the greatest representations of evil in Star Trek find their origin in turn away from the human and towards the Post-human; notably, ironic villains like Khan Noonien Singh and the Borg. But this implicit condemnation of Transhumanism is now Changing with more recent explorations of Transhumanism ideas in Star Trek: Picard and Brave New Worlds. Does Christianity have any answers to the questions raised by this implicit transhumanism?
Fr. Brian Russell is the Associate Pastor of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Perth, Ontario. He is an all-around nerd and a second-generation fan of Star Trek who once accidently had a picture of Spock and Kirk in the background of a video he did for the parish.
Doxacon Prime of Washington, D.C. is sponsored by
Protection of the Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America — Romanian Episcopate
7223 Roosevelt Ave, Falls Church, VA 22042