I realize that the title of this post might lead you to think that I am making fun of kabbalists, but no, in fact there is now a Kabbalah comic book series targeted to 7-17 year olds.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more commercial, Kabbalah is now being targeted to kids. (Of course, why should faith be any different from consumer products in this regard?) Now, to be fair this comic book has nothing to do with the Kabbalah Centre. Rather it is the brainchild of Denise Wohl and created by Jim Shooter, both formerly of Marvel Comics. Ms. Wohl is also an Upper East side denizen, which may explain why the characters are described as wearing Jill Stuart and Calvin Klein. (Mr. Shooter claims no attachment to Kabbalah.)
All of this is interesting for a number of reasons. First, the use of designer clothing solidifies the connection between spirituality and money (or the ability to ultimately achieve wealth if one takes on the tenets of the faith). Second, comics have become particularly popular again in light of the success of the television show, Heroes. Using what is hot in the popular culture to sell a product, even religion, is what faith brands do all the time. Third, products — particularly faiths — need to create brand loyalty with consumers when they are very young. To attract young people, you have to get them where they are and today one place where they are is reading comic books.
Finally, the comics are not being promoted in all venues as being attached to Kabbalah. This is not a new strategy. Jay, Jay the Jet Plane promotes one version of its show to PBS and another through video distribution. The same can be said for the promotion of Veggie Tales, whose latest movie doesn’t appear to have any evangelical message attached based on the film’s trailer.
Even with all this cleverness, one has to question what the goal is here. Comics tend to skew more male and faith skews female — particularly at a younger age — which could make this product a very hard sell. In addition, on the one hand, the comic may expose young people to some spiritual truths, which is not a bad thing. On the other hand, the spiritual truths are not coming from a religious leader or theologian so one has to question the quality of the message. Maybe it’s something we’ll never have to worry about. While this publication was launched in mid-November, I have not been able to find it even with a search on amazon.com. If someone else does, please let me know.