"Infinite Jest: Reviews, Articles,
FAITH IN ACTION
Super sister fights evil
By Leslie Miller
In the defiant world of bad-girl comic books, one holy heroine is drawing
The Warrior Nun -- a cross between Xena and Joan of Arc -- has attracted
both male and female fans who now follow the character, well, religiously.
"Other superheroes, you never know what their faith is," says
creator Ben Dunn, publisher of Antarctic Press, San Antonio. "Batman
or Spider-Man or Superman, they do all these great things, but what do they
Dunn, 33, who attended Catholic schools, got the idea two years ago after
seeing a story about an order of nuns in New York who study judo and tae
His focus is Sister Shannon Masters (a.k.a. Areala), one of an elite corps
of 13 Warrior Nuns who "provide the thin line of defense between Earth
and the power of Hell."
After losing an arm battling demons, Sister Shannon received a mechanical
replacement and "suddenly became imbued with the spirit of Areala,"
the first Warrior Nun in the year 1066. From then on, Shannon adopted Areala's
After good sales in comic book stores of a few initial story lines and a
Warrior Nun Areala action figure, Dunn is about to launch the first issue
of an ongoing comic book series, due in June. He also is producing a half-hour
animated video to be sold in comic book stores next year.
Several spinoff comics also are in the works: the Crimson Nun, a Warrior
Nun from the 1930s (due in early May); group leader Mother Superion (in
July); and Shotgun Mary, a former nun whose unorthodox methods forced her
to leave the church.
Action figures of both Shotgun Mary (with removable sunglasses) and Areala
in a "Holy White" habit will be out in June ($9.95, sold at comic
book stores only).
Although Warrior Nun has somethings in common with other buxom, scantily
clad comic heroines, Dunn says he holds her to a higher moral code: "I
made it a very strong point that she doesn't kill people, only demons,"
he says. "She believes everybody -- no matter how bad they've been
-- can be saved."
While predominantly young male fans might find Sister Areala's tight-fitting
bodice and thigh-revealing costume quite divine (the side slits are "for
mobility," Dunn insists), the church would surely consider the portrayal
less than chaste.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Catholic Conference in
Washington, D.C., says the costume as described is "offensive. The
habit is something sacred."
But she adds it sounds like the idea for the character "is coming from
a positive feeling toward sisters," and she's not at all surprised.
"Nuns are superheroes," she says.