RELIGION
07/15/2010 03:04 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Soul Of Spider-Man

By Ankita Rao
Religion News Service

(RNS) What if our superheroes could preach from the pulpit?

In the vein of the "The Tao of Star Wars" or "The Gospel According to The Simpsons," Christian authors Adam Palmer and Jeff Dunn embarked on a mission to weave together spiritual messages from the three Spiderman movies.

Their new book, "The Soul of Spider-man," is a collection of bite-sized lessons, feeding off of Peter Parker's heroic moments, misadventures and upside-down love life.

Palmer, a novelist and freelance writer, teamed up with writer Dunn once before for the book, "Taming a Liger: Unexpected Spiritual Lessons from Napoleon Dynamite".

Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: How is this different than other "Gospel According to..." books?

A: This one would be different because this is the one that was written by us. (Laughs) When we view media we ask ourselves, "Where is the truth in this--what can this teach me about the gospel, or Christianity?" Jesus used parables as a means of imparting lessons. Many things are modern-day parables.

Q: If Spiderman wrote a section of the Bible, what would it be called?

A: I think probably Spiderman and the Apostle Paul would pretty much see eye to eye. Paul writes about inner turmoil and inner conflict. The things he wants to do, he knows he shouldn't do them, and the things he doesn't want to do, he knows he should. He has a keen understanding of the duality of mankind. I think Spidey would tap out some stuff like my man Paul.

Q: How many times did you read the comics, or watch the movies, for inspiration?

A: The book itself is only based on the three most recent motion pictures. That was kind of an intentional thing. I would say I watched the first Spiderman, probably, about 10 times, and the others about five or six.

Q: Why Spiderman? Why not, say, Batman?

A: I'm a big fan of Batman. But Spiderman has always been kind of my favorite character growing up. I always identified with Peter Parker. I always got most excited about him.

Q: Who will enjoy this book the most?

A: Anybody who is a fan of the films. Anyone from young adult to maybe older people. We tried to make things very relevant just for the average person.

Q: What's the biblical equivalent of a genetically modified spider bite?

A: The Bible tells us that if any man is in Christ he is a new creation, the old things pass and everything becomes new. When we surrender our own will to that of God, that is the equivalent of receiving that bite. We are no longer slaves to our sins.

Q: Where does Spiderman's love, Mary Jane, fit in?

A: I think Mary Jane is a very good indicator of the reality of love. We as people want to have love on our terms. That's one of things Peter Parker knows--his love for her is always going to be a detriment to her and put her in danger. He kind of decides "I'm not going to love." In the second movie, MJ says "Screw you--you're not the one calling all the shots. I'm going to love you back." It shows the strength on her side, and the strength of love.

Q: Tell us about your writing process with Jeff Dunn.

A: We went through the movies and we kind of divided them up. We bounced ideas off of each other. We knew it needed to be 30 chapters because it's sort of intended to be a daily devotional where you can read one every day. We spit-balled ideas; he and I are very much on the same wave length.

Q: Do you envision more books like this one?

A: We're always open to future projects of this type of nature. Most of the movies I like aren't everyone's favorite--like "Fantastic Mr. Fox." So, as far as future projects are concerned, it's a long process that requires so much endurance. I'll kind of see where my passion lies.