In my Nashotah House teaching days, standing sentinel in my office was the 8″ action figure of Bibleman. I first discovered Bibleman while surreptitiously skulking through a Christian bookstore seeking Veggie Tales paraphernalia (don’t ask). I quickly rounded the corner in the kids’ section and there he was, encased in purple-and-yellow body armor, packing a Bible and laser sword and a packet sealed forever from the curious eyes of Biblegirl. I knew then and there that I had to have him. I sent my wife back to buy him later.
Naturally curious, I found a website and learned that an entire culture and money-making industry had grown around this ultimate good guy. He had a sidekick called Cypher (sold separately), and arch-enemies with such names as Primordious Drool and Wacky Protestor. I marveled at the missed opportunity here — they could have called them Text Critic and Doctor Mentary Hypothesis! Fascinated, I watched video clips of Bibleman’s deft swordplay in a scene that brought back the poignant death scene in Robocop. This was certainly not the old-fashioned fundamentalism I’d grown up with. But even with a Schwarzenegger build and phallic light sword, this guy was KJV and GOP all the way.
Shortly after taking another surreal job, this time at Gorgias Press, my wife showed me a related article in the newspaper. Wal-Mart announced that it was planning to carry Bible action figures, manufactured by One2believe. The line includes Noah, Moses, Daniel, Goliath, and of course, Jesus. I must admit that I was let down that David and Bathsheba figures did not seem to be available. Jesus does have a pull-string, however, for quoting his favorite Bible verses. Even as I throw the paper aside in vexation, I know that come fall, when I find my way back into a classroom at Rutgers, Bibleman will likely have a new companion on my office shelf, and it may be the son of the Big Guy himself.