American Cult is an anthology of black and white nonfiction comics about various new religious movements in U.S. history. The book began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2019 and earned enough backers—thanks in part to a well-timed tweet from Karin Kilgariff, co-host of the popular true crime podcast My Favorite Murder—to be published in both paperback and hardcover editions. Kilgariff’s support was appropriate, given that the book’s editor, Brooklyn cartoonist Robyn Chapman, says that she came to the topic of cults via her interest in true crime stories. Scholars of religion, who know that the vast majority of members of new religious movements never break enough laws to become eligible for the true crime genre, might therefore be concerned about Chapman’s ability to shed light on cults in a balanced or nuanced manner. Neither the book’s front cover—an image by artist Ben Passmore showing a quintessential cult leader, head...

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