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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Arnold Crimp
mentally unstable Gotham resident "inspired" by Batman


Arnold Crimp is a minor character who appeared on only one page of issue #2 of Frank Miller's epochal
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns limited series (DC Comics: New York City, 1986; page 89 in the hardcover compilation).
Arnold Crimp: a religious woman who was a Gotham crime victim in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Arnold Crimp's precise denominational affiliation as a Catholic is not overtly identified during his brief appearance. However, it is clear that he is a Catholic. He watched and heeded the pronouncements of a priest named "Father Don" that he watched on television. Also, Arnold Crimp was particularly incensed when he saw a so-called "adult film" that depicted a Catholic nun.

Furthermore, nearly all of Frank Miller's overtly religious characters are Catholics, including (according to Miller) the two mainstream superhero characters he is best known for writing: Batman and Daredevil.

Arnold Crimp and the overt religious references associated with him provide an example of popular comic book writer Frank Miller's frequent use of religion in his writing and characterization.

Unfortunately, Arnold Crimp was clearly mentally disturbed. After Batman returned to activity after 10 years of retirement, Arnold Crimp was inspired by Batman's vigilante activities to shoot three people to death in a porn theater. The combination of Led Zeppelin music, the media coverage of Batman's return, the television preaching of Father Don and getting fired from his job proved to be a fatal combination in the already unstable mind of Arnold Crimp. In killing three people, Crimp obviously violated the teachings and commandments of Catholicism about the sanctity of life.

Comics are filled with countless instances of minor characters who express religiousity or demonstrate their religious affiliation in some way. This page about Arnold Crimp is included here not because the character is of any particular importance, but because he is a good example of such characters, and also because he appears in one of the most famous comic books in history: Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

Text Excerpt

From: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #2 (1986), DC Comics: New York City; reprinted in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns hardcover edition, DC Comics: New York City (2002), page 89; written and pencilled by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Lynn Varley:
NARRATION MIXED WITH ARNOLD CRIMP'S THOUGHTS: Arnold Crimp fingers the cold steel thing in his pocket and stares at the movie marquee and does not throw up. He thinks about Led Zeppelin and how they are trying to kill him.

He had not known about Led Zeppelin until Father Don on TV had explained it last night. Father Don said that Led Zeppelin hid a prayer to Satan in their song "Stairway to Heaven." They hid it very well. They recorded it backwards.

Arnold Crimp took the album from the record store where he worked until they fired him this afternoon and transferred "Stairway to Heaven" to tape. Then he played the tape backwards. He played it forty-seven times until he was absolutely certain that Father Don was right. But the young girl who was painted like a whore didn't believe him.

That was this afternoon, in the store. He explained it to her very carefully. She said awful words. He lost his temper and broke the record into four pieces that were exactly the same. The young girl who was painted just like a whore screamed for the manager and the manager walked out from the back room and wouldn't even listen and fired Arnold Crimp. That was this afternoon in the store.

Every morning and evening until night of course he had walked six blocks out of his way to avoid this neighborhood. It's worse than he imagined. Row on row on row on row of pictures of women and words and words and words. He stopped at this one the one he is in right now and read the title that did not make him throw up. The title is "My Sweet Satan," which is what Arnold Crimp is absolutely certain he heard when he played "Stairway to Heaven" backwards.

On the screen a nun a nun is doing something and she's painted exactly like a whore --

[The last panel does not show Arnold Crimp shooting 3 people, but instead shows a television screen on which a anchorman reports on the story. Behind the broadcast journalist is an image of Batman's bat symbol.]

TV ANCHORMAN: Three slain in Batman-inspired porn theater shoot-out. Details to follow . . .

Catholic Characters in Batman: Dark Knight Returns

a Catholic priest in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller Every character whose formal religious affiliation can be identified in Batman: Dark Knight Returns is apparently Catholic, including this Catholic priest (right) interviewed for a television news program on the topic of Batman's return.

Source: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #2 (1986), DC Comics: New York City; reprinted in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns hardcover edition, DC Comics: New York City (2002), page 102; written and pencilled by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Lynn Varley.

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Webpage created 2 April 2006. Last modified 2 April 2006.
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