The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
of Jack Kirby's New Gods and later the Justice League
Barda Free, more commonly known as "Big Barda," was one of the principle characters in Jack Kirby's New Gods and Fourth World comic book stories, published by DC Comics. After the monthly comic book series publishing these stories were cancelled, Kirby moved onto other projects. The characters were later incorporated into the mainstream DC universe, and Big Barda later became known as a superhero and a member of the Justice League.
Big Barda is a native of Apokolips, a planet ruled by the despotic Darkseid.
Big Barda, like all residents of Apokolips, was raised as part of a personality cult that venerates Darkseid as a god. Big Barda was a warrior and loyal servant of Darkseid, but then she met Scott Free. Scott Free was the freedom-loving adoptive son of Darkseid. (He later known as "Mister Miracle.") Scott was actually a native of New Genesis, where he was the son of the Highfather, but he had been raised on Apokolips as part of a diplomatic exchange between the two warring worlds. Scott had rejected attempts to bend him to the dark ways of Apokolips. Despite her upbringing and former veneration of Darkseid, Big Barda was impressed by Scott's innocence and thirst for freedom. She joined Scott Free in rebelling against Darkseid, and the two of them joined the New Gods of Apokolips. Eventually the pair married and settled on Earth.
Apokolips in many ways represents a prototypical tranformation of despotic national leadership into a national political party and national religion that all citizens are forced to take part in. The religion of Darkseid himself was an atheistic religion in the sense that Darkseid recognized no God, Supreme Being, deities, etc. Darkseid actively pronounced that there were no other gods aside from himself, or that all other gods were dead. He set himself up as a god to the people of Apokolips and he punished or destroyed any of his subjects who were caught worshipping or believing differently. Darkseid is well aware that his rule is not benevolent or beneficial, but he does not care. It is uncear to what extent the people of Apokolips worship and believe in Darkseid as a "supernatural" god-like being, or simply as a demonstrably powerful figure who truly has absolute power over their lives. There appears to be a mixture of both sentiments among the populace. This was the system that Big Barda believed in and supported during her earlier years. She knew of no other possible way to live.
For further information about the religion of Apokolips, read the Mister Miracle page.
Although Big Barda was raised to believe in and bow to Darkseid, she has completely rejected that belief system. Big Barda may have been raised on Apokolips within the cult of personality that worshipped Darkseid, but she is completely lapsed from that twisted "religion."
Big Barda (as "Barda Free") now resides on Earth with her husband, Scott. The exact nature of Big Barda's current religious beliefs and religious affiliation is not well known, but as far as we know she has never been shown to have converted to any Earth religion, despite her years living there. As far as is known, Big Barda has adopted and retains the religious beliefs and practices of New Gods of New Genesis, despite the fact that she wasn't raised there.
Even today, Big Barda remains a warrior at heart. But rather than serving evil, she now channels her talents and aggression against Darkseid and evil, despotic forces like him.
From: "Big Barda" page on Wikipedia.com (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Barda; viewed 17 April 2006):
Big Barda is a fictional character, a DC Comics superheroine created by Jack Kirby, originally for The Fourth World series of titles.
She is the wife of fellow superhero Mister Miracle. The two escaped from the planet Apokolips to Earth in order to find a peaceful life together.
In a reversal of the stereotyped female character then common at that time of her creation, Barda is physically more powerful than her husband and is more than willing to use that power in battle. For instance, Barda was originally the leader of a ferocious pack of female warriors called the Female Furies. As such, she possesses the great strength and endurance befitting a warrior for Darkseid. Although she came to share her husband's values of peace and justice, fighting is still her preferred response in the face of evil.
From: "Darkseid" article on Wikipedia.com (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkseid; viewed 17 April 2006):
Darkseid is the ruler of the planet Apokolips, a post he obtained after assassinating his mother. He is obsessed with finding the Anti-Life Equation in order to use it to rule the universe. This goal also includes conquering his rival planet, New Genesis, ruled by the Highfather, formerly Izaya the Inheritor. The resulting destructive war is stopped only with a diplomatic exchange of the Highfather's and Darkseid's infant sons. Darkseid's Orion is surrendered to the Highfather while Darkseid receives Scott Free, who will later become the master escape artist Mister Miracle...
Darkseid is a character whose personality can vaguely be described as evil incarnate. Darkseid is not merely content to control but to dominate those individuals under him into totally obedient and morally corrupt caricatures of individuals. Apokolips is a world that resembles Hell because of his need to be worshipped as a god and the need to nurture the most horrible aspects of the human spirit. On Apokolips, his subjects are raised in a personality cult, to venerate him, to sacrifice themselves gladly in his name...
Darkseid's great ambition is to wipe out free will from the universe and reshape it in his own image. To this end, he seeks to unravel the mysterious 'Anti-Life Equation', which will allow him to control completely the thoughts and emotions of living beings. The Anti-Life Equation has often been portrayed as a quasi-mystical power that forces a listener to agree with whatever the wielder says. Other times, it is portrayed as a comprehensive scientific theory on how to dominate any living mind, whatever its nature may be...
Orion possesses significant fragments of the Anti-Life Equation, while Scott Free (Better known as Mister Miracle) is the only being in existence who knows the entire code.
From: Doug Tonks, "A Higher Power", posted 22 October 2006 on "All New! All Different! Howling Curmudgeons: Two-Fisted Comics Commentary and Criticism!" blog website (http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/009995.html; viewed 25 April 2007):
The never-identified but usually heeded "they" claim that there are two topics you should never talk about: religion and politics. But since Mike already brought up religion... I'll follow it up with a link to this page [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html], which lists the religious affiliations of various comic book characters. Many of the religious identifications are backed up with lengthy supporting arguments, but some of the more minor characters get little or nothing in the way of explanation.
Some of them are not too surprising... Others are obvious...
But this being comic books, it's not too long until things start getting a bit less clear... Darkseid is unfortunately not listed, but both Mister Miracle and Big Barda are listed as "Apokolipsian Darkseid worship (lapsed)."...
Posted by Doug at October 22, 2006 7:12 PM
From: "The religion of comic book characters" forum discussion, started 3 December 2006 on RPG.net website (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?s=9326f642dca06ede764bcd691814750c&t=299781; viewed 25 April 2007):
12-03-2006, 09:47 PM
Re: The religion of comic book characters
My favorite is how they listed both Mr. Miracle and Big Barda as "Apokolipsian Darkseid worship(lapsed)."
Lapsed is putting it pretty mildly, methinks.
From: "Religions of super heroes" forum discussion page started 14 August 2006 on "Wizard Universe" website (http://wizarduniverse.invisionzone.com/lofiversion/index.php/t1595.html; viewed 25 April 2007):
Aug 15 2006, 04:32 PM
I like how they put Big Barda, and Miracle Man as having lapsed in Apokolipsian Darkseid worship.
David Thompson, "Secret Knowledge, Revealed", posted 1 March 2007 on "David Thompson: Culture, Ideas and Comic Books" blog website (http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/comic_books/index.html; viewed 15 May 2007):
...Naturally, the database also includes extraterrestrial belief systems (e.g. Kryptonian metaphysics and Apokolipsian Darkseid Worship)...
[User comments posted on this page]
Posted by: Matt M | March 01, 2007 at 11:49
I rather like the fact that 'real' religions sit alongside some equally detailed fictional ones. And I had to read the comparison of Communism with Apokolipsian Darkseid Worship...
Webpage created 17 April 2006. Last modified 15 May 2007.
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