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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Lucas Bishop
Bishop
of the X.S.E., X-Men

Bishop was first introduced in a Terminator-like storyline in which he travelled from the future in pursuit of some renegade villainous mutants. Bishop himself was a mutant law-enforcement officer trained as part of a government organization by which mutants police themselves.

When Bishop was first introduced, he was an active, faithful adherent of what can best be described as "X-Men veneration." He frequently spoke of the X-Men and their exploits, who he learned about in history books, in quasi-religious terms. Bishop regarded Charles Xavier with the same sort of sacred awe that certain individuals feel toward other historical figures such as Lao Tsu, Martin Luther King, Jr., Protestant reformer Martin Luther, George Lucas, Nation of Islam founder Malcolm X, Aimee Semple McPherson, Jack Kirby, Mother Teresa, Mary Baker Eddy, etc. As Bishop came into contact with the actual X-Men, he came to know them as real people and individuals - not objects of religious adoration.

Today Bishop is no longer in religious awe of the X-Men. In fact, during the aftermath of the "House of M" and during the "Civil War", Bishop has actively associated with Iron Man, S.H.I.E.L.D., O.N.E. and other federal government organizations, even when his fellow X-Men were opposed to the government. This is completely in keeping with Bishop's character: He has always been a law-and-order man who believes that democratically elected government, representing all the people (not just mutants) represent the best way to ensure peace and order for mutants and non-mutants alike.

When Bishop was first introduced, his full name was not revealed; he was known only as "Bishop." It was many years before it was revealed that "Bishop" is in fact his last name. The uncertainty regarding his name led to speculation that "Bishop" was simply a nickname or military-style code name. For example, religious soldiers in the U.S. military are sometimes known as "Deacon" or something similar. "Bishop" could have been given his name because he was, in fact, a bishop. It seemed unlikely that Bishop, a full-time law enforcement official, would be a Catholic bishop, which is a fairly high position and certainly a full-time vocation. But other Christian denominations, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, use the title of "bishop" to refer to the lay clergy who maintain full-time secular jobs (including soldiers and police officers) but serve as their local congregation's leader. Had Bishop actually been an LDS bishop in his native future era? If so, how did this fit in wit his original religious awe of Xavior and the foundational X-Men? Other than his name, Bishop never seemed particularly Mormon. In fact, in many ways his gruff nature made him the polar opposite of the stereotypical Mormon character from literature. Any such speculation that Bishop's "codename" stemmed from a religious calling was put to rest once it was revealed that "Bishop" is simply the man's last name.

Discussion

From: "Top Ten Most Stereotypical Mutant Characters Ever!!" forum discussion started 29 August 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-141418.html; viewed 25 May 2007):

Novaya Havoc
08-29-2006, 04:45 PM

BISHOP
http://www.uncannyxmen.net/images/spotlight/bishop22.jpg

So hardcore. So angry. Such a large gun. Who else could it be? Cable? Nah -- it's Bishop. Again representing that you can be a great character, as long as you love law enforcement, a shaved head, and have an aggressive attitude. See: Luke Cage.

Where are the well-rounded male characters, full of life? Where are the English majors? I'd give my left leg if Bishop had an uncanny love of Virginia Woolf, but that may take away from his time of being a rough, gruff, no-nonesense cop figure.

This isn't to say that it makes Bishop a BAD character. I, personally, have liked the change ever since CC nabbed him for X-Treme X-Men. But the stereotype is just. so. tired. Let him go to a gay club with Dazzler and unleash his inner self. Seeing Bishop brood around with his guns and growls just makes me miss Synch to pieces.


Beast
08-29-2006, 04:49 PM

Bishop isn't African-American. He's Aborigine.


Jake V
08-29-2006, 04:56 PM

Bishop isn't African-American. He's aBORING.

Fixed it for you.


Arrjay
08-29-2006, 05:06 PM

Bishop is an indigenous Australian?

Heck. I didn't know that.

He doesn't really look like an aboriginal Australian.


Jake V
08-29-2006, 05:07 PM

re: He doesn't really look like an aboriginal Australian.

Well no sh--.

He's been drawn as a black guy since his first appearance. And still is.


CE_Rap
08-29-2006, 05:15 PM

He's got a bit of aborigine since Gateway is his great grandfather, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have african american through his grandparents and parents - hence the appearance


Babylon23
08-29-2006, 09:43 PM

...I have to say, Bishop's Aboriginal heritage annoys me. There seems to be this belief amongst American artists that Aboriginal and African men look the same. The same problem occurred with Talisman in Contest of Champions. One of the things I appreciated about Gateway is that he actually looks Aboriginal...


Alphaxman
08-29-2006, 10:56 PM

I not saying that I like that Bishop turn out to have Aboriginal heritage, but I can total see it in him in his earlier appearances. I a black man and I know a lot of Black people (naturally of course) and I haven't seen many Black men that looked quite like Bishop. And I'm talking about his hair. Some of their hair may be least coarse then the average black man's but not as silky and long as Bishop's without having a relaxer in it. Now I'm not saying that there not some out there that might have hair like that but I haven't seen any. Maybe it is because they cut it real shot to fit today's style. From the photos I've seen of Aboriginal people, their hair is not as coarse as the average black person. But their skin is different shades of brown and most of their noses are broad like Blacks. I've even seen some Aboriginal people with locks in their hair as Bishop did at one point.

http://www.spearchuckasart.com/images/arthur_aboriginal_nt_gun2.jpg
http://www.painetworks.com/photos/fh/fh0979.JPG
http://www.nabou.com/x-men/x-men_comics/images/bishop_coloring.gif
http://www.uncannyxmen.net/images/spotlight/bishop00.jpg


Babylon23
08-29-2006, 11:30 PM

As rendered by John Romita Jr, I can see it. However, the facial structure on most renditions of Bishop isn't quite right. He'd need a broader nose and mouth.


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