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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Ted Kord
Blue Beetle
of the Justice League


We do not know the religious affiliation of Blue Beetle. We do know that Ted Kord was not an atheist (and probably not an agnostic or anything else along these lines), because he chastised his friend Booster Gold for being an atheist in
Justice League International Annual #2.

Ted Kord is better known as the Blue Beetle. ("Ted" is officially short for "Edward," but the Blue Beetle's name has inconsistently also been printed as "Theodore.") The Blue Beetle is a superhero character originally published by Fox Feature Syndicate, later by Charlton comics, which was finally purchased by DC Comics. The character subsequently was introduced into the mainstream DC Universe. The Blue Beetle later became a member of the Justice League during the popular Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis era. Blue Beetle was known for his light-hearted attitude and his frequent comedic banter with his close friend and fellow Justice League member, Booster Gold. These are the stories for which the Blue Beetle is best known, although he has appeared in many other comics and even starred in a self-titled radio show drama that ran from May 1940 to September of the same year.

Ted Kord was murdered by his former Justice League boss Maxwell Lord in 2005, in a comic book story that directly preceeded the major DC Universe crossover event known as "Infinite Crisis."

The familiar Ted Kord version of the "Blue Beetle" character was created by Steve Ditko, the artist famous as the co-creator of Spider-Man and many other classic comic book characters. Ditko was an devout and outspoken Objectivist. Although Ted Kord doubltess embodies a number of qualities that Ditko shared or thought were important, there is no evidence that Ted Kord was ever intended to be an Objectivist character. In this, the Blue Beetle can be contrasted with another Charlton superhero created by Ditko - the Question, who was overtly portrayed as an Objectivist.

Ted Kord seems like a rather generic American WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) character, but that tells us very little, because most superhero characters created in the same era that the Blue Beetle was introduced were also based on a similar template.

While we do not yet know what Ted Kord's religious affiliation was, it is worth noting that "Nite Owl", a character in Watchmen based heavily on Blue Beetle, is Jewish. Is the Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) - the basis for Nite Owl - also Jewish? Possibly. But we are unaware of any textual support for this identification within the comics themselves.

In the classic Watchmen 12-issue limited series, which was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, all of the major superhero characters are based on classic Charlton Comics superheroes. In fact, Moore had originally planned on using the actual Charlton characters (including the Blue Beetle) in this story, which DC Comics acquired just before the Watchmen comics was produced. This plan was changed so that Moore's planned Watchmen story would not conflict with the continuity of the Charlton characters and their integration into the DC Universe. Also, as Moore told an interviewer, by creating new characters based on characters with rich, established histories, rather than using the actual characters themselves, the author was able to create more interesting and dynamic characters. [See: "Alan Moore Interview - Comic Book Artist #9"; An interview with Alan Moore; http://www.twomorrows.com/comicbookartist/articles/09moore.html; viewed 18 April 2006] The character known as the second "Nite Owl" (Dan Dreiberg) was based on the Ted Kord "Blue Beetle" character.

With regards to the Blue Beetle's personality and interests, he might be classified as a "technologist." Certainly he (like the Batman) a self-made super-hero, who has overcome his lack of natural super-powers by creating his own amazing devices, particularly his Beetle-shaped vehicle. But the Blue Beetle's interest in technology has never seemed to rise to the level of an all-consuming passion and can not really be thought of as a religion or even driving motivation for him. Kord seems more interested in having a good time being a superhero than in tinkering with technology for its own sake. Furthermore, although intelligent and competent with science, it would probably be a stretch to call Kord a "scientist." "Inventor," "technician" or "technologist" are more appropriate descriptions. Kord is not overtly religious, but neither he never appeared to place his faith in science in a religious manner, so "scientism" would not describe his belief system either.

From: Michael Hutchison, "Air Force Two Notes", in Fanzing issue #12, Holidays 1998 (http://www.fanzing.com/mag/fanzing12/fict1d.shtml; viewed 6 June 2006):

Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) - A wisecracking genius who fights crime with his flying ship (The Bug), gadgets, fighting skills and ingenuity. Ex-Justice Leaguer. I don't know which religion Ted is, but he playfully chastised Booster Gold for being an atheist in Justice League International Annual #2.

Discussion

From: "Where are the Christian Superheroes?" forum discussion page started 22 August 2006 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-81451.html; viewed 5 May 2007):

Mr Wesley
08-22-2006, 10:03 AM

...I pose the question to you, my fellow Talk@Ramanians: If Christianity is the most popular faith in the United States, why aren't there more openly Christian superheroes?


nietoperz
08-22-2006, 10:07 AM

I don't think there are so many openly Jewish or Muslim Superheroes either (at least not American ones). In the end, non-denominational heroes will appeal to a broader spectrum of readers, or at least I'm sure that's the theory.


MoneyMelon
08-22-2006, 10:08 AM

I don't think there are so many openly Jewish or Muslim Superheroes either.


JL_Amato
08-22-2006, 10:09 AM

Wasn't Ted Kord Jewish?

From: "Catholic Clix - Comic info needed!" forum discussion started 3 May 2003 on HCRealms website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-40338.html; viewed 24 May 2007):

thornnspear
05/03/2003, 21:04

Ok, so in recent films it's been apparent that Daredevil and Nightcrawler are Catholic - Daredevil's confessor is also his confidant, and Nightcrawler allegedly is a former priest and is seen reciting the rosary (in German) in X2.

So, who else out there could be fielded in a "Catholic" Heroclix team?

So far divine providence might help w/ the tons of supersenses rolls one would make w/ Daredevil and Nightcrawler on your team... *grin*


boneyard
05/05/2003, 01:42

...IIRC [If I recall correctly], here's the Catholic Clix you can play:

Daredevil
Huntress
Nightcrawler

Possible Catholics (or lasped Catholics):

Kingpin
Gambit
Hawkeye
Catwoman (her sister was a nun)
Plastic Man

Due to strong guilt and responsibilites the following could be Catholic (or Jewish):

Spider-Man
Blue Beetle

From: "Ask an Atheist!" forum discussion, started 9 June 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-128514-p-5.html; viewed 30 May 2007):

shadowraven
06-21-2006, 10:13 AM

According to this (http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html#Me) list, the following superheroes are Atheists:

Mr. Terrific II
the Savage Dragon
Booster Gold
Mystique
Starman Ted Knight
Colossus
Wolverine (possibly)


KameTen
06-21-2006, 11:18 AM

I thought that Ted Kord was an atheist as well...


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