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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Michael Jon Carter
of the Justice League
Booster Gold is apparently an atheist. This is based on perhaps only one published reference to his religious belief, in which his friend Ted Kord ("Blue Beetle") teased him about being an atheist (Justice League International Annual #2).
Whether or not Booster Gold has any childhood religious background or official affiliation (such as in an organized atheistic denomination) is not clear. The character comes from centuries in our future: the 25th Century, and relatively little has been written about the DC Universe in the time period. It is known that many contemporary religions (including Catholicism, Judaism, Native American religions, etc.) still exist in the 30th Century inhabited by the Legion of Super-Heroes (these religions and others have adherents who are members of the Legion). So, presumably, there are many people who belong to organized denominaions (atheist ones and otherwise) in Booster Gold's native era as well.
Booster Gold seems for all intents and purposes a rather secular non-religious character. He often seems primarily motivated by selfish desires, such as greed, materialism or simply wanting to have fun. Booster Gold can be entertaining and he is typically used for comic relief, but he strikes most readers and colleagues as a rather shallow and self-serving individual.
Booster Gold was thrust to the forefront of the DC Universe when he became one of the stars of the year-long weekly 52 series that began in the summer of 2006. In this series, Booster Gold's seemingly never-ending involvement in financial schemes led him to take on corporate sponsors and even stick advertising patches on his superhero uniform. In the absence of Superman, Booster Gold promoted himself as the new champion of Metropolis, carefully garnering as much air time and corporate sponsorship deals as he could manage.
Below: Booster Gold and long-time friend and colleague Blue Beetle discuss Booster Gold's recent gold-digging marriage to a woman decades his senior - a woman he openly admits that he did not love. Although a super-hero, Booster Gold clearly lacks maturity, acts selfishly, and displays seemingly endless lapses in morality.
[Source: Formerly Known as the Justice League #2, published by DC Comics (2003), page 9; reprinted in Formerly Known as the Justice League trade paperback (2004), page 35; written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis, pencilled by Ken Maguire, inked by Joe Rubinstein.]
It is entirely possible that Booster Gold has not truly thought about religious, philosophical and ethical issues enough to qualify as an "atheist," "agnostic" or much of anything else. He may be an atheist only due to family tradition or 25th Century cultural expectations. As it is not clear that Booster Gold has identified himself as an atheist, it might be more accurate to classify the character as "non-religious" or "unknown."
A surprising number of comic book readers, when contemplating the religious affiliation of comic book characters, have independently guessed that Booster Gold is a Scientologist. There is no actual textual support for this conclusion within the comics themselves, but perhaps Booster Gold gives off a "Scientologist" vibe. This may be related to the celebrity-seeking aspect of his personality, which some readers may associate with Scientology due to the large number of prominent celebrities (movie stars, musicians, etc.) who are members of the Church of Scientology.
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.
From "He's strong! He's powerful! He's fantastic! And he prays!" forum discussion page started 1 October 2002 on ToonZone.net website (http://forums.toonzone.net/archive/index.php/t-50423.html; viewed 11 January 2006):
From: "List of Superhero Religions" discussion board, started 14 March 2006 (http://s8.invisionfree.com/Superdickery_Forum/ar/t2607_0.htm; viewed 24 April 2006):
10-01-2002, 03:29 PM
I don't know that religion is really ignored in comic books. I'd say it turns up at least as much as it would in a regular series of novels or a TV series. Moreso, even.
Other characters whose religions I'm familiar with:
Fire is Catholic
Nuklon is Jewish...
Booster Gold is an atheist...
Ununnilium - March 14, 2006 06:55 AM (GMT)
From: "What Religion is Your Favorite Superhero?" discussion board started 20 April 2006 on official website of DC Comics (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000072337&start=15&tstart=0; viewed 8 May 2006):
Booster's an atheist? Makes as much sense as anything else. Wonder where that comes from, though - he doesn't seem like the kind that'd make a big deal of his beliefs.
[This poster is referring to entries on the "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" website that seem strange or unquestionable.]
Posted: Apr 20, 2006 9:30 AM
...What is the religion of the heroes we read about?... Don't get me wrong, not picking on anyone, just wonder what everyone thinks what our heroes believe. ...Other threads touch on the subject in passing, time to discuss it!
Posted: Apr 23, 2006 11:38 PM
Poison Ivy and Bane... Wican
Doomsday... definitely Jehovah Witness
Aquaman... Southern Baptist... full imersion baptism
and Booster Gold... Scientologist... Murmur too... Silence in the Delivery Room for Tom and Katie.
From: "Comic Book Characters Listed by Religion" forum discussion started 7 March 2006 on "Truth and Beauty Bombs" website (http://www.truthandbeautybombs.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5569; viewed 10 May 2007):
Professor Stevie Freezie
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:28 am
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:23 pm
This list is wrong anyway.
Booster Gold is totally a Scientologist.
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:31 pm
What, did they pay him a bunch of money?
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:33 pm
No, he's just that Hollywood.
From: "How many Atheist superheroes/heroines are there?" forum discussion, started 20 May 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?p=3716053; viewed 24 May 2007):
05-20-2007, 06:23 AM
How many Atheist superheroes/heroines are there?
05-20-2007, 02:54 PM
...according to Wikipedia, I can't find a single [Marvel superhero] atheist besides Yellowjacket. However, DC has the Atom, the Question, Booster Gold, Rorscach, Dr. Manhatten, Lex Luthor and Booster Gold as atheists.
From: "Legion of Atheist Super-Heroes" forum discussion, started 17 November 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-152692.html; viewed 30 May 2007):
11-17-2006, 05:19 PM
Dang, the Legion of Methodist Super-Heroes gets Superboy, Supergirl and Superman
...and the Legion of Atheist Super-Heroes... uh, The Atheist
11-17-2006, 05:20 PM
And Mr. Terrific, as I understand it.
11-17-2006, 07:43 PM
I think Johns made him believe in at least an afterlife and possibly the human soul, but maybe not God himself. Either way, if Atheists get Mr. Terrific, Atheists win!
11-17-2006, 08:01 PM
re: if Atheists get Mr. Terrific, Atheists win!
...canceled out by Booster Gold.
11-17-2006, 09:43 PM
Ah, but Booster did have a religion. Reaganism.
"Cash rules everything around us."
11-19-2006, 11:46 AM
When the hell did Booster Gold become an atheist?
11-19-2006, 12:47 PM
I think Beetle made a remark about it during the JLI years.
From: "Religion of Comic Book Characters" forum discussion, started 29 March 2006 on AllSpark.com website (http://www.allspark.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4168; viewed 1 June 2007):
post Mar 29 2006, 08:38 AM
I found this great resource entirely by accident:
post Mar 29 2006, 12:18 PM
...Booster Gold is too religious. He's a Hedonist. :D
From: "Super Hero Religions" forum discussion started 15 June 2006 on "RonFez.net" website, home of the Ron & Fez radio show (http://www.ronfez.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-50765.html; viewed 11 June 2007):
06-15-2006, 02:10 PM
Ron and Fez did an awesome bit on this years ago... Popular Comic Book Heroes Faith-by-Faith...
06-15-2006, 03:10 PM
What about Green Arrow? I would say an atheist, but wasn't he brought back form hell or something? So maybe not.
I would also say Mr. Fantastic is an atheist because of the scientist thing.
Cyclops is a good red-blooded Protestant boy.
Prof X, Buddhist, just because of the hair-do.
Guy Gardner, former Catholic.
Booster Gold, Scientologist.
Yorick Brown, Agnostic.
From: "Here, God exists in Four Colors and Two Dimensions", posted 7 March 2006 by grabbingsand on Metafilter website (http://www.metafilter.com/49827/Here-God-exists-in-Four-Colors-and-Two-Dimensions; viewed 11 June 2007):
Jimmy Olsen is a Lutheran. Really. And Clark Kent? Methodist, it seems. Daredevil, Gambit, Huntress and The Punisher? Catholics, all of them, though I have to wonder when Frank Castle last went to Confession. With about half of DC Comic's line-up heading to church in the latest issue of Infinite Crisis and knowing that Civil War is imminent in the House of Marvel, what better time than now to contemplate the particular faiths of our two-dimensional heroes.
Booster Gold's an atheist!
What do you mean, "you don't care"?
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:54 PM on March 7
From: "Jews and Catholics rule" forum discussion, started 9 July 2006 on "Pop Culture Shock" website (http://www.popcultureshock.com/pcs/forums/showthread.php?t=13549; viewed 28 June 2007):
07-09-2006, 09:18 PM
Default Jews and Catholics rule. [By this, the poster means that Catholics and Jews have the most representation among comic book superheroes.]
The Mormons are rocking out too!
(Fastest growing religion though, I hear, so I guess they deserve the reppin [i.e., representation].)
But the Muslims (22% of the world), the Hindu (15% of the world), the Sikhs ( totally typecast as supporting characters only!), Confucianists (7% of the planet), (and Athiests/Agnostics (17% of the world and growing fast!) all get the raw deal from comics:
Also be sure to check out the individual portraits. (i.e.: Superman is a Methodist but Lois is Catholic, Power Pack were all Mormons, Wolverine's a Buddhist, and Colossus, Booster Gold, and Iron Man are atheists. Their practices and more are described here:
Webpage created 11 January 2006. Last modified 28 June 2007.
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