The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
of the New Mutants, X-Force, X-Men
Sam Guthrie is the mutant super-hero better known as "Cannonball." He was explicitly and overtly identified as a Baptist in the New Mutants comic book series which chronicled his origins and early development.
When the New Mutants disolved and "X-Force" was formed under Cable's leadership, Cannonball stayed on. He was a stalwart member of both teams, and has subsequently "graduated" to become a member of the X-Men.
On multiple occasions throughout the years, Cannonball has expressed a clear belief in God and his religion.
Cannonball's romantic (and apparently sexual) relationship with the mutant rockstar Lila Cheney suggests that Cannonball's dedication to Biblical standards of morality is not lax in at least some regards.
Excerpts from: "Are Superheroes Religious?" forum page, started 13 May 2004, in "The John Byrne Forum" section of the Byrne Robotics website (http://jb.24-7intouch.com/forum/get_topic.asp?FID=3&TID=558&DIR=P; viewed 9 January 2006):
13 May 2004
Others: U.S.Agent (Southern Baptist?), Windshear (Protestant Christian?), Human Torch and Invisible Woman (Protestant)... Wolfsbane (Presbyterian), Jean Grey (?... shown attending church at some point), Storm (worships a goddess of some sort), Cannonball (? ...some branch of Christianity)
Mostly Marvel, I know... BTW... some of these were revealed during the Infinity Crusade.
From: comments section on "The Beast is an Episcopalian" page on "IFanBoy.com" blog website, posted 1 February 2006 (http://www.ifanboy.com/archives/000675.html; viewed 10 May 2006):
Posted by: Michael at February 3, 2006 10:07 AM
...Seeing as how the Guthries are from my hometown http://www.marveldatabase.com/wiki/index.php/Cannonball_(Sam_Guthrie) (Cumberland is less than five miles from where I grew up), it is right and true that they are protrayed as a Baptist familiy. Baptists are what people in my reigion understand - from their theology to their day-to-day practices.
From: "The religions of comic book characters" thread started 10 February 2001 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/13590fda80c5d6e1/e5e0b094ced80f0b; viewed 12 June 2006):
From: Terry McCombs
Date: Sat, Feb 10 2001 6:35 pm
For the most part you don't get much of an idea as to the private lives of most comic book characters. Marvelish soap opera not withstanding.
What I mean is you don't get much of an idea what their politics or religion might be. This is sensible enough I guess as they don't want to offend any of their customers... for the most part you just can't really say just what, if any religion or personal philosophy that or that comic character might follow.
What do you think?
Date: Sun, Feb 11 2001 6:05 am
...As far as Marvel is concerned, there are a few characters where you do: ...Religious issues did show up quite a bit in the X-Men, with... Wolfsbane's Scottish Presbyterianism, Cannonball's not specified church (not exactly specified, but Protestant and possibly verging or belonging to a fundamentalist denomination)...
From: "Religion of the X-Men" message board started 15 May 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-58362.html; viewed 13 June 2006):
05-15-2005, 05:56 PM
Do you ever wonder what religion an X-Man is? I know they are just characters, but still, just for the fun of it.
I am wondering if you could guess their religion by their character, or what they've said, etc.
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM
...As for [other] characters...
Cannonball - Southern Baptist...
From: "(OFFTOPIC) Sleepwalker and a RANT!" thread started 9 April 1996 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/530027d02cbeb884/7c688dd20f2f433c; viewed 13 June 2006):
Date: Wed, Apr 10 1996 12:00 am
Say, this [religious affiliations of the X-Men] would be a neat thread. My memory doesn't really remember a lot of the X-Men having stated a religion... Anyone know any issues where a X-Member professed his/her religion?
From: Blase Martin Louis
Date: Thurs, Apr 11 1996 12:00 am
...Cannonball (and by association, Husk) is some form of Protestant, maybe Baptist...
From: Sarah Anne Yost
Date: Fri, Apr 12 1996 12:00 am
I remember an old NM [New Mutants volume 1] when they used to have halfway decent lettercols [letter columns] where they gave all of the current members' religions:
Amara - Roman beliefs
Rahne - something like "Scots Presbyterian"
Roberto and Xi'an were both Catholic
Cannonball was some sort of Christian
Dani naturally had Cheyenne beliefs
From: "X-Men religious affiliations" thread started 1 June 2002 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/78e6830d00083d2f/102a03cd2dab9fda; viewed 13 June 2006):
From: Chris Dodson
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 9:38 pm
I'm looking for information on the religious beliefs of all the current X-Men for a story I'm submitting to Marvel. The only one I know for sure is Nightcrawler (Catholic). I get the impression that Wolverine is an atheist or agnostic, but I have no in-comic evidence to support this. Any help you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, in your responses, could you provide titles and issue numbers of the comics in which the information is stated? Thanks.
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 9:52 pm
Let's see... I think Sam Guthrie is Baptist (I think) and Rahne Sinclair is supposed to be Protestant. Those are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.
From: Brian Doyle
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 8:28 am
...Cannonball - Baptist...
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 9:26 pm
...Cannonball is a Christian denomination... Most writers take it for granted that a) characters believe in a god and b) that they're Judeo-Christian.
From: Justin Samuels
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 11:33 am
Cannonball is [in] a Christian denomination.
From: "Any Christian Superheroes?" thread began 22 April 2004 on rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4e5839f075fecf76/8821b5db671e7ce1; viewed 20 June 2006):
I can't think of any major superheroes that strongly believe in any real faith, and that surprises me. Certainly not in the DC Universe. I think there are more minority superheroes than religious ones...
From: Nick Eden
Date: Fri, Apr 23 2004 12:28 am
re: "I seem to remember that Barry Allen was a Christian. He may have been Catholic, but that's a bit fuzzy in my memory."
It seems to be ground rule that Christians in comics almost always are [Catholic].
I have a suspicion that this is because the founding fathers of the American Comics industry are so very often Jewish that Catholicism is the easily identifiable alternative. Low church Protestants don't have as many obvious shticks.
FWIW [For what it's worth]: Cannonball was at least sometimes southern Baptist.
Date: Fri, Apr 23 2004 4:01 pm
...Cannonball has talked about attending church (assumed Protestent since he's from Kentucky)...
From: "Atheist superheroes?" thread, started 21 September 1999 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/e8d686f0b20944a6/2878b8590988d911; viewed 23 June 2006):
From: Tim Frankovich
Date: Wed, Sep 22 1999 12:00 am
The ONLY [Protestant superhero] I can think of is Cannonball, who makes the occasional comment and was shown going to church early in New Mutants (long, long ago).
From: Carmen Williams
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am
Others on the list [of Marvel superheroes with known religious affiliations]:
Cannonball, and presumably Husk - Southern Baptist
[7 other characters listed]
From: "What are the religious beliefs of the main mutants in the X-Books?" forum discussion started 16 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-160293.html; viewed 16 May 2007):
01-16-2007, 03:51 PM
What do you think the religious beliefs of the following mutants are?
01-16-2007, 04:38 PM
Kitty - Jewish
Jean - Protestant
Magneto - Jewish
Xavier - Protestant
Bobby - Jewish
Wanda - Jewish
Pietro - Jewish
Lorna - Catholic?
Storm - No idea...
Wolverine - Protestant?
Emma - Catholic?
Sam - Baptist?
Angel - Protestant?
Banshee - Catholic?
Chamber - Anglican?
Scott and Alex - Protestant
Psylocke - Protestant or Anglican
01-16-2007, 07:09 PM
Most comic book characters are blandly nondenominational with a tendency towards being WASPs [i.e., "White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"]. The only ones I would consider obviously practicing members of a faith are:
Jean: founder and prophet of the Church of the Phoenix
Storm: Neopagan, Goddess worshipper
01-17-2007, 07:47 AM
Yeah, Wolverine's atheist. Nightcrawler and Shadowcat are obvious. Storm (and probably Magik) are complicated. Rogue is Christian, but I don't think we know whether that's Protestant or Catholic or something else. I don't think Longshot understands the concept of religion, so I guess that might make him an atheist. Wolfsbane is Presbyterian, Cannonball is Christian as of New Mutants (1st Series) #15. I suppose Magma believes in the Roman (Greek) gods? Forge? I think Gambit is atheist. Thunderbird III is Hindu. There are Shi'ar gods... Shaara, Kythri), Lilandra worships them.
From: "Religious Super Heroes PC or otherwise" forum discussion, started 17 September 2003 on "HERO Games" website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-8036.html; viewed 12 July 2007):
Sep 17th, '03, 09:38 PM
Another thread got me to thinking a bit about religious super heroes. They do occur in comic books. Some it barely gets mentioned, some few are quite devout in their faith...
How much or little does your typical super human in your campaign (or game if you are a player) let his/her faith affect his/her life especially AS a super hero?
Sep 18th, '03, 07:40 AM
Should also mention that my games take place in an alternate Marvel universe, one player did worship Apocalypse as a god, another was a time traveler (and Magneto's great-great-granddaughter) who had a religion founded by Sam Guthre worshiping Professor X, Magneto, Cable and Apocalypse.
From: "Where are all the Christian super heroes?" forum discussion, started 14 May 2007 on "Uber Christians" website (http://uberchristians.org/vb/archive/index.php/t-673.html; viewed 2 August 2007):
05-14-2007, 05:32 PM
...Where are all the Christian super heroes? ...
05-15-2007, 01:25 AM
I was thinking of Nightcrawler... Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane) was raised Calvinist... The Guthries (Sam, etc.) are Baptists...
From: "2000AD characters with defined 'real' religious orientations" forum discussion, started 7 March 2005 on "2000 AD Online" website (http://www.2000adonline.com/?zone=fan&page=messagethread&choice=13185; viewed 3 August 2007):
posted by Tordelbach on 7 Mar 05 at 17:58
2000AD characters with defined 'real' religious orientations
Just reading the always interesting 'Fool Brittannia', where Reggie... asks about the whereabouts of characters with clearly-defined religions in comics...
Do we have many 2000AD characters with defined 'real' religious orientations?
posted by Tordelbach on 7 Mar 05 at 19:02
...As to Nightcrawler, Reggie does mention him all right - other less well-known X-mutants now spring vaguely to mind too, Cannonball is/was pretty mid-west Christian (a Baptist?), I can't shake the feeling that Psyche (aka Xian/Shan) also of the New Mutants is/was Catholic.
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