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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Billy Batson
Captain Marvel

The powers of Captain Marvel, an influential superhero who is now part of the DC Universe, are explicitly derived from gods of Greco-Roman classical religion. Yet Captain Marvel's relationship to these gods is unclear. The character does not appear to worship these gods or be an adherent of Greco-Roman classical religion. If anything, he has Captain Marvel, who is one of the most pure-hearted, innocent, morally upstanding characters in comics, seems to have a thoroughly WASP-ish (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) background. Guy Gardner, who was Captain Marvel's sardonic teammate in the Justice League, routinely referred to as "Captain Marvel" as "Captain Whitebread."

Captain Marvel was created in 1939 by legendary comic book artist C.C. Beck (the son of a Lutheran missionary) and writer Bill Parker. The basis for the character was largely devised by Parker and Fawcett Comics before they hired Beck as the artist, although Beck is given considerable credit as co-creator of the character. Beck's simple, effective, charming artwork helped propel the character to the forefront of the comics world. For many years, Captain Marvel was the world's top-selling comic book character.

Captain Marvel is actually a young boy named Billy Batson who was given magical powers by an ancient wizard named "Shazam." When Batson utters the word "Shazam!", he transforms into the heroic adult-aged "Captain Marvel", who possesses attributes from 6 legendary figures. The word "Shazam" is actually an acronym composed of the first letter of the names of these legendary figures:

S for the wisdom of Solomon
H for the strength of Hercules
A for the stamina of Atlas
Z for the power of Zeus (including invulnerability)
A for the courage of Achilles
M for the speed of Mercury (and the power to fly)

All of these legendary figures come from Greco-Roman mythology except (oddly enough) for Solomon, who is a from the Old Testament.


Below: L-Ron, in recruiting Billy Batson to join Maxwell Lord's superhero group, mistakenly thinks that Billy Batson is in a romantic relationship with his own alter ego, Captain Marvel. L-Ron says that society no longer looks down on adult-adolescent gay relationships, "with the exception, of course, of televangelists." L-Ron claims to be one of the most sophisticated artificial intelligences in the galaxy, but its grasp of public opinion, societal standards and contemporary religious teachings seems lacking. L-Ron come from a star-spanning society light years away from Earth. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that L-Ron's knowledge of religious practices and teachings comes primarily from television broadcasts, rather than from first-hand experience in non-televised American religious congregations. Neither Billy Batson nor L-Ron are followers of televangelists, and this scene has little to do with the religious affiliation of either of them, but the scene is humorous.

[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.]

L-Ron, in recruiting Billy Batson to join Maxwell Lord's superhero group, mistakenly thinks that Billy Batson is in a romantic relationship with his own alter ego, Captain Marvel.

In the reality of Captain Marvel, the beings from whom he derives his powers are not simply fictional or mythological legends, but are real. When Fawcett Comics purchased by DC Comics and Captain Marvel became a DC Comics property, the character was introduced into the DC Universe, a fictional universe in which the gods of Greco-Roman myth were very much real and alive, and played an important part in the stories of Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, Aquaman, and other characters.

The exact nature of Captain Marvel's relationship to the Greco-Roman gods and is unclear, and has evolved and been reconceived over the many years of the character's existence. Billy Batson was not a worshipper of Greco-Roman gods prior to obtaining his powers from the wizard Shazam. Since becoming Captain Marvel, there is no indication that Batson actively worships the Greco-Roman gods in a traditional religious sense. This distinguishes him from characters such as Wonder Woman and Donna Troy, who actively worship, pray to, and invoke the aid of the Greco-Roman gods.

It has been said that while the gods may on occasion come to the aid of Wonder Woman, it is more likely that the gods ask for Captain Marvel's assistance rather than aid him directly. Captain Marvel is an avatar of these gods, but his powers are derived from the wizard Shazam's magical spell, and not from direct intervention of the gods. Based on different accounts, the powers of Captain Marvel may in some way be a gift from the gods, or Shazam may have somehow stolen the power from the gods, possibly with the help of the goddess Athene.

One explanation for relationship between Captain Marvel's powers and the Greco-Roman gods is below, from: Thaddeus Howze, "CAPTAIN MARVEL: The Power of SHAZAM!" article on "STARNET Metahuman Information Database" website (http://www.starnet-database.com/dbase_deo/profiles/captains_marvel/powerofshazam.html; viewed 1 December 2005):

Captain Marvel's powers seem to stem from energy directed to him from the wizard Shazam, who channels energies of the primal God-wave and the Greek Gods through the Rock of Eternity. This gives Captain Marvel incredible powers that rival the Last Sons of Krypton and Mars for sheer versatility and scope of powers.

The source of these powers or template for these powers are derived from the following four gods and adapted from these two human heroes: Solomon - Wisdom, Hercules - Strength, Atlas - Stamina, Zeus - Power, Achilles - Courage, and Mercury - Speed

About Captain Marvel's personality, from "Captain Marvel" article on Wikipedia.com website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Marvel_(DC_Comics); viewed 1 December 2005):

Captain Marvel is usually depicted as pure-hearted and unwaveringly upstanding; since he is still a youth, it is harder for him to become corrupted (thus the wizard's reasoning for not choosing another adult like Black Adam as his champion). In the 1995 Underworld Unleashed miniseries, Captain Marvel's soul is treasured by the demon prince Neron, but Marvel's soul is so pure that Neron was unable to possess it. In addition, Captain Marvel is depicted as being (despite his wisdom) somewhat immature; since he is only a teenager, he tends to take many things for granted and is usually nervous about interacting with other superheroes.

From: Andrew A. Smith (Scripps Howard News Service), "Comics superheroes of many faiths", published 3 February 2000 in The Houston Chronicle (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/religion/446482.html; viewed 30 November 2005):

So, if you were going to dress up like a bat and fight crime, what church would you attend?... Which is not to say that comics are a Christians-only playground. Most superheroes haven't had a faith established, but those that have are all over the ecclesiastical map...

Then there are the religions that don't correspond to real-world beliefs. The Greco-Roman gods appear routinely in comic books and were instrumental in the origins of Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Donna (formerly Wonder Girl) Troy, Aquaman, Sub-Mariner and, of course, Hercules.

From: Mike Benton, The Illustrated History: Superhero Comics of the Golden Age (The Taylor History of Comics Number 4), Taylor Publishing Company: Dallas, Texas (1992), pages 36-37:

C.C. Beck
Charles Clarence Beck was born in 1910 in Zumbrota, Minnesota, to a Lutheran missionary minister and a rural school teacher... After graduation [from high school], his parents sent him to the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1928 during the height of the Roaring Twenties--a maturing experience for a small-town preacher's son...

When Fawcett decided to enter the comic book business in 1929, it selected C.C. Beck to draw the lead feature for what eventually became Captain Marvel. Beck's simple, yet highly expressive, cartoony style made Captain Marvel an approachable and likeable hero. By 1941, the hero was so successful, Fawcett art director Al Allard set up a studio to help Beck keep up with the demand for new Captain Marvel stories which were now appearing in Whiz Comics, America's Greatest Comics, and Captain Marvel Adventures. At times, up to twenty assistants worked with Beck to deliver thousands of pages of Captain Marvel stories.

Beck continued his association with Captain Marvel until the end of the Fawcett comic book line in late 1953. His straight-forward storytelling, clear and easy-to-read panels, and knack for depicting action and adventure in a crisp and wholesome style made Captain Marvel one of the most popular heroes in the history of comics. Beck, who became one of the most widely read artist of the Golden Age, faithfully followed his own advice to aspiring comic book artists: "Never put a single line in that isn't necessary. Don't try to show off."

Captain Marvel is Considered one of History's 7 Most Influential Superheroes
From: Mike Benton, The Comic Book in America: An Illustrated History, Taylor Publishing Company: Dallas, Texas (1989), pages 178-181:
Out of the hundreds of superhero characters, seven stand out as most historically important: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Plastic Man...

Captain Marvel, created by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker, originally appeared in Whiz Comics (February 1940). [His self-titled magazine Captain Marvel began in January 1941.] The simplicity of Beck's artwork, coupled with the straightforward storytelling, made Captain Marvel the best selling superhero comic of all time. His success spun off other titles, like Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel and Marvel Family. Captain Marvel has been described as the classic example of American naivete, cheerfulness, and undying optimism. Faced with declining circulation figures and a lawsuit by DC Comics over copyright infringement of their Superman character [a lawsuit which is today regarded as completely groundless], Fawcett Comics dropped the Captain Marvel character and the publisher's entire line of comics by the end of 1953... In 1968 Marvel Comics introduced a Captain Marvel character and gave him his own book, Captain Marvel (May 1968), although he bore no relation to the original Fawcett character. DC Comics, now the owner of the original Captain Marvel, brought the character back briefly in Shazam! (February 1973), and gave him a supporting role in their Justice League International (May 1987).

From: Michael Gelbwasser, "Cool characters entice kids: Jewish superheroes work wonders in American comics", published 7 January 1997 in The Boston Jewish Advocate (http://www.jewishsf.com/bk970107/1bcool.htm; viewed 21 December 2005):

The Jewish community often complains that it's losing young people's attention. Have Jewish leaders checked the comic shops recently?

...Modern comic books -- lively keystones of American popular culture -- aren't afraid to feature numerous new heroes... who have clearly Jewish backgrounds. Nor do comic books shy away from topics of particular Jewish interest, such as interdating...

Several other DC and Marvel Comics superheroes have been portrayed as Jewish or as having Jewish origins:

...In times of dire need, young Billy Batson shouts the word "SHAZAM!" This turns him into Captain Marvel, who has the powers of six historical figures or mythical gods.

Solomon, a Jewish king, provides the captain's wisdom. That makes Marvel one-sixth Jewish, even though comic books have never explored this.

Selections from: Steven M. Bergson, "Jewish Comics: A Select Bibliography" last updated 28 June 2005 (http://www.geocities.com/safran-can/JWISHC.HTM; viewed 23 December 2005):

Gelbwasser, Michael. "Cool Characters Entice Kids: Jewish Superheroes Work Wonders in American Comics" Boston Jewish Advocate Jan. 7, 1997.

Gelbwasser, Michael. "Look! Up in the Sky! Jewish Superheroes." Jewish Advocate Oct. 19, 1995, pg. PG.
Discusses the Jewish super-heroes Seraph, the Blasters, Colossal Boy, Ragman, Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, Mindboggler, Ramban, Golem, Judith, Dybbuk, Nuklon, Phantom Stranger and Sabra.

Discussion

From: "Spidey Question for the Legion" page, started 6 July 2005, on "Captain Comics Round Table" message board/forum website (http://www.captaincomics.us/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t3594.html; viewed 20 December 2005):

Silver Age Fogey
Jul 7 2004, 08:09 AM

You won't get more obvious [examples of prayer in comics] than Marvel vs DC #2, where Captain Marvel and Thor are about to battle each other - and before the conflict, each prays in his own manner.


Andrew Lowe
Jul 12 2004, 01:05 AM

...IIRC, Thor prays with one knee on the ground and his hands resting on the end of his hammer (the head of the hammer is on the ground). Cap Marv [Captain Marvel] adopts a traditional Catholic pose: hands clasped together and both knees on the ground.

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):

Rick Senger
14 May 2004 at 7:13 am
Another superhero who recites to renew or "supercharge" himself is SHAZAM, who invokes his own Gods to become the all powerful Captain Marvel.

From: archive of "Should Hal Jordan be a Christian" message board, started 15 April 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-53171.html; viewed 22 May 2006):

hitokiri_
04-15-2005, 04:37 PM

Should Hal Jordan be a Christian?

Well... technically he knew God first hand. Then he got reincarnated. So, I believe he should be a Christian, but I know that it will never happen.


HartyPotter
04-15-2005, 07:02 PM

Why do so many people assume that "God" NECESSARILY means the Judeo-Christian God?

And considering Wonder Woman and Shazam, shouldn't there be more followers of the Greek gods and their counterparts? The existence of those gods immediately discredits Christianity.


Forsaken_One
04-15-2005, 07:25 PM

re: "And considering Wonder Woman and Shazam, shouldn't there be more followers of the Greek gods and their counterparts? The existence of those gods immediately discredits Christianity."

Okay, first of all there are people worshiping the older gods; Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman at least both seem to worship (or at least acknowledge) their pantheon of gods. It was one of the things that got Cassie thrown out of school (in a blatant disregard for, well, the law).

Second, It doesn't really discredit Christianity. A Christian can simply say that they're demons, or apparations used by God. And, hell, Christianity doesn't deny the existance of other gods outright. the ten commandments state (translation, obviously) "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Notice, it doesn't say "No other gods exist" or "You won't worship any other gods" it says no gods before God. So a Christian could say, okay, so these gods exist, but I will follow the commandments and not worship them before the Almighty and his son on Earth Jesus Christ. Now obviously this is a translation and thus is open to interpretation but that's something of the point; religion, all religion, is an evolving, changing structure. Chrstianity of today isn't the same as it was five centuries ago; the revelations of greco-roman gods doesn't invalidate Christianity as a whole and people would simply change their beliefs to cope. I think you're really underestimating the power of faith if you think revelations of powerful beings calling themselves gods with powers similar to that of the gods of myth would invalidate the Christian faith.


Loren
04-15-2005, 08:22 PM

re: "And considering Wonder Woman and Shazam, shouldn't there be more followers of the Greek gods and their counterparts? The existence of those gods immediately discredits Christianity."

Not at all. It's been made clear over the years that the DCU mythological pantheons aren't really gods at all, but essentially immortal metahumans. "Genesis" established that they were created by the Godwave. Even if that's not in continuity anymore, they're still not spiritual beings anymore than the New Gods are.

Excerpts from: "Atheist superheroes" discussion page, started 2 March 2006, on "Atheist Network" website (http://atheistnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?p=209834&sid=5ca5d2a99f2714e2f90fcee608eb4ac4; viewed 26 May 2006):

Aghast
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:42 am

It's good to see that Mr. Terrific is still an atheist...

Of course if I were in the DC Universe I would be a believer in the supernatural if not an outright theist [i.e., believer in God]. After all, the heroes of that universe have been to Hell. They've stood before the hosts of heaven. Not only does Spectre exist but so does Deadman, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Ragman, Raven and Dawn Manitou, Shazam, and on into near infinity. ...even the original Green Lantern got his power from magic. And Hal Jordan/Green Lantern was the freakin' Spectre for awhile. Add to that the number of characters that come back from the dead and really in that reality there would be no real reason to doubt.

...not surprisingly more villains are revealed to be atheists than heroes...

From: "Superman Wedding -- why a Christian ceremony?" newsgroup discussion started 11 October 1996 in rec.arts.comics.dc.universe (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4d17a1ff0ee9c715/d141c36005b90ea4; viewed 5 June 2006):

From: Douglas Ethington
Date: Fri, Oct 11 1996 12:00 am
Email: Douglas Ethington

I always thought that Clark was most likely a Christian...

Anyway, this thread got me thinking about the other DC heroes and what their religious beliefs might be, so here are some of my thoughts (most of this MHO [My Humble Opinion]):

...Wonder Woman worships the Greek gods. Captain Marvel is probably a Christian, and the Spectre definitely is one...

From: "Muslim characters in comics" message board, started 22 January 2006 in Batman discussion board area of official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000059913&start=15&tstart=0; viewed 9 June 2006):

adkal
Posted: Jan 24, 2006 8:46 AM

Salaam

I remember posting about this back on Version 1 and 2 of these boards... there was the (quite) massive discussion over on the Captain Marvel/Shazam boards about Solomon (as) and his ties to Islam and how it could open up a whole new realm for Cap and his abilities/knowledge...

From: "Banned for using this nic" thread began 4 Apri 1999 in rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/f38288dc4e56542/8a873a0a53da3d0d; viewed 12 June 2006)

From: Kal-El
Date: Tues, Apr 6 1999 12:00 am

[Religious affliations of] Others...

Captain Marvel is part of the Ancient Roman pantheon (the difference between the two was demonstrated in War of the Gods... how did that turn out anyway?)

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...

I note that Captain Marvel (Golden Age version) got his powers from Greek gods (and one Hebrew patriarch)...


From: Menshevik
Date: Sun, Feb 11 2001 6:05 am

...Nit-picking time: ...Solomon is not reckoned among the patriarch (that group consists of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the latter's twelve sons).

From: reader comments to "No Sunday School In Smallville", posted 12 June 2006 on "Tales to Mildly Astonish" blog website (http://talestomildlyastonish.blogspot.com/2006/06/no-sunday-school-in-smallville.html; viewed 15 June 2006):
MacQuarrie said...
...Also, it is interesting, as you noted, that people like Billy Batson and Diana Prince who are on a first-name basis with gods, nonetheless haven't time to chat with them nor the inclination to tell others aobut them. Curious, that.

From: Mike Chary, "Blasphemy and the Single Superhero", posted 20 October 2006 on "All New! All Different! Howling Curmudgeons: Two-Fisted Comics Commentary and Criticism!" blog website (http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/009992.html; viewed 25 April 2007):

I've often wondered about the interjections that superheroes use. Great Scott! Holy Moly! Holy Mackerel! Great Hera! Great Rao! These all violate one or more commandments, and yet, the code authority says nothing!

The most important of the Ten Commandments is, of course, 3. Thou shalt not take the name of the lord thy God in vain. Why is this more important than, for instance, murdering someone? Well, because that's the commandment that shows they were probably written by God himself...

And then we have the first commandment: "I am the Lord thy God, and thall shalt not have any strange gods before me!" Well, there seem to be an awful lot of holy things in comics for this commandment. Without getting into Robin's puns, who's this Moly guy, and why does Captain Marvel think he's so holy? (Moly is actually a magical, mythical Greek herb, but thus also falls into the streange gods category.) Or how about Holy Hannah? Great Caesar's Ghost?

Holy Mackerel! Those a lot of expressions, but seriously, where do these things come from?


[Reader comments about this blog posting:]

Going Biblical on you for a sec, the first 3 of Commandments are basically establishing what about the Israelites wass different than the other people out there. Their worship of Yahweh. It's not saying that there aren't other gods out there, just ours is #1. It's very pep rally.

So Captain Marvel saying "Holy Moly" is just fine... complying to both Commandment 1 and 3.

Posted by: Scavenger at October 20, 2006 1:24 PM


I thought the whole purpose of these exclamations was so the characters could show great feeling while technically avoiding taking the name in vain.

Posted by: ravensron at October 20, 2006 7:00 PM


...This is all besides the point, though, since I doubt God would really notice Superman's euphemistic invocations of Scott, or Billy Batson's appeals to Moley...

Posted by: moose n squirrel at October 21, 2006 9:34 AM


...why does Captain Marvel say "Holy Moly" instead of "Holy Mackerel!"...

Posted by: Mike Chary at October 21, 2006 9:55 AM


re: And why does Captain Marvel say "Holy Moly" instead of "Holy Mackerel!"

Because it rhymes?

Seriously...doesnt' that fit the tone of the Beck Captain Marvel? Kind goofy but also serious sounding? ...

Posted by: Scavenger at October 23, 2006 4:07 PM

From: "What religion do superhero's belong to? [sic]" forum discussion started 18 July 2002 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=41332; viewed 21 May 2007):

07-18-2002, 01:02 PM
wonderfly

What religion do superhero's [sic] belong to?

I'd like to discuss what religious beliefs are favorite costumed hero's belong to. Everyone knows Daredevil is Catholic. But beyond that, what do we know of superhero's beliefs? I'm thinking of mostly the Marvel Universe, but you DC fans feel free to contribute as well...


07-18-2002, 04:03 PM
Ed Liu

...I think we can safely exclude the gods of the respective universes from this discussion, since it's pretty clear who Thor, Hercules, Odin, Loki, and Zeus would believe in.

Question: Captain Marvel derives his powers from Greek and Roman gods. Does that mean he believes in them as divine powers?

From: "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" forum discussion, started 10 March 2007 on "Brian Michael Bendis" part of "Comic Creator Boards" section of "Jinxworld Forums" website (http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/archive/index.php/t-106242.html; viewed 6 June 2007):

JoeE
03-10-2007, 10:46 AM

http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

An ASTONISHINGLY detailed site that delves into the religions of superheroes. Someone has WAY too much time on their hands.


John Drake
03-10-2007, 10:54 AM

Not a lot of atheists.


Keith P.
03-10-2007, 11:07 AM

Yeah, its kind of hard to be an atheist when you encounter gods and abstract entities on a semi-regular basis.

Even hard in the DCU, which is why I thought Mr. Terrific was a dumbass.

I mean c'mon. Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman draw their powers from ancient Pantheons, Raven is a daughter of a demon, the Spectre is the Spirit of God's vengeance, things like Etrigan, Zauriel, not to mention the various characters actually, you know, going to Heaven and Hell for whatever reason.

From: "Stuart Moore's A Thousand Flowers: O Deadly Night" forum discussion, started 2 December 2003 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-6949.html; viewed 28 June 2007):

Michael P
12-02-2003, 10:40 AM

There have been a couple of good Christmas tales of recent memory. The two I'm thinking about are the JLA issue where Plastic Man narrates the story of how Santa Claus joined the Justice League, and the 'Nuff Said issue of Captain Marvel. The latter made the heart of this Grinch grow at least three sizes larger.

From: "Stuart Moore's A Thousand Flowers: O Deadly Night" forum discussion, started 2 December 2003 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-6949.html; viewed 28 June 2007):

Michael P
12-02-2003, 10:40 AM

There have been a couple of good Christmas tales of recent memory. The two I'm thinking about are the JLA issue where Plastic Man narrates the story of how Santa Claus joined the Justice League, and the 'Nuff Said issue of Captain Marvel. The latter made the heart of this Grinch grow at least three sizes larger.

From: "The Religious Affiliations of Super Heroes", posted 27 June 2007 by Elizabeth "I'm Pro-Accordion and I Vote!" B. on Gather.com website (http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977041058; viewed 2 July 2007):

Okay, anyone could have guessed that Shamrock, a.k.a. Molly Fitzgerald, would have to be Catholic. But did you know that Superman is Methodist? The Shadow is a Buddhist? Who knew?

A website, www.comicbookreligion.com, attempts to catalogue our Superfriends by religion and ethnicity...


Mugg Muggles, "The Man With the Jive", Jun 27, 2007, 6:33pm EDT

...What about Captain Marvel? Could it be that Dr. Sivana (heh, heh, heh) is truly in league with the devil? ...

From: "Superman Was Jewish?" forum discussion, started 6 July 2006 on "Superhero Hype!" website (http://forums.superherohype.com/archive/index.php/t-241110.html):

wootbaby
07-14-2006, 09:45 PM

...The Kents themselves, according to the comics, are not Jews. So Superman is neither Jewish nor was he raised a Jew.

I think Shazam might be a Jew. He refers to Soloman etc... (Just kidding... Shazam is Egyptian.)

From: "Religious Beliefs of DC Heroes" forum discussion, started 4 July 2006 on ComixFan website (http://x-mencomics.com/xfan/forums/showthread.php?p=1357699; viewed 6 July 2007):

Jul 4, 2006
Grayson Drake

I am a Christian (Baptist) in real life and I was wondering if anyone knows any DC characters that have been labled to a certain religion. I think DC has tried to stay away from religion, but... I thought this would cool topic. So please list anything you might know on this subject.


Jul 5, 2006
Andrew Stoneham

Well I don't think DC characters are very relgious because DC comics in general seem to have a very general liberal feel to it. That's not to say only conservatives are religious, but that's my opionion. Ok lets see... well Wonder Woman is polytheist since she believes in the Greek Gods. And I know Green Arrow II (Connor Hawke) is a Buddhist. But that's all that comes to mind. And since Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, Hercules, Fury (Golden Age), Fury II, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and Mary Marvel are all heroes who got there powers from the Greek Gods I say they're polytheists as well.


Jun 19, 2007
Eric Travis

There's a website that speculates on this in great detail (not just DC):
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

Because I was bored tonight, I went through and broke down most of the Superhero list for the DC guys and gals. I left off most of the Shazam family (most of whom tend towards Protestant + Pantheism, which makes things confusing), as well as 'splinter imprints', like Watchmen or WildStorm...

From: "Sacreligious amd anti-Christian Comic characters" forum discussion, started 28 February 2007 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000107545&start=0&tstart=15; viewed 19 July 2007):

mavericker
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:49 PM

Lets see:
Zauriel
The Spectre
Nightcrawler
Storm
Raven
Supergirl
Venom
Lobo
Zatanna
Scarlet Witch
Juggernaut
Dr. Strange
Dr. Fate
Any character that uses magic, sorcery


karmalad
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 1:17 PM

This is kind of a dumb topic, but I'd argue that Zauriel and Spectre are pro-Christian, since they are designated as Christian angels.

I wouldn't automatically classify all magic-users as anti-Christian or sacrilegious; I'd only count the ones that derive their power from demons or divine entities other than the Judeo-Christian deity.

Characters that derive their power from Christian mythology should count as pro-Christian IMHO, since their existence supports the Christian mythos...

Characters that derive their power from non-Christian deities probably fall squarely into the definition of anti-Christian, since Christianity denies the existence of other gods. This would include Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Manitou Raven, Black Adam, and all similar characters...

From: "Increasing comic circulation through different perspectives" forum discussion, started 30 November 2005 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-15542.html; viewed 20 July 2007):

superfriend
November 30th, 2005, 10:45 AM

Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters (http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html)...

"Captain Marvel (Billy Batson, published by Fawcett, then DC) - Greco-Roman classical religion"


Mark Matthewman
November 30th, 2005, 10:48 AM

I'm not sure I agree with the Captain Marvel entry. I know he's powered by some Greco-Roman gods, but I never realized he worshiped them.

I wonder what Solomon thinks?


superfriend
November 30th, 2005, 11:08 AM

I would find it more curious that he would deny homage to the diety that powers him. You get your powers from a particular pantheon, I'd think it would amp your belief in them.

Solomon Says:
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Prov 25:2

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, Eccl 2:24

From: "Possible writers' cliche/prejudice: No well-adjusted athiests/agnostics in the DCU?" forum discussion, started 26 May 2005 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-5064.html; viewed 20 July 2007):

Marvelman
May 31st, 2005, 12:10 PM

Another thought. In the JSA alone you have Captain Marvel who derives his power from these mythological figures including the biblical Solomon.

From: "Barry Allen is Jewish?" forum discussion, started 13 May 2005 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-4308.html; viewed 20 July 2007):

Heatwave the Rogue
May 15th, 2005, 07:44 AM

...I would rather comic companies take a "don't ask, don't tell" policy about religion.


CapeandCowl
May 15th, 2005, 10:59 AM

I think don't ask don't tell is for the birds. I mean, no, I don't want some kind of sermon every time I pick up a comic, but if you were a writer trying to flesh out a character sooner or later you'd have to come up against his or her spiritual beliefs. They can make for great stories...

If you are going to write stories that are beyond mere kiddy stories about men in tights, religion will enter it at some point...

And really, if you think about it, many characters have religious or quasi-religious elements to them, its just that many readers choose to ignore it. Superman is a sort of Christ figure. Capt. Marvel and Black Adam's powers are based on ancient religions in Greece and Eygpt. Dr. Fate and most other mystical characters are rooted in pagan believes. Mantiou Raven loosely represents Native American faith. Wonder Woman, in fact, rests on the assumption that the Greek gods are real. There is Thor, taken right from Norse religion, and J'onn J'onz often prays to his alien gods. And Spectre is inspired by old school wrath of god stuff from the Old Testament...

From: "Is Bruce Wayne A Religious Person?" forum discussion, started 20 April 2006 on "Killer Movies" website (http://www.killermovies.com/forums/f50/t400582.html; viewed 27 July 2007):

WrathfulDwarf
20 April 2006

Bruce is basically like me: neutral. He is neither a religious person nor an atheist. Which I think is pretty cool that they keep those out of the storyline. Of course, Batman uses science to fight crime. He also has encountered Supernatural beings like The Demon, Spectre, and Shazam. You can basically assume he's split on both science and religion.

From: "Comic book character religions" forum discussion, started 29 November 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-94945.html; viewed 27 July 2007):

Brandon Hanvey
11-29-2005, 01:46 PM

I found this site via The Beat. It lists comic book characters and their religions.
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html


StoneGold
11-29-2005, 02:31 PM

...I don't know if I'd call Captain Marvel a follower of the Roman pantheon. Sure, he is powered by them, hangs out with them occasionally, but I don't think I've ever seen him, say, make a sacrifice to Jupiter or anything. Hell, Solomon is a part of SHAZAM, but I don't think you're going to try to make the claim that Billy is Jewish...


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