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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
an devout Christian opponent of Thor, etc.
From: "Christian Superheroes" thread started 30 August 1992 on rec.arts.comics newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics/browse_thread/thread/d4f9b151adf6039c/bca0d7673c1ff593; viewed 21 June 2006):
Date: Sun, Aug 30 1992 5:14 pm
Recently there was an inquirey on r.a.c. about Jewish Superheroes... I have been following many different Marvel titles for a long long time. In this time I have really only encountered two genuine examples of Christian Superheroes, though one may be more technically termed a vigilante.
I submit that there are characters who hold to certain Christian faiths, but none but two who stand out as having their faith as the source of their power.
For example, Kurt Wagner (a.k.a. Nightcrawler) is a good example of a superhero who just happens to be a Christian, but his powers of teleportation are derived from his mutant genes.
The two specific examples I am referring to are La Espirita (a.k.a. Firebird/Bonita Juarez) and The Crusader II (Arthur Blackwood).
La Espirita (or Firebird) is a member of the Rangers (along with Night Rider, Texas Twister, Shooting Star, and Red Wolf) who banded together after intercepting a distress call for the Avengers by Rick Jones. I forget the actual book this occurred in (maybe The Incredible Hulk?), but the Rangers and especially Bonita have since appeared in the Avengers West Coast. Bonita is a Mexican-American who is a social worker on an Indian Reservation (I think) and after helping the Avengers on a mission against Master Pandemonium she was granted provisionary membership in the Avengers. She talked Henry Pym out of committing suicide, she changed back and forth from her Firebird pseudonym, she was the only Avenger to survive the Collector's poisonous elixor, and she (wrongly I must say) once asked the Silver Surfer if he was one of the Prophets from the Bible who was to herald the return of the Messiah. Bonita seems to be a very gentle soul. In the original series of OHOTHM [Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe] she was listed as having recieved her powers from a meteorite afterwhich a flaming bird encompassed her and bestowed her powers. It was also stated that this occurred just after Jean Grey was killed on the Moon before the Marvel Gorl/Phoenix retcon. In other words it was insinuated that Firebird inherited the Phoenix powers upon Jean's death, but since Jean never died and the Phoenix powers were actually transferred to Rachel Summers, the whole concept of the flaming bird apparition is now a mystery concerning Bonita's powers. I have my own ideas, based on the Bible, of what Bonita's powers really are, and there seemed to be some clues in her few appearnces.
1) Flaming Bird? The Holy Spirit and Fire -like a dove? (Matt. 3:11 and 3:16)
2) Poison does not harm her? (Mark 16:18)
Apparently her faith is on the par of a Charismatic Catholic?
...In my opinion Bonita is what I might consider the graceful and loving side of Christianity, whereas Arthur seems to represent the arrogant and self-righteous side of Christianity. I think a team up between these two characters would be great. They would definitely compliment one another and make up for the other's deficiencies (Arthur could learn alot from Bonita). With the hordes of demons that inhabit the Marvel Universe there would certainly be no end to their work. Another cool idea would be a team-up with Hellstorm (Damian Hellstrom) and Hellcat (Patsy Walker-Hellstrom) the self-styled Exorcist/Paranormal Experts. Perhaps their first mission could be to finally tie-up that case of the missing Shooting Star (Texas Twister's rodeo sideshow girlfriend who's place in the Rangers was usurped by one of Master Pandemonium's demons). This plot was never solved.
So given the above examples of La Espirita and The Crusader, are there any other Christian superheroes who actual powers are based on their religious beliefs in any other superhero books (even those outside of Marvel)?
P.S. Does anyone know the current whereabouts of La Espirita/Firebird or The Crusader. The last thing I remember is that Bonita took a leave of absence from the Avengers just after being granted her provisionary membership, and Arthur ran off to lick his wounds and re-evaluate his shaken faith.
From: David VanDomelen
Date: Mon, Aug 31 1992 1:32 pm
Avengers Spotlight kinda wrapped up some of the questions on Espiritu [Firebird] and closed the book on Crusader II...
Crusader clashes with Black Knight in one of the last few Spotlights (#38 or #39, I think). At the end, Crusader realizes what he's been doing, how he's been doing evil in the name of God, and so forth, and hurls his sword at his shield, destroying both. Cured of his insane zeal, he allows himself to be taken to jail, but promises his family that when he gets out he'll try to be a good husband and father, no longer obsessed with his crusade...
From: "The religion of comic book characters" forum discussion, started 3 December 2006 on RPG.net website (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=299781&page=5; viewed 25 April 2007):
2-04-2006, 09:34 PM
Arbane the Terrible
Quote: Originally Posted by Thranduil: While I know of the Greek/Norse/other pantheon gods empowering people in comic universes, I haven't heard of people being exalted by the biblical god to superhero-ness (except Catholics, apparently ) . Does this happen in any mainstream comics?
The only well-known character I can think of like that would be The Spectre.
In Astro City, there's a team called "The Crossbreed", who believe their powers are a gift from God. (Refreshing, in that they're devoutly religious AND unquestionably good guys. As much as I dislike organized religion, I will confess the "Evil Religious Nuts" trope has a bit overused since "God Loves, Man Kills".)
Thor once fought a guy who called himself The Crusader, but I dunno what happened to him after he lost.
From: "Religious Characters In Marvel" forum discussion started 15 September 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-143850.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
09-15-2006, 09:01 PM
The other day I was thinking about religion and comic books... What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books...
I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion...
09-16-2006, 05:42 AM
Crusader is Christian for sure. Not sure the denomination.
09-16-2006, 08:16 AM
Judging not only by the name, but also the character's history, [the Crusader] completely Roman Catholic. His mission is to fight "Pagans" (which is pretty much anybody not Catholic according to him).
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