The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
of the X-Men, X-Factor
Scott Summers is known as "Cyclops," and was one of the founding members of the X-Men. In fact, Cyclopes is often called the "first X-Man," because he was the first mutant recruited by Professor Charles Xavier to form the fledgling mutant super-hero team.
The character of Cylops was created by Jewish comic book writer Stan Lee and Jewish comic book artist Jack Kirby. The character first appeared in The Uncanny X-Men #1, published in 1963.
Like the majority of superheroes created by Lee and Kirby during the early 1960s, Cyclops was created based on a vaguely "All-American" WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) character model. There was a strong taboo preventing overt references to specific real-world religions and denominations, and it is not surprising that the actual religious affiliation of Scott Summers was not mentioned as part of the formative X-Men stories in which he appeared.
Despite the general lack of overt references to Cyclops' religious affiliation, the character has been consistently portrayed as a Protestant who is nearly always morally upstanding and heroic. Scott Summers has, more than most any major Marvel superhero aside from Captain America, been portrayed as so straight-laced that he is even regarded as "stiff" or a "square." He is regarded as the ultimate "Boy Scout" among the X-Men.
Cyclops has also been one of the most ardent supporters of Professor Charles Xavier's dream of harmony of between mutants and the rest of humanity. In many regards, Xavier's "dream" can be considered Cyclops' "religion," as it is this dream that has been the primary motivational philosophy for Cyclops during most of his adult life.
After many year of courtship, Scott Summers married his longtime girlfriend and teammate Jean Grey in X-Men (volume 2) #30. Their marriage lasted many years, but was eventually ended after repeated deaths, disappearances and Phoenix transformations by Jean and Scott's psychic affair with Emma Frost (a.k.a. the "White Queen", a former enemy of the X-Men who had reformed and joined the team). Scott Summers is currently living with Emma, although they are not married.
Although the Protestant background and beliefs of Scott Summers have been manifest in many ways throughout the years, compliance with Biblical standards of sexual morality is not among them. Cyclops can probably be best described as merely a nominal Protestant. Although known for his strong moral values and his strong belief in Xavier's teachings, Cyclops has never been portrayed as particularly religious. Certainly many teammates among the X-Men, including Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Storm and even Archangel and Jean Grey, have been portrayed as consistently religious more than Cyclops has been. In Infinity Crusade #1, a powerful being known as the Goddess abducted the individuals that she identified as the most religious super-heroes in the Marvel Universe. Jean Grey and Archangel were among those taken, but Cyclops was not.
From: "At DC Comics, Diversity Is No Laughing Matter", published on AOLTimeWarner.com website, 1 November 2001 (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/atdccom.htm; viewed 20 December 2005):
"The original creators of comics, 60 or 70 years ago, were almost all Jewish and Italian kids from various parts of New York," notes DC Comics Executive Vice President and Publisher Paul Levitz. "And the characters they created were pseudo-whitebread Episcopalian. It was almost de rigueur back then to paint people in this idealized American image."
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&tstart=0; viewed 8 May 2006):
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 21, 2006 8:41 PM
Cyclops is my favorite, so if someone might know what he is, I would appreciate it if someone let me know.
Posted: Apr 23, 2006 2:56 AM
Cyclops is my fave [favorite] too and apparently he's some Christian denomination (e.g., his weddings to Jean and Maddie). The above link [Adherents.com] lists Havok as Catholic and Cyclops as Protestant, odd as they were brothers, but I assume maybe Havok's adopted family were Catholics...
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.
From time to you see things, whenever DC has shown Superman or Batman being married they always seem to have someone in a white collar officiating. Are they saying they are Catholic? or Episcopalian? Or that they just wanted someone religious looking doing it?
...What do you think?
Date: Sun, Feb 11 2001 6:05 am
That also goes for some of Marvel's characters, e.g. Scott Summers married both his wives in what appeared to be a Catholic or Episcopalian ceremonies...
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):
12-04-2003, 05:27 AM
Another... equally sappy-holiday-esque story is Uncanny X-Men #308 and #309. In 308, the X-Men have a good old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. A lot of character-driven scenes with Scott and Jean deciding to get married and Xavier showing some signs of jealousy over their happiness. Meanwhile you also get a friendly football game...
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.
05-15-2005, 10:43 PM
Since I can never shut up about Vivisector, I'll throw him in too. I'm pretty sure he more or less says he's an atheist in one of the later issues.
05-15-2005, 10:48 PM
I'd peg Cyclops as an atheist as well.
I'd say Scott, Rachel and Nathan are all pretty skeptical when it comes to a higher power. Jean I see holding onto some type of religion mostly because it's been so ingrained in her upbringing.
I'm surprised to see Warren on that list of most religious.
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 11:39 PM
re: "I'd peg Cyclops as an atheist as well"
Cyclops? An atheist? The man is second only to Charles Xavier in his devotion to the Dream, in his faith in the inherent goodness of mankind. His favorite movie is Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, a movie filled to the brim with hope and belief and all the things that characterize spirituality. No, Scott's no atheist- he may or may not subscribe to any organized religion, but he believes in some kind of higher power, I guarantee it.
05-16-2005, 01:44 PM
Cyclops' words to Ugly John in Morrison's X-men also show that Cyclops firmly believes in an afterlife, so he definitely isn't an atheist.
05-16-2005, 02:29 PM
It is entirely possible to be an atheist, and also believe in an afterlife.
05-16-2005, 03:02 PM
True enough, but the thing about the Marvel Universe is that you're only omnipotent as long as the Living Tribunal (via Proxy from the One Above All) says you are. So even Jean in the White Hot Room has people above her on the pecking order.
All that means for her is that she no longer has to believe in a Creator, she knows there's one for a fact.
As far as my boy Scott goes, I think he's probably a deist of some sort. Whether he subscribes to a particular ethos is up for debate (I would guess lapsed Christian though), but his character definitely strikes me as having a background of faith.
05-16-2005, 11:21 PM
Yeah, the thing is I think Cyclops believes there is good in all people. But I think most of his faith is in mankind and not in a higher power.
05-16-2005, 11:23 PM
In Uncanny [X-Men] #137, when he [Cyclops] thinks about what Phoenix did he thinks something along the line that he'd rather leave punishment to God and err on the side of mercy. Seems to me he is religious in a vague way.
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. Kitty's Jewish, and Scott and Jean were married (I think) in a Catholic ceremony...
From: Sarah Anne Yost
Date: Fri, Apr 12 1996 12:00 am
...I seriously doubt that Scott and Jean are Catholic. In Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, Scott recalled specifically having "honor and obey" written out of their wedding vows. The Catholic vows are now (and have been for a good while) "love, honor and cherish" said by both husband and wife.
- S. Yost
Who should know about that last one, sheesh, she's been to Catholic weddings.
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: Sun, Jun 2 2002 11:59 am
...And maybe you should review the marriage of Cyclops and Phoenix, and look at the priest marrying them... I just don't know where that one is.
From: Aaron, "Hero worship", posted 16 June 2006 on "Two or Three.net" blog website (http://www.twoorthree.net/2006/06/hero_worship.html; viewed 16 June 2006):
What religion is your favorite comic book character? Here is an interesting list [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html] that explores the faith of superheroes, supervillians and other well-known comic characters... Many of the most well-known are simply generic Protestants (Spiderman, Captain America, Cyclops)...
From: "Religious Inclinations of heroes" message board, started 1 March 2005 on StarDestroyer.net website (http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=63632; viewed 8 June 2006):
Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:49 pm
About worshiping there is also the story where Loki kidnaps Scott Summers and Madeline (when they are married still) and a few friends when they are traveling in one plane and later the X-man go there to rescue them (the art was Paul Smith's) and Loki tried to give them - humans - special skills but they would be grateful and worship him (although of course he does not revel that part because it was really not that important).
From: comments about "Reeding Into Things #22: Comics Q & A", posted 26 February 2004 (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-26014.html; viewed 12 May 2006):
[Comment posted by:] Scots Fan
Feb 27, 2004, 04:01 am
As a person of the Catholic faith I would say that a number of characters show parts that are Catholic for example Matt Murdock, Peter Parker, Scott Summers, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson all to me would seem to be Catholic or at least have some of the underlining principles of Catholism.
From: "Up, up, and oy, vey!", posted 5 February 2006 on MetaFilter.com website (http://www.metafilter.com/39326/Up-up-and-oy-vey; viewed 19 June 2007):
...By the way, Marvel apparently recognized early on that its original books had been too whitebread. All five of the original X-Men [Cyclops, Iceman, the Beast, Angel and Jean Grey/Marvel Girl] were WASPs ["White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"], but when they revived the book in the 1970's, the new team members (Havok, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Banshee and Sunfire) were WASP, German Catholic, African Pagan, Canadian, Native American, Irish Catholic, and Japanese, respectively...
posted by Asparagirl at 8:14 PM on February 5
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/e46638dbdaa8a219; viewed 22 June 2006):
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am
...Anyone care to post a list of those characters whose spiritual beliefs are on record?
From: David O'Brien
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am
...Jean and Scott. Got married in a church...
From: "Archangel is Episcopalian" message posted 20 March 2006 by "Crucified Ego" on "Doublestuffed" blogwebsite (http://doublestuffed.livejournal.com/246311.html; viewed 14 May 2007):
Ever wonder what religion the X-Men were? No, me neither.
If for some reason this is interesting to you, there is a site for Comic Book Religion [http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html]. I found it on Something Awful. I think it's all BS, because why would Havok be Catholic, Jean Grey be Episcopalian, and Cycolps be Protestant? I'm calling shenanigans on the whole thing, but I am greatly amused this site even exists.
Just FYI, if you click on the religion listed next to the name it will send you to a page where it attempts to classify why that particular hero is considered to belong to that religion.
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
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
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...
Anyone know if Charles Xavier is Catholic or Protestant, or uh, possibly Jewish? What religion is that man anyway?
07-18-2002, 01:30 PM
This is a discussion I've had several times with my friends, and usually I step out of it when it turns offensive. (Which with my friends, it always does!) Thing to remember though that until recently, like the past decade, religion and talks of such were verboten in most main stream comic books. Now that's changed...
...Daniel "Iron Fist" Rand is a Buddhist and Magneto is Jewish. Xavier may just be nondenominational. No idea what Scott Summers is but it seems that Jean Grey is a Christian as well, and same with the Hank McCoy...
From: "Which superhero would be the best Muslim?" forum discussion, started 17 January 2006 on the "Muslim Student Association: University of South Florida" website (http://www.msausf.org/MSAUSF/forums/467/ShowPost.aspx; viewed 4 June 2007):
01-17-2006, 9:00 AM
Which superhero would be the best Muslim?
Salam. Me and Momodu were speaking to each other over some delicious baklava and coffee about which superhero would most likely be Muslim. I would say Batman is most likely to be a great Muslim because he practices great self-restraint when it comes to alcohol consumption, and fornication mashallah. Also, Batman does not eat pork because it slows him down in his nightly crusades against Joker and other foes. Also, he does not have time to backbite or gossip or engage in other forms of fitna because he is too busy cleaning the Batcave and changing the oil in the Batmobile. Thank You.
Momodu, on the other hand, says the Hulk would make an amazing Muslim because he always keeps his gaze lowered. Also, Momodu says the Hulk's purple pants somehow always manage to cover his a'ura, as in his body from his belly button down to his knees. Please dont be shy about showing your feelings. No one is here to judge you and all your postings are welcome.
DC and Marvel superheroes are both welcome
01-17-2006, 9:07 AM
Cyclops from the X-Men would make a good Muslim. He would be forced to lower his gaze with women. Also Rogue would make a good Muslim because she can't touch anyone.
01-17-2006, 11:41 AM
What? Cyclops has a girlfriend and Rogue was kissing Bobby in the movie. Plus, Hulk has a VERY bad temper which is totally un-Islamic. Batman was hangin out with all those crazy European women in the movie, which was really un-Islamic, and most importantly, all superheroes lie about their true identity, and Muslims never lie... lol. I'm starting to think that I watch too many movies. Ohh, what about the Incredibles? Oh wait, no, he lied to his own wife... hmmm...
01-24-2006, 1:11 PM
I think the Green Lantern would make a great Muslim. His favorite color is green, he wears a ring, and he can fly. If that doesn't scream Muslim, I dont know what does.
01-25-2006, 12:08 PM
I'll tell you who screams Muslim: WOLVERINE. He has 3 claws from each hand (3 is sunna), and he has a beard, mashallah. He is also on a constant search in which he travels all over the world to learn about his creator. And like most great Muslims, he may not have the biggest muscles, but on the inside he is stronger then steel. Finally, though we all know he could get Jean any day (Cyclops is gay), he waits his turn, until there is an official seperation. I can only hope that we may all be as devout as Wolverine.
Mouhannad, Wolverine would make a horrible Muslim. He never smiles, he is always angry and he is always chasing after Cyclops' fiance. He just can't get her because he has no game.
01-31-2006, 3:20 PM
Oh no, you did not go there. Wolverine was always angry for the right reasons, it's just Cyclops was a control freak and didn't want to lose the X-men to the obviously more influential member. And though Wolverine never really agreed with all of their expeditions, and wasn't always sure if he wanted to be a part of the next adventure, he conceeded to the wisdom of Professor Xavier. Finally, I think we all know where the X-men would be if Wolverine wasn't there. As for Jean... it was her fault she kept giving Wolverine hope while still claiming to belong to Cyclops. That is a no-no, and as a result the man is not fully responsible.
Anyways, Wolverine is a hardened dude whos been through a lot. you can't expect him to be a sissy hero who is so noble and shows great emotions and restraint. All in all, if I were an X-man I would want Wolverine to have my back.
02-06-2006, 11:10 AM
That is biggest load of bologna that I have ever read. First of all I think we all know that Wolverine was not a threat to Cyclops' position. If anyone was next in line to lead it would be storm since she is second in command. Second wolverine was always out for personal vengance especially when he fought Sabretooth. That doesn't seem like the right reason to be angry. I didn't want to have to go here but I guess I have no Choice. OK here goes. Wolverine liked to beat on women. Thats right I said it. He was constantly fighting Mystique hand to hand, and actually stabbed her a few times. He also got into a huge brawl with Lady Deathstrike who was once his fiance. And finally Jean did not throw herself at him. He was always chasing her but in the end he just didn't have what it took. Wolverine was a great hero, that's for sure. But could he be a great Muslim? I don't think so.
02-07-2006, 3:25 PM
Momodu, i think the only 100% accurate source to rule over this is Marvel itself. And according to that amazing source Sabretooth is a vicious blood thirsty mutant who has always been threatened by Wolverine. Wolverine's pursuit of Sabretooth is nothing short of Xavier's pursuit of Magneto, except on a smaller scale. As a matter of fact, it is even less controversial considering the fact that it could (COULD) be argued that Magneto is not necessarily all evil. Wolverine is an invaluable part of the X-men and has probably sacrificed more then any of them in order to help the Professor's cause. As for his relationship with Jean, well I still hold to the fact that Jean leaves the door slightly ajar for the possibility of those two, as she can't seem to make up her mind. But regardless, we are not asking who would make the perfect Muslim, but a good Muslim. Who knows, with Jean as Phoenix maybe he will finally move on.
02-08-2006, 10:15 AM
How dare you. I practically gave you that argument. I am not going to argue that Sabretooth isn't evil. All I want to say is that personal hatred is not a very good reason for revenge. Also on the issue of Jean, before Wolverine ever heard the word X-men Jean was engaged to be married to Cyclops. Now if you want to go back to the source, then I believe Marvel states that one of the main reasons Wolverine stays on the X-men is to be near Jean. Now I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that a good Muslim doesn't try to get his leader's wife.
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.
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