< Return to Religious Affiliation of Comics Book Characters
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
StravoFrom: "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):
Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 6:38 pm
Post subject: Religious Inclinations of heroes
What about other heroes? I notice religion rarely plays a part in mainstream superhero comics (absent things like the Vertigo line) but have you ever picked up on hints or outright admissions by some heroes as to their religious inclinations?
Seems that atheistic heroes are as rare in comics as in real life. If they are religious it's a sort Judaeo-Christian wishy washy sort of religion... Any other examples of guesses?
The Yosemite Bear
Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 1:44 am
Gotham's "Ragman" is definitely Jewish, mind you since he's only seen by the very poor and sticks to one Ghetto, even Bat's thinks that one's just an "Urban Legend", however Jason Blood knows the truth...
The Yosemite Bear
Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:03 am
What religion would Jason Blood be considered now?
We knew he was a traitor and a pagan knight during the time of King Arthur, whom Merlin cursed to be bonded with his own daemonic half brother...
Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:51 am
Well his alter-ego is an occasional inhabitant of Hell, so he probably knows enough to make an informed decision.
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...
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)?
From: John Bickers
Date: Mon, Aug 31 1992 8:01 pm
There are also quite a few characters who get their powers from Hell, like the Demon Etrigan, and a few who get their inspiration from Christianity, like the Atilla character who recently featured in the Hawkman comic.
From: "Is Batman an atheist or is he just not very religious?" forum discussion started 2 April 2007 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/archive/index.php/t-187589.html; viewed 21 May 2007):
04-03-2007, 09:39 AM
re: Would his no-killing philophy have any bearing here?
I don't think so. There are lots of people who get behind a no-killing philosophy without religious reasons, just as there are plenty of people who wholeheartedly endorse killing other people for religious reasons.
I'm also not entirely sure how anybody in the DCU could continue to be a non-believer once they become aware of characters like the Spectre and the Demon, but DC has always dodged that by claiming that they never call him "The" God. I find that about as convincing as most politically expedient dodging of the question, but that's their story and they're sticking with it.
I think I'm OK calling Bruce Wayne a theist -- I think he does believe in the Judeo-Christian God -- but all bets are off once you're past that.
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):
03-10-2007, 10:46 AM
An ASTONISHINGLY detailed site that delves into the religions of superheroes. Someone has WAY too much time on their hands.
03-10-2007, 10:54 AM
Not a lot of atheists.
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: "Wonder Woman and Religion", posted 21 February 2006 by Ragnell on "Written World: Hyper-Feminist Comic Book Culture Commentary" blog website (http://ragnell.blogspot.com/2006/02/wonder-woman-and-religion.html; viewed 20 June 2007):
kalinara said [5:26 a.m.]...
...Thus, when you assemble the correlation: Brahma is Allah is Chaos is Yahweh is Jehovah and so on and so forth, the Pantheons' Power will end up diminished, in some sense.
It's not fair really, and it's a gross oversimplification of people's actual belief systems, but when you've got the Earth Angel, Zauriel, Diana and Etrigan running around in the same universe, you need to construct a cosmology to make it all work.
Unfortunately, that means some religions unfairly get the shaft. :-(
From: "Superhero Religious Views?" forum discussion, started 9 June 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-116001.html; viewed 13 July 2007):
06-10-2007, 08:42 PM
Let's see this from the hero's point of view... Ragman is Jewish. The Spectre is a Judeo/Christian sort. Etrigan is a demon, so he obviously a religious sort...
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):
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:49 PM
Any character that uses magic, sorcery
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. This would include characters like Etrigan, Kid Devil, etc. They might count under your definition "sacrilegious" though. Most of the heroes that derive power from Christian demons have to pay a horrible price for it though, and thus probably serve as an object lesson...
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):
May 26th, 2005, 02:12 PM
It is hard to be a "well adjusted" Atheist when the Spectre is around or Etrigan or Neron or Deadman or the entire cast of Sandman. It is hard to be an Atheist when Zeus and Athena show up on your doorstep and people who have died come back later with tales of an afterlife. When you have Lords of Order and Chaos.
You most certainly cannot be a Skeptic in the DCU - Aliens, Magic, and psychic powers Do exist there. Superman is saving the world again. Chances are good if you lived in the DCU you'd have a chance to shake his hand.
Being an Atheist in the DCU is like being a Flat-Earther in our reality.
May 26th, 2005, 03:01 PM
When "God's wrath" is just another super hero and angels decide to go on benders that wreck entire cities and when devils are constantly getting their butts kicked by Superman, what use is faith?
Why fear Satan if you're a Christian, when you see Superman kick his butt every summer?
The fact that characters such as the Spectre, Etrigan, Eclipso, Azrael [sic: Zauriel], Azmodel et al all play a part in the ordinary every day scratch and claw bickering of superheroes tends to pretty much destroy any idea of the divine being something above or beyond the ordinary world. If anything, it makes the religious groups still clinging to some vague idea of divinity into the "flat-earth Luddites"--especially when "God's right hand" is busy throwing back a beer as Jim Corrigan.
The prevelance of religious characters as just another funny book hero or dimestore baddy puts them on the exact same level as Superman and Batman - and no higher.
May 31st, 2005, 08:27 PM
Did you catch the reference to original Starman, Crawford? I think it was his story about Etrigan where he (only once in all his years of teaming with the Spectre) even considered that religious mythology was more than fairy tales. I believe the slight conflict there was the "shaking of faith in atheism" but was NOT portrayed as "now he believes in God!". It was more of a "there are still mysteries my science does not explain" theme as I read it...
From: "NY Times outs Batwoman. DUH SPOILERS!!!!!" forum discussion, started 27 May 2006 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-27770.html; viewed 23 July 2007):
May 28th, 2006, 09:11 AM
I feel like DC is tying to be an advocate... Is DC just wanting quick media attention? If this were truly about diversity where is the devote Christian hero? What about a Pro-Life Republican? A priest that takes a vow of poverty to fight poverty?
For years people have praised or criticize liberal Hollywood. Are we now looking at a Liberal DC comics?
May 28th, 2006, 10:20 AM
Christian hero? I'm sorry but aren't a good majority of heroes Christian?
May 28th, 2006, 12:06 PM
Weird, I thought there used to be an ANGEL of GOD on the JLA...
May 28th, 2006, 12:31 PM
Well here's some of the heroes I know with obvious religious ties:
The Spectre (Christianity/Catholicism)
Here are a couple I'm not sure about...
I know Atom Smasher is Jewish and Doc. Mid-Nite is Christian, but I'm not sure about anybody else and don't want to label anyone wrongly. Anyway, religion seems pretty well represented, IMO...
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):
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.