The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
For the most part, Doctor Fate is not Jewish.
Eric Strauss, who is one of multiple people who has been Doctor Fate, is Jewish. Linda Strauss, the wife of Eric Strauss, was a "co-host body" of the Doctor Fate entity, along with her husband. We do not yet know if Linda Strauss is Jewish, nor do we know the extent of Eric Strauss's Jewishness. Further research is needed.
Throughout most of this character's history, the mortal being who was the host for the Doctor Fate (or "Dr. Fate") entity was not Eric Strauss and was not Jewish.
In most of Doctor Fate's appearances, the character had no connection to Eric Strauss, and even when Strauss was a co-host of Doctor Fate, his own consciousness had only a limited impact on the Doctor Fate persona.
Doctor Fate is listed on Mikel Midnight's "JEWISH SUPERS LIST" (http://blaklion.best.vwh.net/jew.html; viewed 1 May 2006): "Doctor Fate II (Eric Strauss)"
From: "Doctor Fate" page on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Fate#Strausses.2C_Inza_Nelson_and_Jared_Stevens; viewed 1 May 2006):
Fate was also a member of the JSA in the 1970s, though he had become increasingly erratic and withdrawn from humanity, though still committed to protecting Earth against supernatural menaces. In the 1980s, Fate briefly joined the Justice League, but Nabu's magic was failing to keep Kent and Inza Nelson young, and the pair finally died. Nabu bound together a pair of humans, Eric and Linda Strauss, into a new Doctor Fate, the pair merging into one being to become the hero, but otherwise living their own lives. With Nabu animating Kent Nelson's old body, the three were active for a couple of years, until Eric was killed by Darkseid and Linda, without him, abandoned the identity.
From: "Power Pack is Mormon?! The religions of the Supers" discussion forum started on 28 January 2006, on Forumopolis.com website (http://www.forumopolis.com/archive/index.php/t-14845.html; viewed 1 May 2006):
01-30-2006, 09:07 AM
So, why did they ["The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" webpage] choose the Eric Strauss Dr. Fate when almost every other Dr. Fate lasted way longer than him and most were associated with Egyptian religion?
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):
04-19-2005, 12:54 PM
Just as a comment, I have a Dr. Fate [comic] somewhere where he was fighting some demonic entity and having a hard time. He calls on Jesus and toasts the dude.
It is pretty clear in the DCU that no one is a God but God and the elder gods, new gods, Olympic pantheons, etc. are all lesser beings who came about in different fashions.
From: "Religion in Comics" newsgroup thread started 8 November 2000 on rec.arts.comics.dc.universe (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/bf82d29e106e876b/02d87d0cafe5e091?tvc=2&q=religion+comics&hl=en#02d87d0cafe5e091; viewed 12 June 2006):
Date: Thurs, Nov 9 2000 12:00 am
...I don't recall any Buddhist or Hindu stories in comics.
From: gzywicki [Greg Zywicki]
Date: Fri, Nov 10 2000 12:00 am
You missed [J.M.] DeMatteis in the 80's then. There was a time when every one of his stories veered into obscure hinduism. Dr. Fate was the best example. Real shame too, because it overwhelmed what had started out as a very engaging book.
From: Kevin J. Maroney
Date: Fri, Nov 10 2000 12:00 am
...what deMatteis believes, and what his stories often concern, isn't Hindu per se; it's the religion of Meher Baba, which is an eccumenical blend of religions with large doses of both Hindu and Christianity.
From: "Religions of super heroes" forum discussion page started 14 August 2006 on "Wizard Universe" website (http://wizarduniverse.invisionzone.com/lofiversion/index.php/t1595.html; viewed 25 April 2007):
Aug 14 2006, 06:17 PM
How did they figure this out!?!?
...I thought Dr. Fate believed only in, y'know, Fate or something.
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 12:58 PM
Is this crap serious? This all depends on what faith you practice. It's conservative braindead and downright dangerous thinking like this that makes more and more people turn on the church...
Good Lord, (sigh)
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.
I'm not sure if Janissary should be considered anti-Christian or not, since Islam is closely related to Christianity.
Doctor Fate is borderline as well. I think the Lords of Light/Lords of Chaos conflict that Doctor Fate is a part of, is an allegory for the conflict between the agents of Heaven and Hell. But, Doctor Fate has pretty strong roots in Egyptology, so it's arguable...
...Dr. Strange - NON-Christian character. Probably an atheist before becoming a sorcerer/mystic.
Dr. Fate - See above.
"Any character that uses magic, sorcery."
The actual dictionary definition of sacreligious follows:
From the Oxford dictionary:
Adjective form of Sacrilege
Noun. Robbery or profanation of sacred building.
Outrage on consecrated person or thing.
Violation of what is sacred.
These are fictional characters!!!
Which of them have robbed or profaned a sacred building, committed an act of outrage on a consecrated person (well LOBO Probably) or violated what is sacred?
And if you think these characters are sacreligious, why don't you just avoid the books that use them?
Is Elfquest sacreligious because the elves have no organized religion?
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.
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: "Question for other atheists" forum discussion, started 6 March 2006 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/dcb/view.php?trd=060306051129; viewed 23 July 2007):
Posted by Corn Stone on Monday, March 06 2006 at 05:11:29 GMT
Question for other atheists. Are there any? :-)
How do you relate to the characters in comics, DC especially, who are characterised as atheistic/agnostic?
And a sort of put-yourself-in-the-shoes - Would you still be an atheist if you'd had the experiences Mr Terrific and co have had? (Not counting Green Arrow, Barry Allen and folk who have been to Heaven, if their experiences are to be believed. And they are - this is the DCU cosmology.)
I doubt very much I would call myself an atheist, if, say, I was a member of the JLA or JSA and had some of these experiences.
Posted by Einheri on Tuesday, March 07 2006 at 03:53:00 GMT
I hold out hope.
As for Mr Terrific, if he is an atheist - from what I've seen - he's very polite about it. Atheists who try to "evangelize" me to their beliefs (or lack of beliefs) tend to iritate me more than religious people trying to evangelize me to their faith. But not much more.
Let me work it out for myself. And I'll try not to bother you. But I make no promises. ;-)
There, that's about as preachy as I get, Corn. But, to better answer some of what you're driving at, I think it could be very easy to be an atheist in the presence of Superman. I daresay that the presence of entities like Darkseid, Spectre, Dr. Fate, Deadman, Wonder Woman, Clark Kent, and even "things" like Bat-Mite sort of make the supernatural common-place. If we have comic book logical explanations of these folk, it wouldn't be too hard to reason that there could be other, more powerful creatures, even a "supreme being." But I don't think someone like Mr. Terrific would call this entity "GOD." Well, maybe he might if he thought it could get IT to stop making him eat playground dirt.
Posted by tolsvar on Tuesday, March 07 2006 at 00:30:12 GMT
Ok, so I wasn't going to go there, as I feel this subject does tend to walk a very fine line between "giving you an answer" and "getting too preachy". Then I read some other posts and thought "what the heck, I'll bore everyone with my opinion!"
First, I'm not an atheist, but I'm not part of any established religion either. I have my set of beliefs, formed by rationalizing what I know with what I believe. It's a fine line of science and faith, and it works for me.
If I lived in the DC Universe and saw things like people coming back from the dead, the Spectre and people like Dr Fate and the like, I don't think I'd have that hard of time fitting all that into what I believe. Someone like Zauriel (if I spelled his name right), who claims to be an angel, would be tough to understand. I would have a hard time believing that he was what he said he was, because of my views on what a supreme being is and does.
Situations like Donna Troia coming back from the dead, not so hard to understand because of what I believe. Unlikely? YEAH! But I wouldn't dismiss it.
Even someone like Wonder Woman, with her ties to Greek Mythology and their gods, could be understood based on my views on things. I could believe in someone like Zeus existing, I just wouldn't feel they were meant to be worshipped as they were back in the day.
Other dimensions, the little "hells" that sprinkle themselves across comic book universes, would be a curiousity to me, and I would definitely want to learn more to see how, if at all, they fit-in with what I believed. If my beliefs needed to be changed in order to accomodate what I learned, that's fine... I'm open-minded enough and certainly don't think so much of myself as to believe I have all the answers, not in the DC Universe!
Someone like Mr Terrific and Iron Man in the Marvel Universe are supposed to be portrayed as scientists, but I doubt the comic writers understand, truly, what it is that makes a scientific-minded person tick. They don't go through life doubting everything, they merely seek true answers to questions they have, and rarely take anything on faith. Based on what Terrific has been through, I'ld say his religious views are more complex than what we think they are. Iron Man should be the same way, but Marvel gets hung-up on showing how much he hates magic because he "doesn't understand it" and "it's not science". Seriously, hasn't he been hanging around Scarlet Witch long enough to have figured magic out by now?
So, in a nutshell, my faith in what I believe wouldn't be shattered or even shaken a little. Without a doubt, some of my more complex questions would be answered living in a world of superheroes and spirits of vengeance, but it would hardly make me over-haul everything I felt was true about life and why I'm here.
Webpage created 1 May 2006. Last modified 23 July 2007.
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