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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
law partner of Matt Murdock ("Daredevil")
Franklin Nelson (who is usually known by his nickname "Foggy") is the Episcopalian law partner of Matt Murdock, the blind Catholic attorney who is secretly the superhero known as "Daredevil."
Foggy Nelson was introduced in the very first issue of Daredevil (issue #1, published in April 1964) and has been a strong supporting character in Daredevil comics ever since. Like Daredevil, the character of Foggy Nelson was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett.
Like most characters created during the era that produced him, Foggy Nelson's precise religious affiliation was rarely if ever hinted at. A strong taboo against overt real-world religious identification effectively prevented such information from being published about characters at the time, even when a character's creator had a specific ethnic/religious template in mind when creating the character. Like many characters from the era, it is likely that Stan Lee based Foggy Nelson on what Paul Levitz said was the "pseudo-whitebread Episcopalian" character template utilized by the predominantly Jewish and Italian comic book writers (source: "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).
In Daredevil volume 2, issue #82, Foggy Nelson is apparently murdered by an inmate inside the prison he has come to in order to visit an incarcerated Matt Murdock. In the next issue, Daredevil vol. 2 #83, we see Foggy Nelson's funeral, which is clearly being officiated by Episcopalian clergymen. The cover of this issue features a headstone for Foggy Nelson in the shape of a generic Christian cross. On the last page of Daredevil Vol. 2 #87 it was revealed that Foggy Nelson was not, in fact, dead. His "death" and funeral had been a ruse by authorities to protect him and move him into a witness protection program. Nevertheless, this funeral, which was attended by and presumably arranged by his surviving family members, is a clear indication that Foggy Nelson's religious affiliation is indeed Episcopalianism.
Unlike Matt Murdock, whose Catholicism became an increasingly important aspect of his character, Foggy Nelson's religious affiliation has never been a major characteristic. We know little about Foggy Nelson's relative level of belief and participation in his denomination, because such information simply hasn't been the focus of Daredevil comics. But, statistically speaking, a New York City-based Episcopalian attorney who is never seen talking about his church may have a clear-cut self-identity as an Episcopalian, a Protestant and/or a Christian, but it is unlikely that he is a regular churchgoer.
Below: Cover of Daredevil Vol. 2 #83 (published by Marvel Comics Group, May 2006), republished in Daredevil: The Devil Inside and Out trade paperback (Marvel Comics Group, 2007); art by Tommy Lee Edwards:
Below: Pages 1 and 2 from Daredevil Vol. 2 #83 (published by Marvel Comics Group, May 2006), republished in Daredevil: The Devil Inside and Out trade paperback (Marvel Comics Group, 2007); written by Ed Brubaker, pencils by Michael Lark, inks by Stefano Gaudiano:
This funeral scene is narrated by Ben Urich, who is Foggy Nelson's reporter friend. Most of the printed words come from Urich's thoughts, so we can read only a few words spoken by the Episcopalian priest during his eulogy:
--and so we lay him to rest and hope his soul finds peace. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...
Note: Foggy Nelson's name is sometimes incorrectly spelled as "Foggie Nelson."
Webpage created 19 May 2007. Last modified 20 May 2007.
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