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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Norman Osborn
the Green Goblin
arch-enemy of Spider-Man


Norman Osborn, better known as the super-villain Green Goblin, is the arch-enemy of Spider-Man.

Discussion

From: comments on "Racism against Atheists" post on "Stormy's Corner" blog website, posted 23 March 2006 (http://stormy.blogs.com/stormy/2006/03/racism_against_.html; viewed 10 May 2006):
[from original blog post:] Atheists identified as America's most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study: News Releases: UMNnews: U of M.: "From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society.' Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry."
Great post.

Perhaps one explanation is the negative depiction of atheists in comic books. Most superheroes [believe in God], with a majority being Christians: Superman is a Methodist, Spiderman is a Protestant, X-Man Rogue is a Southern Baptist, X-Man Nightcrawler is a Catholic. Even the Punisher is Catholic. But when it comes to villians, atheism seems to be the rule. The Joker, The Kingpin, The Green Goblin, Sabertooth, and Lex Luthor are all atheists.

Posted by: Layman | March 24, 2006 at 06:55 PM

Excerpts from: "Atheist superheroes" discussion page, started 2 March 2006, on "Atheist Network" website (http://atheistnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?p=209834&sid=5ca5d2a99f2714e2f90fcee608eb4ac4; viewed 26 May 2006):
Aghast
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:42 am

...not surprisingly more villains are revealed to be atheists than heroes: Lex Luthor, The Joker, Kingpin, Green Goblin, Sabertooth, the Leader, Abomination, Carnage, Red Ghost.

Usually, religion tends to be mostly ignored in comics and most often when it is addressed it tends to be treated fairly rough. How many times has the religious fanatic... bent on murder and mayhem been the villian of a comic?

From: Abby Scott, "Complete with Utility Belt Carrying a Calculator and Ennui," posted 22 June 2006 on "Abby Scott does tend to go on" blog website (http://abbyscott.blogspot.com/2006/06/complete-with-utility-belt-carrying.html; viewed 22 June 2006):
I grew up in a strong atheistic tradition...

The above is a link to a list of the religions of many of our comic book heroes. Quite cool, actually.

...where are the atheists? ...In the atheist pile we have Lex Luthor, The Joker, Two-Face, Kingpin, Green Goblin, Sabretooth...

From: "The Church of Superman" forum discussion started 19 June 2006 on the "James Randi Educational Foundation" website (http://www.randi.org/forumlive/showthread.php?t=58627; viewed 15 May 2007):

19th June 2006, 06:03 AM
headscratcher4

The Church of Superman
http://adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

Hmmmm... the "religious" affiliations of comic book characters. Huh?


19th June 2006, 12:05 PM
c4ts

I really think a lot of these supervillains ended up as "atheist" because they're not as humanized to retain their evilness. Unless their religion or religious background fueled their motives to be villains in the first place, it's going to confuse the audience and make the superheroes look bad. If Lex Luthor went to church every Sunday like most of America, sat in services while thinking "hate hate hate kill Superman" it would be unintentionally funny or just confusing to people.


19th June 2006, 01:38 PM
Dunstan

I don't think it's even that complicated. I clicked on a couple of the villain pages, and all they do is quote some usenet or message board post by a guy complaining that comic books discriminate against atheists because the heroes are mostly religious, while the only atheists are the villains, such as [and he goes on to list a few, without any supporting evidence].

From what I can tell, most (if not all) of those villain pages should just list "unknown"...

From: "Is Spider-Man Jewish?" forum discussion started 15 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-160187.html; viewed 28 May 2007):

BeastieRunner
01-16-2007, 04:32 PM

I think Norman Osborn is a follower of Scientology.


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Webpage created 10 May 2006. Last modified 28 May 2007.
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