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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Shiera Sanders Hall
Like her husband, Carter Hall (Hawkman), Shiera Sanders Hall (Hawkgirl) was an adherent of ancient Egyptian classical religion. Specifically, she believed in reincarnation, envisioned heaven in ancient Egyptian terms, and invoked ancient Egyptian gods, including the sun god Ra.
From: Gearalt Finlay, "Walter Simonson: Hawkgirl's New Writer" on "Silver Bullet Comic Books" website (http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/features/113329021917760.htm; viewed 5 January 2005):
Finlay [interviewer]: The series [Hawkgirl] has had its share of horror characters and religious characters will that continue?
Walt Simonson: Absolutely.
Sensation Comics #1 (1999) was part of a major "The Justice Society Returns" story arc in which the Justice Society encountered a "mad god" named "Stalker" who sought to end all war by destroying all human life on Earth. Stalker transformed seven of his recently deceased human servants into powerful super-beings who he then sent to the far corners of the globe to wreak destruction. The members of the Justice Society broke into teams of two to confront these resurrected souls. In a story presented in the quaintly reto comic book one-shot Sensation Comics #1, the World War II era heroines Wonder Woman (Queen Hippolyta, the mother of Princess Diana) and Hawkgirl (Shiera Sanders) journeyed to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean where they faced off against a servant of Stalker who had been transformed into something of a water elemental. The gigantic creature formed of the ocean's waters captured Hawkgirl and brought him into the core of his being, where the she encountered the human form of Harold Lewis, who was responsible for animating the water monster.
Below: Hawkgirl talks about her concept of Heaven. From: Sensation Comics #1 (1999), written by James Robinson and David Goyer, pencilled by Scott Benefiel; page 14. Reprinted in The Justice Society Returns! trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2003), page 128.
Below: Hawkgirl talks about why she envisions Heaven in ancient Egyptian terms. She also encourages the villain who holds her captive to let go of his pseudolife and pass on to the hereafter where he will be able to see his wife again. From: Sensation Comics #1 (1999), written by James Robinson and David Goyer, pencilled by Scott Benefiel; page 16. Reprinted in The Justice Society Returns! trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2003), page 130.
As Hawkgirl and Harold Lewis faced each other, their conversation focused on religious topics. The dialogue excerpt below illustrates some of Hawkgirl's ancient Egyptian-based religious beliefs. From: Sensation Comics #1 (1999), written by James Robinson and David Goyer, pencilled by Scott Benefiel; pages 14-18. Reprinted in The Justice Society Returns! trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2003), pages 128-132:
Harold Lewis: You're a moment from dying. Any pathetic last words?
Hawkgirl (Shiera Sanders): You don't have to do this.
Harold Lewis: Wrong.
Hawkgirl: I can help you.
Harold Lewis: Wrong again.
Hawkgirl: Do you have a name?
Harold Lewis: I did. Now . . . I'm Stalker's. What else matters?
Hawkgirl: Talk to me.
Harold Lewis: Why? To prolong the inevitable? You'll die. So will the world. Do you fear the beyond?
Hawkgirl: I imagined where I'll go will look one of two ways. Like a Maxfield Parrish painting, or like the halls of an Egyptian throne room.
Harold Lewis: And you a temple dancer perhaps, or a courtesan.
Hawkgirl: I'd be a Queen. And my King . . . my one true love will be beside me. It doesn't matter, though. Not in the big picture. We will all come around again.
Harold Lewis: Not I. Stalker took my essence.
Hawkgirl: He took your life, not your soul. You'll go on from this, as I will.
Harold Lewis: You have great faith. Just as well, for one so close to death.
Hawkgirl: I have already lived many lifetimes with my one love. Each time we've met anew. Loved anew. If I don't survive . . . this . . . wherever we are, I'll see him in the afterlife.
Harold Lewis: Your love?
Harold Lewis: Oh, of course. The winged man. You and he, dare I say it . . . love birds. How . . . pathetic.
Hawkgirl: You enjoy that word, don't you?
Harold Lewis: Why Egypt? Why do you see Heaven that way?
Hawkgirl: That was my first life. That was where I met Carter. ALthough I'm a modern girl, I think part of me will always be in the that past time... What will you feel closest to, I wonder, when all your past lives are laid out before you?
Harold Lewis: I'm Stalker's now. There is no life after death. Death for mankind, yes. But for me, a perverse Stygian immortality or nothing...
Hawkgirl: Is that what you want? Is there no one you love?
Harold Lewis: My wife died in 1944 [the previous year]. Germany. An early casuality to the British counter-offensive.
Hawkgirl: But you're American.
Harold Lewis: She was not. Through her I grew to love her homeland. Jensen's recruitment of me wasn't the hardest to do, I'm sure. My name, by the way . . . I was Harold Lewis...
Hawkgirl: Was? You are Harold Lewis. It isn't too late. You could turn this around. Stop being the storm creature you are outwardly. You're already dead. The worst that can happen is you return to the hereafter . . . You'll see your wife . . .
Harold Lewis: I told you already -- I AM STALKER'S NOW! I have NO life or death of my OWN! ... Humanity's death. That's all I-- Something-- outside-- Suddenly -- the storm is -- weak -- can't --
[Wonder Woman has recovered from the water monster's previous attack and has flown her plane to come to the creature. She leaps from her plane and plunges the trident of Poseidon into it. At the same time, within the center of the creature where Harold Lewis has been talking to Hawkgirl in an air-filled cavity, a distracted Lewis turns away from Hawkgirl. His concentration broken by Wonder Woman's attack, the watery restraints he was mentally using to hold Hawkgirl captive now disappear. Hawkgirl reaches to pick up battle axe, which Lewis had forgotten after he subdued her and trapped her previously. Hawkgirl plunges her axe into Harold Lewis's back while Wonder Woman continues to plunge the trident into the water monster formed by Lewis. Lewis's last words are "Thank you!"]
Harold Lewis: Thank . . . you!
[With Lewis now dead (again), the water monster instantly dissipates away into the ocean.]
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...
07-18-2002, 04:03 PM
...for all we know, Superman has converted to some Kryptonian faith.
Speaking of aliens, J'onn J'onzz of the Justice League has mentioned at least two Martian gods, and the Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkgirl/woman both believed in gods of Thanagar.
Webpage created 18 December 2005. Last modified 21 May 2007.
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