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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Selma Tolon
Janissary

From: "The Unofficial Janissary Biography" page on "The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe" website (http://www.dcuguide.com/who.php?name=janissary; viewed 1 May 2006):

JANISSARY [Selma Tolon]

Overview: Selma Tolon, a Turkish national who earned her medical qualification in America, was working with the Red Crescent during earthquake relief when an aftershock threw her into an underground cavern. Here she discovered the mystical scimitar of Suleiman the Magnificent and a book of spells used by the wizard Merlin. She uses these to defend her native country, and to be an example and role model for other Islamic women. She has not yet totally mastered the use of the spell book, but has already gained the respect of the JLA, and was one of the heroines called in by Wonder Woman to help against Circe's recent attack on New York.

First Appearance: JLA Annual #4 (summer 2000)

From: Michael Pilgaard, "Selma Tolon/Janissary" webpage, last modified 28 January 2003 on "WeirdSpace, an encyclopedia of fictional characters" website (http://www.weirdspace.dk/DC%20Comics/Selma%20Tolon.htm; viewed 29 May 2006):

Selma Tolon
Alias: The Janissary
Occupation: Medical doctor
Base of operations: Ankara, Turkey

Story: In 1566 Merlin hid his spell book, The Book of Eternity, from his half-brother Etrigan beneath an ancient roman temple. With the book was Sultan Suleiman's scimitar, enchanted by Merlin and buried in the sand like Arthur's sword Excalibur. Like Excalibur, only a brave and noble person could remove the scimitar from the sand [JLA Annual (vol. 1) #4].

1999: After an earthquake while working for the 'Red Crescent', Selma Tolon fell into the dungeon where she found the spell book and the scimitar [JLA Annual (vol. 1) #4].

Equipment: The scimitar that Selma carries is the source of her powers. The spell book she carries, Merlin's Book of Eternity, enables her to do magic. At the present the extent of her powers are undetermined.

Continuity: DC Universe
First app.: JLA Annual #4 (2000)
Creators: Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Scott

Discussion

From: "Islamic super heroes: Are there any?" forum discussion, started 23 August 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-76010.html; viewed 28 May 2007):

Crinos
08-23-2005, 10:06 PM

Well, anyways, I was thinking of an idea for a UN-sanctioned super hero team with represenatives from different countries, and one of them is a female telepath from Turkey... named Sultana. And I suddenly realized that for the life of me I can't think of a single Muslim super-hero from either Marvel or DC.

So, are there any? And please don't turn this into a political debate.


Sabrinaset
08-23-2005, 10:15 PM

Somehow I have this feeling that if the Big Two started creating Arab supertypes now, they'd just end up like Mohammed Hassan from the WWE. What about that DC Annual thing years ago where everyone ran into heroes from other countries? I think someone from there was Arab, but I dunno, maybe there wasn't...


Shadowhawk
08-23-2005, 11:18 PM

I'm not sure of tha spelling but there was a female in DC called the Janerssia...


Sabrinaset
08-23-2005, 11:20 PM

Shadowhawk beat me to it :) The Janissary from the Planet DC crossovers in 2000, from JLA Annual #4, was from Turkey.


Melbourne Mew Mew
08-24-2005, 03:43 AM

...I was impressed with Janissary in that JLA annual, would have liked to see more of her.

From: "Religion in comic books" discussion forum started on 24 April 2006, on DC Comics official message board website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000072787&tstart=0; viewed 1 May 2006):

dick_grayson_1
Posted: Apr 24, 2006 10:31 PM

Does anyone know if there are any DC Comics characters who are portrayed as being Christian or Catholic in religion?


brokenbatfan
Posted: Apr 25, 2006 1:34 AM

There was some doctor in a JLA issue a while back whom was a devout Muslim, wasn't she? I'm pretty sure it was Islam there... Turned out she was some middle eastern superhero granted power through her faith. That character lasted three issues before being shelved quick like.


regularguy
Posted: Apr 25, 2006 4:22 AM

The Janissary, who'd found the fabled scimitar of Suleiman the Magnificent (a sword enchanted by Merlin in the East as he had Excalibur in the West) and who also found Merlin's spellbook resting beside it. Anyhow, yeah, she was a Turkish woman who'd studied medicine in America and then returned home to save lives for the Red Crescent; she took Islam quite seriously, had a little crush on Aquaman, and sure enough hasn't been much seen since.

From: "New Christian JLA member" message board, started 5 May 2005 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000023085; viewed 15 May 2006):

kissmyringagain
Posted: May 6, 2005 3:09 AM

I am a Christian... There is a reason there is no Christian superhero. Same reason as there is no real Jewish [superhero]... that flaunt their religion or fight for religious belief specific notions. It's because they would be offensive to many, if not most, of the readership.

Besides -- Zauriel, Bloodwynd, Wonder Woman, the Spectre, the Quintet, etc., etc., are all based on or are slaves to religious beliefs, but none actively flaunt it, or debate which is correct, so a hard-line Christian super hero would probably not sit too well.


hellstone1
Posted: May 6, 2005 3:50 AM

Well, I'm gonna hit you. Nightcrawler, Daredevil, Nightwing, Huntress, Doctor Mid-Nite, and the Flash are all Christians. Sabra, Seraph, Ramban, Atom-Smasher and the Thing are Jewish. Janissary is a Muslim and a believer. Many of them have debated their beliefs in the comics - as you say, not the hardline way, but that is definitely not the same as saying that they are not Christian [or Jewish or Muslim] superheroes, or that they are not devoted.

As far as I know, none of them are fundamentalists, against other religions or...


davidburnett
Posted: May 6, 2005 9:39 AM

Speaking as a Christian, I have to say I tend to favor separation of church and superheroes. I like to see characters like Zauriel, Janissary, etc., who represent different belief systems, but I don't like the idea of a character acting on what I supposedly believe, because a writer's interpretation of what a Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. believes may not reflect my personal beliefs...

From: "Muslim characters in comics" message board, started 22 January 2006 in Batman discussion board area of official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000059913; viewed 9 June 2006):

sandwraith
Posted: Jan 22, 2006 5:34 PM

Muslim characters in comics (general opinions please)

Hey guys, most of you probably know that I'm Muslim and I've made that pretty obvious with lines like "Holy Muhammad's spit" and "Sweet Prophet". I was checking out Wikipedia and found a list of fictional Muslim characters,it was a short list, one of them was Dust from the New X-Men, an Afghan girl wearing a Burqa and all, and there was a link to an Islamic forum that wasn't too crazy about the character. Now... I know us Muslims aren't exactly the most liked people in the world right now but what do you guys think? I mean, at the top of my head,I can think of only two Islamic 'Heroes': Dust and... Arabian Knight from Marvel, and maybe that Turkish heroine who appeared in JLA way back and maybe just maybe David Said from Checkmate. Most of the rest are your atypical terrorist leaders and masterminds or victims of... Islamic tyranny. Is that how comic books and most Western media see Islam? Sorry to bring this topic up, but I really needed to get this off my chest. Peace be upon you, my fellow blood-thirsty Bat-fans.


internetguy
Posted: Jan 24, 2006 2:17 PM

Sandwraith, the female Turkish superhero who appeared in the JLA a few years ago was Janissary. (She also recently appeared in the latest Day of Vengeance one-shot). Janissary appeared in JLA's Planet DC Annual. Added bonus: Jannisary was the only Planet DC character apart from the recently departed Bushido (As of Infinite Crisis #4's infamous Earth Prime Superboy battle) who didn't suck.


adkal
Posted: Jan 24, 2006 2:24 PM

Peace

Janissary has an enchanted sword as well, doesn't she? As well as what seems to be a book linked to Solomon (as).

Peace

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):

mavericker
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:49 PM

Lets see:
Zauriel
The Spectre
Nightcrawler
Storm
Raven
Supergirl
Venom
Lobo
Zatanna
Scarlet Witch
Juggernaut
Dr. Strange
Dr. Fate
Any character that uses magic, sorcery


karmalad
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...

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):

[http://www.comicboards.com/dcb/view.php?rpl=060306142026]

Posted by Hellstone on Monday, March 06 2006 at 14:20:26 GMT

re: "As noted in other discussions over the years they seem to bend over backwards to NOT assign denominations or faith statements to characters..."

Well, I think that goes for the "big 3" [Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman], for example. But many denizens of the DCU have expressed their religion explicitly, and I'm not just talking Wonder Woman and Kobra and Zauriel here. Huntress (Catholic Christian), Nightwing (Christian, don't know what kind), Flash (Christian), Doctor Mid-Nite (Catholic), Ragman (Jewish), Janissary (Muslim), Seraph (Jewish), Maya (Hindu), Judomaster (Buddhist), Father Craemer (Catholic) and many more, have all stated their explicit beliefs...


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