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Lilandra Neramani prays Heaven Above: Lilandra Neramani: "I pray heaven." Here Lilandra's awaks for the first time after consciousness has been mixed for the first time with the thoughts of her soulmate, Charles Xavier.

Source: Classic X-Men #14 (October 1987), by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Bolton, page 6

The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Lilandra Neramani
empress of Sh'iar galaxy, ally of the X-Men, consort of Charles Xavier


"What Stuff Our Dreams are Made of...", a backup story first published in Classic X-Men #14 (1987) provided additional background information about the character Lilandra Neramani, portraying events just prior to her previously chronicled first meeting with Professor Charles Xavier and the X-Men. Lilandra would go on to become the beloved of Charles Xavier (temporarily his wife at one point), and one of the most important supporting characters in the X-Men stories.

Lilandra Neramani became the supreme empress of the galactic Shi'ar empire, which encompasses hundreds of worlds and rivals the Kree and Skrull empires in influence (although it is generally regarded as far more benevolent and less likely to cause problems for Earth). The Shi'ar, as portrayed in this early chronologically early story, are a very religious race. Lilandra herself is clearly religious as well. She invokes the gods Sharra and K'ythri, and she states that she is "consecrated" to these deities. In Shi'ar religious belief, Sharra and K'ythri are the supreme deities. Sharra and K'ythri are separate, male and female gods who are married to each other.

Lilandra Neramani calls on her gods
Source: Classic X-Men #14 (October 1987), backup story, titled: "What Stuff Our Dreams are Made of...", Marvel Comics: New York City, written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Bolton, page 7; reprinted in X-Men Vignettes Vol. 2 trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), page 10.

Lilandra's friend Peri invokes the god Sharra while flying spaceship in space
Above: Lilandra's friend Peri, while still alive, here invokes the Shi'ar god Sharra.
[From: Classic X-Men #14 (October 1987), page 4. Written by Chris Claremont, art by John Bolton.]


From: Peter Luzifer, review of Starjammers (1st series) #1 (issue date: October 1995), posted on Uncanny X-Men.net website (http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/issues/showquestion.asp?fldAuto=283; viewed 19 January 2006):

Story Title: Cepheid Variable
Staff: Warren Ellis (writer), Carlos Pacheco (penciler), Cam Smith (inker)

Plot Synopsis: Ever since the Shi'ar have added the remains of the Kree Empire to their own following Operation: Galactic Storm, the Starjammers have transported Kree refugees to some neutral planets that loosely banded together as the Clench. They are hunted by Shi'ar troops, but this seems to be without Lilandra's knowledge as she is more busy with a new threat against the Empire. A yet unknown race of religios fundamentalists have destroyed four worlds (Shi'ar and Clench), each practising a formal religion like Chandilar, the throneworld. The Starjammers have a new member with pilot Keeyah and so far have avoided capture. Hepzibah's hatred for the Shi'ar grows stronger every day, much to Corsair's concern.

Full Synopsis [excerpts]:
...The team [Starjammers] and their passenger make planetfall on Standing Still, a Clench world. They are welcomed by Helek, one of the Clench leaders and he asks how much they saw of Hala, the former Kree homeworld. The Starjammers report that Shi'ar government is bleeding the planet dry; malnutrition and dirty water endanger the health of all inhabitants. Helek is angered by the Shi'ar religion and philosophy of forcing other cultures into "marriage" and pressing it into Shi'ar customs. Fortunately Standing Still and a few other worlds loosely banded together as the Clench and so far have been left alone by the Shi'ar... Chris [i.e., Christopher Summers, the leader of the Starjammers] thinks that Lilandra is not as bad as [previous Shi'ar emperor] D'Ken was, but Hepzibah asks why then they are continously attacked by Shi'ar war cruisers.

Far away on the empire's border there is a solar system of which some planet belong to Shi'ar and the rest are Clench space. Suddenly Watermark, one of the Clench planets is attacked and destroyed by alien ships. The Shi'ar are able to pick up their transmissions: "We are the Uncreated - this was a necessary act - recant now - do not force us to make more fires - Recant!" Lilandra and her council wonder what the message can mean, as one of the ministers makes the connection; all of the attacked worlds, Clench or Shi'ar, were planet practicing a formal religion. As it seems the Uncreated are religious fundamentalists, willing to destroy anything that belongs to a religion not their own - including Chandilar. [The Uncreated are a race of powerful and brutal fundamentalist Atheists and were featured in other X-Men-related comic book series as well. The Uncreated are proud of the fact that they killed their own god, and they seek to destroy all people who will not renounce their own religious worship and adopt the staunch atheistic beliefs of the Uncreated.]

Discussion

From: "Claremont's 'Revenge' / CC Trademarks" thread on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/b6c76ad39ebedbac/82cfea80ebc7bade; viewed 12 June 2006):
From: Leor Blumenthal
Date: Tues, May 5 1998 12:00 am

Why should religious people [in Chris Claremont stories] be constantly portrayed as backwards, primitive, or naive?


[Samy Merchi disagrees with previous poster Leor Blumenthal's contention that most religious characters written by Chris Claremont are "backwards, primitive and naive", or, on other words, negatively portrayed. Merchi counters Blumenthal's contention by categorizing all the religious Claremont characters he can think of. Most do not display the negative characteristics Blumenthal is complaining about.]

From: Samy Merchi
Date: Sat, May 9 1998 12:00 am

re: "Why should religious people [in Chris Claremont stories] be constantly portrayed as backwards, primitive, or naive?"

Let's see.

Tolerant, un-backwards, un-primitive, un-naive: Kurt, Reverend Conover, Hank..., Ororo, Kitty, Dani, Forge, Amara..., Lilandra.

Total: 9.

Intolerant, backwards, primitive, or naive: Rahne, Reverend Stryker.

Total: 2.

Additions? You'll have to add eight backwards people to validate your point, or invalidate eight of the people I gave.

From: "What are the religious beliefs of the main mutants in the X-Books?" forum discussion started 16 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-160293.html; viewed 16 May 2007):

01-16-2007, 03:51 PM
What do you think the religious beliefs of the following mutants are?


fishtaco
01-17-2007, 07:47 AM

Yeah, Wolverine's atheist. Nightcrawler and Shadowcat are obvious. Storm (and probably Magik) are complicated. Rogue is Christian, but I don't think we know whether that's Protestant or Catholic or something else. I don't think Longshot understands the concept of religion, so I guess that might make him an atheist. Wolfsbane is Presbyterian, Cannonball is Christian as of New Mutants (1st Series) #15. I suppose Magma believes in the Roman (Greek) gods? Forge? I think Gambit is atheist. Thunderbird III is Hindu. There are Shi'ar gods... Shaara, Kythri), Lilandra worships them.

From: "New Joe Fridays: Week 49" forum discussion, started 1 June 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=114952&page=5; viewed 8 June 2007):

06-03-2007, 04:58 AM
TheToileteer

You brought up the issue of comic-book stereotypes and religions. Since I study religion (all kinds, really) this is something I've thought about a lot...

What religions do we find represented in Marvel? A lot of them are "weird" ones associated with exotic fantasy. Several decades ago, comic book writers could be fairly sure that none of their readers would know or be Tibetan Buddhists, Kali devotees, Voodoo practitioners, or Gypsies, so they felt free to make up details out of whole cloth, or portray some religions as wicked. Today this is no longer possible. Recall the Hindu reaction to Krishna's appearance on "Xena: Warrior Princess" (as a villain). So today, weird or evil religions are more likely to be entirely fictional, like the Triune Understanding (a Scientology pastiche) or the Ultimate Shi'ar (a cult not an alien race)...


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