The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Amara Juliana Olivia Aquilla
of the New Mutants, X-Men
From: "Any Christian Superheroes?" thread began 22 April 2004 on rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4e5839f075fecf76/8821b5db671e7ce1; viewed 20 June 2006):
I can't think of any major superheroes that strongly believe in any real faith, and that surprises me. Certainly not in the DC Universe. I think there are more minority superheroes than religious ones...
In addition to the ones others mentioned, I thought of Zauriel, but I'm not sure he is religious, as we'd understand it. Religion is an interpratation of a truth that he actually knows.
From: Brian Doyle
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 2:42 pm
There was a nice conversation between Magma and Empath one time, when she tells him about meeting Hercules. He ponders whose faith is greater, her, because she has met one of her deities (well, demi-deity, but you get the idea), or his, because he has faith in something he's never seen (Despite the fact that Empath was a sociopathic sadist up until about this point (Thank you Ms. Simonson!) and was about as Un-Christian as it's possible to imagine).
Excerpts from: "Religion/Spirituality" discussion page, started 29 November 2003, on ComixFan.com website (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-24121.html; viewed 10 January 2006):
Feb 5, 2004, 02:49 pm
Mutants and religion can go hand in hand... But in my mind, if you want a strong Christian character searching for answers and divine help, then you can't go wrong with the original New Mutants series. Specifically, Rahne Sinclair...
Other strong religious characters include (of the X-Men variety): Dani Moonstar (Cheyenne/Norwegian beliefs), Kitty Pryde (Jewish)... Kurt (Catholic), Shan Coy Manh (Catholic), Amara Aquila (Roman pantheon).
Feb 6, 2004, 03:09 pm
[Wolfsbane is a] much, much better example [of a religious character than Nightcrawler] because Wolfsbane's religious beliefs were written as being a very strong part of the character - always. Kitty, Shan [i.e., Xi'an], and Amara are the only others that I would include.
Feb 6, 2004, 04:52 pm
Mirage and Amara have a rare sort of faith-system. Meaning: they've both met their respective gods face to face. Hercules for Amara, Odin/Thor/Loki/etc. for Dani.
From: "Religious Themes in Comics" forum discussion page, started 21 May 2003 on "Sketchy Origins" website (http://www.sketchyorigins.com/comics/archive/index.php?t-1380.html; viewed 12 May 2006):
05-21-2003, 02:10 PM
I enjoy Religion in comics most when it's explored through the personal experience/development of a character, for example, I really liked the New Mutants issue where one of the characters [Magma] who believes and worships the Roman(/Greek) Pantheon of Gods is doubting her faith and then she gets to meet Hercules... Anything that makes it personal, that respectfully approaches and explores the human experience of how the individual relates to the Divine through the traditions of their own Religion is always interesting to me!
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?"
Tolerant, un-backwards, un-primitive, un-naive: Kurt, Reverend Conover, Hank..., Ororo, Kitty, Dani, Forge, Amara (though she came from a primitive culture, she was a genius, definitely not backwards or naive), Lilandra.
Intolerant, backwards, primitive, or naive: Rahne, Reverend Stryker.
Additions? You'll have to add eight backwards people to validate your point, or invalidate eight of the people I gave.
From: Samy Merchi
Date: Mon, May 11 1998 12:00 am
re: "It started after Excalibur started, and since then she [Kitty Pryde] has mentioned that she is Jewish all of twice in the last three years (that I remember)..."
Which is more often than most characters mention their religion. (Aside from people like Ororo or Amara who constantly use their religion in their gasp-phrases.)...
From: Johan Lundstrom
Date: Tues, May 12 1998 12:00 am
re: "In hindsight, Claremont was following the comic book norms of tiptoeing around religion."
One of the reasons I loved New Mutants #81 [which focuses on Magma and her religious beliefs] was the interesting and un-comics-like discussion of religion. You're basically correct, though.
From: "Religion of the X-Men" message board started 15 May 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-58362.html; viewed 13 June 2006):
05-15-2005, 05:56 PM
Do you ever wonder what religion an X-Man is? I know they are just characters, but still, just for the fun of it.
I am wondering if you could guess their religion by their character, or what they've said, etc.
05-15-2005, 06:02 PM
Nightcrawler is obviously Roman Catholic... Magma and Sunspot, are they Catholic too?...
05-15-2005, 06:53 PM
...Magma worships the Roman gods so she's a pagan...
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM
...As for [other] characters...
Magma - Roman-Greco gods...
05-16-2005, 02:11 AM
The problem is that whether they are strongly religious or not.
While some like Nightcrawler, Storm and Sabra are obvious to their beliefs and faith, there are many that I don't think I've ever seen mention their beliefs or gone to church...
Also, the word Pagan. Earlier someone called Magma a Pagan, although she was, we knew what her religion was and so could have used that. Storm though, we know she is of a faith and a strong one at that. The use of the word Pagan there makes sense as we do not know what that faith is.
From: "Religion and X-Men" thread started 21 July 1998 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/b61ff5d2e422d0a5/1ebe80a26a7df2e5; viewed 13 June 2006):
From: Alan D. Earhart
Date: Tues, Jul 21 1998 12:00 am
Some of the recent discussion got me thinking about this once again.
When has religion been used as a plot device in an xbook? [i.e., a comic book series related to the X-Men]
...I seem to remember something from the New Mutants but I can't put my finger on it...
From: David R. Henry
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am
...There was the rather good New Mutants issue that Claremont came out of the blue and returned with, dealing with Amara and Hercules...
From: Danny Miller
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am
re: "I seem to remember something from The New Mutants but I can't put my finger on it."
Maybe that one circa [New Mutants] #72 where Hercules comes to "meet" Amara?
From: Alan D. Earhart
Date: Sun, Jul 26 1998 12:00 am
re: "Maybe that one... where Hercules comes to meet Amara?"
Yep. That was the one. I see a few people remembered it!
Ya' know, I knew there were a few but I didn't realize just how many [X-Men stories where religion was used as a central plot point] I had forgotten.
From: Johan Lundstrom
Date: Tues, Jul 28 1998 12:00 am
re: "...where Hercules comes to meet Amara?"
[This was in New Mutants] #81. Probably the best treatment of religion ever in an xbook.
From: "(OFFTOPIC) Sleepwalker and a RANT!" thread started 9 April 1996 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/530027d02cbeb884/7c688dd20f2f433c; viewed 13 June 2006):
Date: Wed, Apr 10 1996 12:00 am
Say, this [religious affiliations of the X-Men] would be a neat thread. My memory doesn't really remember a lot of the X-Men having stated a religion... Anyone know any issues where a X-Member professed his/her religion?
From: Sarah Anne Yost
Date: Fri, Apr 12 1996 12:00 am
I remember an old NM [New Mutants volume 1] when they used to have halfway decent lettercols [letter columns] where they gave all of the current members' religions:
Amara - Roman beliefs
Rahne - something like "Scots Presbyterian"
Roberto and Xi'an were both Catholic
Cannonball was some sort of Christian
Dani naturally had Cheyenne beliefs
From: "X-Men religious affiliations" thread started 1 June 2002 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/78e6830d00083d2f/102a03cd2dab9fda; viewed 13 June 2006):
From: Chris Dodson
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 9:38 pm
I'm looking for information on the religious beliefs of all the current X-Men for a story I'm submitting to Marvel...
From: Brian Doyle
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 8:28 am
...Magma - Worshipped the Roman pantheon when she thought she was a Nova Romani...
From: Brian Doyle
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 11:21 am
There was an interesting issue where Magma and Empath discuss faith, Magma has MET Hercules so knows her Pantheon to be real, whereas Empath, a Catholic (in name if not in deed) has never met his deity, so they ponder which is the stronger faith...
Date: Fri, Jul 5 2002 1:33 pm
Magma worshipped Roman gods, who to the best of my knowledge are are not at all worshipped at all in present-day Brazil...
Well, Magma was from some lost world Roman colony that happened to be located in Brazil right?
Date: Sat, Jul 6 2002 12:21 am
She was until it was retconned that she was a British girl who shipwrecked and was brainwashed by Selene.
From: "Atheist superheroes?" thread, started 21 September 1999 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/e8d686f0b20944a6/4d0bf3df5f0c4e8d; viewed 23 June 2006):
From: Carmen Williams
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am
Others on the list [of Marvel superheroes with known religious affiliations]:
Magma - used to be a Roman pagan; now, who knows?
[8 other characters listed]
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?
01-16-2007, 04:48 PM
I guess Magma would be a Pagan as well.
Deus ex Chris
01-16-2007, 04:50 PM
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: "Religious Characters In Marvel" forum discussion started 15 September 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-143850.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
09-15-2006, 09:01 PM
The other day I was thinking about religion and comic books... What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books...
I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion...
09-15-2006, 09:55 PM
Living Lightning is Christian, possibly Catholic
Sasquatch is Jewish
US Agent may have been raised Christian but is at the moment somewhat lapsed.
I believe the Atlanteans still worship Neptune
I think I remember an old New Mutants story that featured a group of people that still worshiped Hercules...
09-15-2006, 10:10 PM
The Nova Romans worship the Roman pantheon. Hercules isn't a god, so I while he's probably revered I don't think he's worshiped.
09-16-2006, 02:53 AM
Hercules was worshipped as a god by the Romans and Greeks. He had shrines and temples dedicated to him. In the myths Hercules became a full-fledged god after his mortality was burned away. Dionysos is another demi-god (at least a demi-god in most versions of his myth) becoming a full-fledged god, so it isn't uncommon.
09-16-2006, 03:38 AM
Hercules is very much a god. He was the subject of quite serious worship in ancient Rome and Greece...
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):
Posted by Hellstone on Monday, March 06 2006 at 11:26:30 GMT
re: "Are there any?"
Hoo boy, yeah.
re: "How do you relate to the characters in comics, DC especially, who are characterised as atheistic/agnostic?"
Well, being a bit self-centered, I guess I consider all (or most) characters atheists until they have explicitly stated otherwise.
Other than that, I don't relate to atheistic and religious characters in any different ways. As long as they aren't fundamentalist nutjobs (but those exist among atheists as well).
re: "Would you still be an atheist if you'd had the experiences Mr Terrific and co have had?"
Impossible to answer. But I can easily see Mr. Terrific's point. In a world of cosmic energy beings and larger-than-life superheroes, why would we believe that the so-called "gods" are any different in nature. Maybe it's even easier to be an atheist in the DCU because of that.
Posted by Icon on Monday, March 06 2006 at 11:55:58 GMT
As noted in other discussions over the years, they [DC Comics] seem to bend over backwards to NOT assign denominations or faith statements to characters, due in part to a fear of alienating readers who might find it too much of a disassociation. Heroes should be relatable, and there are few things more divisive than religion.
I recall a discussion in an old New Teen Titans where Dick and Wally are infiltrating Brother Blood's base and have a discussion about their repsective viewpoints. IIRC [If I recall correctly], Wally definitely had a denomination, though I can't recall if mentions it by name (Baptist?), and Dick says that he believes in God, but doesn't go to church regularly. That struck me as an interesting commentary, but certainly didn't feel it changed my opinion of them as characters.
I am not an atheist, and am happy in my religious beliefs, but even if I WERE an atheist, I'd probably join a church just to annoy the likes of Richard Dawkins (A particularly irritating, "evangelical" atheist here in the UK who views anyone who has a faith as being, essentially, a misguided fool) :-)
...There's a nice discussion in an old New Mutants where the Catholic Empath and the Roman pantheon worshipping Magma (I think that technically makes her a Pagan, but I'm never sure whether that's a suitable word to use) discuss their respective faiths after Magma relates a story wherein she met Hercules. Is her faith stronger because she's met one of her Gods, or is his, because he still believes even though he HASN'T met his God. Appropriately, it doesn't give an answer.
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