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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Erik Magnus Lehnsherr
arch-enemy of the X-Men
Erik Magnus Lehnsherr is better known as Magneto, the arch-enemy of the X-Men.
For more detailed discussions of whether Magneto is Jewish or Gypsy, see:
- X-Men Comic Book Questions: Is Magneto Jewish or Gypsy? (X-Men usenet FAQ)
- The Magneto is Jewish FAQ, by Rivka Jacobs (with numerous excerpts, scans from the comics)
- The Magneto Is Jewish FAQ (http://www.alara.net/opeople/xbooks/magjew.html)
Some disagreement remains among fans and perhaps among writers about whether Magneto is Jewish or Gypsy (Roma). Possibly he is both, with one of his parents being Jewish and the other being Roma. Currently opinion seems to be leaning in the direction of regarding Magneto as Jewish. Certainly the successful X-Men movie (2000) seemed to portray Magneto as Jewish, as the movie opened showing him as a youth being forced along with other Jews into a Nazi concentration camp. The first X-Men movie and its sequel, X2: X-Men United were both directed by Jewish film director Bryan Singer.
As one reader of this page said, "The case against Magneto's Roma religious background is convincing; the FAQ [Rivka Jacobs' "The Magneto Is Jewish FAQ"] makes a convincing case that Magneto is, simply put, Jewish, and any information that indicates a Roma ethnic background is falsified."
Magneto's late wife Magda was a Gypsy (Roma). Magneto and Magda are the parents of twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, better known as the mutant superheroes Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Pietro and Wanda were delivered by Magneto to adoptive parents who were also Gypsies (Roma).
Magneto was for a brief time overtly identified as a Gypsy (or "Roma" or "Sinte") in comics beginning in 1992, but these stories about the character's ethnic origin were regarded by Marvel writers and editors as an intentional retcon crafted for the purpose of removing Magneto's Jewish ethnicity. Prior to the introduction of Magneto's "Gypsy origin", influential X-Men writer Chris Claremont had clearly regarded Magneto as Jewish. Comics published during Claremont's run had already strongly and unmistakably hinted at the character's Jewish origins, although the comics had not explicitly identified Magneto as Jewish by name. Beginning in 1997, Magneto's "Gypsy etnic origin" was subsequently explained as an intentional deception fabricated by Magneto himself, reverting the character to Claremont's established Jewish ethnicity, and more concretely establishing the character as Jewish.
Magneto's religious affiliation was mentioned in Newsweek. (Steven Waldman and Michael Kress, "BeliefWatch: Good Fight", published in Newseek, cover-dated 19 June 2006, page 12):
Although it was temporary, it appears some writers of Magneto stories regarded a Gypsy/Roma identity as a harmonious ethnic identification based on his earliest appearances and seriously intended for Magneto to become permanently identified as being of Gypsy/Roma ethnicity. When this Gypsy ethnic origin was identified in 1992, it was not at that time considered a deception by Magneto. Furthermore, although contemporary Marvel canon has established Magneto's own "Gypsy ethnicity" as a ruse on his part, this does not negate the fact that Magneto at least briefly identified himself as Gypsy and his character has had ties to Gypsy/Roma culture through his marriage, his children and (at least temporarily) a fabricated origin. In choosing to mislead people by claiming a Gypsy origin for himself, Magneto was no doubt inspired at least in part by a appreciation for the culture of his beloved Gypsy wife, Magda.
The character of Magneto was created by Jewish comic book writer Stan Lee and Jewish comic book artist Jack Kirby. The character first appeared in X-Men #1 (September 1963), the same comic book that introduced Magneto's rivals, the X-Men. There was a strong taboo against overt references to specific real-world religions during the 1960s (and surrounding decades), and Magneto was like nearly all other comic book characters created during this time in that no mention was made of his religious background.
Often Stan Lee and other early Marvel writers and artist created characters based on a specific religious/ethnic template (often Episcopalian or generically WASP). A careful reading of Magneto's early appearances provide no indication that the character was envisioned by his creators as Jewish. The character's central European background was present from early on, however. Magneto's Roma/Gypsy background was also referred to fairly early in the development of the character, although typically it was only Magneto's wife Magda who was expressly identified as a Gypsy, leaving open the question of Magneto's heritage.
From: Rivka Jacobs, "The Magneto Is Jewish FAQ", last revised 11/9/98 (http://www.alara.net/opeople/xbooks/magjew.html; viewed 18 April 2006):
By removing the "Erik Lehnsherr the Sinte" identity, fixing that particular retcon from Unlimited X-Men #2, and leaving the rest of Magneto's history intact, writer Joe Kelly and editor Bob Harras have not officially stated that Magneto was born Jewish, and was a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz. But, as was the case during the years Chris Claremont wrote the character, the references to Magneto's Jewish identity are there, subtle and at the same time, obvious.
Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada identified Magneto as an important Jewish character in Marvel Comics. From: "New Joe Fridays Week 28", published December 2006 on Newsarama.com (http://www.newsarama.com/NewJoeFridays/NewJoeFridays28.html; viewed 8 June 2007):
RQ: ted_dahlman [question]: I can only think of three Marvel characters who are practicing Jews (Thing, Shadowcat, and presumably Sabra), two who are practicing Christians (Nightcrawler and Firebird, both Catholic), along with a few Muslim heroes who have figured into minor roles in several stories, and the thousands of "mutant-hating bigots" who have shown up dressed in clerical garb.
JQ [Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics]: Hey there, ted_dahlman. Marc Spector, Doc Samson, and Magneto are also practicing Jews and don't forget Matt Murdock is a practicing Catholic. I know there's more, but I just thought I'd mention these four as they seem like important ones to include.
[EDITOR: Joe Quesada here is answering a spur-of-the-moment question. Marc Spector ("Moon Knight") and Magneto quickly came to his mind as Jewish characters and he mentioned them, echoing the questioner's language by using the term "practicing Jews." Of course Joe Quesada is not actually trying to say that Magneto and Moon Knight are "practicing" or observant Jews. He simply meant to mention them as important Jewish characters.]
Suggestions of a Jewish heritage for Magneto could probably be characterized as revisionist or a slight retcon, in that this aspect of the character was not present from the beginning, but this identification does not really conflict with anything presented about him before in Marvel continuity. Hinting that Magneto was Jewish seemed like to writers to be a fascinating and ironic additional nuance to his character, as Magneto essentially became the type of master race-minded racial oppressor that he hated as a boy for what they did to his family. Numerous comics as well as the X-Men movies have firmly established that Magneto's family was forced into concentration camps by Nazis. The reason this does not firmly establish Magneto's Jewish ethnicity in everybody's mind is that there were non-Jewish minority groups who were rounded up as families and sent to concenration camps other than Jews. These other minority groups include Gypsies (Roma), a culture already known to have played a major part in Magneto's personal history.
Regardless of whether Magneto is Jewish or Gypsy (Roma), the character is widely regarded as "non-religious" in the sense that he is not an active adherent of or believer in any traditional organized religion. Magneto has been consistently portrayed as an atheist, an agnostic, or somebody who has willfully rejected God. In an issue of Uncanny X-Men, Magneto told Rogue, "As a child I believed in God and as a child I turned by back on him."
Magneto has fashioned for himself his own religion, that of mutant superiority and hatred of non-mutant humans. Regardless of the religious background of his parents, it is these self-styled beliefs that Magneto believes in most strongly and which are his primary motivation.
Magneto is such a powerful leader (one might even say he has a "magnetic personality"), that he has attracted large numbers of mutants to his racist cause. Throughout the character's history he has surrounded himself with acolytes who follow his commands not out of any desire for personal gain, but because they believe in Magneto's teachings about mutant superiority. At times, Magneto's followers have spoken of him in overtly religious terms, as if Magneto were a prophet and his words scripture. In fact, one of the organized gropus of believers in Magneto's philosophies named itself "The Acolytes", and was led by Fabian Cortez. The Acolytes clearly elevated belief in Magneto to a religion.
From: "Acolytes" article on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acolytes_%28comics%29; viewed 3 January 2006):
The Acolytes is a team of comic book mutant supervillains in the Marvel Comics' universe. The Acolytes followed the principals of the mutant, Magneto, which were the mutant right to have superiority over normal humans. Some members of the Acolytes even worshipped him with a religious fervor and regarded him as some sort of 'mutant messiah'. The Acolytes first appeared in X-Men #1 (second series, October 1991), and were created by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee.
From: "Fabian Cortez" article on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabian_Cortez; viewed 3 January 2006):
...Fabian Cortez organized the original Acolytes, who pledged themselves to Magneto and his cause, with Cortez goading and manipulating Magneto into combat with humanity and the X-Men at every turn, leading to the destruction of Magneto's space-station, Asteroid M, and the deaths of the other Acolytes... Believing Magneto to be dead, and martyred for his cause, Cortez recruited a new group of Acolytes to follow him in Magneto's name, now worshipping him as their god. They launched several strikes on humanity, ranging from attacks on a military base where new Sentinels were being built, to slaughtering helpless humans in a hospital...
Magneto has never appeared to believe that he is actually a messenger from God, but he has rarely dissuaded followers from looking to him as a prophet or a messenger of the ultimate truth for mutants. Magneto's zealous followers mostly consider themselves "non-religious" or agnostic or atheistic, and they do not appear to believe that Magneto represents God. But Magneto's followers nevertheless feel that Magneto teaches powerful, important supreme truths which should be followed. (One of the few X-Men to "cross over" and become a follower of Magneto's strident anti-human preaching was Colossus, one of the only X-Men known to be an atheist. Colossus briefly joined the Acolytes as a sincere follower of Magneto during events portrayed in X-Men in 1992.)
Magneto's followers thus share many traits in common with followers of other supposedly "secular" beliefs systems, such as Communists who follow the teachings of Marx, Hegel, Lenin, etc., Vegans who follow the teachings of Donald Watson, and radical animal rights activists who follow the teachings of Peter Singer. As with the followers of Marx and Singer, Magneto's followers are willing to use violence, terrorism and illegal means against those who disagree with them or stand in the way of their goals.
Above: After World War II, Magneto worked as a Nazi hunter for the Israeli government.
[Source: Classic X-Men #19 (Mar 1988), backup story titled "I, Magneto", written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Bolton, page 5; reprinted in X-Men Vignettes Vol. 2 trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), page 74.]
Letter we received from Rivka Jacobs, 7 February 2006 (reprinted here by permission of the author):
Magneto, who is cross-listed on two of your lists, as a super-hero who is a gypsy and one who is Jewish, is NOT a gypsy, or Roma. He never was. He is a Jewish Holocaust survivor.
Magneto was intended to be Jewish by Chris Claremont, who gave him his backstory in 1981-1982. He was supposed to be Jewish. But in ULTIMATE X-MEN #2, from 1992, editor in chief Harras and writer Fabian Nicieza tried to RETCON the Jewish Magneto into being a "gypsy" mainly because editor Kelly Corvese wanted him to "match" Magda, (to him, there couldn't be a Jewish man and a Gypsy woman married in comics), and because, according to Scott Lobdell, Harras was going to make Magneto a major villain again in Fatal Attractions, and didn't want him to be Jewish any longer under those circumstances. It was an attempted retcon. It was an awkward and heavily protested attempt to remove Magneto's Jewish identity. From the start, people in the Marvel bullpen, and fans, have argued it was wrong.
Marvel realized their mistake in 1997, and to Bob Harras' enormous credit, he ordered Joe Kelly to fix the mistake in early 1998, and make it clear that Magneto is NOT a gypsy in X-MEN #72. Harras also wanted the name "Erik Lehnsherr" removed, and the name "Magnus" -- which may also not be Magneto's real name -- reinstated as the only known name.
As of now, Magneto is not a gypsy. Never was a gypsy. As is stated in the X-Men #72, and reitered in the most recent Handbook (November 2005), he took the FALSE identity "Erik Lehnsherr the Gyspy" in order to hide from the KGB, which was searching for him, and to try and find his wife, who had run away from, who most certainly WAS a Roma. I do not know why fans are so obtuse about this. But this shouldn't be a debate any more. Magneto is not a gypsy.
It was wrong and bigotted of those involved to try and remove Magneto's Jewish identity in the first place, and those involved realized their mistake and fixed it.
Magneto was in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz, and he was so as a Jewish boy. His Auschwitz number identifies the date he entered Auschwitz and how he entered, and he was a Jewish prisoner. (As revealed in the EXCALIBUR comics from 2004-2005.)
The one thing I fail to understand is why anyone thinks it's right that two out of the five or six major villains of Marvel (Doom and Magneto) have to both be gypsies! It was a major mistake of Marvel to try to change Magneto's Jewish identity in the first place, let alone make him a Roma (which Nicieza affirmed was an ethnic identity he "pulled out of a hat" -- because he was desperate to find another victim group that was at Auschwitz that wasn't Jewish, just to purposely MAKE SURE Magneto wasn't Jewish).
The argument should be over. Marvel isn't waffling over this. It's more like, Marvel has affirmed Magneto is Jewish, but certain editors and writers and fans have been and still are, continuously trying to deny Magneto's Jewish identity. In my opinion, most of them just don't want a powerful and popular figure like Magneto to be Jewish.
Most recently, Editor in Chief Joe Quesada affirmed that Magneto is Jewish in a conversation with Cliff Meth, an author and columnist on Silver Bullet. This was a few months ago. So, the argument is over. Magneto is Jewish. His family was Jewish. He was in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz, a Jewish command that the Nazis created to do the dirty work of the death factory.
I really hope you'll fix this on your adherents.com cross-referenced lists. This isn't a debate, it's just a fact.
I honestly don't understand what the problem people have with Magneto being a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, or why they refuse to accept what's in the comics.
Thanks for listening!
All the Best,
From: Steven Waldman and Michael Kress, "Beliefwatch: Good Fight", published in Newsweek, 19 June 2006 issue (posted online on 12 June 2006: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13249146/site/newsweek/; simultaneously posted on BeliefNet.com under headline "Holy Superheroes": http://www.beliefnet.com/story/193/story_19306_1.html; viewed 14 June 2006):
...Adherents.com, has analyzed dozens of comic-book characters... The Thing from "The Fantastic Four" is Jewish, a rare instance of a character's faith being discussed openly in the story, but what about the "X-Men" villain Magneto? He spent time in a Nazi concentration camp. Jewish, or maybe Roma (Gypsy)...
From: Classic X-Men #19 (Mar 1988), backup story titled "I, Magneto", written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Bolton, pages 4-5; reprinted in X-Men Vignettes Vol. 2 trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), pages 73-74:
[Erik Lehnsherr (who will later become Magneto) uses his mutant control of magnetism to easily invade a residual Nazi fortress after World War II.]
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): Aha! The gentleman I'm looking for. Oberstrum-banfuhrer Hans Richter. Late of the Waffen SS. I've looked long and hard for you, Nazi. Your presence was sorely missed . . . at the Nuremburg war crimes trials. I'm here to rectify that oversight.
[Erik Lehnsherr levitates a tank and smashes it into Richter's hiding place.]
HANS RICHTER: No!
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): How are the mighty fallen . . . or is it, a craven cur brought finally to bay?
HANS RICHTER: I was a soldier--
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): Plesae, not that old song.
HANS RICHTER: --serving my country in wartime. Doing my duty as best I saw fit -- only following orders.
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): I'm not the one you need to convince, Richter. I'm the hunter. Not the judge. That happy task is the responsibility of the courts in Israel.
HANS RICHTER: You expect a Prussian officer to receive a fair trail . . . from Jews?!
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): Fairer by far, I suspect, than the "justice" you meted out on the Russian front. Were women and children so deadly a threat . . . that you had to slaughter them with such enthusiasm? Wel, well, well-- What hve we here? Spoils of war, Richter? You hide behind your junker code -- your so-called soldier's honor -- while you pillaged and brutalized the whole of Europe. "Honor"! By heaven, you don't know the meaning of...
Above: After the government control agents Magneto was reporting to killed his physician friend Isabelle and reprimanded him for apprehending a Nazi that they were working with, Magneto embraced a new calling, as self-appointed leader of the world's mutants. He said that he was "enlightened" and was going to follow the "true path" of mutant superiority and mutant domination of the world.
[Source: Classic X-Men #19 (Mar 1988), backup story titled "I, Magneto", written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Bolton, page 12; reprinted in X-Men Vignettes Vol. 2 trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), page 81.]
Below are dialogue excerpts from the scene which purports to be the key turning point for Magneto, when he turned from working as a Nazi hunter for the Israeli government to becoming a self-styled master of the world's mutants, and a terrorist willing to use violence to achieve his goal of mutant superiority and domination. Note that in this scene it is not entirely who the people from "Control" are or what nation or interest they represent. Magneto was shown earlier in this story capturing a Nazi war criminal and turning him over to Israeli authorities. But the "Control" people that Magneto has been reporting to do not talk as if they are Israeli agents. They seem to be British more than anything. "Haring," for example, a word which the Control leader uses, is a strictly British word, as are many of the other words and phrases he uses. From: Classic X-Men #19 (Mar 1988), backup story titled "I, Magneto", written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Bolton, pages 10-12; reprinted in X-Men Vignettes Vol. 2 trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), pages 79-81:
[While Erik Lehnsherr was getting a massage from his personal physician, Isabelle, a man snuck up behind them and cut her throat, killing her instantly. Erik turns around to see five men in his room.]
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): C- Control--?! I don't understand-- What's the meaning--?!
CONTROL: That should be obvious. Ah, Bucko-- Why couldn't you simply have done what you were told? But no . . . You had to "hot dog" it . . . Go haring off on your own.
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): That never mattered before.
CONTROL: That was when you were sanctioning their Nazis, the other side's. Richter was one of ours. A very important asset. You made some waves with that caper, Magneto. Now, they're going to drown you.
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): "Ours?" "Theirs!" What the devil are you talking about?! They're Nazis! War criminals!
CONTROL: Wake up, my man, and smell the coffee. See the world as it is! The Russians are the enemy, and we'll work with whoever we have to to beat 'em. If accomplishing that means turning to some of old Adolf's boys, them's the breaks. We'll use them the same wway we will you muties.
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): I trusted you, Control! Believed the lies you told me. By Hades, you're worse than they could ever be -- OWWWW!
[Erik attempts to use his magnetic powers against Control and the other men, but instead he finds himself being pushed by his own magnetic force through the air away from the men, hitting hard against the wall.]
CONTROL: Give me credit, old sport, for not being a complete idiot. I'm your case officer. I spoke to Richter I konw what you can do with magnetism. So I had the whiz-bang science boys rig a means of countering it. Nifty, huh? You use your power on me--or my boys--this reflects it back on you, amplified tenfold. But if that's the way you want to go -- suit yourself. Me, I can't stand pain.
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): Why Isabelle? Why didn't you come for me . . . when I was alone.
CONTROL: Our "associates" wanted their pound of flesh. Sorry, Pal, you play in the big leagues . . . it's better not to have friends. Look on the bright side . . . at least you'll be rid of these psky headaches.
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): No! I'll not be killed. Not here, not like this-- Not by such as you!
[Despite the magnetism reflecting devices worn by these men under their coats, Magneto manages to assult them, apparently by using his powers against the room and causing it to collapse on them. The men are fallen. Control is injured. Erik now hovers above him in the air.]
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): Little man, have you no notion who you're dealing with? I am Homo superior--the next generation of humanity, heir apparent to this paltry planet. As Cro-Magnon supplanted Neanderthal . . . so shall we, you. And I have you to thank, Control . . . for showing me the true path.
CONTROL: You're-- insane!
ERIK LEHNSHERR (MAGNETO): No-- Enlightened! At last, for the first time . . . my eyes are truly open . . . My destiny clear! You are like children-- intellect and power without the maturity to use either responsibly, unfit to rule lives or world. Better to be ruled instead . . . by one who shall make sure you know -- and keep -- your place. It is neither Communists nor Nazis you have to fear, Control-- It is we, who your short-sighted stupidity will make your foes. [Erik uses his power to hurl Control high in to the sky, sending him what must be at least several hundred yards, surely to his death.] It is I who shall lead my people to the glory they deserve. I, Ubermensch. I, mutant! I -- Magneto! I . . . Magneto.
NARRATION: And the dream dies . . . and the nightmare is born.
Selections from: Steven M. Bergson, "Jewish Comics: A Select Bibliography" last updated 28 June 2005 (http://www.geocities.com/safran-can/JWISHC.HTM; viewed 23 December 2005):
Lobdell, Scott. "I Had a Dream" X-Men #-1 July 1997 (NY: Marvel).
In this issue, Magneto returns to Auschwitz, where he has an argument with Professor Xavier, accompanied by Amelia Voght. In the end, Xavier fails to dissuade him from his chosen course of action (the attempted domination of humankind). Before leaving Auschwitz, he takes handfuls of earth, which he takes back with him to Asteroid M.
Lobdell, Scott. "Untapped Potential" Uncanny X-Men #319 Dec. 1994 (NY: Marvel).
In a dream, Charles Xavier imagines himself in Israel, where he ponders that when he is most at peace with himself, he finds that his thoughts always drift back to Israel. Magneto tells him that Israel was where they had spent the happiest time of their lives.
From: Lisa Keys, "Stereotype this! Introducing ethnic superheroes", published 26 April 2006 in Voices That Must Be Heard, Edition 218 (http://www.indypressny.org/article.php3?ArticleID=2635; viewed 27 June 2007):
...Jewish superheroes themselves have been few and far between. Sure, the Fantastic Four's The Thing has been known to daven on occasion; the X-Men's archenemy, Magneto, is a survivor of Auschwitz, and the Golem had a brief promotion from Jewish oral tradition to the funny pages. Courtesy of a new show on the Cartoon Network, however, we can now add another character to Jewish superhero pantheon: Jewcano, an elderly rabbi who flies and shoots fire from his fingertips.
In the scenes below, the Morlock mutant known as Masque speaks of a "prophet," apparently Magneto. Erg wants to show their captive (Leech) a book, which these followers apparently revere as scripture. Elsewhere in this story they speak of a prophecy. Masque and fellow Morlocks Erg, Bliss and Skids are apprently fervent believers in a prophecy, prophet and/or book of scripture that speak of mutant supremacy. It is likely this is all tied to Magneto, who is the world's foremost "prophet" of mutant supremacy. [Source: Uncanny X-Men #487, published by Marvel Comics (August 2007); written by Ed Brubaker, art by Salvador Larroca; pages 22-23.]
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, 01:30 PM
This is a discussion I've had several times with my friends, and usually I step out of it when it turns offensive. (Which with my friends, it always does!) Thing to remember though that until recently, like the past decade, religion and talks of such were verboten in most main stream comic books. Now that's changed...
...Daniel "Iron Fist" Rand is a Buddhist and Magneto is Jewish...
07-18-2002, 04:03 PM
...Kitty Pryde of the X-Men and Sabra, the superheroine protector of Israel, are both Jewish. I'm also going to stretch a bit and claim that Magneto's wife was probably Jewish as well, which would make the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver ethnically Jewish, although I've never seen them refer to their religions in the comics...
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), Magneto (gypsy and/or Jewish, I think?)...
When handled respectfully and appropriately, religion (of any flavor) can add a whole new level of impact and insight to comic book stories. When badly or sloppily handled, it can very easily turn into mockery of whatever point it was trying to make.
Jordan T. Maxwell
Feb 5, 2004, 05:50 pm
Despite continuity blunders back in the 90s, Magneto is most definitely Jewish.
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. Magneto only used his religious background to show how repressed he was, Kurt was never a practicing Catholic, Mirage's Native American beliefs system went way beyond religion...
From: "The Corner" (letter column), published in National Review Online, 29 July 2002 (http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/2002_07_28_corner-archive.asp#85293899; viewed 12 May 2006):
Posted 2:08 PM
Email box ...filling with...comic geeknesssss...losing...consciousness. A few quick points... Magneto, I am reminded, is not Jewish but a Gypsy...
From: "'X-men' comic books and movie tackle Christianity" forum discussion started 11 April 2003 on IIDB Secular Community Forums website (http://www.iidb.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-50750.html; viewed 12 July 2007):
Bobzammel [a self-described atheist/agnostic]
April 12, 2003, 10:56 AM
...A few Marvel characters have religious backgrounds. The Thing is Jewish, although he is not practicing. Magneto is also either Jewish or a Gypsy. The Avenger Firebird is a Catholic missionary. Storm is a Pagan. Thor thinks he is a God. Daredevil is also a Catholic.
From: "Catholic Clix - Comic info needed!" forum discussion started 3 May 2003 on HCRealms website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-40338.html; viewed 24 May 2007):
Other Jewish heroes are: Justice, Sabra, Magneto.
Regarding Magneto as Jewish: I'm not so sure about that. I think he was actually a Gypsy and not a Jew, but both groups were persecuted by the Nazis, so it's understandable that people would think he was.
I was also lookin at his name... Eric Lensher, and the fact that both he and Charlie had an extended stay in israel...
From: "Up, up, and oy, vey!", posted 5 February 2006 on MetaFilter.com website (http://www.metafilter.com/39326/Up-up-and-oy-vey; viewed 19 June 2007):
The Thing isn't Marvel's only well-known Jewish character. In fact, I'd say the other one is better-known, and his ethnicity has always been known: the man who goes by the pseudonym Erik Magnus Lensherr, Magneto.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:02 PM on February 5
On another note, since comics are a written medium, you obviously never hear the characters speak. But if you think about it, Dr. Doom should have a thick Eastern European accent, and Magneto a Polish one, for example.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:04 PM on February 5
There's actually an entire section of the unofficial X-Men FAQ talking about whether Magneto was a Rroma (Gypsy) or a Jew [link to: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/comics/xbooks/main-faq/part6/section-2.html], backed up with more comic book citations and historical research into the Holocaust than is surely healthy for a fictional character.
Note that Israel also plays a big but largely overlooked part in X-Men continuity, as it's where Xavier first meets Magneto in the 1950's, It's also the first time he meets a fellow mutant, period; Xavier doesn't meet and help a young Jean Grey until the 1960's. And it's also where he falls in love and unknowingly knocks up Gabrielle Haller:
"David Charles Haller [link to: http://www.marveldirectory.com/individuals/l/legion.htm] is the son of Charles Xavier, who later became the founder of the two teams of superhuman mutants, the X-Men and the New Mutants, and Gabrielle Haller, who later became the Israel ambassador to Great Britain. Xavier and Gabrielle Haller had an affair in Israel nearly two decades ago, and Xavier was unaware when he left Israel that Haller was pregnant with his son...
When David was living in Paris with his mother, who was a member of the Israel diplomatic service, her home was invaded by a terrorist assassination team out to kill every Israeli they could find there. They murdered David's godfather, Daniel Shomron, before his eyes..."
The traumatized David consequently ends up becoming a supervillain known as Legion (quote taken from the Biblical "I am Legion"). He goes back in time to kill Magneto, but accidentally kills Xavier instead, so that the X-Men never get formed. This sets off a huge multi-book storyline dubbed "The Age of Apocalypse".
In other words, they take an Israeli-born male Jew with a Biblical-derived name, show him to be seemingly nice but really super-evil, and have him kill off a Christ-like figure, ushering in the apocalypse. Ooookay then.
I mean, it still wasn't as blatantly religious as DC's Kingdom Come storyline, which was Book of Revelations up the wazoo, but come on.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:02 AM on February 6
From: "Jewish Comic Book Characters" message board page, started 15 May 2006 on IGN.com website (http://boards.ign.com/Comics_General_Board/b5033/117625205/?16; viewed 19 May 2006):
Date Posted: 5/15 8:38am
Subject: Jewish Comic Book Characters.
You think Magneto had a Bar Mitzvah? What about Quicksilver?
I definitely think Doc Samson did.
What other Jewish comic characters you can think of?
Date Posted: 5/21 9:06am
re: "You think Magneto had a Bar Mitzvah?... What other Jewish comic characters you can think of?"
Magneto was at Auschwitz by the time he turned 13, and he probably did not have a Bar Mitzvah. And he would probably say, listening to hundreds of thousands of prayers to God from people dying in the gas chambers (he was in the Sonderkommando, the squad of Jewish men who helped the Nazis run the gas chambers, the ovens, the burial and fire pits of the death camps) was his "Bar Mitzvah." The striped uniform stained black with the ashes of the dead was his tallit.
Yes, I know that sounds melodramatic, but that's how Magneto expresses himself. Magneto for the most part, has turned his back on his Jewish people, and has for years identified only with being a mutant. I don't think he's an atheist though.
From: "an Asian as a major hero. FINALLY. but..." message board started 21 April 2006 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000072443&start=15; viewed 31 May 2006):
Posted: May 1, 2006 9:08 AM
Speaking of minorities...
The new Asian Atom isn't replacing a typical white male whom, as with most heroes, you'd presume to be Christian. Ray Palmer is one of the few Jewish characters in comics, and certainly one of the most famous and prominent.
The only other major Jewish character is Kitty Pryde of the X-Men.
The two most powerful Jewish heroes are Marvel's Sabra and DC's Seraph...
Posted: May 1, 2006 9:53 AM
Hey, Pony, you forgot Magneto... he's Jewish, too.
Posted: May 1, 2006 12:41 PM
Magneto's not Jewish; he's a Gypsy. I know a lot of people think he's Jewish when they see the flashbacks of him in a Nazi concentration camp, but a lot of people forget that the Nazis exterminated 1,000,000 Gypsies as well as 6,000,000 Jews.
Posted: May 1, 2006 2:31 PM
Actually after the movie they retconed him as being Jewish and being a kid in the Holocaust as opposed to a grown man in the Holocaust. It's now canon.
Posted: May 2, 2006 8:56 AM
When /where / which issue was Magneto retconned as being Jewish? I too recall him always being a gypsy.
Posted: May 19, 2006 8:17 PM
Magneto is Jewish. Always was. A clumsy attempt was made to retcon him into being a gypsy in one comic book in 1992, but that was straightened out in 1998. He pretended to be a gypsy, took a false and forged name and identity, in order to hide from the police who were looking for him, and to look for his wife, who was a gypsy.
The actual number of Roma killed by the Nazis is 500,000, by the way, but I get your point. Magda, Magneto's wife (and mother of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) was a gypsy, and was at Auschwitz. Magnus, a Jewish boy, was also there, and they escaped together toward the end of the war.
From: "Religious Beliefs of Marvel Characters" discussion board started 20 October 2004 on Comic-Forum.com website (http://www.comic-forum.com/marvel/Religious_beliefs_of_Marvel_characters_397905.html; viewed 8 June 2006):
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:55:56
Subject: Religious beliefs of Marvel characters?
Does anybody know the religious beliefs of various characters?
Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:02:28
From: The Black Guardian
All I know is the last one [Magneto]: Judaism. Most of the rest are probably various denominations of Christian. I'd say Strange is beyond most of the Earthly religions, or perhaps you could call him a pagan, since his work forces him to invoke non-Christian powers.
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:16:00
From: Mikel Midnight
Magneto is ethnically Jewish. He is not a believer in Judaism so far as I know. He's probably an atheist.
Date: 21 Oct 2004 20:35:47
From: Matt Deres
I recall an issue of UXM [Uncanny X-Men] where he's [Magneto] talking to Rogue (I think) and basically says "As a child I believed in God and as a child I turned by back on him." Sort of an atheist-by-anger rather than an atheist-by-reason. Can anyone remember the cite?
Date: 21 Oct 2004 06:27:39
From: Ken from Chicago
Magneto [may] be an ETHNIC Jew, aka a descendent of the tribe of Judah, but not all ethnic Jews are RELIGIOUS Jews as in followers of Judaism.
Date: 21 Oct 2004 15:19:09
From: Paul O'Brien
Strongly implied to be Jewish, especially now that the "Gypsy" stuff has been kicked out of continuity. Concentration camp victim, set up home in Israel... and so forth.
Date: 31 Oct 2004 22:16:20
When did the Gypsy stuff get kicked? I missed that.
Date: 01 Nov 2004 05:05:41
From: The Black Guardian
re: "When did the Gypsy stuff get kicked? I missed that."
Officially, in X-MEN #72. Magneto kills the guy responsible for this forgery.
Date: 22 Oct 2004 18:31:33
From: Michael Lehmeier
I think there is the difference between Magneo's standpoint and that of an atheist-by-anger.
Magneto didn't say he doesn't believe in God, he says that he turned his back on him.
An atheist says God doesn't exist.
Date: 22 Oct 2004 22:05:23
From: Matt Deres
Yes. However, most religious people would consider him an atheist, not because he denies god's existence, but because he purposefully decides to stop worshipping him and/or acknowledging his place in the universe. As Paul mentioned, once people are "angry" with god, it becomes a short step to simply denying him altogether...
From: "Batwoman Is Back as a Lesbian" message board started 1 June 2006 on "The Giant in the Playground" website (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=comics;action=print;num=1149174700; viewed 12 June 2006):
Post by CelestialStick on Jun 2nd, 2006, 5:47am
Ok, so I see that several people claimed that Batwoman is a new character. I've quoted below the portion of the original article which says otherwise. I've also included the portion where they say that they're trying to include "diversity."
Oh, as far as the much-vaunted 10% figure, the Kinsey Report concluded that among sex-offenders in prison 6% of the population was homosexual. Leftists then "rounded" that figure up to 10% and applied it to the entire population. Based on a plethora of other studies, the gay population actually comes in around a percent or two in America, as someone already posted.
That's about the size of the Jewish population in America. Are there any Jewish DC superheroes? I know that there's one Marvel Jewish supervillain (Magneto) but I'm not familar with any Jewish superheroes. I'd personally like to see one who goes around stopping anti-semitic terrorists from setting off nukes and biological weapons in America.
Oh, and as long as we're talking about diversity, how about some fundamentalist Christian superheroes? There are far more fundamentalist Christians than homosexuals in America, but I don't see fundamentalist Christians represented in comics. For that matter, how about a Catholic superhero? Are there any of those? Catholicism is the single largest Christian denomination in the America. So to be property representative, there should be a whole league of Catholic superheroes.
That would assume, of course, that DC is interested in some sort of real diversity or real representation, rather than just following the latest trendy ideology.
Post by CelestialStick on Jun 2nd, 2006, 1:20pm
Let me emphasize once again that I am explaining, not evangelizing, because I am not Christian, but Jewish, not an observant Jew either.
Speaking of Judaism: nobody talks about non-observant Jews (like Magneto or me) as "lapsed." Indeed I have rarely heard anyone use that term for anyone who has stopped practicing a religion other than Catholicism, though "lapsed" does get used from time to time in other contexts.
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: Samy Merchi
Date: Mon, May 11 1998 12:00 am
Also note that it is more often than most atheistic characters mention their atheism. Atheism is not supported any more than any religion. The whole issue is simply avoided in books.
From: Johan Lundstrom
Date: Tues, May 12 1998 12:00 am
Right. Wolverine and Magneto are by far the most outspoken atheists, and even they rarely mention it.
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
...Kitty is Jewish, Magneto was Jewish but is now probably agnostic...
05-15-2005, 07:41 PM
The saddest thing is how under-represented Jews are, and their portrayal.
Kitty might be the least religious Jew ever (plus I'm sure her family would love that she's going out with a guy who's grandparents probably muscled them out of Russia), Magneto is superevil. And Sabra shows up three times every twenty years.
05-16-2005, 01:46 AM
I don't get how it's sad that Magneto's religious background is a fundamental part of his character. Unless you think it is somehow insulting to all Jews that in the Marvel Universe, a Holocaust survivor has reacted with pain and anger, rather than unconditional love of the human race.
05-16-2005, 07:17 PM
The whole thing about Magneto is that he doesn't do bad things because he wants control, it's because he wants a better fututre for his people. His experience in the Holocaust is why he has such beliefs. However to most people he is a villain, and the most recognizeable Jew in comics. (Shadowcat is less known, and The Thing is barely ever mentioned as a Jew.)
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]
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am
...when Magneto and Kitty went to a Holocaust convention (I don't know if that's religion being used as a plot but they did discuss about being Jewish)...
From: Joshua, "Superhero Religions", posted 14 June 2006 on "Carpathian Kitten Loss" blog website (http://kittenloss.blogspot.com/2006/06/superhero-religions.html; viewed 14 June 2006):
In this week's Newsweek periscope [link to Newsweek article: "Belief Watch: Good Fight", http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13249146/site/newsweek/], there is an odd piece on the religions and presumed religions of superheroes...
According to the list, which is taken from a website called Beliefnet.com [link to http://www.beliefnet.com/features/comicbookfaith.html]...
In the Jewish corner is the Thing, Kitty Pryde and villian Magneto...
From: Bripe Klmun, "Holy Superheroes?", posted 15 June 2006 on "Bripecave" blog website (http://www.bripeklmun.dk/blog/?p=189; viewed 15 June 2006):
Source [link to "Holy Superheroes"/"Beliefwatch: Good Fight" article from Newsweek coverdated 19 June 2006; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13249146/site/newsweek/]
[Excerpt (focusing on Superman's religious affiliation) from Newsweek article]
I personally find the whole thing dumb. As a general rule, it's not remotely important what religion a superhero (or super villain) subscribes to. Some are of obvious importance, like Thor or Odin - some are important to their character development (Magneto), and some it's of mere background information (Kitty Pryde).
In today's world, isn't it more important to enjoy comics for what they are instead of attaching religious labels?
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. The only one I know for sure is Nightcrawler (Catholic). I get the impression that Wolverine is an atheist or agnostic, but I have no in-comic evidence to support this. Any help you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, in your responses, could you provide titles and issue numbers of the comics in which the information is stated? Thanks.
From: Mike Kantor
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 11:38 pm
Cable is Askani!
Storm believes in the "Bright Lady"...
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 11:59 am
...And I guess that Magneto was a Jew, but I'm not so sure about that...
From: Jim Longo
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 10:09 am
As has been stated, Kitty Pryde is Jewish, and there's an ongoing debate about whether Magneto was, but he has stated that as a boy, he "turned his back on God forever."
Date: Tues, Jun 4 2002 7:01 pm
Not to provoke another argument about this but, yeah, he is a Jew, although it would appear that he's not a practicing one.
Date: Fri, Jun 7 2002 5:47 am
...Kitty's Jewish. Magnus was Jewish, but didn't practice...
Date: Wed, Jun 12 2002 10:08 am
Magneto was in a concentration camp because he was a gypsy. Was there info other than Auschwitz to support that he was Jewish???
From: Brian Doyle
Date: Wed, Jun 12 2002 11:46 am
Is there info to prove he was conclusively gypsy?
As for his being Jewish, not so much info as suggestions. He accompanied Kitty Pryde to a Holocast survivors meeting where he chanced to meet up with people he knew from the camp. I don't know if camps were segregated between Jews and gypsys but if they were it might make sense that he was Jewish.
Date: Thurs, Jun 13 2002 1:56 am
At least significant portions of the "gypsy" story were shown to be false. These days, there's more credible info to suggest he was Jewish than Sinte.
From: "Superheroes and religion", posted 14 June 2006 on "On Christopher Street" blog website (http://somacandra.livejournal.com/410090.html; viewed 16 June 2006):
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):
Date: June 16th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC)
To answer the MSN article, the movies are correct - Magneto is Jewish (ethnically, not practicing)...
From: Mareska Kellemvore, "No real update yet", posted 24 June 2006 on her blog website (http://mareska.livejournal.com/116525.html):
From: Carmen Williams
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am
Others on the list [of Marvel superheroes with known religious affiliations]:
Magneto - Used to be religious (Jewish, in all probability), but isn't anymore
[8 other characters listed]
Mareska Kellemvore (mareska) wrote, 2006-06-24 12:54:00:
...I just want to post a survey of sorts to my geeky friends. Newsweek recently published an article about the religions of various superheroes. Now some have been established in continuity... Magneto, though commonly believed to be Jewish because he was in a concentration camp was at least once established as Roma (Gypsy) (though I'm sure there have been continuity errors on this) but I'm pretty sure Shadowcat is Jewish...
From: "Religions of super heroes" forum discussion page started 14 August 2006 on "Wizard Universe" website (http://wizarduniverse.invisionzone.com/lofiversion/index.php/t1595.html; viewed 25 April 2007):
Aug 15 2006, 05:54 PM
What one person that i could never understand is Magneto being Jewish but his views are much more close to the Nazi idealogy of a superior race and all others are sub-human.
Aug 15 2006, 06:26 PM
This is actually one of my favorite character arcs. Magneto is a historical reference, about how violence brings about more violence. It is very common for those who are massacred, enslaved, used, tortured, and despised often to become even more efficient at these things than those that did it to them.
Fueled with rage, and a desire for revenge they learn the hard way ,if you believe in survival of the fittest, that you've got to exterminate your enemies before they do the same to you.
You can't believe them if they say they wont, because you've seen the result of the lies that murderers will tell. You're positive they'll never let you live in piece and that somehow they will find a way to destroy you. You've got to get to them first.
Add to this the righteous cause of preservation of all of your kind from an uncompromising enemy, and the conclusion that the reason others fear you is because you must be superior to them and thus a threat to them.
If your superiority means that your very existence will destroy them then the fight is a forgone conclusion. It's actually the same rhetoric that any supremasist organization uses. It's also behind a lot of ideological fights.
Many radically defensive groups use this, and when you've been nearly exterminated yourself it's hard not to feel it's true. At least that's a major hook in war zones. That's why recruiting is always best where life is worst. Street gangs use similar themes.
Magneto's family was killed and he swore revenge. Over time he decided he knew why Homo Sapiens must hate mutants. Because mutants are superior and can't share the earth with them any more than humans can share the earth with Bengal Tigers, or Panda Bears unless there in a zoo.
From: "Where are the Christian Superheroes?" forum discussion page started 22 August 2006 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-81451.html; viewed 5 May 2007):
08-22-2006, 10:03 AM
...I pose the question to you, my fellow Talk@Ramanians: If Christianity is the most popular faith in the United States, why aren't there more openly Christian superheroes?
08-22-2006, 10:07 AM
I don't think there are so many openly Jewish or Muslim Superheroes either (at least not American ones). In the end, non-denominational heroes will appeal to a broader spectrum of readers, or at least I'm sure that's the theory.
08-22-2006, 10:08 AM
I don't think there are so many openly Jewish or Muslim Superheroes either.
08-22-2006, 10:16 AM
...btw [by the way] - Kitty Pride is Jewish.
08-22-2006, 10:20 AM
re: btw - Kitty Pride is Jewish.
Magneto, Songbird (Melissa Gold), Gertrude from Runaways.
08-22-2006, 12:09 PM
Occasionally, Magneto has been said to be a gypsy, right???
08-22-2006, 02:37 PM
re: Occasionally, Magneto has been said to be a gypsy, right???
That's one of those great back and forth arguments that always happens.
I'm on the side of Magneto as a Jewish Gypsy :)
08-22-2006, 03:32 PM
re: I'm on the side of Magneto as a Jewish Gypsy
His kids seem more like comiv versions of Gypsies. Was Magda a gypsy? (Mag's wife) I forget.
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, 04:38 PM
Kitty - Jewish
Jean - Protestant
Magneto - Jewish
Xavier - Protestant
Bobby - Jewish
Wanda - Jewish
Pietro - Jewish
Lorna - Catholic?
Storm - No idea...
Wolverine - Protestant?
Emma - Catholic?
Sam - Baptist?
Angel - Protestant?
Banshee - Catholic?
Chamber - Anglican?
Scott and Alex - Protestant
Psylocke - Protestant or Anglican
01-16-2007, 07:09 PM
Most comic book characters are blandly nondenominational with a tendency towards being WASPs [i.e., "White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"]. The only ones I would consider obviously practicing members of a faith are:
Jean: founder and prophet of the Church of the Phoenix
Storm: Neopagan, Goddess worshipper
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. Now I know what you are thinking, "Not this again". But hear me out. I'm not looking for how religion itself is portrayed in comic books or superheroes. None of that Superman is = to Christ stuff.
What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books. First one that pops into my head is Magneto. He is either Jewish or Gypsy.
I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion. I think this will porbably be a pretty short list, as most comic book characters are never mentioned to be one religion or the other.
Ultimately, I think I might want to use this information and see how their characters are portrayed, and see if there are any significant parallels, or if it effects how the character acts.
I'm a religious studies major, and recently got back into the comic book world after a 10 year hiatus. So, although I know most general things, I'm probably not as versed as some of you in this area. I'll see if I can start off the list. Off the top of my head this is what I got:
Magneto: Jewish, or Gypsy
Nightcrawler: Christian - Catholic
The Thing (Ben Grimm): Jewish
Daredevil: Catholic (I think)
09-15-2006, 09:44 PM
Mags is actually a born Jewish who was raised by gypsies in his youth.
09-15-2006, 09:44 PM
Mags is actually a born Jewish who was raised by gypsies in his youth.
His kids, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are gypsy...
09-16-2006, 10:27 PM
re: What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books. First one that pops into my head is Magneto. He is either Jewish or Gypsy.
Not sure if he's a current practitioner or not these days. Referring to a line from FATAL ATTRACTIONS [an X-Men multi-part story featuring Magneto] (and I'm paraphrasing):
"He (Magneto) whispers a prayer to a god he no longer believes in."
But sure, you're right in that he's technically Jewish. I think of the X-characters that Kurt is the standout devout religious guy. Can't think offhand of too many others whose faith plays as big a role in the way that they're portrayed.
From: "Guess who's the Jew?" forum discussion started 24 October 2005 on "Silver Bullet Comics" website (http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-732.html; viewed 30 May 2007):
10-24-2005, 09:45 AM
...And yeah, I guess I'd always assumed that Magneto was Jewish, but maybe that was as much to do with his movie portrayal as any comic I've read (Interestingly enough, that issue of Wolverine you mention actually lent weight to this interpretation of Magneto, as I'm fairly sure it makes reference to a kid who can rip an armoured car apart in one of the other camps).
10-24-2005, 02:12 PM
As I recall, and I could be wrong, Magneto (like Doom) was from a gypsy family, and of course gypsies (and homosexuals and anyone else the Nazis didn't like) were also rounded up and executed in the camps. I seem to recall that this comes from Claremont's run, and since he's the one who cemented the Holocaust survivor aspect of Magneto, I'd take his word on it.
Everyone knows Mags is Jewish... His concentration camp origin was part of the rich, brilliant back-story that Chris Claremont gave him.
1) Magneto escaped from a death camp.
2) Only Jews were killed in death camps.
3) Therefore, Magneto is Jewish.
That seems to be her argument, and part 2 is just wrong...
10-24-2005, 05:41 PM
And surely if part 2 is right, then part 3 is wrong -- because if only Jews were killed in death camps, then Magneto is less likely to be Jewish because he survived long enough to escape.
In addition, PC calls Claremont a great writer - that's enough right there to stop lending credence to her views.
I've had this argument with someone on a mailing list - he maintains that Claremont is a great writer because of the influence his early X-Men stories had: I maintain he isn't a great writer because those stories are sh--.
Oh I loved them when I was a kid, but I've been doing a lot of rereading of the "classics" now I'm sort of all grown up, and the weaknesses in every single page (let alone issue, let alone batch of issues) are apparent, and awful.
Good for kids, sure. Good in terms of comics in the 1970s, sure. But good in terms of being great comics? Nah.
10-25-2005, 04:16 PM
Was Magneto ever actually said to be Jewish in any comics? I've heard him refered to as a gypsy before but I don't remember his Jewish links. Or is just get assumed he is by some because of his Holocaust background (I know I assumed that before until I heard him refered to as a gypsy).
10-25-2005, 05:57 PM
This is what I was trying to get at above. It's assumed (due to a shaky grasp of history) that because Magneto was in a concentration camp, that he must be Jewish (because only Jews were killed in the camps, right?).
I'm no X-enthusiast, but I'm pretty sure that not only has it never been stated in continuity that Magneto's Jewish, but furthermore that it has been stated that he's instead from a gypsy family. I could be wrong, but that's how I remember it...
11-08-2005, 11:57 AM
Cockrum owes an apology to Morrison at least as much as Quesada. Calling him an anti-semite and referring to his "typical racist form" are horrible slanders. And they're utterly untrue, as well as calling into question her reading comprehension skills. Magneto's behavior in Planet X was an example of irony, as a pathetic man all too easily turned into what he professed to hate. Morrison's point, as far as I understood it, was that Magneto's pretensions to nobility were just that--pretenses. Magneto was introduced as a genocidal, autocratic bigot by Stan and Jack themselves. So the irony of a member of a disadvantaged race turning the tables was always there, and only heightened when Claremont did his revisionist take.
Morrison played a double game with his X-Men -- running a kind of greatest hits review on the surface, revisiting all of the most common plot points and tropes of the series to date, while at the same time, attempting to close the door on all of those points and the musty, played out Malcolm X vs. MLK, Jewish identity and gay subculture themes they represented. Because he felt that there were more interesting, far more relevant metaphors sitting right there, neglected, that could better speak to readers and propel the X-Men through the next 40 years--concerns about bio-engineering ethics, generational divisions, etc. Is that anti-semetic? Is that racist? Ridiculous questions, but the answer is no.
(Of course, Marvel abandoned the possibilities of the "new" in "New X-Men" as soon as Grant left--and we're probably stuck with more endless regurgitation of the same 1960s-era themes for the indefinite future. Paty should be delighted.)
11-08-2005, 04:20 PM
I find it bizarre that when someone successfully reinvents the X-Men for a new century, giving them new themes and ideas to explore, his work is treated like some abomination.
11-08-2005, 04:56 PM
It seems clear from the way Patty writes about Magneto that she has no distance from the character--look at how she talks about being like him. She fell in love with a romantic notion created by Claremont, so of course Morrison's anti-romantic interpretation of that--a resounding rejection not of the character but of continuing to use him as the engine that drives X-Men stories--is like a bucket of cold piss. Morrison's sympathy in New X-Men is with the real new X-Men--Beak, Angel, and the others. The key (or at least one key) to Morrison's whole run is in their declaration, in the face of Magneto's all too-familiar raving, that they liked Xorn better. Xorn was a new characer, representing a fresh perspective on mutant existence, an intriguing path forward--but Magneto insisted on annihilating the future Xorn represented so that everyone would be forced once again back into his sick, repetitive obsessions. "No," his actions screamed, "tell *my* story again. I don't want to know about you kids."
Somebody so totally invested in the way X-Men was done for the past 20 years as Patty might see that choice of artistic direction as anti-semetic, in that it leaves behind the Holocaust underpinnings Claremont brought to the surface. I think Morrison intended just to recharge the series' batteries and make it genuinely relevant. Or, being the cagey guy that he is, maybe he realized his run was finite, due to be erased as soon as he left, and figured he'd write the best self-contained, kick-ass X-men story possible, one that got in all his feelings about everything the book was and should be, damn what comes next. I think he did that pretty well.
From: "Jewish Heroes or Villians in Marvel Universe?" forum discussion, started 12 December 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://www.xmenindex.com/forums/comicbooks/t-97146.html; viewed 31 May 2007):
12-12-2005, 05:50 AM
Reading the " Black Panther thread" got me thinking. Are there any Jewish heroes or villians in the Marvel Universe?
12-12-2005, 06:09 AM
Off the top of my head, Magneto would mostly fall into the villain category. On the heroic side, Sabra, Shadowcat, Thing, White Tiger (Kasper Cole, not the others of that name).
12-12-2005, 06:15 AM
Magneto is Gyspy. It's a wide assumption he's Jewish but there has never been any positive proof of such a thing.
12-12-2005, 06:25 AM
No, Magneto is Jewish. He assumed a fake gypsy identity (Eric Lensherr) after the war while searching for his gypsy wife Magda, but he is Jewish.
Specifically the section on X-Men #72.
12-12-2005, 06:28 AM
I'm not an X-Men scribe so correct me if I'm missing something. But wasn't Magneto identified as a Gypsy rather than Jewish back in X-MEN UNLIMITED #2? I seem to remember at the time being mildly surprised at this revelation because a lot of Mag's backstory developed in Claremont's initial run on UNCANNY X-MEN certainly seemed to suggest he was Jewish.
A few others I thought of:
Sasquatch (Walter Lagkowski) of Alpha Flight
EDIT: Ah, looks like someone answered my Magneto question, above. Thanks.
12-12-2005, 08:39 AM
re: Magneto is Gyspy. It's a wide assumption he's Jewish but...
Actually he's Polish.
12-12-2005, 12:59 PM
re: No, Magneto is Jewish.
Not according to current Marvel talk, which has him as a Gypsy.
12-12-2005, 01:02 PM
Current Marvel talk? Current Marvel talk where? Especially not since the movie, where Mags was definitely Jewish.
12-12-2005, 01:12 PM
Magneto is specifically refered to being Roma by Doom in one of the House Of M tie-ins. It's written by Hudlin, so there's a fair chance it's bollocks, but it seems unlikely that nobody in editorial would've let it pass during a big crossover based around Magneto if they didn't think that was the current Marvel line.
So now I'm confused as to whether Marvel is retconning him as a Gypsy for some reason or just nobody's paying attention. Brains hurt.
12-12-2005, 01:28 PM
I always thought Mag's was Gypsy. Northern Romany or something. Neat, though. It'd be cool if he was Latverian. lol
But I do wish they'd do something MORE with Sabra.
12-12-2005, 01:49 PM
re: Especially not since the movie, where Mags was definitely Jewish.
No, he's Polish, which is why he was in the concentration camp.
12-12-2005, 02:21 PM
Being Polish wouldn't stop him being Jewish or Gypsy as well.
12-12-2005, 01:51 PM
I always thought that both Magneto and Charles Xavier were Jewish. I thought it added some real character depth to Magneto as a character. If I saw my parents slaughtered by the Nazi's then I might be looking to wipe-out human kind as well.
12-12-2005, 03:27 PM
Chuck [i.e., Charles Xavier] ain't Jewish. But his crazy homicidal, occasionally dead son is.
12-12-2005, 02:57 PM
The Nazis put gypsies in the camps, too. In the comics, Magneto was a gypsy whose family died in the camps. There's not a heck of a lot of wiggle room on that, because Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have traditionally worn their gypsy heritage on their sleeve, and since they're Magneto's kids, well...
In the movies, for simplicity's sake -- most people don't think 'gypsy' when they think Holocaust -- they made him Jewish.
12-12-2005, 03:18 PM
Wanda and Pietro were raised by the Maximoffs, who were gypsies. Magneto, however, is Jewish. The gypsy background revealed in one story (which was at odds with all the previous evidence) has been clearly shown to be a fake identity in X-Men #72.
12-12-2005, 03:24 PM
Except you're forgetting a couple of things. One, the kids didn't even know Magneto was their father until the late 80s. Hell, at one point, they thought the Whizzer and Ms. America were their parents. And they were still as you put it, wearing their gypsy heritage on their sleeves. That's just because Django and Marya Maximoff were gypsies.
That, and Magda was definitely a gypsy. Mags, not so clear. There was a period in th 90s where they were definitely leaning more towards Jewish, hence the whole Eric Lehnsherr ID. And to be honest, between that, his ties to Israel, and some of the other things that were built up in the late 80s-90s, there's probably enough evidence left to say he's definitely Jewish.
And for whatever it's worth, which is next to nothing, Wiki says he's Jewish.
12-12-2005, 04:17 PM
Magneto is definitely Jewish. He married a gypsy, and spent time with gypsies searching for her after she left him. His children was raised gypsy. The goverment of Isarel also spent considerable effort trying to portray him as a gypsy. Magneto himself has always been lapsed Jewish, though.
12-12-2005, 04:18 PM
Very, very lasped, what with the attempted mass murders and stuff.
12-12-2005, 04:33 PM
"As a child, I prayed, as a child, I turned my back on god forever" [quoting Magneto from the first X-Men feature film.]
Yes, very lapsed.
12-13-2005, 06:59 PM
re: Wanda and Pietro were raised by the Maximoffs, who were gypsies. Magneto, however, is Jewish. The gypsy background revealed in one story (which was at odds with all the previous evidence) has been clearly shown to be a fake identity in X-Men #72.
That was retconned as well by the time he appeared in Excalibur as well. His name is Erik Magnus Lehnsherr permanently now.
En Sabah Nur
12-14-2005, 04:01 PM
He is of Jewish background, point blank.
Magneto is a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp. As a young boy, with his power over magnetism not yet developed, he and his family were persecuted for being Jewish. Magneto witnessed the murder of his family by the Nazis during the Holocaust. He alone survived and was sent into the camps, forced by the Nazis to work in the Sonderkommandos.
12-15-2005, 01:29 PM
When was it retconned? Because, as far as I am aware, while Xavier still sometimes calls him Erik, they've never gone back on the debunking of the Lehnsherr identity.
12-15-2005, 08:40 PM
They seem to have abandoned it. In the Excalibur series, he went exclusively as Erik instead of Magnus the whole run.
12-16-2005, 12:50 AM
He might have answered to Erik, but they haven't changed that from being a fake identity. Look at the Handbook which came out this month - that's Marvel's official position on who he is, and it has his real identity listed as unrevealed, and Erik Magnus Lehnsherr down as one of his aliases.
12-16-2005, 08:48 AM
That's cool. But his name is Magnus. That never changes and quite frankly, that's all that matters.
12-15-2005, 01:29 PM
The Nazis also slaughtered gypsies, homosexuals, and political dissidents in the concentration camps...
12-15-2005, 01:30 PM
Yes, but Aushwitz was for Jews only, as I recall.
12-15-2005, 01:34 PM
Not true: http://www.auschwitz-muzeum.oswiecim.pl/html/eng/start/index.php
At first, Poles were imprisoned and died in the camp. Afterwards, Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies, and prisoners of other nationalities were also incarcerated there. Beginning in 1942, the camp became the site of the greatest mass murder in the history of humanity, which was committed against the European Jews as part of Hitler's plan for the complete destruction of that people.
12-16-2005, 09:29 AM
I always liked the idea that Magneto was a Jew whose parents were slaughtered in the concentration camps. It gave more depth to his character and he was more than just a "bad guy".
12-16-2005, 09:31 AM
The concentration camp angle DOES add more depth (and makes me marvel at his complete lack of awareness of the irony and hypocrocy of his own policies). However, as many have pointed out, more than just Jews were in the Camps.
12-16-2005, 09:35 AM
He doesn't have to be a Jew to have a concentration camp past. Being gyspy is what has worked and what will continue to work for him.
12-16-2005, 11:13 AM
That is true but Jews made up the vast majority of the concentration camp's victims.
12-16-2005, 11:16 AM
Right, but a percentage were Romany, so that works too.
12-16-2005, 01:47 PM
Apart from the discredited Lehnsherr cover identity, all the other flashbacks and references to his time in the camps point towards him being Jewish. See the link I included in my first post in this thread.
12-16-2005, 08:18 PM
I understand but read the Claremont-written Magneto #0 that puts a end to all the disclaimers and rumors of such a thing.
12-16-2005, 10:59 PM
re: Magneto #0
I've never even heard of this comic. What was it about?
12-17-2005, 01:23 PM
Iirc [If I recall correctly], Magneto #0 was a reprint of the story from X-Men Unlimited #2 - the story detailing Magneto as a gypsy named Erik Lehnsherr, which has since been discredited by X-Men #72. So sorry to the poster of that name, but Magneto #0 doesn't prove Magneto to be a gypsy - Magneto IS Jewish.
12-17-2005, 08:45 PM
...This is my attempt to solve all problems, it was worth a try, and whatever they do to Magneto, he should still be a Jew, but might be part Gypsy somewhere along the line.
Sabra (think that's her name) is Jewish, and probably a few more of the unimportant random kid mutants in the X-Mansion, but oh well.
12-17-2005, 11:52 PM
I think in Magneto's case the strongest evidence of him being Jewish rather than Romany was the fact that he was forced to work the mass graves as part of the Sodderkommando, which was entirely Jewish.
12-19-2005, 04:59 AM
Since the revelation that Magneto was a survivor of Auschwitz until the issue had become obfuscated by Marvel, I had assumed that Magneto was Jewish. But since the issue was obfuscated and Marvel has never specifically made any reference to his religion or background, I think saying that Magneto IS Jewish is an overstatement. He may be -- and there are reasons to believe he is -- but it's by no means certain.
12-19-2005, 08:50 PM
The Master of Magnetism known as Magneto is a Jewish of unknown name. He changed his name to Erik Lehnsher pretended to be gypsy. That's it. Don't discuss anymore.
12-20-2005, 07:43 AM
Uh, since it has never been made clear that Magneto is Jewish (though he may be), I feel that leaving the issue with your definitive note would be misleading.
And, as far as I know, except for Jonah (and maybe the moderators), nobody can stop discussion of a subject.
12-19-2005, 09:56 PM
It's a lot more likely that Magneto is Jewish than Peter Parker is. They should confirm that he is indeed Jewish and go from there. While many Gypsy's were killed by the Nazi's, the number killed wasn't even close to the number of Jews slaughtered.
12-20-2005, 12:06 AM
It's not really down to which ethnic group was slaughtered in which numbers. While Sandy is right that they have obfuscated the issue somewhat and haven't explicitly stated Magneto's ethnicity, it's not really all that uncertain. Of the groups sent to the concentration camps, we can eliminate most of the options - Magneto was not disabled, he was too young to be a political activist (he would have hit puberty in the camps, if it wasn't for the malnutrition, which means he was pre-teens when he went in, a bit young to be an activist), he wasn't gay (again, age would have made it hard to tell if he had been, and multiple female partners since make it unlikely he is gay). As you work your way through the list of groups sent to the camps, you end up with Romany or Jewish - and we've now had a denial on him being Romany. Plus, we know he was Sonderkommando, and they were exclusively Jewish.
12-20-2005, 05:41 PM
#72 hasn't been referenced since it happened. So sorry if that discredits anyone who brings it up as canon as Magneto #0 outright states that he was Gyspy. The fallacy of him being Jewish has no evidence behind it in 2005.
12-21-2005, 01:19 AM
First, even if X-Men #72 hadn't been referenced since it was released, it also hasn't been discounted either, unlike Magneto #0. So lack of referencing does not "descredit anyone who brings it up as canon" - it is canon. Not being mentioned recently doesn't stop anything from being canonical - we haven't heard about Archangel's uncle, Burt Worthington a.k.a. the Dazzler, this year, but that doesn't mean Archangel no longer has an uncle.
And second, Erik Lehnsherr being an alias and the gypsy identity being fake has been stated quite clearly this year anyway - last month's X-Men Handbook, which is Marvel's official position on the character, referenced it, and the bibliography explicitly referenced X-Men #72.
12-21-2005, 09:10 AM
This is kind of pointless. It has never been stated that he is Jewish. It's all inference.
Of course, it's pretty good inference, so it might be true. But until they say it in the books, the issue remains unclear. After all, just because one gypsy identity was fake doesn't mean his real identity is not gypsy.
But, of course, why was he in Israel after the war.
12-21-2005, 09:48 AM
re: It has never been stated that he is Jewish. It's all inference.
...but as inferences go, Magneto having been one of the Sonderkommando is a pretty big one - afaik, the Sonderkommando were exclusively picked from the Jewish concentration camp prisoners.
re: But, of course, why was he in Israel after the war.
Another extremely valid point.
12-21-2005, 01:12 PM
re: Another extremely valid point.
We are in agreement.
01-31-2006, 09:41 AM
I just would like to add that the name "Lehnsherr" is unlikely for a Jewish person. First, Jews were not allowded to posses land in Europe for very long (between 17.-18.century i think). Till 1811, for example, Jews were not allowded to live outside their ghetto in Frankfurt. Further, there was an act (I got the book it is stated in, but I can't find it now) which forced Jews to "Germanize" their names. Karl Marx's grandfather changed Mordechai to Marx. Usally Jews had to chose locations or swearwords as their new German names. "Lehnsherr" is translated "liege lord" and it is very unlikly that this is a name for a Jewish person, because it hints to a local count, or baron, or something, who lost his fortune, and aristocrats in Europe were always(?) Christians.
And Magneto sees himself as a royal, I would presume.
Anyway, I don't know how much historical correct background Marvel adds to their characters, but I hope I delivered something of interest.
01-31-2006, 09:52 AM
If I recall correctly, there was a story a few years ago where it was established that Lensherr wasn't his real name. It was an alias he took on to hide his true identity from the authorities. He probably chose that name specifically because of his inflated opinion of himself.
01-31-2006, 10:27 AM
Don't know the issue number, but I recall the revelation first appeared in an issue written by Lobdell and drawn by Pacheco, and that Sabra was a guest star. The Israeli government was looking into Magneto's background and were on the trail of someone who knew the truth about his past. Sabra was sent to fetch him, but Magneto got there first and killed him. It turned out the guy they were after was a forger who created the papers that helped Magneto establish the fake Lensherr identity. (I think it came out around the time Maggott and Marrow joined the team.)
01-31-2006, 06:16 PM
Magneto is Jewish, but this is a fact that not many comics fans either know, or remember. Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch are also half Jewish, because of their father, Magneto.
I sometimes think that Dr. Doom is Jewish, since his parents were gypsies. I may be wrong, though.
Sabra is the only Jewish hero i can think of who makes that statement clear. It's a shame, she is a character that has a lot of potential.
I have a feeling that there are more Jewish, or those who have Jewish characters in the Marvel Universe.
02-01-2006, 07:48 PM
Magneto is Gypsy. I've been reading comics since I was a kid and he's always been a Gypsy. Only in recent years they tried to retcon it, particularly with the movie.
Doc. Samson, Peter Parker, Ben Grimm and Moon Knight are not Jewish either. Stop pushing what you wish would be...
02-01-2006, 08:52 PM
Well, you are totally incorrect. Magneto has been back and forth since long before the movie, Ben Grimm is absolutely, in the comics, without question Jewish. Moon Knight I could agree with you, it is a matter of semantics. Jewish can mean of a Jewish family, or of the Jewish faith, and Moon Knight, while not a practicing Jew, is the son of a Rabbi. Peter David penned a story in a Marvel Holiday Special where Leonard Samson came to a Hebrew School to tell the story of Hanukkah to a class. In what way are posters pushing anything? These are established and in continuity examples, and there is no disputing it that Samson, Grimm and in one sense, Moon Knight are all Jewish, and I have no agenda to create any Jewish characters more than any other type of religious affiliation. If anything, I'm a pantheist, I would want more pantheist characters.
02-01-2006, 09:30 PM
Yeah, as seen by the poster above, Grimm, Samson and Moon Knight are all Jewish in continuity, no question about it, Magneto has been boucing back and forth long before the movie too, maybe you should do some research before you jump on people for just stating the truth.
02-03-2006, 12:02 AM
I think Samson being jewish would be pretty neat actually. It would make sense.
But Magneto I'm 100% sure he's not. Ben Grimm is a matter of "view him how you like" considering that Stan and Jack thought of him as such but never particularly adressed it. I like the Thing-Golem comparison (like in the Doc Samson case it's a nice continuity if you will)...
02-03-2006, 04:41 AM
Actually, I'm pretty sure that Magneto is Jewish:
- In UXM [Uncanny X-Men] #150, after Magneto thinks he has killed Kitty, he says: "I remember my own childhood ... the gas chambers at Auschwitz, the guards joking as they herded my family to their death. As our lives were nothing to them, so human lives became nothing to me." Storm is about to blast him for "killing" Kitty, and she says, "If you have a deity, butcher, pray to it!" Magneto answers, "As a boy, I believed. As a boy, I turned my back on god forever." Magneto can't be a political prisoner or atheist--he can only be Gypsy or Jewish if his entire family is at Auschwitz.
- In UXM #161, we see for the first and last time Magnus' tattoo from Auschwitz. His number is #214782. Xavier says, "That tattoo, Magnus, were you ...?" Magnus answers, "Auschwitz. I grew up there." Magnus' number is high for someone who was there from the beginning of the camp, but it is a standard number, without the A of the 1944 arrivals, or the Z of the Gypsies, or the other special classification symbols. Of course, the penciller probably didn't know these details...
- In Vision and the Scarlet Witch, Vol. 1, #4, Magneto tells Vision about his youth. Pictured is the Auschwitz camp, with guards tormenting emaciated prisoners, one of whom displays a prominent and exaggerated Star of David on his clothing. In the next panel, however, Magneto sort- of goes into a fantasy. He says, "But unlike the other victims, I possessed the power to fight back." He imagines he's hurling Nazi tanks away with magnetic energy. Only Jewish prisoners wore the Star of David.
- In UXM #199, Magneto (with Lee Forrester and Kitty Pryde) arrives at the National Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC. (It's not really Lee, but Mystique, trying to capture Magneto). "Lee" says: "Man's inhumanity to man... how easily the race kills." Magneto answers: "Then, Lee, it was the Jews. My nightmare has ever been that tomorrow it will be Mutants." Why would he say that, if he weren't Jewish? Next, Magneto tells Kitty EXACTLY how to address the gathering in order to get information about dead or missing family members. Isn't it obvious that he's done this before? Why would he address a Jewish Holocaust gathering looking for information about his family if his family weren't Jewish?
02-06-2006, 06:19 PM
re: Stop pushing what you wish would be...
Wow, talk about pushing things the way you wish they would be...
Magneto IS Jewish. He was established as Jewish in 1982, and remained so (if subtly) until the attempted retcon of his Jewish identity in 1992, in UNLIMITED #2. Not only did this story attempt to erase Magneto's Jewish identity, it butchered and revised Holocaust and Auschwitz history to do it. Several years later, much to his credit, Bob Harras realized his mistake and he and Joe Kelly fixed this in X-MEN #72.
X-MEN #72 showed us that Magneto took the "Erik Lehnsherr the Sinte" identity as a FALSE identity, in order to hide from the KGB and search for his wife, Magda, amongst her own people. This is simply a comic book fact. I fail to understand why so many fans find this so difficult. Including some of my esteemed fellow Magneto-fans, like Erik L. on these boards -- whom I respect very much. Magneto is not a gypsy. He never was a gypsy. He denied "everything" his family died for to take the false gypsy identity.
Marvel has reaffirmed it recently in a handbook, as someone mentioned. Joe Quesada even recently affirmed that Magento is Jewish.
The gypsy identity was a false identity, a false name, a false ethnicity. It was all forged. Magneto is called "Erik" in the Marvel Universe because almost no one but a handful of people know that this is a false identity! To the average MU citizen, to the press, Magneto is "Erik Lehnsherr." He appears to have called himself "Erik Magnus" when he immigrated to Israel, and Xavier still calls him "Erik." That's the name he used when they first met. But House of M was the House of MAGNUS, not House of ERIK, because Magnus is the only real name Magneto has, and even that may be false.
Sabra, the one who discovered the forgery, when she found out, first tried to get to the forger, Georg Odekirk, and then went hunting for Magneto. She was about to kill Joseph, thinking he was Magneto, when she said, "What I am about to do ... I do for the world. For my People. And for your soul ... Magnus...." What people would those be? Why would she otherwise be concerned with Magnus' soul? Because she found out he was Jewish, and wanted to administer a personal justice. By the way, do you doubt Sabra is Jewish? She's never actually said, "I am Jewish." No one has ever really said in the comics, "Sabra is Jewish." More reference has been made to Magneto being Jewish than to Sabra. What makes us think she is Jewish? She wears the Star of David on her costume, she is an Israeli superhero -- all circumstantial? For Magneto, being in Auschwitz when he was, entering when he did, having the camp number he does, and above all, being in the Sonderkommando, as well as immigrating to Israel when he could have gone to ANY other country in the world ... for Magneto these are more forceful proof that he is Jewish than Sabra's circumstantial evidence. Yet, everyone accepts Sabra is Jewish (hey, she could be an Israeli Arab, or Christian), and not Magneto, even though Magnus has been identified as Jewish, has self-identified as such, and his "Sinte" identity was proven to be a complete forgery and false.
As for Doc Samson, for gosh sakes, of course he's Jewish. And Moonknight.
And Ben Grimm -- that is simply an amazing, cool development, from my point of view! Jack Kirby drew a portrait of the THING years ago, that hung in his home, which showed Grimm draped in his tallit (the Jewish prayer shawl). I was told by people in the business who have seen this picture, that Kirby was very proud of it. How wonderful and respectful it is, what an awesome homage to the creator, that Tom Brevoort and Mark Waid (who I think wrote the story) and Joe Quesada identified Ben Grimm as Jewish a couple of years ago.
02-06-2006, 08:05 PM
Moon Knight is Jewish and btw [by the way] Magneto is Jewish. He was in a concentration camp in a lot of X-men comics he mentions his race and he also attacked the Red Skull once for all the crimes he did againest his people (the Jews).
02-07-2006, 05:27 AM
All right, here's my view:
It was never ESTABLISHED that Magneto is Jewish. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence indicating that he is Jewish. I know of no issue of X-Men or any other book that explicitly states that he is Jewish. (I haven't read every X-Men comic since the late 70s, when it was revealed that he was a Holocaust survivor, so I could be wrong. If anyone can point to an issue where it is EXPLICITLY said that Magneto is Jewish, please provide us with the information.) Since we do not even know Magneto's real name, it is impossible to say with certainty that he is absolutely, positively Jewish. That being said, I believe he is Jewish. The fact that he went to Israel after the Holocaust makes it clear to me.
Sabra is Jewish. Not only is she Israeli (which, I have to admit, is indicative, but not definitive), but her name is Ruth ben Sera (later changed to Ruth bat Seraph, for reasons that I don't understand), a Hebrew name and one that is almost certainly not the name of a Christian or Arab. I believe she served in the Israel army, which would eliminate the possibility of her being an Arab. (Israeli Arabs don't serve in the military.) Also her first (and only) meeting with the Arabian Knight was not friendly, making it unlikely that she is Arab. Of course, someone could later come along and say that her name was changed, and she's really the daughter of a Nazi war criminal who came to Israel because it was the last place anyone would look for him, but until that happens, the evidence is that she is Jewish.
Doc Samson's religion was not revealed in his first appearance, but he has explicitly stated that he is Jewish. And with a name like Leonard Samson, there's no reason to doubt him.
It has also been revealed that Moon Knight is Jewish. His father is a rabbi. I don't belive it was revealed during the Doug Moench issues, but, as far as I know, Doug Moench's issues are not any more canon than those of any other writer. Before he was revealed as Jewish, nothing was ever said about his religion, so it doesn't conflict with anything said earlier.
I don't think anyone is seeing anybody just as they want. Only Magneto is questionable. (I don't think anybody REALLY thinks that Peter Parker is Jewish.) Clearly, if it says in a comic book that a character is Jewish, then he or she is Jewish. Is there a problem with that?
02-07-2006, 10:53 AM
re: It was NEVER established [that Magneto was Jewish].
Yes, it was the intent of Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum when they put together UNCANNY #150. And in fact planned it for months before that.
Once Magnus was said to have been in the Auschwitz Sonderkommando, that made him Jewish, as well. But I agree with Sandy Hausler, the word "established" is the wrong word. It was the intent of the creators involved, and he was written as Jewish, and his history is that of a Jewish boy during the Holocaust.
There is a reference to him being Jewish in X-MEN #112, this would be after the X-Men discover the forgery. Or presumably, after Haller tells Xavier who tells Scott Summers and Logan.
Other references are just, to me, "no-brainers." Like when, during the mutant massacre, he is informed about what happened to the Morlocks, and he says, "NO, the horrors of my childhood born agin ... only this time, mutants are the victims, instead of Jews." I mean, what else does that mean? Or, when he says in NEW MUTANTS #61, kneeling over the dead body of Doug Ramsey, "An ill wind is coming .. they are registering mutants ... like they once registered my people in Poland ... Who knows what horrors await us!" The only people registered in Poland during the Holocaust were the Jews.
re: He always was a gypsy. The first thing they mentioned when they talked about the concentration camps was that he was gypsy.
No that is completely false. It simply isn't true. He was given the backstory of a Jewish boy during the Holocaust, his history is that of a Jewish boy during the Holocaust, and we know for a FACT that he took the name "ERIK LEHNSHERR" and the false Sinte identity to hide from the KGB and search for Magda more freely. You can keep saying, "he was always a gypsy" like some people can keep saying, "the earth is flat" and "the sky is orange" if they want to, but that doesn't make it so. He was never a gypsy. That was a false identity. Once it's established that it was a false identity, that the information revealed by Gabrielle Haller in UNLIMITED #2 is falsified information, then that means he was never a gypsy. And in fact, is most likely a German Jew, given his history.
A friend of mine put up this FAQ on his forum. It's the same information as can be found at: http://www.alara.net/opeople/xbooks/magjew.html, but with scans from the comics quoated. It's also incomplete, because it doesn't include the 2004 EXCALIBUR series.
Magneto History (http://cyberhellfireclub.myfreeforum.org/ftopic13.php&sid=209ef010f8fd0fe86b9e221718b7d84c)
02-08-2006, 07:02 AM
re: He always was a gypsy. The first thing they mentioned when they talked about the concentration camps was that he was gypsy.
Magnus has only been referred to as a Gypsy once. In a briefing where the goverment of Israel was quite clearly trying to distance itself from Magneto, by presenting some obviously faked information.
Magnetos children were adopted and raised by Gypsies, though. I am unsure what that makes them. Their mother may have been a gypsy.
Obviously faked to people who knew Magnus background, that is. Like pictures doctored by people who did not know that he was born with white hair.
02-11-2006, 07:14 PM
Magneto is not Gypsy. (lol, I think you mean Indian). Pietro and Wanda's foster parents are Gypsy, but Magneto is Jewish.
02-11-2006, 07:24 PM
re: Not according to current Marvel talk, which has him as a Gypsy.
But he's white, how can he be Gypsy????
02-11-2006, 07:53 PM
Most traditional Gypsies are from regions in Romania and Hungary. That's pretty white.
02-11-2006, 08:35 PM
I was thinking of the original Gypsies that migrated from Northern India, but thanks.
02-11-2006, 09:24 PM
The word "gypsy" comes from the Romany language. However many groups got lumped in with the term gypsy, even though they don't call themselves that. Most of the Western Europe groups call themselves "travelers". However the word Gypsy is a perversion of the word "Egypt". Sort of like calling a Cherokee or Sioux a Native American. An easy way to lump people into one category.
07-10-2006, 01:46 PM
...You somehow seem to think if someone's "Jewish" then, they can't be "white". as someone's who's both white and Jewish, you're...uhm..wrong. And as "white" isn't either a religion or an ethnicity, except perhaps in certain backwards part of Alabama, that doesn't qualify either.
On the Magneto topic, there was much speculation at the time of Magneto's "gypsy" reveal it was a pc move. He was being re-postitioned (after the semi-hero X-Men time) as one of Marvel's major bad guys, and rather than risk protests from Jewish groups that the major villain was Jewish, they made him a Gypsy (as Gypsy's 1} don't have as much political pull and 2} don't go around protesting Doctor Doom)
From: "Which superhero would be the best Muslim?" forum discussion, started 17 January 2006 on the "Muslim Student Association: University of South Florida" website (http://www.msausf.org/MSAUSF/forums/467/ShowPost.aspx; viewed 4 June 2007):
01-17-2006, 9:00 AM
Which superhero would be the best Muslim?
Salam. Me and Momodu were speaking to each other over some delicious baklava and coffee about which superhero would most likely be Muslim. I would say Batman is most likely to be a great Muslim because he practices great self-restraint when it comes to alcohol consumption, and fornication mashallah. Also, Batman does not eat pork because it slows him down in his nightly crusades against Joker and other foes. Also, he does not have time to backbite or gossip or engage in other forms of fitna because he is too busy cleaning the Batcave and changing the oil in the Batmobile. Thank You.
Momodu, on the other hand, says the Hulk would make an amazing Muslim because he always keeps his gaze lowered. Also, Momodu says the Hulk's purple pants somehow always manage to cover his a'ura, as in his body from his belly button down to his knees. Please dont be shy about showing your feelings. No one is here to judge you and all your postings are welcome.
DC and Marvel superheroes are both welcome
02-07-2006, 3:25 PM
Momodu, i think the only 100% accurate source to rule over this is Marvel itself. And according to that amazing source Sabretooth is a vicious blood thirsty mutant who has always been threatened by Wolverine. Wolverine's pursuit of Sabretooth is nothing short of Xavier's pursuit of Magneto, except on a smaller scale. As a matter of fact, it is even less controversial considering the fact that it could (COULD) be argued that Magneto is not necessarily all evil. Wolverine is an invaluable part of the X-men and has probably sacrificed more then any of them in order to help the Professor's cause. As for his relationship with Jean, well I still hold to the fact that Jean leaves the door slightly ajar for the possibility of those two, as she can't seem to make up her mind. But regardless, we are not asking who would make the perfect Muslim, but a good Muslim. Who knows, with Jean as Phoenix maybe he will finally move on.
03-01-2006, 12:11 PM
...Spiderman would not make a good Muslim, but that has nothing to do with being gay. In fact its just the opposite. He can't control himself around women. Now the professor is alright but I think Magneto would be a much better choice. He is constantly going out of his way to establish a state for his people. Unlike the professor he is very decisive. He looks out for is people when they are being persecuted and defends them with forceful action. This guy would make a great Muslim and leader.
From: Clark Goble, "Unpractical Ethics: Superheroes", posted 11 October 2005 on "Millenial Star" website [which comments on topics relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] (http://www.millennialstar.org/index.php/2005/10/11/unpractical_ethics_superheros; viewed 5 June 2007):
Even as comics have sort of become marginalized again, superheroes have experienced a renaissance the last five years or so. It seems every year brings two or three big budgeted superhero films. Admittedly most aren't terribly good. But while I've not read comics for quite some time, I do enjoy the Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman pictures. I have to confess I'm eagerly awaiting the forthcoming rebirth of Superman by X-Men's Bryan Singer. (And dreading Brett Ratner taking over X-Men). Anyway, I thought for a change of pace rather than doing a "practical ethics" I'd do the opposite. The most unpractical ethics of all: analyzing superheroes.
Now I know at least one person is preparing a post on an other blog taking exception to some of my views. And I'll further confess that with a few exceptions while reading graphic novels at Borders, I've really not read comics since the early 80's when I was a kid. Since comics are re-invented a lot, things may have changed. But here's my views...
X-Men. These guys always remind me of the Mormons in Missouri. Persecuted because they are different, yet not afraid to take matters into their own hands. Who is Magneto? Is it the Danites? Porter Rockwell? Lots of interesting parallels in our own history to the moral conundrums found both in the films and in the comics. To what degree must we be both in the world yet not of the world. The difference between X-Men and Superman is that where Superman is respected by the world, the X-Men are feared, distrusted, and ultimately the government works against them.
From: "Super Hero Religions" forum discussion started 15 June 2006 on "RonFez.net" website, home of the Ron & Fez radio show (http://www.ronfez.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-50765.html; viewed 11 June 2007):
06-15-2006, 02:10 PM
Ron and Fez did an awesome bit on this years ago... Popular Comic Book Heroes Faith-by-Faith...
06-15-2006, 02:13 PM
Magneto is Jewish.
06-15-2006, 02:45 PM
There's contradictory proof on that isn't there, or has Marvel stated definitively?
At first he was a gypsy among the gypsy familes killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust. At one point, they said he was Jewish (and I believe he is in the movies). I'm just not sure what the final answer is.
06-15-2006, 02:48 PM
I guess you are right... he could be a gypsy. I thought in the first X-Men movie he had one of the stars the Nazis made the Jewish population wear.
06-15-2006, 03:17 PM
I think in the movies he is supposed to be Jewish. In the comics, he could be Jewish as well, although at first, they said he was a gypsy. I'm just not sure what official Marvel canon says right now on this issue.
06-15-2006, 04:29 PM
I just skimmed the page quickly, but doesn't it basically say that most likely Magneto is Jewish, and may have been intended to be Jewish, but that there are conflicting viewpoints or information about this point.
06-15-2006, 08:37 PM
I thought Magneto was Jewish and married to a gypsy.
06-16-2006, 01:27 AM
I am pretty sure he [Magneto] was a Jew, (he was just out of an extermination camp when Xavier met him) and married a gypsy "witch." Scarlet Witch not only is a mutant but has magical abilities, as does Quicksilver, although they were latent in him... I seem to recall a comic which recounts the twins being sent to safety by a half-cow/half-human nanny. (P.S. Xavier is a W.A.S.P. [White Anglo-Saxon Protestant]).
06-16-2006, 12:37 PM
Magneto was intended to be Jewish when created. In the early 90s, editorial didn't like the whole Jew married to the Gypsy, so they made him Gypsy too. This was retconned into the Gypsy thing being a ruse. It was in the link above.
From: "The Religious Affiliations of Super Heroes", posted 27 June 2007 by Elizabeth "I'm Pro-Accordion and I Vote!" B. on Gather.com website (http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977041058; viewed 2 July 2007):
Okay, anyone could have guessed that Shamrock, a.k.a. Molly Fitzgerald, would have to be Catholic. But did you know that Superman is Methodist? The Shadow is a Buddhist? Who knew?
A website, www.comicbookreligion.com, attempts to catalogue our Superfriends by religion and ethnicity. For example, there's an extensive discussion of whether Magneto, the X-Men's nemesis, is Jewish or Roma. The site is the offspring of adherents.com, which houses statistics on religious membership and congregations for, it claims, some 4,200 religions...
From: "Please Help List Minority Groups" forum discussion, started 11-05-2006 on "Super-Hero Hype" website (http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?t=255464; viewed 12 July 2007):
11-05-2006, 02:40 PM
I'm doing a project for Ohio State University about subordinate group representation in Marvel Comic's superhero population (pretty awesome, huh?)
A subordinate group basically means a population that's not a dominant group. And I've got 7 categories to fill; ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and physical or mental ability. ..though I think I'll cut socioeconomic status do to it's fine line-ish qualities in comics.
So, how about I'll give what I've got so far, and then feel free to add to my lists. I think I have a pretty good handle on the MU, but it's still huge and I don't want to forget anybody. Should be fun anyway.
Shadowcat - Jewish
Thing - Jewish
Magneto - Jewish
Daredevil - Catholic
Nightcrawler - Catholic
11-05-2006, 06:59 PM
By the way, Magneto is an atheist ("As a boy I believed, as a boy I turned my back on God forever.") Odds are that his birth family was Jewish, though.
11-05-2006, 08:37 PM
Isn't Magneto Gypsy? I could swear somewhere I read that he was of gypsy descent like Doom. There's another one for you: Dr. Doom is of Gypsy descent and heavily scarred.
11-05-2006, 09:02 PM
IIRC [If I recall correctly], Magneto is Gypsy, not Jewish.
11-05-2006, 09:41 PM
re: By the way, Magneto is an atheist ("As a boy I believed, as a boy I turned my back on God forever.")
That doesn't necessairily mean that he doesn't believe in God. He could believe in God but also hate God.
11-05-2006, 09:57 PM
Good point Q. Can't hate God and without believing in him.
11-05-2006, 10:32 PM
Magneto's origins have never been revealed. All the names he has used are known to be false. The only thing that is truly known is that his family was large and from Eastern Europe and that they are all dead.
11-05-2006, 10:45 PM
...Magneto has mentioned as being gypsy several times, but I think the evidence is generally in favor of him being Jewish. One of the most memorable moments of him, for me, was how much he regretted almost killing Shadowcat since she was a Jewish mutant and instead talked to her a bit about "their" heritage and how he wore red to always remember the blood shed by those in the holocaust.
11-05-2006, 10:53 PM
What a lot of people forget is that it wasn't just Jews slaughtered in the holocaust. It was also Slavs, Gays, and Gypsies as well as other groups deemed "Inferior" by the Nazi regime.
11-06-2006, 01:56 PM
When Chris Claremont was trying to reform Magneto, and was giving us bits and pieces of his background, it was pretty strongly implied that he came from a Jewish family. The gypsy identity was stated in Unlimited X-Men #2; it was later retconned as a false identity.
The reason Magneto got so upset when he thought he killed Kitty was because she was a child; she hadn't yet reached her 14th birthday. I do think he felt a bond with her because she was Jewish, though. He accompanied her to a Holocaust Memorial service (I'm not sure if that's the right word) in Uncanny X-Men #199. That's where he got arrested by the newly minted Freedom Force.
Wearing red in rememberance of Holocaust victims was in a caption in Uncanny X-Men #274 -- featuring Magneto, Rogue, Ka-Zar, and Nick Fury. That issue was also the first time he described his work as a Sonderkommando. And in the real world, to my limited knowledge, the Sonderkommando were all Jewish. Which leads us back to Magneto being Jewish.
From: "Religious Super Heroes PC or otherwise" forum discussion, started 17 September 2003 on "HERO Games" website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-8036.html; viewed 12 July 2007):
Sep 17th, '03, 09:38 PM
Another thread got me to thinking a bit about religious super heroes. They do occur in comic books. Some it barely gets mentioned, some few are quite devout in their faith...
How much or little does your typical super human in your campaign (or game if you are a player) let his/her faith affect his/her life especially AS a super hero?
Sep 18th, '03, 07:40 AM
Should also mention that my games take place in an alternate Marvel universe, one player did worship Apocalypse as a god, another was a time traveler (and Magneto's great-great-granddaughter) who had a religion founded by Sam Guthre worshiping Professor X, Magneto, Cable and Apocalypse.
From: "Superheroes by Religion" forum discussion, started 11 January 2007 on "Political Crossfire" website (http://www.politicalcrossfire.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=73989; viewed 16 July 2007):
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:49 pm
...Magneto spent time in a concentration camp, so he might be Jewish...
From: "Question about Magneto" forum discussion, started 12 May 2006 on "Giant in the Playground" website (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-15296.html; viewed 17 July 2007):
05-12-2006, 11:15 PM
I saw the 7-minute promo last night and went almost as happy as when I wached 50 straight minutes of a spore demo. Anyway, I saw the part where Magneto says "another needle will never touch my skin again" and i remembered that he is Jewish in the movies. I've never been a big comic book reader, and I was wordering if he was also Jewish in the comics, or if Hollywood threw that in for flavor.
05-12-2006, 11:19 PM
I'm pretty sure he is. I think his parents died in the Holocaust.
05-12-2006, 11:24 PM
Yup, Magneto is, or was born at least, Jewish.
The Vorpal Tribble
05-12-2006, 11:31 PM
What's funny is there's a site somewhere that lists the majority of comic book characters by religion, because apparently they each had one.
Just found it:
05-13-2006, 12:20 AM
I love the irony of Magneto playing the role of Inquisitor in Gaiman's 1602.
It's a pretty good read btw [by the way].
05-13-2006, 09:04 AM
re: "I'm pretty sure [Magneto] is [Jewish]. I think his parents died in the Holocaust."
Nope, that's only in the movie. In the comics, Magneto's wife and child died in the Holocaust - because the character was created in the 1960's, only 20 years after the events of WWII. By the time the movies came out, though, it strained credibility for Magneto to have been a married adult in the 1940's and still able to get around as a supervillain. He would have been well over 90 years old! So it was changed into him being a young boy of 11 or so at the end of the Holocaust, making him in his sixties instead.
05-13-2006, 06:02 PM
They've never entirely said in the comics that he's Jewish but it's been very strongly inferred over the years. ie. He mentioned being forced to wear a star as a young child. He worked in the Sonderkommando (Only Jews were chosen for that.) He met Charles Xavier in Israel while both were working with Holocaust survivors. etc.
He was interred in Auschwitz when he was barely a teenager and saw his parents and sister killed there but survived despite being buried alive in a mass grave. Following World War II he married a gypsy woman named Magda whom he met in Auschwitz. They moved to Russia and had a daughter named Anya. Their home caught fire shortly after he started manifesting his magnetic manipulation powers. He managed to get his wife out of the fire but the townspeople prevented him from rescuing his daughter and she died. His wife, who was pregnant with Pietro and Wanda (Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch) fled him out of fear for the safety of her unborn children and she died in childbirth on Wundagore Mountain under the protection of the High Evolutionary. When he learned of his wife's death he forged an alternate identity as Erik Lensherr, a Sinte gypsy and traveled to Israel.
re: "He would have been well over 90 years old! So it was changed into him being a young boy of 11 or so at the end of the Holocaust, making him in his sixties instead."
You have Alpha and Erik the Red to thank for his youthful vitality. Alpha regressed Magneto to infancy and he was later restored by Erik the Red to the prime of his life and multiple times in the comics he's been reset to the prime of his life. (By the Beyonder, during his sojourn in the Savage Land, using the Genengineer's machinery etc.)
05-14-2006, 12:43 AM
Also, with Magneto, He's Jewish, but as far as the religion thing, he's pretty well turned away from Judaism, as he feels it is a "human" religion.
05-15-2006, 01:48 PM
As Mussolini described it, fascism isn't just a social, political, or economic system - it's a faith in which the State is God.
05-15-2006, 04:32 PM
I've read in the comics that he was actually born to Gypsy parents, which also were herded into the camps in large numbers. I think most writers cast him as Jewish, however.
05-15-2006, 10:05 PM
Wikipedia lists him as "being persecuted for his Jewish heritage." Granted, Wikipedia is entirely open to debate, but it's good enough for me. He was in the camps, which basically provided his entire motivation for everything. He wanted to make sure the same fate didn't befall mutants. (On a side note, one of my few peeves with Grant Morrison. There is absolutely no reason Magneto would ever construct a death camp of his own. Otherwise, the last few issues of New X-Men were excellent. ((On another side note: Was that really Magneto? Excalibur claims he was hiding in the ruins of Genosha, while I think there may have been a reference in House of M of Wanda having ressurected him.)))
05-16-2006, 01:40 AM
...In X-Men: Evolution... We also see a buried memory of Logan's of his days in WWII fighting alongside Captain America. The two rescued a ten-year-old boy named Erik Magnus Lensherr from a concentration camp in Poland. This would suggest Logan is also much older than he looks: if Magnus is around eighty or ninety, Logan must be over a hundred. Though longtime readers of the X-books well know this...
From: "Increasing comic circulation through different perspectives" forum discussion, started 30 November 2005 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-15542.html; viewed 20 July 2007):
November 30th, 2005, 11:55 AM
...As far as the "X-Men" go, saying all of their villains are "stereotypical White Christian males" doesn't strike me as an accurate statement. I don't think the X-Men have fought a disproportionate number of white Christian males and their most famous villian, Magneto, was Jewish.
From: "Where are all the Christian super heroes?" forum discussion, started 14 May 2007 on "Uber Christians" website (http://uberchristians.org/vb/archive/index.php/t-673.html; viewed 2 August 2007):
05-14-2007, 05:32 PM
...Where are all the Christian super heroes? ...
05-15-2007, 01:25 AM
I was thinking of Nightcrawler... Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane) was raised Calvinist... The Guthries (Sam, etc.) are Baptists. Clark Kent is a Methodist. Kitty Pride is a Reform Jew. Magneto is Jewish too.
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