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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Chandi Gupta
Maya
of the Justice League

Chandi Gupta, better known as "Maya," is a super-heroine in the DC Comics Universe. She was a member of the Justice League of America.

Maya was overtly identified as a Hindu.

From: "Maya (comics)" page on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_%28comics%29; viewed 12 June 2006):

Maya is a fictional Indian comic book superheroine in the DC Universe, and first appeared in Justice League Europe #47 (1993). She was a member of the group until their eventual split.

Chandi Gupta manifested her strange powers at an early age, barely into her teenage years. Her parents, unsure of what to do, left her in the care of a strange Indian cult. The leaders of this cult were convinced that she was the reincarnation of one of the Hindu gods, Shiva. Chandi, confused and terrified, realised that the cult was evil and planning to sacrifice her. Horrified, she escaped, and fled to London.

There, now under the alias Maya, she witnessed the Justice League Europe brawl with the supervillain Sonar. She reluctantly used her powers to assist them in their battle, and managed to single-handedly defeat the threat. The JLE, grateful for her timely assistance, offered her official membership with them. Feeling she had nowhere else to go, she gladly accepted. One of her earliest missions with them was a return to her homeland of India. There, she came under attack from her supposed protector, the Mahayogi. Fortunately, she fended him off long enough to escape and rejoin her team.

The JLE later journied to Nepal, where she encountered a boy with powers similar to hers. However, the child was killed, and Maya learned that the cult that had held her as a young girl was a front for a villain called the Overmaster, who planned to destroy the Earth. Overmaster took control of her mind and used her against her teammates, but the Mahayogi, whom she had fought earlier with the League, sacrificed himself in order to free her mind. After a climactic confrontation with the Overmaster, the JLE disbanded. Maya decided to give her parents one more chance, and currently resides with them in India. She has only been seen once since the team split, in an adventure in which she aided Wonder Woman in issue #174 of her series. She was also seen in Infinite Crisis along side other magic weilding heroes while summoning the Spectre.

Powers and abilities
Maya is able to manifest a mystical bow, whose powers she is still exploring. She has used it as a conventional bow, able to fire sometimes devastatingly powerful projectiles usually made of mystical fire or water, or, on one occasion, to enhance her speed and strength.

Discussion

From: "Banned for using this nic" thread began 4 Apri 1999 in rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/f38288dc4e56542/8a873a0a53da3d0d; viewed 12 June 2006)

From: Robert Justus
Date: Mon, Apr 5 1999 12:00 am

To keep this on topic (sorta), why are most heroes not as religious as they could be? ...the only really religious person that's sane that I recall in DCU is Huntress, and I guess Wonder Woman... Anyone else...?


From: David!
Date: Wed, Apr 21 1999 12:00 am

Black Lightning is a Christian, I believe...

Then there's Maya, a Hindu, and wasn't Thunderlord a Buddhist?

From: "Any Christian Superheroes?" thread began 22 April 2004 on rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4e5839f075fecf76/8821b5db671e7ce1; viewed 20 June 2006):

From: Gustavo Wombat
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 12:03 pm

I can't think of any major superheroes that strongly believe in any real faith, and that surprises me. Certainly not in the DC Universe. I think there are more minority superheroes than religious ones...


From: Dan McEwen
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 7:24 pm

...Atom-Smasher is Jewish. There was a member of JLE named Maya who was, I think, Hindu...

The writer of the column excerpted below makes an interesting, valid point about the lack of genuine diversity among comic book characters. But this author seems to be unaware that the Justice League actually does have a Hindu superhero among its ranks: Maya. From: Andrew Dabb, "Four Color Innocense" essay for "Under Duress" column, posted 7 May 2001 on "Ninth Art" website (http://www.ninthart.com/display.php?article=2; viewed 16 July 2007):

Why aren't more comic book heroes involved with groups like the NRA, or the NAACP, or ACLU, or PETA, or the KKK, or Nation of Islam? Why isn't a member of the X-Men actively Southern Baptist? Ninety per cent of the people on this planet believe in a Supreme Being. When was the last time you saw Wonder Woman, after defeating some terrorist, spike her lasso and thank Zeus for her powers? Why isn't there a Hindu in the JLA or a Mormon in the WildCATS? Comic book characters usually lack what makes us human; our opinions. Specifically, our unpopular ones... At least that would be different.

Even the most progressive books out there will take almost zero chances. The most controversial that mainstream comics get (and here I'm taking about comics from the larger companies; Marvel, DC, Oni, Dark Horse) is to portray homosexuality and/or drug use. Are people opposed to both? Sure. Do the creators get flack for it? Doubtless. Are these the same two issues comics were exploring a decade ago in books like X-FACTOR and GREEN ARROW? Yes. Are both prominently featured in multiple Network Prime Time sitcoms? You bet - and not only are they featured, they're often played for laughs.

From: "Question for other atheists" forum discussion, started 6 March 2006 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/dcb/view.php?trd=060306051129; viewed 23 July 2007):

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

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

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

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


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