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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Danielle Moonstar
Mirage
of the New Mutants, X-Force


Discussion

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):
Eric Travis
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)...

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.


Magic Rabbit
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... Kurt was never a practicing Catholic... Mirage's Native American beliefs system went way beyond religion (a way of life) and the Norse beliefs weren't specifically religious based.
Eric Travis
Feb 6, 2004, 04:52 pm
Mirage and Amara have a rare sort of faith-system. Meaning: they've both met their respective gods face to face. Hercules for Amara, Odin/Thor/Loki/etc. for Dani. Does that qualify as faith, if you have a nice dinner with the All-Father while discussing the fashion trends of Valhalla? Hmm... I'll concede that Dani never consciously worshipped Odin or Thor. However, she has prayed to several Cheyenne dieties in the past, and definitely retains a level of cultural ancestor-reverence. Religion or culture? Sometimes it's not so clear-cut.
From: "Religious Themes in Comics" forum discussion page, started 21 May 2003 on "Sketchy Origins" website (http://www.sketchyorigins.com/comics/archive/index.php?t-1380.html; viewed 12 May 2006):
Fae
05-21-2003, 02:10 PM

I enjoy Religion in comics most when it's explored through the personal experience/development of a character, for example, I really liked... that Danielle Moonstar had to battle her Spirit Bear. Anything that makes it personal, that respectfully approaches and explores the human experience of how the individual relates to the Divine through the traditions of their own Religion is always interesting to me!

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

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


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

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

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

Let's see.

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

Total: 9.

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

Total: 2.

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

From: "The religions of comic book characters" thread started 10 February 2001 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/13590fda80c5d6e1/e5e0b094ced80f0b; viewed 12 June 2006):
From: Terry McCombs
Date: Sat, Feb 10 2001 6:35 pm

For the most part you don't get much of an idea as to the private lives of most comic book characters. Marvelish soap opera not withstanding.

What I mean is you don't get much of an idea what their politics or religion might be. This is sensible enough I guess as they don't want to offend any of their customers... for the most part you just can't really say just what, if any religion or personal philosophy that or that comic character might follow.

What do you think?


From: Menshevik
Date: Sun, Feb 11 2001 6:05 am

...As far as Marvel is concerned, there are a few characters where you do: ...Religious issues did show up quite a bit in the X-Men, with... the Native American heritage of Moonstar and Forge...

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):
Emerald Ghost
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.


Archer
05-15-2005, 06:02 PM

...Danielle Moonstar follows some kind of traditional Native American beliefs...


The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM

...As for [other] characters...
Mirage - Cheyenne, plus some Asgard, presumably...

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]


From: James S. Galinski
Date: Thurs, Jul 23 1998 12:00 am

I haven't noticed if anyone's posted it yet, but how about Dani Moonstar being forced to choose between her Native American heritage and her Valkyrie background. It's in a way religious, and it did cause her to leave the New Mutants in issue 87, an issue that is usually remembered for something else entirely... (Incidentally, I believe the scene when she leaves was edited out of the TPB, because it didn't pertain to Captain-Big-Gun [Cable, who was introduced in that issue]. Shame on Marvel!)

From: "(OFFTOPIC) Sleepwalker and a RANT!" thread started 9 April 1996 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/530027d02cbeb884/7c688dd20f2f433c; viewed 13 June 2006):
From: Brian
Date: Wed, Apr 10 1996 12:00 am

Say, this [religious affiliations of the X-Men] would be a neat thread. My memory doesn't really remember a lot of the X-Men having stated a religion... Anyone know any issues where a X-Member professed his/her religion?


From: Sarah Anne Yost
Date: Fri, Apr 12 1996 12:00 am

I remember an old NM [New Mutants volume 1] when they used to have halfway decent lettercols [letter columns] where they gave all of the current members' religions:

Amara - Roman beliefs
Rahne - something like "Scots Presbyterian"
Roberto and Xi'an were both Catholic
Cannonball was some sort of Christian
Dani naturally had Cheyenne beliefs

From: "X-Men religious affiliations" thread started 1 June 2002 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/78e6830d00083d2f/102a03cd2dab9fda; viewed 13 June 2006):
From: Chris Dodson
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 9:38 pm

I'm looking for information on the religious beliefs of all the current X-Men for a story I'm submitting to Marvel. 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: Kenneth
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 11:59 am

...Danielle Moonstar should belong to an animist American belief, and so does Proudstar...


From: Dan
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 9:26 pm

Dani Moonstar worships the Great Spirit, though I'm not sure how that conflicts with being an Asgardian goddess.


From: Prestorjon
Date: Tues, Jun 4 2002 7:05 pm

Probably not at all. In general polytheists are less fussy about this sort of thing. Since they've got several gods instead of just one exclusive one it usually doesn't matter much if someone worships a new god because they're just one more god among many.


From: Kenneth
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 5:19 am

I thought about it yesterday as I posted. I really think Moonstar did not truely worship the Asgard Pantheon. She was turned into a valkyrie, but she didn't actually worship Odin. Gee, it's difficult to describe her believes, because normally people belong to a religion for a matter of faith, which is unnecesary when you know for sure that Supreme Being is indeed real. Well, I don't know...


From: Dan
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 10:55 am

Dani doesn't know any supreme being is real. She knows gods exist and none shown are supreme.

From: "Atheist superheroes?" thread, started 21 September 1999 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/e8d686f0b20944a6/4d0bf3df5f0c4e8d; viewed 23 June 2006):
From: Carmen Williams
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am

Others on the list [of Marvel superheroes with known religious affiliations]:
Wolfsbane - Scots Presbyterian
Cannonball, and presumably Husk - Southern Baptist
Karma - Roman Catholic
Sunspot - Roman Catholic
Danielle Moonstar - Cheyenne
Magma - ...Roman pagan...
Justice - I believe he's of Jewish descent...

From: "Top Ten Most Stereotypical Mutant Characters Ever!!" forum discussion started 29 August 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-141418.html; viewed 25 May 2007):

tunasammiches
08-31-2006, 11:42 PM

Whenever I see an artist render Forge, Dani or Warpath with a headband, feathers, mocassin boots or those frilly-fringy things anywhere on their costume, I get irrationally annoyed. And when Dani started wearing the "hair tubes" that held her pig tails in place when they came out with the new New Mutants comic, I was really really dissappointed that no one vetoed that design concept.


Sentinel K
09-01-2006, 02:23 AM

re: Whenever I see an artist render Forge, Dani or Warpath with a headband, feathers, mocassin boots or those frilly-fringy things...

Maybe they're just proud of their heritage and their culture?

You'd want them to erase all evidence of it? How about we change their skin colour too so everyone's white?


tunasammiches
09-01-2006, 11:13 AM

re: Maybe they're just proud of their heritage and their culture?

Oh please. That argument does not fly. We're not talking about whether the IMAGINARY COMIC BOOK CHARACTER might be proud of their heritage or not, we're talking about the reality of stereotyped depictions of minorities by comic book artists and writers because of pre-conceived notions of what they think all Native Americans look like.

Just becuase the artist is drawing a Native American, doesn't mean they have to wear feathers in their hair. I'm friends with a lot of minorites and other nationalities, including Native Americans, heck, I myself am Asian and trust me, there's nothing more tiresome and offensive than having to see depictions of offensive stereotypes still being perpetuated in the media.


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