< Return to Religious Affiliation of Comics Book Characters
< Return to Famous Jewish Catholics
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Above: Robin (Tim Drake) visits the grave of his late father, Jack Drake. The headstone provides few clues about his father's religious affiliation, but its non-denominational and non-religious nature supports the theory that Tim's father was not active in any denomination. This scene takes place in Teen Titans #20. Just two issues previous to this one (in Teen Titans #18), Tim Drake saw the future headstone of Bruce Wayne, which was clearly depicted in multiple panels and on the cover as being a Christian cross. This suggests that the non-religious headstone of Tim Drake's father was not an accident or result of a blanket editorial policy disallowing imagery suggesting specific religious affiliations. [Source: Teen Titans #20 (DC Comics: New York City, 2005); written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Tom Grummett, inked by Nelson; page 3; reprinted in Teen Titans: The Future is Now trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2005).]
Tim Drake's religious affiliation has not been well established within the comics in which he has appeared. Tim Drake's religious affiliation has never been overtly identified in the comics or any canonical source. Many readers and fans of Tim Drake specifically and Batman comics in general have said that Tim Drake strikes them as Catholic, based on what they have seen of him and his father, and possibly also because of his name.
Given the traditional reticence with which DC Comics deals with this subject, it is conceivable that Tim Drake has a vibrant, active belief in a specific religion and is an active participant in a congregation or synagogue. Such facts could be revealed at a future date without contradicting anything depicted thus far about the character. But such an interpretation is not supported by any available evidence. Based purely on what has been printed, Tim Drake is most realistically regarded as a young man who clearly has strong ethics and general religious values, probably instilled in him by his parents, but who has a minimal connection to organized religious worship.
Tim Drake has a strong personal moral code, but any affiliation with a specific religion is vague. This could be because the comic book writers consider the character's religious identification to be vague or minimal, or because of the long-standing religion taboo at DC Comics which prevents major characters from being overtly identified with specific religious denominations.
Based on clues visual and textual clues within the comics, along with material from interviews with the character's creators and chroniclers, our best guess is that Tim Drake's late mother was an essentially lapsed Jew and his late father was a rather lapsed Catholic. However, this assessment is considerably more speculative than most religious identifications catalogued by this website. If the religious affiliation of Tim Drake's parentage has been correctly identified, this would make him a Jewish Catholic. As is the case with most Jewish Catholics, Tim Drake appears to have minimal or inconsequential self-identification with both religious traditions - Judaism and Catholicism.
Coincidentally, there is another well-known superhero who has the same surname as Tim Drake, and that character is a Jewish Catholic: It has been established within the X-Men comic book series and its spin-offs that Robert "Bobby" Drake, better known as "Iceman," is the son of a Jewish mother and an Irish Catholic father.
There are no known hints or clues within to the comics to suggest that Tim Drake is actively Jewish or even thinks of himself as Jewish. However, influential Batman and Robin chronicler Chuck Dixon apparently said that he had "Jewish" in mind while writing the character. It is not clear why Dixon did not actively incorporate this notion as part of the Tim Drake character. Dixon has openly identified himself as a Christian and has written explicitly religious comics in the past, such as Batman: The Chalice (2000), which overtly portrayed Batman as the latest in a long line of Christian champions charged with protecting a holy icon of Christ.
Superboy (Conner): I asked Raven if I had a soul yesterday.
Robin (Tim Drake): [Pause] What'd she say?
Superboy (Conner): Nothing. She got flustered. What's that mean? I'm a clone, I know that -- but do I have a soul?
Robin (Tim Drake): Of course you do.
Just wanted to add that Chuck Dixon's mentioned on his webboard years ago that Tim Drake (aka Robin III), while never explicitly outed as any religion, was always Jewish in his mind, and since he had the heaviest hand in molding the character, I'd put him in that column.From: "Religion in comic books" discussion forum started on 24 April 2006, on DC Comics official message board website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000072787&tstart=0; viewed 1 May 2006):
I will try to remember that... Of course since he never came out and said he was Jewish, another writer could change that... For right now, the next time I list Jewish heroes I'll put Tim there as a rider, saying that Dixon MEANT for him to be [Jewish]
Posted: Apr 24, 2006 10:31 PM
Does anyone know if there are any DC Comics characters who are portrayed as being Christian or Catholic in religion?
Posted: Apr 25, 2006 4:28 AM
I heard that Dixon meant for Tim Drake to be Jewish, but it was never stated. However, if you look at one of Tim's earlier appearances (Batman 484?), his mother's grave was vandalized. Someone painted swastikas on it. Now since, to my mind, 'Drake' is not a Jewish surname (unless it got changed from 'Drucker' or something), we're left with two equally valid possibilities...
1) The vandals used the symbol for shock value. No racist/antisemtic, etc. intention--they were just too ignorant of the connotations or didn't care, or
2) Tim Drake's mother is buried in a Jewish cemetary.
(BTW, according to traditional Judaism, and I believe Christianity as well, the child's religion is determined on the mother's faith. So even if Jack Drake wasn't, Tim is if is mother was.)
...Atom Smasher is Jewish (So am I. That's why I kinda keep track.)
Posted: May 27, 2006 1:37 PM
I wanted to correct something that dragonbat posted a while back that I was reminded about by the recent "Does everyone have a place in comics?" thread.
re: "...if you look at one of Tim's earlier appearances (Batman 484?), his mother's grave was vandalized. Someone painted swastikas on it."
The issue in question is Batman #480, but swastikas weren't painted on his mother's grave. Actually, the top half of the headstone was pushed over and broken, and the words "Y-Dogs Howl" were spray painted over it, which makes me think that it was a gang thing and not a religious thing. It should also be noted that if you look at the remnants of the broken headstone itself, you can make out what is rather clearly a piece of a cross.
I've also always wondered about the whole "buried in a Jewish cemetery" thing, myself, as I can't recall anywhere where it was ever specifically mentioned and/or shown. If anyone could cite me where it was, I'd be most appreciative.
There is, however, a specific issue where Robin does deal with vandals painting swastikas. I don't remember the exact issue (save that it was either in an issue of Batman or 'Tec), but what happened was that Robin got the drop on some vandals painting swastikas on a wall or storefront, beat them up and then spray painted "LOSERS" over them after knocking them all out while Batman watched surreptitiously from a distance. I don't really see that as being necessarily religious on his part, although it could be.
From: "Religion of Comic Book Characters" forum discussion, started 29 March 2006 on AllSpark.com website (http://www.allspark.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4168; viewed 1 June 2007):
post Mar 29 2006, 08:38 AM
I found this great resource entirely by accident:
post Mar 29 2006, 12:18 PM
The Punisher is Catholic? Somebody on that page has been watching a little too much Boondock Saints...
post Mar 29 2006, 04:06 PM
No, that's accurate. Frank Castle was considering becoming a priest before he enlisted in the Marines. He dropped out of that for two reasons:
1. Falling in love.
2. Being unable to forgive those who broke commandments.
It's one of his older characteristics.
Wait - Tim Drake is Jewish?! I did not know that.
post Mar 29 2006, 06:29 PM
...A lot of these are neat, and how the religion of comic book characters is so rarely mentioned for some characters, but other characters can't go more than ten minutes without showing up at a church. I mean I would have never guessed Robin to be a Jew. But now I know he is, and yet I'm not sure that makes any difference.
[NOTE: The following forum discussion about the religious affiliations of the Teen Titans comes from late 2004 and the first half of 2005. The material thus completely pre-dates the creation of Adherents.com's "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" section. Much of the following discussion may appear inane, and the opinions proffered are often without textual basis. Much of this is guesswork. The people posting in this forum discussion appear to base their discussion on the Teen Titans animated TV series at least as much as comics. For all its flaws, we have re-produced this forum discussion here in its entirety because it has value. If nothing else, readers of this material can get a glimpse of general impressions formed by viewers of the Teen Titans animated series and readers of the associated comic books.]
From: "TT Religions" forum discussion, started 1 November 2004 on "Titans Go" website (http://forums.titansgo.net/viewtopic.php?t=668; viewed 1 June 2007):
From: "Question for other atheists" forum discussion, started 6 March 2006 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/dcb/view.php?trd=060306051129; viewed 23 July 2007):
Posted by Hellstone on Monday, March 06 2006 at 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... many more, have all stated their explicit beliefs...
Posted by Icon on Monday, March 06 2006 at 15:08:25 GMT
Many of those have their beliefs tied up in their powers or character. I'd have a much harder time saying what denomination (or absence of same) some of the more generically-themed characters are, like: Robin, Argent, Impulse..., Steel, Wonder Girl..., Joto, Hawkman..., Metamorpho, Captain Boomerang (Senior and Junior), and the like...
From: "Need Help With A Research Project" forum discussion, started 9 December 2005 on the "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-16070.html; viewed 6 August 2007):
December 13th, 2005, 09:09 PM
re: "Additionally, we could also use some opinions on what characters/storylines best illustrate the following moral concepts:"
A. Redemption -- Green Lantern: Rebirth, characters--Spectre, Batman, Spider-Man
B. Faith -- Nightcrawler: Icons, character--Nightcrawler
C. Humility -- Green Lantern: The Road Back (even though it's not a favorite story), character--Kyle Rayner, Tim Drake
D. Hospitality -- the Excalibur storyline where Kurt mentored the crazy gang (I can pull my old issues if needed); character--Aunt May
E. Mercy -- characters--Dove
Thanks a lot! I might edit later if I think of more.