The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
The Scarlet Witch
of the Avengers
Wanda Maximoff is a mutant superheroine known as the Scarlet Witch. She has been a longstanding member of the superhero team the Avengers.
Wanda Maximoff's biological mother was Magda, the wife of Magneto, who died soon after childbirth. Wanda and her twin brother Pietro (the Avenger known as "Quicksilver") were raised since childbirth by Django Maximof. Both Django Maximof and the twins' biological mother Magda were Gypsies, i.e., members of the religious-cultural group known as the Roma (or Rroma, or Romany).
Wanda was raised in Gypsy/Roma culture and also had some exposure to Gypsy magic. As an adult, Wanda's mutant power contributed to her interest in magic and mysticism, and she has studied the magical arts.
Wanda did not learn until adulthood that her biological father was Magneto, the arch-enemy of the mutant super-hero team the X-Men, and a man widely regarded by the world at large as a villain because of his strident, often illegal and violent efforts to further his vision of mutant rights. Magneto did not raise Wanda when she was a child, but he did bring her and her brother into his "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants" for a short time when they were in their late teen years. Wanda and her brother were not comfortable in the role of villains, however, and they soon joined the Avengers as superheroes.
For a long time Magneto was assumed to be of Gypsy/Roma ethnicity like his wife, Magda. In recent years, he has been portrayed increasingly as Jewish. The first X-Men movie (2000), for example, is particularly clear in portraying Magneto as Jewish, as it shows him as a young boy being taken along with other Jews into a Nazi concentration camp. Within the comics, many allusions have been made in recent year to Magneto having a Jewish background.
Regardless of whether or not Wanda's father Magneto is Jewish or part-Jewish, Wanda Maximoff herself has never practiced Judaism in any way nor does she have any sense of Jewish identity. She is, at most, simply ethnically half-Jewish.
Infinity Crusade: Scarlet Witch was one of 33 characters who were identified as the most religious superheroes in the Marvel Universe in Infinity Crusade (June 1993). In this issue, a powerful being who identified herself as "the Goddess" kidnapped the superheroes she had identified as being the most religious active superheroes at the time. The Goddess was a manifestation of the "benevolent" side of Adam Warlock, and she planned to use these heroes in her crusade to rid the galaxy of evil and usher in a new golden age of peace. After these 33 characters had been kidnapped by the Goddess, the remaining superheroes gathered to try to figure out what was going on. The Vision analyzed data about who had been taken and who had not, and explained his analysis (Infinity Crusade #1, page 32):
Now that the appropriate files have been examined I believe I have sufficient hard data to put forth that theory I mentioned earlier. I feel confident I know why these particular paranormals were abducted. All the missing share a common trait or experience... An event or attitude that might be categorized as religious. Many among the missing hold deeply felt moral stands or intense spiritual belief systems. Those who do not fit that profile have all had after-death experiences... My theory does not hold that these attitudes aided in the missing individual's abduction, only that these traits may have determined who would be taken.
From: "The Corner" (letter column), published in National Review Online, 29 July 2002 (http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/2002_07_28_corner-archive.asp#85294042; viewed 12 May 2006):
SUPERHERO OF THE TRIBE!
Posted 9:42 AM
The Thing is Jewish! The heart and soul of the Fantastic Four is a Hebrew according to a report in the New York Post...
BTW ["By The Way"]
Posted 12:03 PM
Comic book geeks have been writing me in regard to the news that the Thing is Jewish. Yes, I did know that Kitty Pryde was Jewish too... While religion is rare in Marvel comics, it's not unheard of... And, I have to assume, that the Scarlet Witch is some kind of Wiccan (though, since she's the daughter of Magneto, she might be Jewish)...
WITCH NOT WICCAN
Posted 1:46 PM
I have to disagree with Jonah on the Scarlet Witch. As I recall, she's not a true "witch," she's a mutant. Therefore, I doubt she's a Wiccan.
Posted 2:08 PM
Email box ...filling with...comic geeknesssss...losing...consciousness. A few quick points. Jonathan, yes, the Scarlet Witch was a mutant. But as she got older she started to dabble with the black arts and I'm not talkin' Maya Angelou stuff. Also, let's just stipulate that all superheroes with "occult" or cultish powers -- Dr. Strange, the Iron Fist... etc. are not pure secular humanists... Magneto, I am reminded, is not Jewish but a Gypsy...
MAYBE WITCH A WITCH, BUT WICCAN?
Posted 2:52 PM
A Corner reader provides a useful link to all you'd ever want to know about Scarlet Witch. He notes that the Scarlet Witch did train with a sorceress, so could have been exposed to Wicca. It's also relevant that she was raised by adoptive parents, the Maximoffs, and she also had a fairly traditional marriage (if you excuse the fact that her husband was an android), which would still cut against the Wiccan thing.
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?
Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:16:20
From: Samy Merchi
Barring any actual solid evidence in the characters' own books, you could always fall back on the Infinity Crusade and see which sides the characters were on in that conflict. Anybody feel like whipping those issues out and checking these specific characters?
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:52:34
From: The Black Guardian
Anyway, here's the list of those who "faithfully served" the Goddess: Captain America, Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man, Jean Grey, Namorita, Silhouette, Spider-Man, Puck, Archangel, the Inhuman Crystal, Firelord, Hercules, Shaman, Talisman, Moondragon, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Silver Surfer, Sersi, the Living Lightning, Thor, the Invisible Woman, USAgent, Moon Knight, Wolfsbane, Doctor Strange, Wonder Man, Daredevil, the Black Knight, Windshear, Sasquatch, Storm, Gamora, Sleepwalker.
IIRC, even if you read the crossover, it's still pretty vague in what religions the heroes believed.
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:57:48
From: Samy Merchi
In many cases, it [Infinity Crusade] is the strongest canonical reference to many of the characters' religious stance. Some lucky ones have been dealt with at more depth in their own books (DD, Rahne, Storm et al.) but for many characters Infinity Crusade is the biggest canonical reference. If we want to go by canon rather than sheer postulation.
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, 06:22 PM
A good rule of thumb comes from the Infinity Crusade, where the "best" of the MU's religious heroes were brainwashed. A short list reveals [among X-Men and characters from related titled]:
05-15-2005, 06:31 PM
Looking over that list... weren't Quick and Scarlet raised by Gypsies or something? What religion are Gypsies? Sorry, I am not very cultural minded.
I wish I could afford to get the Infinity saga it sounds so good.
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/e46638dbdaa8a219; viewed 22 June 2006):
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am
...Anyone care to post a list of those characters whose spiritual beliefs are on record?
From: Andrew Furdell
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am
I can name a few more:
Scarlet Witch (Pagan)
[Plus 4 other characters listed]
That's all off the top of my head... there's probably more.
From: Doug Tonks, "A Higher Power", posted 22 October 2006 on "All New! All Different! Howling Curmudgeons: Two-Fisted Comics Commentary and Criticism!" blog website (http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/009995.html; viewed 25 April 2007):
The never-identified but usually heeded "they" claim that there are two topics you should never talk about: religion and politics. But since Mike already brought up religion... I'll follow it up with a link to this page [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html], which lists the religious affiliations of various comic book characters...
Posted by Doug at October 22, 2006 7:12 PM
[Comments posted by readers of this page:]
Scarlet Witch's relgious beliefs are listed as "Roma/Gypsy; ethnic half-Jewish; magic"? Since when is "Roma/Gypsy" (Roma don't like to be called "Gypsies," but Romanians, judging by a Romanian co-worker of mine, go absolutely mental if they're called "Roma"...) a religion? Was Magneto formerly Jewish? If so, does that even count, since "Jewishness" descends from the mother's side? (As I understand it, if Wanda's mother, Magda, was Jewish, then Wanda and Pietro - Quicksilver - would be Jewish, period, whether or not they were practicing Jews.) And did the writers at Marvel really have Wanda start worshiping "magic" (and how might one do that..? wouldn't worshiping magic be a bit like worshiping walking? oop, but I forget one of the Elders of the Universe, the Runner...) after the Onslaught/Heroes Reborn mess?...
Posted by: Ron Dingman at October 23, 2006 1:57 AM
From: "The religion of comic book characters" forum discussion, started 3 December 2006 on RPG.net website (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?s=9326f642dca06ede764bcd691814750c&t=299781; viewed 25 April 2007):
12-03-2006, 10:11 PM
Re: The religion of comic book characters
...There are even a number of non-religions listed, and I'm not talking about religions created for the comic book setting... I won't get into the liberal marxists, gypsy/roma ties, pro and con abortion rights activists, Alcoholics Anonymous, or anything else inappropriately listed as a religious affiliation...
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, 10:20 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
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, 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...
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):
Ok, so in recent films it's been apparent that Daredevil and Nightcrawler are Catholic...
So, who else out there could be fielded in a "Catholic" Heroclix team?
Has anyone thought of Raven and Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange. Clea (Strange's wife), Agatha Harkness (Wanda's tutor)? They are studying witchcraft and sorcery - a religion known as Wiccan.
I thought that Scarlet Witch was Catholic too?
At one time (in the early 80's late 70's) the Scarlet Witch left with Agatha Harkness to learn witchcraft/wiccan...
I knew she had studied Wicca, but the last time I read a comic with her in it, I could have sworn she had a rosary, (which is a Catholic item of faith).
From: "Atheist representation on the Avengers" forum discussion started 20 June 2001 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/avengers/view.php?trd=010620110715; viewed 24 May 2007):
Posted by Jae on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:07:15 GMT
Atheist representation on the Avengers
The teams pretty well rounded now, but are there any atheistic members?...
Posted by D-Man on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 20:10:53 GMT
...Probably the best comic you could find to figure out who believes in a god or a god, or have deep faith in God or a god would be:
The Goddess uses the heroes' faith and belief in gods and such to recruit heroes.
Here are a list of Avengers who are "believers" so are recruited by the Goddess:
Posted by Omar Karindu on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:27:02 GMT
...Scarlet Witch may be a believer in some old mystic deities, and I've no idea what religion Quicksilver would be. Same with Wonder Man, who's been "dead." Warbird, I dunno either. She was in a church in Avengers v.1 #172, but she didn't really comment one way or another. Moondragon believes that SHE'S a goddess, so no big question there. Most other Avengers, I have no idea on.
Posted by piper on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:58:26 GMT
The 3rd chapter of the Infinity Gauntlet (the Goddess storyline) is the main source for the extent of religious belief for a lot of the MU [Marvel Universe] heroes. Wanda was shown to be a active Wiccan. Quicksilver was also shown to be have strong religious feelings in this storyline, as were characters like Storm and Aurora. I don't remember how other Avengers were shown. Any takers?
From: "Religious Characters In Marvel" forum discussion started 15 September 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-143850.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
09-15-2006, 09:01 PM
The other day I was thinking about religion and comic books... What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books...
I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion...
09-15-2006, 09:44 PM
Mags is actually a born Jewish who was raised by gypsies in his youth.
His kids, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are gypsy.
Dr. Doom is of course, gypsy...
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):
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.
07-09-2006, 01:16 PM
Well, was Wanda's mom Jewish? if so, Teddy's Jewish according to hardcore Jewish though. [referring to Teddy Altman, the Young Avenger known as "Hulkling"]
07-09-2006, 04:22 PM
Wanda's mom was "Gypsy," apparently.
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...
06-16-2006, 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]).
From: "Sacreligious amd anti-Christian Comic characters" forum discussion, started 28 February 2007 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000107545&start=0&tstart=15; viewed 19 July 2007):
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:49 PM
Any character that uses magic, sorcery
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:58 PM
Is this crap serious? This all depends on what faith you practice. It's conservative braindead and downright dangerous thinking like this that makes more and more people turn on the church...
...Scarlet Witch - well, since she's insane anyway...
"Any character that uses magic, sorcery."
The actual dictionary definition of sacreligious follows:
From the Oxford dictionary:
Adjective form of Sacrilege
Noun. Robbery or profanation of sacred building.
Outrage on consecrated person or thing.
Violation of what is sacred.
These are fictional characters!!!
Which of them have robbed or profaned a sacred building, committed an act of outrage on a consecrated person (well LOBO Probably) or violated what is sacred?
And if you think these characters are sacreligious, why don't you just avoid the books that use them?
Is Elfquest sacreligious because the elves have no organized religion?
Webpage created 31 December 2005. Last modified 19 July 2007.
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