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From: History of the DC Universe #2
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
From: "Who's Jews in the Marvel & DC Universe?", posted on Orthodox Union website (OU.ORG - Your Gateway to the Jewish Internet), (http://www.ou.org/ncsy/projects/kp/5763/kpwint63/thing.htm; viewed 20 December 2005):
The Thing may be the heaviest hitter to announce his Jewish roots, but he's far from alone. There are plenty of fellow Israelites in tights to join him at the Seder table.
Several characters were created with the obvious intention of being Jewish heroes (as opposed to heroes who happen to be Jewish).DC has the Seraph, who first appeared in Super Friends #7 (1977). The Seraph derives his powers from heroes of the Bible including Moses, Elijah, King Solomon and Samson.
Superman with the Seraph, from Super Friends #7 (October 1977)
From: "The Seraph" article on "The Unofficial DC Universe International Heroes Site" (http://dcworld.itgo.com/TheSeraph.html; viewed 20 December 2005):
"Clad in the mantle of Elijah, wearing the magic ring of Solomon and carrying the staff of Moses, his long hair endowing him with the strength of Samson, teacher Chaim Lavon has become the super-hero of Israel...The Seraph!"
NAME: THE SERAPH
Alter Ego:: Chaim Lavon
Marital Status:: Single
Known Relatives:: None
Group Affiliation:: The Global Guardians
Base of Operations:: Israel
First Appearance:: Super Friends #7 (October 1977)
Powers and Weapons:: Superhuman strength of Samson, Ring of Solomon (shown to teleport wearer short distances), Staff of Moses (shown to have turned into a serpent and part water) and the mantle of Elijah.
From: "Jewish Comics Exhibit Notes" webpage, last updated 5 December 2004 (http://www.geocities.com/hadassahfink/comicexhnotes.htm; viewed 4 July 2007):
From "Seraph (comics)" article on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraph_%28comics%29; viewed 20 December 2005):
Super Friends #38
The Seraph misuses his powers against criminals, almost killing one of them. G-d intervenes, temporarily stripping him of his powers. Seraph only gets them back after praying for forgiveness during Yom Kippur.
Chiam Levon is a Jewish school teacher who was granted biblical powers. He helped Superman dismantle a bomb in Israel and free the Wonder Twins after they were brainwashed. He had a few missions as a solo fighter. As a member of the Global Guardians, he helped Superman retrieve an ancient artifact. He remained on the team for a few years, but declined an offering from the Queen Bee of Bialya, since he was Jewish and Bialya was a Muslim state. For a while, Seraph fought solo, trying to think of ways to revive the Global Guardians. Finally, Doctor Mist called him to Bialya to rescue the Global Guardians. The mission was successful. After a battle with Doctor Mist's enemy Fain Y'onia, Seraph helped Rising Sun, Owlwoman, and Olympian create the New Global Guardians, placing himself as leader.
From: Michael Gelbwasser, "Cool characters entice kids: Jewish superheroes work wonders in American comics", published 7 January 1997 in The Boston Jewish Advocate (http://www.jewishsf.com/bk970107/1bcool.htm; viewed 21 December 2005):
The Jewish community often complains that it's losing young people's attention. Have Jewish leaders checked the comic shops recently?
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):
...Modern comic books -- lively keystones of American popular culture -- aren't afraid to feature numerous new heroes... who have clearly Jewish backgrounds. Nor do comic books shy away from topics of particular Jewish interest, such as interdating...
Several other DC and Marvel Comics superheroes have been portrayed as Jewish or as having Jewish origins:
In the Seraph series [sic], teacher Chaim Lavon of Israel possesses the staff of Moses, the mantle of Elijah, the magic ring of Solomon and the strength of Samson (in his hair). The Seraph is a member of the New Global Guardians, a team of international heroes. On covers from the old Super Friends comic book, the Seraph is called "the Man Who Works Miracles."
Bridwell, E. Nelson. "Puppets of the Overlord" Super Friends #25 Oct. 1979 (NY: DC).
Bridwell, E. Nelson. "The Seraph's Day of Atonemennt" Super Friends #38 Nov. 1980 (NY: DC).
When Israeli superhero Seraph uses his super-strength excessively to seek retribution against a group of criminals, G-d punishes him by temporarily taking away his supwer-powers. Only after praying for forgiveness, during the Yom Kippur service, does he get his powers back.
Bridwell, E. Nelson. "The Warning of the Wondertwins" Super Friends #7 Oct. 1977 (NY: DC)
Gelbwasser, Michael. "Cool Characters Entice Kids: Jewish Superheroes Work Wonders in American Comics" Boston Jewish Advocate Jan. 7, 1997.
Gelbwasser, Michael. "Look! Up in the Sky! Jewish Superheroes." Jewish Advocate Oct. 19, 1995, pg. PG.
Discusses the Jewish super-heroes Seraph, the Blasters, Colossal Boy, Ragman, Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, Mindboggler, Ramban, Golem, Judith, Dybbuk, Nuklon, Phantom Stranger and Sabra.
Oskner, Bob. "Dry Earth...Stolen Waters" Super Friends #41 (2nd story) Feb. 1981 (NY: DC).
Backup story involving Israeli super-hero "The Seraph", modeled after characters in the Torah. In this story, terrorists try to interfere with Israel's water supply.
Oskner, Bob. "Echo of Evil" Super Friends #46 Jul. 1981 (NY: DC).
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):
From: "New Christian JLA member" message board, started 5 May 2005 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000023085; viewed 15 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 two most powerful Jewish heroes are Marvel's Sabra and DC's Seraph...
Seraph. His G-d given powers are a few notches below Superman level, but he's portrayed as a major player - super strength and invunerablitiy (Samson), super wisdom (Solomon), teleportation, and a unique power from his staff (Moses) to split things in half. Once Superman was being held down in a super gravity field and Seraph just walked into the field, picked him up, and carried him out because he wasn't affected by the field, because his power isn't affected by natural forces...
From: "Superman Wedding -- why a Christian ceremony?" newsgroup discussion started 11 October 1996 in rec.arts.comics.dc.universe (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4d17a1ff0ee9c715/d141c36005b90ea4; viewed 5 June 2006):
Posted: May 6, 2005 3:09 AM
I am a Christian... There is a reason there is no Christian superhero. Same reason as there is no real Jewish [superhero]... that flaunt their religion or fight for religious belief specific notions. It's because they would be offensive to many, if not most, of the readership.
Besides -- Zauriel, Bloodwynd, Wonder Woman, the Spectre, the Quintet, etc., etc., are all based on or are slaves to religious beliefs, but none actively flaunt it, or debate which is correct, so a hard-line Christian super hero would probably not sit too well.
Posted: May 6, 2005 3:50 AM
Well, I'm gonna hit you. Nightcrawler, Daredevil, [4 other Christian superheroes] are all Christians. Sabra, Seraph, Ramban, Atom-Smasher and the Thing are Jewish... Many of them have debated their beliefs in the comics - as you say, not the hardline way, but that is definitely not the same as saying that they are not Christian superheroes [or Jewish superheroes], or that they are not devoted.
As far as I know, none of them are fundamentalists, against other religions or...
Posted: May 10, 2005 8:29 AM
I'd vote for an existing character, like Zauriel or Seraph [as a religious character who should be in the JLA]. I've been wanting more exposure for them for a while...
From: Eric Fishbein
Date: Wed, Oct 23 1996 12:00 am
re: "Just out of curiosity, is there any major character in the DC Universe definitely shown as being Jewish?"
Ain't there that mystical Israeli hero named King Solomon or some there such thing? I remember he wears a toga and sports a staff. I recall him being used in Zero Hour, Crisis, or one of those other BIG DC events, but I can't recall which.
From: Johanna Draper
Date: Thurs, Oct 24 1996 12:00 am
That's the guy from the Global Guardians, although I think he retired. His power came from faith through his artifacts, and some of his solo stories (backups in Super Friends) were kind of neat.
From: "Islamic super heroes: Are there any?" forum discussion, started 23 August 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-76010.html; viewed 28 May 2007):
08-23-2005, 10:06 PM
Well, anyways, I was thinking of an idea for a UN-sanctioned super hero team with represenatives from different countries, and one of them is a female telepath from Turkey... named Sultana. And I suddenly realized that for the life of me I can't think of a single Muslim super-hero from either Marvel or DC.
So, are there any? And please don't turn this into a political debate.
08-24-2005, 01:11 PM
...In DC, of course, there are the Global Guardians, including Seraph (of Israel--definitely Jewish, given his powers) and Cascade (of Indonesia--religion unknown)...
From: "Religion in the DCU?" forum discussion, started 25 October 2006 on "Comic Bloc" website (http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-37480.html; viewed 20 July 2007):
October 25th, 2006, 11:06 AM
I posted this in another thread, but since it goes off-topic I decided to start my own. Anyways...
If Fourth World is still in continuity and The Presence is the God of the three major religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) I was wondering...
Where do Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed stand in the DCU?
I know the Spear of Destiny is laced with the blood of Christ, but is there anything else that's been mentioned?
October 25th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Well, there's the Crime Bible, made from the rock Cain used to slay Able, the Spectre, and I think all religions exist, they just are underplayed. I THINK, but I really don't know.
October 25th, 2006, 11:41 AM
I think the DCU has the Campbellian ideal:
All Religions Are True.
After all, look at the JLA. We have a pagan Greek, an alien, an agnostic, an Native American Spiritualism follower, and that's all I can think of right now.
October 25th, 2006, 12:34 PM
Oh, I'm sure all religions exist in the DCU, and I know of the different heroes that are connected to God, and various other beliefs (like Ragman, Monolith, Zauriel, The Spectre, etc)
It's just that I've always wondered about where Moses, Jesus, and the Prophet Mohammed stood in the grand scheme of things.
Like a hero who was/is bestowed great powers by wielding the sword of Mohammed or the existence of the Holy Grail, or the staff of Moses, etc. That sort of thing.
Cousin Cory Springhorn
October 25th, 2006, 05:43 PM
It seems to me that perhaps the Seraph (member of the Global Guardians, and back-up feature in Super Friends) carried the staff of Moses. I may be wrong about that, though.
In the All-Star Squadron, Japan came into possession of the Holy Grail, while Hitler possessed the Spear of Destiny. This was basically a plot device keeping any American super-heroes with magic-based powers, or magic vulnerability, from directly attacking the Axis Powers and ending the war swiftly, so that Earth-2's history wouldn't diverge too wildly from real world history.
(edit: I was correct about the Seraph. see below):
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. 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...
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, 10:57 PM
In relation to question 6: as a Jewish comic book reader, I look around a great deal for any sign of Jewish stuff in comics. It's a habit. Things like the upcoming Sgt. Rock mini about rescuing the rabbi in Eastern Europe are few and far between. Interestingly, the three highest profile Jewish characters at Marvel--Kitty Pryde, the Thing and Moon Knight--have a mini-series, an ongoing and an upcoming ongoing, respectively. On the DC side, Ragman is in the Shadowpact ongoing, but otherwise, Atom Smasher is in jail and... that's it. No one's heard from Seraph and Hayoth for years, and I think I'm the only person that considers Black Canary to actually be Jewish (I have my reasons). Atom Smasher could become a player in OYL considering his current imprisoned status and his apparent recruitment by Amanda Waller.
As for Jewish themes in writing, the legend of the Golem has influenced a number of characters, most notably Marvel's Thing.
Webpage created 20 December 2005. Last modified 6 August 2007.
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