The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
one of Marvel's Irish superheroes
Molly Fitzgerald, better known as "Shamrock," is an Irish superhero who had the power to alter probability within a 20-foot radius around her, giving herself good luck and giving her opponents bad luck.
Shamrock is a very Catholic character who comes from a very Catholic family background. Her origin has strong Catholic elements in it as well.
Shamrock first appeared in Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions #1 (June 1982), one of the first-ever company-wide superhero crossover limited series. Creation of the character is credited to Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Mark Gruenwald and others. Shamrock was one of a small handful of international characters who were introduced in this 3-part limited series. Shamrock only had guest appearances and cameo appearances after that. She has never been had her own series or been featured as regular cast member in an ongoing series.
From: "Shamrock (comics)" webpage on Wikipedia.org website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamrock_(comics); viewed 23 May 2007):
Molly Fitzgerald's father was a fanatically militant Irish nationalist. When she was three years old, her father called out to the heavens to grant her brother Paddy the power to strike down his enemies, but there appeared to be no effect. Not until Molly's freshman year in college did she discover that she had obtained mutant powers, a protective aura that altered probability around her and she became the costumed hero Shamrock.
Later she was teleported away by the Grandmaster, along with hundreds of other heroes of Earth, so that the Grandmaster and Death could choose champions from among them. While the heroes mingled, Shamrock encountered Captain Britain and the two took an immediate dislike to each other because of their countries' histories. Shamrock was chosen to serve on Death's team...
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/af8d343aa5f07677; viewed 23 June 2006):
Date: Wed, Sep 22 1999 12:00 am
...Luminator is a Catholic, Shamrock is [also Catholic]...
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
...Sabra, the superheroine protector of Israel, [is] Jewish... While on the topic of national heroes, I vaguely recall an Irish superhero (Shamrock or Siren) in the Marvel Universe, who I would presume to be Catholic. Is the X-Men's Banshee Irish or Scottish? And what's the predominant religion of Scotland, anyway? That would provide a reasonable guess for Dr. Moira MacTaggart from X-Men as well...
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):
Shamrock, on the other hand, receives no sympathy like Dust. She's Irish. She's green. And she's lucky! The luck-o-the-Irish! What next, her mother and spit rainbows out of her mouth and her brother has the uncanny ability to spot pots o' gold at the end?
And of course, what Irish character can go without mentioning the IRISH/NORTH IRISH conflict?! I swear: every international character must be known for a foreign policy conflict. She couldn't just grow up in Galway and go to school like a normal kid: her parents were killed by the eeeevil North Irish and her luck pulled her through! So now, she's the SHAMROCK!
But what's even worse is that she slipped and broke her foot. Feeling her luck left her, she went on to become... a hairstylist. Man, that just SUCKS.
08-29-2006, 10:50 PM
Shamrock: This is the living embodiment of stereotype. Her entire character is based on a saying, one which apparently has an American origin anyway. This would be the equivitant of calling an Australian character The Cobber, Boomerang, or the Kangaroo.
From: "New Joe Fridays: Week 49" forum discussion, started 1 June 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=114952&page=5; viewed 8 June 2007):
06-03-2007, 04:58 AM
You brought up the issue of comic-book stereotypes and religions. Since I study religion (all kinds, really) this is something I've thought about a lot.
First the issue of stereotypes in general: The first major black Marvel characters were the Black Panther (Phantom/Tarzan-like jungle lord with a name that may or may not have predated the American political party by that name), Luke Cage (1970's blacksploitation character), Falcon (sidekick with a criminal past), and Storm (African princess modeled after Lt. Uhura). Throw on... Shamrock, Batroc ze Leaper, and every German except Nightcrawler. I see all this as stemming not from maliciousness, but from the tendency of comic books to deal in stock characters, as a kind of shorthand. Later attempts improved with time, for the most part, though new characters have always had greater difficulty gaining a foothold...
From: "Up, up, and oy, vey!", posted 5 February 2006 on MetaFilter.com website (http://www.metafilter.com/39326/Up-up-and-oy-vey; viewed 19 June 2007):
posted by hifiparasol
February 5, 2005 7:28 PM
"After unknowingly eating an atomic matzah that was accidentally baked in a microwave oven with radioactive water, she was surprised to learn that she could fly..." [link to webpage about the Jewish Hero Corps: http://www.nusion.com/jewishsuperhero/jhc.htm] Take your radioactive spiders and your gamma bombs and shove them up your tuchus. I'm casting my lot with the Jewish Hero Corps! [link to: http://www.nusion.com/jewishsuperhero/] But seriously: Most [link to: http://www.marveldirectory.com/teams/fantasticfour.htm] (but not all [link to: http://www.spawn.com/comics/series.aspx?series_id=1]) of the most widely-known superheroes around are a bit on the WASPy side. Is it possible to address issues of ethnicity and identity via superheroes, given the fact that most folks think it's just a lot of punching and zapping? Or do we have to resort to doing via metaphor [link to Amazon.com order page for the X-Men graphic novel: God Loves, Man Kills: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0785100393/metafilter-20/ref=nosim/]?
The Super Friends went ethnic at one point, trying out heroes such as Apache Chief [link to: http://fantasia.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Doug/superhtml/apache.html], Samurai [link to: http://fantasia.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Doug/superhtml/samurai.html], and Black Vulcan [link to: http://fantasia.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Doug/superhtml/blackv.html]. They get graded [link to: http://members.tripod.com/~MitchellBrown/grades/superfriends2.html] here. Marvel tried it in the Contest of Champions [link to: http://ape-law.com/GAF/Page32/] series (great article on a great site). Ireland had "Shamrock" (who had a tiff with "Captain Britain"). China's representative was "Collective Man" (yikes!). The Jewish one in C.O.C. was Sabra [link to: http://ape-law.com/GAF/Page32/contest19.jpg] "Like the spiny pear that is the symbol of the Israeli people from which I derive my name -- I am harsh to my enemies... yet sweet to my friends!" (yikes yikes!)
It's interesting from the usually dismissive attitude given to such attempts to see that people don't seem to like attempts to introduce diversity, even when nothing is really at stake.
Ok, time to take my nerd pills and go to bed.
posted by ontic at 7:47 PM on February 5
From: "The Religious Affiliations of Super Heroes", posted 27 June 2007 by Elizabeth "I'm Pro-Accordion and I Vote!" B. on Gather.com website (http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977041058; viewed 2 July 2007):
Okay, anyone could have guessed that Shamrock, a.k.a. Molly Fitzgerald, would have to be Catholic. But did you know that Superman is Methodist? The Shadow is a Buddhist? Who knew?
A website, www.comicbookreligion.com, attempts to catalogue our Superfriends by religion and ethnicity...
Webpage created 23 June 2006. Last modified 2 July 2007.
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