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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Ororo Munroe
Storm
of the X-Men

Storm is the codename of Ororo Munroe, a mutant with the ability to control weather. The character was introduced as part of the "new" X-Men in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975), in a story written by Len Wein and illustrated by Dave Cockrum. Since her introduction, Storm has remained one of the mainstays of the various X-Men comic book series and has been depicted in movies and animated television shows.

Storm has always been depicted as a very spiritual person, and has always been depicted as a character who worships a deity she refers to as "Goddess." This is most frequently evident through her exclamations of "Goddess!" when she is startled.

Storm exclaims Goddess
Above: One of countless depictions of Storm exclaiming "Goddess!"

[Source: Ultimate Spider-Man issue #43 (titled "Help"), page 20. Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Pencils by Mark Bagley. Inks by Art Thibert. Reprinted in Ultimate Spider-Man hardcover collection volume 4, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York (2004).]


Storm and Spider-Man

Many comic book stories have dealt more in depth with Storm's spiritual, religious and mystical life. An important part of her origin story was the fact that when Professor Charles Xavier invited Storm to join his new X-Men team, Storm herself was being worshipped as a goddess by a tribe in Africa.

Goddess worship has been a part of human religion throughout recorded history. Belief in the feminine divine or in a goddess is a part of many contemporary religions, including such seemingly disparate groups as Amida Buddhism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism). Storm, however, has never been depicted as belonging to any organized religion. Storm's form of goddess worship may have been strongly influenced by the African primal-indigenous religions that she grew up among, but overall it appears to be a personally practiced religion without formal organizational or congregational aspects.

Storm prays to the goddess, who answers her prayer
Above: Storm prays to the Goddess, i.e. The Goddess answers Storm's prayer.
[Source: Classic X-Men #20 (April 1988), backup story titled "Mother of the Bride", written by Jo Duffy, illustrated by John Bolton, page 12; reprinted in X-Men Vignettes Vol. 2 trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), page 94.]


Storm's mother is Mother Nature
Above: A story published in Classic X-Men #20 explicitly identifies the Goddess worshipped by Storm as Mother Nature or Mother Earth, i.e., Gaea.
[Source: Classic X-Men #20 (April 1988), backup story titled "Mother of the Bride", written by Jo Duffy, illustrated by John Bolton, pages 1-2; reprinted in X-Men Vignettes Vol. 2 trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), pages 83-84.]

Storm typically invokes the name of her deity by exclaiming phrases such as "By the Goddess" or sometimes "By the Bright Lady." On occassion, the goddess Storm worships has been tied to Gaea or Gaia. In Deadpool-GLI Summer Fun Spectacular #1 (2007) we see Storm exclaiming, "By Mother Earth."

Although Storm's use of her weather powers to bless the lives of an African tribe she lived among caused her to be worshipped as a goddess, Storm knows that she is a mutant and does not believe that she is actually some sort of religious prophetess or divine being.


Storm prays to the goddess, who answers her prayer
Above: Storm here speaks of herself as a "goddess" who is "consecrated to life, sworn to protect it." This is just one of many instances in which Storm makes clear her ardently pro-life philosophy.

[Source: The Uncanny X-Men #166 (February 1983), "Live Free or Die!", page 11; Marvel Comics Group: New York City; written by Chris Claremont, pencilled by Paul Smith, inked by Bob Wiacek.]

From: "Storm" article on Wikipedia.com website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_(comics); viewed 28 October 2005):

Storm's journey next brought her to the Kenyan portion of Serengeti, the land of her ancestors. (Southern Serengeti is territory of Tanzania). There Ororo called out to the Goddess of her ancestors and was rewarded with a bright vision of a woman resembling Storm in adult life. Storm would continue to swear by the Goddess but no name has ever been given to this deity. Current speculation is that this Goddess is Gaia who has made multiple appearances in the Marvel Universe as the ultimate maternal ancestor of its various gods (for example Thor).

Ororo came to use her powers to help the native tribes and their efforts in agriculture. She came to be worshipped by them as their "Goddess of life", possibly the same deity Ororo had contacted in her vision. However her powers came with a price. The weather Ororo controlled was also subconsciously affected by her emotional state. Ororo had to detach herself from stronger, violent emotions in order to prevent the fury of the elements to bring ruin to those close to her. Ororo spend years exploring her powers with the help of Ainet, a tribal elder who came to serve as the surrogate mother of the youthful goddess.

Ororo reached her maturity while still in the role of a tribal goddess. There she was found by her old victim Charles Francis Xavier, who invited her to join his second team of X-Men.


Infinity Crusade

Storm was identified as among Marvel's most religious in Infinity Crusade Storm 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.
Storm was identified as among Marvel's most religious in Infinity Crusade

Discussion

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
wonderfly

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, 04:39 PM
Chris Sanders

What would Storm be? Seeing as how she was once worrishipped as a God.

From: "'X-men' comic books and movie tackle Christianity" forum discussion started 11 April 2003 on IIDB Secular Community Forums website (http://www.iidb.org/vbb/archive/index.php/t-50750.html; viewed 12 July 2007):

Bobzammel [a self-described atheist/agnostic]
April 12, 2003, 10:56 AM

...A few Marvel characters have religious backgrounds. The Thing is Jewish, although he is not practicing. Magneto is also either Jewish or a Gypsy. The Avenger Firebird is a Catholic missionary. Storm is a Pagan. Thor thinks he is a God. Daredevil is also a Catholic.

Excerpts from: "Are Superheroes Religious?" forum page, started 13 May 2004, in "The John Byrne Forum" section of the Byrne Robotics website (http://jb.24-7intouch.com/forum/get_topic.asp?FID=3&TID=558&DIR=P; viewed 9 January 2006):
Dana Smith
13 May 2004
Others: U.S.Agent (Southern Baptist?), Windshear (Protestant Christian?), Human Torch and Invisible Woman (Protestant)... Wolfsbane (Presbyterian), Jean Grey (?... shown attending church at some point), Storm (worships a goddess of some sort), Cannonball (? ...some branch of Christianity)

Mostly Marvel, I know... BTW [by the way]... some of these were revealed during the Infinity Crusade.

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):

...By the way, Marvel apparently recognized early on that its original books had been too whitebread. All five of the original X-Men [Cyclops, Iceman, the Beast, Angel and Jean Grey/Marvel Girl] were WASPs ["White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"], but when they revived the book in the 1970's, the new team members (Havok, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Banshee and Sunfire) were WASP, German Catholic, African Pagan, Canadian, Native American, Irish Catholic, and Japanese, respectively...

posted by Asparagirl at 8:14 PM on February 5

From: "Uncanny X-Men #472 Review" forum discussion page, started April 2006 on ComixFan.com website (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/showthread.php?t=38569&page=2; viewed 12 May 2006):

[Posted by:] I Halloween Jack
Good issue. But for once I want to know he name of the Goddess Storm refers to so much. What religion is Storm after all? ...Finally an issue where I didn't feel Storm sucked completely.
[Posted by:] Eric Travis
As for her religion, to the best of my knowledge, she does not belong to any organized, structured religion. However, there's no doubt that she views life as sacred, and that she is most 'at home' in the natural elements. (It's when she's trapped in urban environments that she gets weird personality swings, which Yukio so enjoys.) The Goddess she refers to is also called 'The Bright Lady', and is almost certainly her personal way of revering Mother Earth/Nature/Gaia. If it must have a label, then perhaps something like 'elemental paganism'?
[Posted by:] Phil Hunn
Since she was once worshipped as a goddess herself, I wouldn't be surprised if this was Storm's way of bigging herself up.

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... I loved that Storm was dealing with her confusion between having lived as a Goddess and becoming more down to earth with the X-Men, I always liked that she referred to "the goddess." ...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: "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
From: OSinner1

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 [If I recall correctly], 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 (Daredevil, 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.


Date: 21 Oct 2004 21:06:41
From: Matt Deres

At the risk to my sanity, I've dug out that series [Infinity Crusade] to investigate...

Storm sees an Ankh (though I've no idea why...)


Date: 31 Oct 2004 22:20:58
From: Randal

re: "Storm sees an Ankh (though I've no idea why...)"

I think it was meant as a sort of generic African (Egyptian anyway, she did grow up in Cairo) non-Christian/non-Muslim/non-Jewish religious symbol. I actually got the impression she used to worship some sort of Sun Goddess.


Date: 31 Oct 2004 23:48:47
From: CleV

Storm's goddess is most likely your good old fashioned garden variety earth goddess.


Date: 01 Nov 2004 05:03:44
From: Randal

It was her constant references to "bright lady" that made me think sun goddess.


Date: 01 Nov 2004 20:25:24
From: Jette Goldie

Moon goddesses are frequently referred to as "bright lady" - and be "earth/fertility" goddesses, while at the same time being "lunar" deities.


Date: 01 Nov 2004 19:15:01
From: Matt Deres

re: "It was her constant references to "bright lady" that made me think sun goddess."

Not unheard of, but it would be rare; the sun is almost exclusively a male item and the moon is almost exclusively a female one (probably tied in to the menstrual cycle thing).

I'm not familiar with any that are, except to the extent that many goddesses are linked in some way to the moon. I've always seen Ororo's deity as being more like Gaia; there's certainly a fertility aspect, but not in the sense of cultivation (as with Hestia, Demeter, etc.). The "bright" aspect just be due to her divinity.


Date: 02 Nov 2004 01:39:24
From: Randal

This is kind of off topic, but I wold hazard that female sun goddesses and male moon gods are as common or almost as common as the other way around. Outside of Romantic Europe and parts of the middle east the former have been the norm.

More on topic, Storm did at one time at least actually believe she herself was a goddess ( I used to think she was invoking herself when she talked about goddesses). I wonder how that shows up in her beliefs.


Date: 01 Nov 2004 23:00:14
From: Matt Deres

Yes, that must be rather awkward.

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: Samy Merchi
Date: Mon, May 11 1998 12:00 am

re: "It started after Excalibur started, and since then she [Kitty Pryde] has mentioned that she is Jewish all of twice in the last three years (that I remember)..."

Which is more often than most characters mention their religion. (Aside from people like Ororo or Amara who constantly use their religion in their gasp-phrases.)...

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 rather hazy goddess apparently worshipped by Storm...


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.


Jesse Newcomb
05-15-2005, 06:53 PM

...Storm worships her goddess...


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

...As for [other] characters...
Storm - pagan...


The Fury
05-16-2005, 02:11 AM

The problem is that whether they are strongly religious or not.

While some like Nightcrawler, Storm and Sabra are obvious to their beliefs and faith, there are many that I don't think I've ever seen mention their beliefs or gone to church...

Also, the word Pagan. Earlier someone called Magma a Pagan, although she was, we knew what her religion was and so could have used that. Storm though, we know she is of a faith and a strong one at that. The use of the word Pagan there makes sense as we do not know what that faith is.

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: trupke
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am

...Umm... Storm's faith in the "Bright Lady" was religious enough for the Goddess to accept her in the Infinity Crusade, but I'm not sure if that qualifies.


From: David R. Henry
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am

re: "When has religion been used as a plot device in an xbook?"

Plot device or plot component?

...Technically, any story about Storm's origin deals with religion, since she was an official goddess...

From: reader comments accompanying "Holy Superheroes" article, written by Steven Waldman and Michael Kress, posted 12 June 2006 on BeliefNet.com website; reprint of "Beliefwatch: Good Fight" article published in Newsweek, 19 June 2006 issue (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/193/story_19306_1.html; viewed 14 June 2006):
Morgan22
6/14/2006 2:29:15 PM

I'm disappointed by some of the omissions in this [BeliefNet.com / Newsweek] article. These heroes aren't just either mainstream or atheist. Case in point: Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm, of the X-Men, is a goddess worshiper and is considered a goddess herself by her people...

From: "Religion in comic books", posted 14 June 2006 on "Get Religion" blog website (http://www.getreligion.org/?p=1679; viewed 14 June 2006):
[Comments section for this page]

Posted by Will at 7:47 pm on June 14, 2006:

...And allegedly African Storm swears by a composted The Goddess...

From: Michael, "No Sunday School In Smallville", posted 12 June 2006 on "Tales to Mildly Astonish" blog website (http://talestomildlyastonish.blogspot.com/2006/06/no-sunday-school-in-smallville.html; viewed 15 June 2006):
...There are precious few heroes of faith in comics, mainstream or alternative, and the more I think about that, the less I like it. Most heroes' religion is used as a type of shorthand characterization, something to fill space in the Handbook... Storm practices, or practiced, a vague paganism, worshipping (and on one case being worshipped as) a generic Earth Mother goddess, although but that aspect of her character has fallen into disuse over the past 15-20 years...
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: Mike Kantor
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 11:38 pm

Cable is Askani!

Storm believes in the "Bright Lady", not sure was that is...


From: Brian Doyle
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 8:28 am

...Storm - Some sort of female nature divinity...


From: Kenneth
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 11:59 am

...Storm belongs to a minor cult of some sort, probably from Africa. (Someone called Light Lady? Sometimes the translations [in Spanish] are quite vague).

...I can only recall Storm being abducted by "the Goddess" in the "Infinity Crusade", but maybe there were more X-men there, and that would mean they had a religious feeling at all.


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 3:12 pm

re: "Storm - Some sort of female nature divinity"

Which is stupid, no such religion exist in Africa. And while you do have animist religions in Africa, the largest religion is Islam. Number 2 would be Christianity. Number 3 would be various animist religions, grouped together.


From: Brian Doyle
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 4:27 pm

Storm is only half African, her father was American, and as someone who was, for some considerable time, worshipped as a deity herself, I'm prepared to believe her religious views are not the norm. Basically I'd say she's a Gaia-ist. She reveres nature in all it's forms and perceives it as embodied in a female presence akin to the Western view of "Mother Nature".


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

Storm worships some nameless goddess... Not sure about the rest. Most writers take it for granted that a) characters believe in a god and b) that they're Judeo-Christian.


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 11:30 am

Storm was raised in Egypt, moved southward through the Sudan, and spent time in Kenya. The Egypt and the Sudan are Muslim, with Christian minorities. Kenya is more Christian, but with a substantial Muslim population. African Americans are Christian mostly.

So her father could have no influence on Storm's decision to worship this nameless Goddess. Actually, the cartoons and the movies have made no mention of this "Goddess' and I notice lately in X-Treme X-Men neither has Storm. So I would say have dropped that religion from her.


From: Brian Doyle
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 2:03 pm

Why not? He was still her father, regardless of the prevailing religion of the region she was in. She certainly has never displayed any traits of any major organised religion except the previously mentioned Gaia-ism / animism.

re: "Actually, the cartoons and the movies have made no mention of this 'Goddess'"

Not relevant to the comics incarnation.

re: "...I notice lately in X-Treme X-Men neither has Storm. So I would say they have dropped that religion from her."

She is still linked to the biosphere of the planet, which makes her sensitive to natural occurences. I'd assume she still has her nature based beliefs, but just doesnt mention it any more.


From: Prestorjon
Date: Tues, Jun 4 2002 6:57 pm

...Storm is apparently an animist or polytheist of some sort...


From: Michael W Crichton
Date: Thurs, Jun 6 2002 1:07 pm

re: "Which is stupid, no such religion exist in Africa."

Are you really suggesting that out of the hundreds of animistic/pagan religions in Africa, NOT ONE has any sort of nature goddess? Upon what are you basing this ridiculous assertion?


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Thurs, Jun 6 2002 7:35 pm

In Storm's so called religion, she worshipped a female creator which is simply called goddess. Yes, I am suggesting there is no such religion. Animistic religions in Africa do not have a female creator of the universe, and I would challenge anyone to present an ethnic group that has one.

Also, worshippers of these religions give very specific names to their gods, and Storm's religion and goddess have no name.

Thank god they dropped that goddess crap from her vocabulary.

Also, these religions generally have names.

And as I said, the biggest religion in Africa is Islam, Number 2 is Christianity.


From: Brian Doyle
Date: Fri, Jun 7 2002 1:58 am

re: "I would challenge anyone to present an ethnic group that has one."

Well, there's the Greeks. The first living thing in the entire universe was the female Khaos, who represented the fabric of the universe itself.

re: "...worshippers of these religions give very specific names to their gods..."

In some religions (Hebrew, early Christianity and others) the "true" name of God is viewed as being holy and not to be used, aliases were adopted instead such as "I am" in Christianity.

re: "Thank god they dropped that goddess crap from her vocabulary."

In other words dropped a character trait she's had for thirty years for no reason? Why would she suddenly lose her faith? If you're going to do something like that, try giving a reason!

re: "And as I said, the biggest religion in Africa is Islam, Number 2 is Christianity."

And Ororo spent some time being wroshipped as a goddess, neither Islam nor Christianity would have followers who would worship her, nor use such a term on a mortal, so whatever faith her worshippers had it's not either of those two.


From: BlakGard
Date: Fri, Jun 7 2002 10:19 am

1. No mention has been made as to whether or not Ororo's "Goddess" is the creator of her religion. She's referred to as an Earth goddess, perhaps akin to Asase Ya (perhaps not -- several other African goddesses can fit). 2. A few African people do, in fact, have female creators and/or supreme deities, including the Ovambo and Fon.

That said, Ororo is a ficticious character, whose mother was a spiritual leader of a ficticious tribe in Africa. Frankly, I see no need for the book to conform to the real-world.

re: "...worshippers of these religions give very specific names to their gods..."

Just because no name has been given doesn't mean the goddess doesn't have a name. The Christian god has a name (many, in fact), yet most seem to refer to it as "God."

re: "Thank god they dropped that goddess crap from her vocabulary."

You mean: "Thank god they stripped her of her self."

re: "Also, these religions generally have names."

Not really... not that it's really relevant.

re: "And as I said, the biggest religion in Africa is Islam, Number 2 is Christianity."

Irrelevant. Storm is neither, nor was her mother, nor was the tribe that worshipped her as a goddess. Islam and Christianity may be the largest religions in Africa, but they are far from being the only religions, especially in the area that Ororo resided in. The people of Kenya and Tanzania, the areas in which Ororo spent the most amount of time, are between 20-30% animists/polytheists (non-Islam and non-Christian).


From: CleV
Date: Fri, Jun 7 2002 11:25 am

re: "Thank god they dropped that goddess crap from her vocabulary."

re: "In other words dropped a character trait she's had for thirty years for no reason? Why would she suddenly lose her faith? If you're going to do something like that, try giving a reason!"

Agreed. But I don't think it's definitively gone, just not currently mentioned.


From: BlakGard
Date: Sat, Jun 8 2002 12:01 am

Agreed. Rumours of its abandonment are highly exaggerated.


From: Michael W Crichton
Date: Sat, Jun 8 2002 10:39 am

re: "...worshippers of these religions give very specific names to their gods..."

Maybe she just doesn't use it? The idea of a deity having a secret name, not to be heard by unbelievers, isn't that unusual.

re: "Thank god they dropped that goddess crap from her vocabulary."

Yes, drop the most central aspect of her character for no apparent reason, how nice of them.


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Sat, Jun 8 2002 2:44 pm

She no longer says Goddesd, and not in the past few years.

The various animist religions in Africa are syncretic. As I said, almost all people either Muslim or Christian. However, some Muslims, and some Christians practice the various animist faiths such as the Shango worshippers.

For example, one could pray to Oya, the goddess of wind, rain, lightning, the graveyard, the marketplace, fire and volcanoes (and she is powerful sorceress), and still be a Muslim or a Christian, in the context of Africa. So Storm may very well be Muslim or Christian.

It is quite relevant what religions you have Africa, as if the writers made an error in Storm's background, it needs to be fixed.


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Sat, Jun 8 2002 2:49 pm

re: "Rumours of its abandonment are highly exaggerated."

It has been abandoned, even by Claremont, the man who started her speaking like that. Storm also finally uses contractions too.

re: "I see no need for the book to conform to the real-world."

I do. All of the characters have religions that correspond to their ethnicity, and so should Storm. if the writers can not do the research, then don't bother having her make religious references.

re: "You mean: 'Thank god they stripped her of her self.'"

It was not herself.


From: Prestorjon
Date: Sat, Jun 8 2002 9:16 pm

re: "In the context of Africa? And why give her a nameless religion. And as I said, Africa is essentially either Muslim or Christian."

Except for the parts which aren't. Kenya and Tanzania, the general area of Africa in which Storm grew into adulthood, is about a quarter animist/other indigenous beliefs. And living among tribesmen out in the bush she'd be more likely to have an indigenous set of beliefs. Also given how she was worshipped as a Goddess it's not unlikely that she doesn't have a religion as such and that she has a personal and special relationship with the divine outside of and kind of organized or even semi-organized tradition.


From: Menshevik
Date: Sun, Jun 9 2002 1:58 am

By your [Justin Samuels'] logic -- Storm cannot belong to an animist religion because the majority of the population of the continent (!) of Africa (not e.g. the region in Kenya from which her mother came) is either Christian or Muslim and M cannot be Catholic because the population of North Africa is mostly Muslim -- Kitty Pryde could not possibly be Jewish and the various Native American X-people could not possibly be adherents of their traditional tribal religions because the overwhelming majority of the US population is Christian.


From: Patrick McClue
Date: Sun, Jun 9 2002 3:47 am

Storm is connected to the planet's biosphere. Maybe when her powers were emerging (remember she was a young), she rationalized this connection to the Earth as direct communication a goddess (feminine since people usually see gods as they see themselves). Maybe the "Bright Lady" is the representation of life on Earth and does not have to correspond to any other religion in Africa, real or Marvel.

To add to that, are the Wakandans Muslim, Christian, or do they worship other gods? Being isolationists, I doubt they would adopt foreign religions. If we can accept an African nation that is technologically more advance than other nations in the Marvel world, and that they might have their own religion, I don't see why Marvel's Africans must be either Christian or Muslim.


From: BlakGard
Date: Sun, Jun 9 2002 6:45 am

re: "All of the characters have religions that correspond to their ethnicity, and so should Storm."

Storm does have a religion that corresponds to her ethnicity.

re: "It was not herself"

You obviously do not know the character, then.


From: Michael W Crichton
Date: Sun, Jun 9 2002 6:09 pm

re: "...as I said, Africa is essentially either Muslim or Christian."

Which doesn't change the fact that there are more than 100 million animists/pagans/whatever there, which is more than a third of the animists in the world. And Kenya, WHERE STORM GREW UP, is 1/4 pagan. Pay attention, kid!


From: Luis Dantas
Date: Sat, Jun 15 2002 7:38 pm

[Responding to Justin Samuels]

Did you ever read any references about her time as a goddess in Africa? Do you realize that she used to pray for "Goddess" quite a lot in early stories?

re: "Make her atheist, or, as the majority of Africans, either Muslim or Christian."

Then why on earth would she keep exclaiming "Goddess" as she did on early Claremont-Cockrum and Claremont-Byrne issues?

Neither an atheist nor a muslim or a Christian would do that. For that matter, neither of these three faith stances would be compatible with accepting worship from native africans, as Storm actually did.

Unless, of course, it were a syncretic practicioner - but in that case, your "essentially Christian and/or Muslim" scenario stands revealed as the fantasy that it truly is.


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Sat, Jun 29 2002 10:44 am

Since Marvel was too lazy to do any research on Storm's religious background (which would been heavily Islamic due her time in Egypt and the Sudan) after which spent time among people who more Christian, and too lazy to the research to give an ethnic background, all I can is thank God dropped the goddess nonsense, which no African talks like that!


From: Brian Doyle
Date: Sat, Jun 29 2002 12:32 pm

Dang it Justin. We've said from the word go that her religion is clearly not one anyone has heard of. It's made up. The major piece of eivdence we have for that is that SHE herself was viewed as being the principle active goddess of the pantheon as she herself was the one being worshipped. Since it's made up, they can have the major divnity (in this case the Bright Lady, that Storm is presumably supposed to be subordinate to in her capacity as Windrider, Stormbringer etc etc) be male, female or a small fuzzy blue creature from Alpha Centauri if they want. Arguing about it's reality is pointless, as it clearly isn't real to begin with.


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Sun, Jun 30 2002 7:50 pm

Well, they didn't give any of the characters made up religions, so Storm should not have had one either. It is a moot point, because dropped that made up religion from her character. It is gone!


From: BlakGard
Date: Mon, Jul 1 2002 8:03 am

Big deal. It's made up, but it's still realistic.

And they haven't dropped it.


From: Justin Samuels
Date: Thurs, Jul 4 2002 5:30 pm

It isn't realistic.

re: "And they haven't dropped it."

They have, as Storm never discusses it. She no longer exclaims by the goddess.


From: Dan
Date: Thurs, Jul 4 2002 8:02 pm

Which means absolutely nothing. Until such a time as Storm starts talking about a different religion (or none) there is no reason to assume it's changed.


From: Paul O'Brien
Date: Fri, Jul 5 2002 12:37 pm

re: "No, it would be impossible go grow up in the countries that she did (Egypt and the Sudan) and not have been heavily influenced by Islamic culture."

This is a very interesting point, actually. I agree with you that, having spent much of her childhood in Cairo being raised by the local population, you'd naturally expect Storm to be Muslim. It doesn't fit desperately well with her wandering off to the desert to become a nature worshipper.

The concept of Storm believing herself to be a goddess works rather better if she's spent her whole life in the desert - although it also has a slightly patronising element of "behold the noble savage" to it. I suppose the best way to reconcile this is to attribute Storm's unusual religious beliefs to what she was taught by her mother - an established magic-user - as a child prior to her parents being killed, and sticking with that position to some degree throughout the rest of her life.

There's also her religious experiences in the wilderness with the "bright lady", but I've always just read those as Storm's powers putting her in touch with the Marvel Universe version of Gaea in some manner. Of course, you can also read it as an outright mystical encounter with an obscure mythological figure if you prefer.

You know, the more of this stuff I type, the more I'm thinking there's a ton of untapped story material in here.


From: Menshevik
Date: Fri, Jul 5 2002 1:33 pm

The way I see it, Storm does not really belong to one culture anyway. From her parents she is already linked to two (her mother's Kenyan tribal traditions and her father's American, presumably Christian ones), then she experienced Egyptian ones (Muslim, possibly also Coptic) and the various cultures she encountered on her long trek to the Serengeti, where she wound up being worshipped as a goddess herself. I'd say that she ended up disassociating herself from all organized religions and to some extent making up a religion of her own. She is never shown going to any priest/ess or to attend religious services (she was shown communing with the forces of nature informally, e.g. in UXM #169). There also may be an element of feminist theology involved in her referring to the suprem deity as "Goddess".


From: Brian Doyle
Date: Fri, Jul 5 2002 2:17 pm

re: "I don't think so. I think that simply Storm's powers putting her in touch with the earth itself, a planet full of life. In other words, she in touch with a force. Not an entity."

Well, Gaea is an active entity in the MU, the embodimentof the planet itself, so you can't have one without the other. And as Storm is someone who is capable of distorting weather across half a continent, I imagine Gaea keeps an eye on her.

From: "Any Christian Superheroes?" thread began 22 April 2004 on rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4e5839f075fecf76/394c4ad930a0e68c; viewed 20 June 2006):
From: Gustavo Wombat
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 12:03 pm

I can't think of any major superheroes that strongly believe in any real faith, and that surprises me. Certainly not in the DC Universe. I think there are more minority superheroes than religious ones...


From: AJSolis
Date: Fri, Apr 23 2004 2:12 am

Let's see, there's the Jewish Shadowcat, Firebird is Christian. Storm is probably still a pagan...

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):
From: Dwiff
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am

...Anyone care to post a list of those characters whose spiritual beliefs are on record? Of the top of my head:
Storm: murky ill-defined African pagan
[6 other characters listed]


From: Paul O'Brien
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am

Storm appears to be into nature worship, and I think we're supposed to take it as read that the "Bright Lady" she keeps going on about is an alternative manifestation of Gaea.


From: David O'Brien
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am

Pagan is a rather outdated tern these days, and smacks badly of intolerance. I may be wrong (But I'm pretty sure I'm not)... I think the parallels between Gaea and The Bright Lady are pretty obvious, Storm's [religious beliefs] never seen fit to go into it, but I'd say they're pretty close together. Perhaps more like an Aboriginal God than an A-typical African one.


From: Dwiff
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am

Pagan is NOT a pejorative term...

I'm not arguing that Bright Lady maybe analogous to Gaea worship, I'm saying WHATEVER HER RELIGION IS, ITS MURKY AND ILL-DEFINED. Nobody worships "Bright Lady" here on planet earth, there are plenty of real African religions she can adhere to, or a writer can use as a model if he feels the need to create one. But saying she "worships the earth/Bright Lady/Gaea" is not very clear, hence "murky" and "ill-defined", the "earth worship" is where we get "pagan". She grew up in Africa, (so the aboriginal model you suggest makes no sense) hence "African."

When we first see her, she is BEING WORSHIPPED as a goddess, so that's a whole nother kettle of fish...


From: Dwiff
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am

re: "Gaea is hardly ill-defined. She is a major part of Greek/Roman myth and, at least with the Marvel spin on it, the Norse mythology as well."

Let me try again:
I know who Gaea is/what she is. The object of the worship is not in question, nor is it ill-defined. Its Storm's actual religion that's ill-defined. I understand that it involves worship of the earth mother. That statement, however, does not in any way make her religion clear. It's as if you ask me what my religion is, and I reply " I worship the one above, who's analogous to god." That's a pretty vague answer isn't it? Her worship of the earth is what's murky and ill-defined, not the earth mother.

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?

Scott
Jean
Professor X
Magneto
Wolverine
Wanda
Lorna
Bobby
Pietro
Storm


ibrakeforchinwe
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

Deus ex Chris
01-16-2007, 04:42 PM

Storm fits under that blanket label we call "Pagan" but the best part about her is that she's half goddess worshipper and half worshipped goddess. FUN!


ibrakeforchinwe
01-16-2007, 04:47 PM

She's her own god. :rolleyes:


Deus ex Chris
01-16-2007, 04:50 PM

Don't be rolling those eyes. That's why she's fabulous!

*loves when Storm is all bitchy and aloof*


AnthonyJ
01-16-2007, 07:09 PM

Most comic book characters are blandly nondenominational with a tendency towards being WASPs [i.e., "White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"]. The only ones I would consider obviously practicing members of a faith are:

Kitty: Jewish
Jean: founder and prophet of the Church of the Phoenix
Magneto: Jewish
Storm: Neopagan, Goddess worshipper
Sam: Baptist
Kurt: Catholic


fishtaco
01-17-2007, 07:47 AM

Yeah, Wolverine's atheist. Nightcrawler and Shadowcat are obvious. Storm (and probably Magik) are complicated. Rogue is Christian, but I don't think we know whether that's Protestant or Catholic or something else. I don't think Longshot understands the concept of religion, so I guess that might make him an atheist. Wolfsbane is Presbyterian, Cannonball is Christian as of New Mutants (1st Series) #15. I suppose Magma believes in the Roman (Greek) gods? Forge? I think Gambit is atheist. Thunderbird III is Hindu. There are Shi'ar gods... Shaara, Kythri), Lilandra worships them.

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):

Nogs
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...


lament
09-16-2006, 03:22 AM

...Storm was worshipped as a goddess.

From: "Please Help List Minority Groups" forum discussion, started 11-05-2006 on "Super-Hero Hype" website (http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?t=255464; viewed 12 July 2007):

11-05-2006, 02:40 PM
Popo 85

Hey guys,
I'm doing a project for Ohio State University about subordinate group representation in Marvel Comic's superhero population (pretty awesome, huh?)

A subordinate group basically means a population that's not a dominant group. And I've got 7 categories to fill; ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and physical or mental ability. ..though I think I'll cut socioeconomic status do to it's fine line-ish qualities in comics.

So, how about I'll give what I've got so far, and then feel free to add to my lists. I think I have a pretty good handle on the MU, but it's still huge and I don't want to forget anybody. Should be fun anyway...


11-05-2006, 10:21 PM
BrianWilly

...Storm is obviously deeply religious, although it's hard to pinpoint just what her religion is. It's a form of goddess worship certainly, but not really like any of its New Age forms.

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):

mavericker
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 12:49 PM

Lets see:
Zauriel
The Spectre
Nightcrawler
Storm
Raven
Supergirl
Venom
Lobo
Zatanna
Scarlet Witch
Juggernaut
Dr. Strange
Dr. Fate
Any character that uses magic, sorcery


alexziq
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...

Good Lord, (sigh)


mrterrific
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 1:19 PM

Sure, I can possibly see why Zauriel, the Spectre, Raven, the magic users and even Storm (since she is sometimes refered to as a godess) could be called sacrilegious...


[http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000107545&start=30&tstart=15]

oldfangirl
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 11:20 PM

Comments on Mavericker's list:

...Storm - How can she be anti-Christian? Her mother was a pagan priestess and as far as we know she was never Christian...

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?

EVIDENCE PLEASE???

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?

From: "What is Professor X's Religion?" forum discussion, started 21 July 2007 on Yahoo Groups website (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ux-fans/message/6980; viewed 11 August 2007):

Steven / steviemort45
Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:24 am

Reading X-titles over the years religion has played a big part in many of the characters lives, Nightcrawler is very dedicated to Catholicism. A big part of Kitty is her faith in Judaism. Storm was worshipped as a godess. But one character who faith has never been explored (to my knowledge) is Professor Xavier's. Is he Catholic, Jewish, or is he an atheist?

Opinions?


Darren Duncan
Jul 21, 2007 6:41 am


...Ororo being worshipped as a Goddess does not by itself say anything about her religion, so that's a bad example to use. Mutants in general are probably worshipped as deities by some, and they have a wide range of religions. That said, Ororo has demonstrated numerous times that she herself seems to be a pagan of Mother Nature worship, between her frequent invocation of a nature goddess. She also strongly likes to care for plants, and has an arboretum, and is often shown watering it with clouds (or at least in the 1980s comics that was the case) though someone with any religion could do that...


Steven / steviemort45
Jul 21, 2007 7:27 pm

With the Storm example I was just showing how the X-Men have played a pivotal part in religion in general. I was not saying that was her religion. Sorry if I did not make myself clear.


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