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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
In the mid 1980's Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben turned the comic book world on its collective head when they took DC Comics' moribund SWAMP THING character and made it into the most intelligently written, visually arresting book on the stands. I became involved, first as uncredited art assistant on many of Bissette's issues beginning with #22, then as penciller on a few fill-ins before taking over as regular penciller with #51. When Moore left the title with #64, I added writing chores until #82, when I gave up pencilling to concentrate solely on scripts. My tenure on the book ended when DC Comics refused to publish the completed SWAMP THING #88, in which SWAMP THING met Jesus, and I resigned in protest.From "Rick Veitch" page on Wikipedia.org website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Veitch; viewed 5 May 2007):
Veitch's highest-profile title was DC's Swamp Thing. His friends Totleben and Bissette had both illustrated the series since Alan Moore took over as writer; Veitch joined the team for issue #37, in which Moore's popular character John Constantine was introduced, and appeared regularly after issue #50. He had previously worked with Moore on Miracleman, illustrating the notorious story that graphically depicted the birth of Miracleman's child - not the last time Veitch found himself at the center of controversy.
When Moore left the series after issue #64, Veitch took over as writer, dividing art duties between himself and Alfredo Alcala. His Swamp Thing stories took a similar approach to Moore's, combining horror-fantasy, ecological concerns, and an encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics fantasy characters; however, he gradually turned his attention from the DC Universe to history and mythology, using time travel to introduce his hero to a variety of legendary figures. This was to conclude in issue #91. However Veitch quit after his plan for #88, a story in which Swamp Thing met Jesus, was scrapped by DC's editors.
Although DC had approved Veitch's initial script for the Jesus story, the issue was later deemed too inflammatory and was cancelled at the last minute. The publisher and writer were unable to reach a compromise; Veitch quit, and vowed never to work for DC until the story saw print. (Though it has still never been printed, he eventually did return to DC; see below.) There is some hope that DC may include the story in future reprints of Veitch's run (which started with the "Regenesis" trade paperback). However, Veitch recently noted that the real loss were the three issues that were to follow the Jesus story.
From VeeGee, question originally psted 30 January 1999 on the Unofficial Birds of Prey Message Board, re-posted in 2004 on Chuck Dixon's "Christianity in Comics" page on DixonVerse.net website (http://www.dixonverse.net/NEWSITE/ARTICLES/christ.html; viewed 5 May 2007):
From: Daniel Pulliam, "Religion in comic books", posted 14 June 2006 on "Get Religion" blog website (http://www.getreligion.org/?p=1679; viewed 14 June 2006):
Q: Christianity in comics question
I just read a wonderful interview with Scott McDaniel where he let people know he was a Christian, and that you were too. I just recently returned to a relationship with Christ (although He never left). I have been thinking about why past attempts at Christian comics/characters have not been as well received as their secular counterparts. I remember the line Marvel tried to start several years ago... but each book cost $5.00. [This message poster is apparently referring to Illuminator.] I would LOVE to see comic adaptions of Frank Perenti (sp?) books and other projects that really intertwine the fantasy of comics and faith in Christ. I kind of enjoyed John Byrne's Wonder Woman novel--I thought it would have made a better comic "event" than "Genesis" did. Are there a lot of Christian creators in comics? Are there any other characters besides,Nightcrawler, who are devout in their faith? What are your thoughts? I guess the bottom line for me is that "with great power..." ya'know, comics reach a lot of people and in a world like the one we live in-messages of hope and faith and turning to Christ are few and far between. I find it ironic that DC would have several mini-series about the devil; "Underworld Unleashed", and the new Vertigo series but wouldn't let Rick Veitch have Christ in a single issue of Swamp Thing.
[Reader comments section for this article]
Wade Rockett says:
June 30, 2006, at 3:23 pm
...I've noticed that the Marvel Comics universe tends more toward polytheism, whereas the DC universe is sort of Manichaean - there's God, a personal supreme force of Good who commands angels and to whom people pray under various names; and there's a Hell populated with demons and the souls of the damned, ruled by the fallen angel Lucifer. But in one Swamp Thing Annual by Alan Moore, a supreme force of Evil that is said to have existed alongside the Light before the beginning of time enters the universe and threatens to destroy it. It's a fascinating story, as the major supernatural characters in DC comics answer the evil entity's question, "What am I?" in different ways. The climax suggests that Good and Evil have a symbiotic relationship...
From: "Legion of Atheist Super-Heroes" forum discussion, started 17 November 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-152692.html; viewed 30 May 2007):
11-19-2006, 06:27 AM
Yeah, that's sort of the dorky thing about it. In the DCU, you've got Mr. Terrific hanging with the Spectre - the embodied Wrath of God - and Zauriel, who is literally an angel. Green Arrow, Swamp Thing and others have literally been to Heaven.
Atheism makes much less sense in a world in which gods, and God, are both demonstrably real. I suppose Mr. T argues that all these entities are just extradimensional beings of great power, but not truly divine beings.
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 27th, 2006, 07:57 AM
Yeah, during Ennis run, a Gabriel story talking about what he had done for "The Father" metioned "a rape in Bethlehem."
Cousin Cory Springhorn
October 27th, 2006, 10:26 AM
Wow. Remember back in the late 80s, when Rick Veitch left Swamp Thing because DC refused to publish the story he'd written in which Swamp Thing was present at the crucifixion of Jesus? You suppose Roarin' Rick read this issue of Hellblazer and thought, "and they said my story would be offensive to Christians?!"