The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Source: Tom DeFalco, Spider-Man: The Ultimate Guide, Dorling Kindersley: New York, NY (2001), page 120.
Text from the page from a Spider-Man comic shown above, in which Eddie Brock recounts to Spider-Man the events that led to him becoming Venom:
...And I decided to end it all. But I was raised Catholic, and suicide is a mortal sin. So I wandered from church to shadowed church, praying for forgiveness. Then, at Our Lady of Saints, something . . . odd happened. A shadow moved. Caressed me. I was joined. But this was a shadow filled with light. It clarified my anguish, focused my purpose, its hatred for you [Spider-Man] matched my own. It knew who you were. And it had power. Oh, such power! We found the woman first [i.e., Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker/Spider-Man's girlfriend]. Later we found your empty apartment. You were running from us. But this was a shadow filled with light. It clarified my anguish, focused my purpose. Its hatred for you matched my own.
DeFalco, pages 121-122:
Venom is actually two separate beings: Eddie Brock and the alien symbiote that once masqueraded as Spider-Man's costume. Both of them have their own reasons to hate Spider-Man. A chance meeting allowed Eddie and the alien to join together and become the most vicious mass of mayhem that Spider-Man has ever faced. Venom possesses all the powers of both Spider-Man and the alien symbiote. He is also far stronger than Spider-Man, and he can use the alien symbiote to disguise himself look like anything he can imagine.
Eddie Brock was once a respected reporter who worked for the New York Globe, a rival of the Daily Bugle. For a while, he was a media star, following his exposé of a man who had confessed to being the serial killer called the Sin-Eater. However, Spider-Man caught the real Sin-Eater -- the man Eddie turned in was a compulsive confessor. As a result, Eddie was fired from his job and his wife left him. With his career and personal life shattered, Eddie blamed Spider-Man for his loss. He wandered from church to church, praying for forgiveness for his hatred of Spider-Man. At Our Lady of Saints Church, Eddie's fierce emotion somehow awakened the dormant alient symbiote that had remained in the church after its final encounter with Spider-Man [in the bell tower]. The symbiote flowed over Eddie and they joined to become Venom.
With his vastly superior strength and the symbiote's additional powers, Venom always has an advantage when battling Spider-Man. Eddie could also stalk Spidey without triggering the wall-crawler's spider-sense.
Determined to destroy Spider-Man, Venom lured the wall-crawler to a South Sea island for a final battle. Here Spidey conceived a bold plan and managed to fake his own death. Convinced that his archenemy was no more, Eddie saw no reason to continue being Venom. He and the symbiote decided to remain on the island and live in peace.
After his battle on the South Sea island, Peter believed that he had finally seen the last of Venom. But this was not to be! When a serial killer called Carnage revealed that he had been created by merging with remnants of the alien symbiote, Peter was forced to seek Venom's help against this new super-menace.
Eddie has always considered himself to be a defender of the weak and helpless. In his warped mind, he has always believed that he is the hero and that Spider-Man is the monster. After promising to spare the wall-crawler's loved ones in exchange for freedom, Venom temporarily moved to San Francisco. Here he became the city's "lethal protector," dispensing his own brand of justice to help those he deemed innocent and to punish those he judged guilty.
Returning to his criminal ways, Venom recently joined the latest incarnation of the Sinister Sixe, and he helped them track down Spider-Man.
As with their battle against the serial killer Carnage, Spider-Man and Venom have sometimes been compelled to put their differences aside and join forces against a common foe. However, since neither party trusts the other, these alliances have always been very shaky and have often ended in betrayal.
From: "Venom" page on "Marvel Directory" website (http://www.marveldirectory.com/individuals/v/venom.htm; viewed 28 December 2005):
...the alien [symbiote]... escaped from its cell and made its way to Peter Parker's closet where it waited, disguised as a spare red-and-blue costume. Spider Man unwittingly donned the costume, which immediately made itself apparent. He brought it to the tower at Our Lady of Saints Church gambling the intense sound of its bells would destroy it.
Spider-Man lost the gamble, and he succumbed to the bells before the costume did. However, the empathic parasite had preyed upon the emotions of Spider-Man long enough to learn how to feel, and in feeling, to act. Sacrificing itself, the alien costume saved Spider-Man, who assumed it then crawled away to die.
Actually, the symbiote, weak and dying, slithered down into the church where Eddie Brock kneeled in prayer at the altar. Raised a Catholic, he was begging forgiveness for the suicide he was contemplating. Brock had been a successful columnist for the newly revived Daily Globe until he began writing a series of articles about the "Sin-Eater murders". A bogus offender had confessed to Brock about committing the murders. Protecting the "murderer's" identity under the First Amendment, Brock related his story everyday in the Globe until mounting pressure from the authorities forced him to write an exclusive revealing the murderer.
Although that edition of the paper sold out immediately, Spider-Man soon revealed the true identity of the Sin-Eater to be Detective Stan Carter, making Brock a laughingstock among his fellow journalists. Fired from the Daily Globe, he was forced to write venomous drivel for scandal newspapers. Brock blamed his predicament on Spider-Man...
Venom... made a bold move when he confronted Parker's wife, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, at their old Chelsea apartment. Although Venom's twisted sense of morality did not allow him to physically harm Mary Jane, Spider-Man immediately realized the nature of this threat.
Taking the time to retrieve the sonic blaster from the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man challenged Venom at Our Lady of Saints Church. Although he fired the blaster at Venom, Spider-Man soon discovered that the symbiote could not be separated from Brock because it had completely bonded with him. Trying to escape and rethink his options, Spider-Man was caught unawares by Venom. He captured Spider-Man and secured him to the inside of the church bell with a considerable amount of webbing.
From: "Venom (comics)" webpage on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venom_%28comics%29; viewed 17 January 2006):
...reporter Eddie Brock had been penning a number of articles in The Daily Globe on the recent Sin-Eater case... Following a false lead, he proceeded to write a series of columns identifying Emil Gregg as the perpetrator of the crimes. When Spider-Man caught the real criminal, policeman Stan Carter, Emil Gregg was discovered to be a compulsive confessor. The Globe became a laughing stock, and it fired Brock, who was shunned by his peers, and forced to write scathing celebrity exposes and alien abduction drivel for the scandal rags. Brock took up weight lifting in the hopes of reducing his stress, but was unsuccessful in alleviating his obsessive hatred of Spider-Man. Planning to kill himself, Eddie went to a church to apologize to God for not being strong enough to handle life. In that church, Eddie was found by the alien costume, which bonded itself to the failed reporter.
Venom returned later on to reveal that Eddie Brock had cancer, and he could not survive without a permanent merge with the symbiote. In the end, Spider-Man convinces the symbiote to go through with this "permanent merge." However, Eddie went through a religious awakening, and Brock sold the symbiote to the crimelord Don Fortunato, intending to donate the $100 million received to charity before dying. Angelo Fortunato became the second Venom for a brief period of time (technically, the Venom clone and its hosts were not really Venom). Upon hearing that Angelo Fortunato, the Don's son, had died after the symbiote abandoned him in mid-air jump, Brock slit his wrists in an alley, and his fate is uncertain.
From: "Bonus Story: What if Venom Possessed the Punisher?" sub-section of "Alternate Spidey Part 4: This Issue - Spidey Dies!" page, in "Alternate Spideys" section of "Spidey Kicks Butt!" website (http://www.spideykicksbutt.com/AlternateSpidey/AlternateSpideysPart4.html; viewed 17 December 2005):
O.K., so Spidey doesn't get killed in this one - in fact, no superhero gets killed - but since we've just spent most of the first part of this article talking about the Punisher, and Venom will be featured in a "What If?" story next, might as well toss in one featuring all three of these characters...
What If volume II #44 (December 1992), another story written by Kurt Busiek, opens with the Punisher at the infamous Our Lady of Saints Church lighting some candles for his dead wife and children, whose murders sparked his war on crime. Now, he just happens to get there before Eddie Brock shows up - which makes him the unwelcome recipient of the Venom symbiote (in fact, that looks like Brock that the Punisher bumps into on his way out of the church - talking about your timing issues)...
In many ways, this is actually a very logical pairing. The Venom symbiote makes the Punisher virtually unstoppable, and the Punisher gives the symbiote all of the action and vicarious thrills that it needs. You know, rather than invest so much wasted energy in seeking revenge or a re-union with Spider-Man, why didn't the Venom symbiote just seek a more appropriate partner who would give it exactly what it needed - someone like Frank Castle? Unfortunately, I wonder if this story gave Marvel the moronic idea of turning Venom into the Lethal Protector. It was just a few months after this issue appeared that the first Venom miniseries hit the stands, and the ultimate ruination of one of Spidey's most powerful and dangerous villains was assured. Or perhaps the Lethal Protector idea was already the works and this story was a subtle preview. Or - could it have been just a complete coincidence?
Another scene showing Eddie Brock worshipping in a Catholic church can be found in The Sensational Spider-Man #38 (August 2007), page 2, which is one of many places where the origin of the Venom-Brock combination is shown within a Catholic church, with Eddie praying before an altar. This issue, which was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with breakdown art by Lee Weeks and finishes by Stefano Gaudiano, recounts how Eddie Brock became sick with cancer and then tried to repent of his sins as Venom by selling his symbiote and donating the money to charity. This was an attempt to atone for the things he did wrong while merged with the symbiote. Page 5 of The Sensational Spider-Man #38 shows Eddie Brock praying in a Catholic church after he was rid of the symbiote. Psychologically, he still felt the symbiote at the fringes of his consciousness. It was as if he could hear the symbiote talking to him. This was apparently only in his mind, however. There was no remaining physical manifestation of Eddie Brock, who was dying of cancer. Page 19 shows Eddie Brock praying for guidance and understanding. Unfortunately, Eddie's long symbiotic relationship with the alien symbiote appears to have done considerable damage to his already questionable mental state. Even separated from the symbiote, the creature had tremendous pull on him, perhaps as a manifestation of his own subconscious dark desires. After Eddie, the believing Catholic, prayed to God for guidance and help, he imagined the symbiote answered his questions. It tempted him to go to the hospital room of Spider-Man's injured aunt - May Parker - to kill her as a way of having revenge against Spider-Man.
The Sensational Spider-Man #39 (September 2007), which was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by Rick Hoberg, Stefano Gaudiano and Clayton Crain, shows that despite the incredible pull this psychotically manifest "symbiote" had on Eddie Brock, he managed to withstand its enticings. When Peter Parker (Spider-Man) returned to his aunt's bedside, he found his aunt undisturbed. Eddie Brock was sitting on the windowsill by a window he had broken. Eddie had used the glass shards of the window to cut dozens of slashes in his arms and wrists in an attempt to "cut" the symbiote out of him. Further trying to protect any more innocents from suffering at his hands, Eddie hurled himself out the window of the high-rise hospital room. As he attemps to kill himself, Eddie Brock exclaims (The Sensational Spider-Man #39, September 2007, pages 22-23), "I've done terrible things, Peter, but I'm not a terrible person. Forgive me." Eddie Brock was saved from death by Peter Parker's well-aimed webs. Eddie woke up later in a hospital room. The "symbiote" told him it wasn't going anywhere, but Eddie now had new resolve to be the one in charge, rather than the other way around.
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?
Here's some for future reference that aren't in Heroclix yet.
Firebird's is Catholic. Punisher was Catholic (I'm not sure now)... Dagger is Catholic (not sure about Cloak). Bushwhacker (a villain) is Catholic. Venom's Catholic (Eddie Brock that is ;) ).
From: "Who's Catholic in the Marvel Universe" forum discussion started 5 February 2005 on "HCRealms" website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123637; viewed 10 May 2007):
I know a lot of characters are Jewish, so I was wondering who is officially Catholic?
I know Daredevil is. It's a major part of his personality and often occurs in storylines.
I also believe Firebird from the West Coast Avengers... After that, I'm pretty much stumped.
Anyone have any others?
I forgot that Venom was Catholic. At least he was in a church undergoing confession during one of his earlier appearances.
Yeah, Brock was ambushed by the symbiote in church (he was praying because he was contemplating suicide). The first time he attacked Spidey he assumed the form of a priest and tied him up in a bell tower as well. Doubt the symbiote is Catholic though.
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...
09-16-2006, 03:38 AM
...Eddie Brock is a Catholic. Villain, not a hero, but still.
Dust of course is Sunni Moslem.
Sue Storm is a Christian I believe.
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...
Good Lord, (sigh)
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. Maybe even Lobo, partly because of his violent nature and partly becuse of his "re-birth" in "52".... But seriously... Venom? Juggernaut? What is even remotely sacrilegious about those characters?
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 3:26 PM
Venom was in Church praying when the symbiote attacked him.
Juggernuat's strength and powers derive from witchcraft...
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 4:21 PM
Wow is this off.
How is being attacked in church make him a sacrilegious? So he was praying and then attacked now the character that was attacked is sacrilegious? Well alrighty then.
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. Maybe even Lobo, partly because of his violent nature and partly becuse of his "re-birth" in "52". Supergirl if you mean the "earthborn angel"...
Posted: Feb 28, 2007 11:20 PM
Comments on Mavericker's list:
Venom - ???????? ...
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?
Posted: Mar 1, 2007 11:05 AM
re: "Vemon was in Church praying when the symbiote attacked him."
Yes, he was. He is a Catholic man who intended to commit suicide, which he believed to be a deadly sin. Therefore he wanted to ask forgiveness from his God. How is that idea sacreligious? Is the mere portrayal of a man praying in a church somehow offensive to you?
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