The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Gabriel Moore, the boy who became the vigilante known as "Voodoo Child", was raised in the mid-1800s in a household that was nominally Catholic. But Gabriel's mother was princiaplly an adherent of Vodoun, which represented a contemporary localization of the traditional African religion of her ancestors. Gabriel was exposed to Vodoun beliefs and practices from infancy.
Gabriel's father, Mason Moore, was an extremely ethical Louisiana landowner who refused to support his state's secession from the union and pro-slavery status, even though such a stand put him at odds with his friends and compatriots. Eventually the moral stance that Gabriel's father took cost him his plantation and the life of his son.
In most regards, Gabriel Moore's parents were very moral, honorable people. The evident Catholicism of Mason Moore's friends and associates as well as the milieu in which he lived makes it clear that Gabriel Moore was raised at least nominally Catholic. Given the fact that Gabriel Moore's parents openly had their child out of wedlock, the family was clearly not devout with regards to all strictures of the Catholic Church. Given the time period, however, it is certain that Mason Moore's abolitionist beliefs and his stance against slavery have their roots in the Christian religious teachings. People on both sides of the debate over slavery, secession and abolition rooted their arguments in the Bible and church teachings.
As Gabriel Moore was dying after being attacked by a mob, a vodoun houngan named Billy Blameless arrived on the scene. Gabriel's mother Celeste instantly recognized this voodoo witch doctor, indicating that she was a patron or follower of the Vodoun religion as well as Catholicism. Such blending of the Catholicism of the community's dominant French population alongside ancestral Afro-Caribbean beliefs known as Vodoun was commonplace for people with Celeste's background in 1860s New Orleans.
Gabriel Moore would have died permanently, but Billy Blameless placed spell on him, imbuing the boy with nascent power and the potential to be restored to life. In the aftermath of the 2005 flooding which wiped out much of New Orleans, Gabriel Moore emerged as the vigilante "Voodoo Child."
Note how Mason Moore's close friend Mister Pickford mentions God and his Saints (evidence of Catholic religious affiliation) in the very first pane on the first page of the first issue of Voodoo Child:
"Mason, before God and all his Saints, I tell you this is certain: South Carolina will secede from the union.
Perhaps another indication of their differing cultural backgrounds, Mason Moore uses Christian-based profanity in English, while Gabriel's mother Celeste (who is black) invokes the name of God in French.
Bussard, a leader in Mason Gabriel's community, disapproves of Mason's politics as well as his relationship with Celeste, the mother of Mason's son Gabriel. Bussard accurately accuses Mason of "miscegenation," a word which means to produce offspring with a person of a different race. In preparing to murder Mason and his family, Bussard shouts:
Mason Moore, you abolitionist kite! God sees your treachery and your miscegenation. And tonight he's gonna see you pay for those sins.
From: "[Preview] Nicholas and Weston Cage's Voodoo Child", published 10 July 2007 in Wizard Magazine (http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/wizard/005111234.cfm; viewed 12 July 2007):
Moore's illegitimate son is killed, but as he gasps his last breaths, a voodoo bokor places a spell upon the dying boy.
Created by Nicolas Cage and Weston Cage
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Dean Hyrapiet
Cover by Ben Templesmith
Variant Cover by Dean Hyrapiet
On Sale Date: July 11th 2007
BIG, BOLD NEW SERIES!!! In 1860, the plantation of Mason Moore - a known Unionist sympathizer - is burned to the ground by secessionists. In the battle, Moore's illegitimate son is killed, but as he gasps his last breaths, a voodoo bokor places a spell upon the dying boy. Flash forward to 2005: four months after the worst natural disaster in its history, New Orleans is gripped by fear as young girls start to disappear from its streets while a brutal gang war rages. When Detective Robert Julien starts to investigate, he finds that there's something else out in the shadows: something that's neither dead nor alive. The Enigma. But is it a possible ally or the darkest nightmare of all?
Below: Voodoo Child #1, pages 1-5:
From: Chris Murman, "Weston Cage and Nicolas Cage's Voodoo Child #1" review, posted 10 July 2007 on Silver Bullet Comics website (http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/reviews/118409816489107.htm; viewed 12 July 2007):
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Dean Ruben Hyrapiet
Publisher: Virgin Comics
I understand the hook here, I really do. Many people want to know what in the world has been poking around the head of comics aficionado Nic Cage all these years. He wanted to be Superman, and he was Ghost Rider. People will check this book out because it has his name on it.
Here's what I think actually happened. His son Weston actually might have some writing chops in him. Added to that, I know Mike Carey has a strangle hold on his craft. Those two probably had some good talks and pounded this story out. Let me ask you this: would you blindly check out an indie book written by Weston Cage and Mike Carey? I say maybe.
I say all of that because it is a shame. This is an interesting, fresh story that deserves a chance a being successful on its own.
Voodoo Child is a story that started in the bayous of New Orleans at the precipice of the Civil War. The South is about to secede and for the family of Mason Moore, the war began a little early. My guess is Moore was part of some sort of slave freedom underground organization, and his neighbors found out. His family tried to escape and in the process, Moore's son Gabriel was shot...
Billy Blameless, the resident witch doctor, shows up and grants the dying boy powers not normally seen in comics. The story then turns to the present day, where this voodoo-enhanced boy is using his powers to take down the crooked underworld in post-Katrina Nawlins. Again, neat concept that with some development might turn into a good series for Virgin...
I would say this book is worth a shot for those like me who are getting tired of DC and Marvel. It's got an anti-hero who doesn't mind getting a bit bloody while trying to avenge his family...
From: Scott Bowles, "Cage and son work comic 'Voodoo'", published 2 July 2007 in U.S.A. Today (http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2007-07-02-nicolas-cage-comics_N.htm; viewed 23 July 2007):
There aren't many bigger comic book geeks in Hollywood than Nicolas Cage. After all, the guy has a tattoo of Ghost Rider on his arm.
But when executives at Virgin Comics approached the actor about starting his own line of books, Cage shrugged.
"I said I didn't have any ideas, but I told them my son might," Cage says.
So Cage and his 16-year-old son, Weston, brainstormed an idea that would become Voodoo Child, a six-issue illustrated series that hits shelves July 11 and marks one of the first launched by an A-list actor.
Hollywood directors long have been fans of comic books. Those who have written Marvel and DC stories for years include Kevin Smith, Bryan Singer and Joss Whedon.
Voodoo Child is different because it's "more spiritual than, say, a Superman or a Batman," Cage says. "That's always been more effective because there's more believability to it."
The stories will be rooted in some real-world scenarios. Set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Voodoo Child tells the story of Gabriel Moore, a child murdered in the antebellum South by secessionist soldiers.
Just before dying, the boy puts a voodoo curse on his soul, leaving him in a netherworld to cope with gang violence and abductions in the modern-day city.
Weston says he had tinkered with the idea since seeing hurricane damage in New Orleans, where he and his father lived part time for years.
"He has been drawing comics since he was 3. He was a natural to do it," says Cage, who is overseeing the story lines and working with X-Men writer Mike Carey. The artist is Dean Ruben Hyrapiet.
The comic is the latest from India-based Virgin Comics, the brainchild of writer Deepak Chopra, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and entrepreneur Richard Branson.
The company hopes to challenge titans Marvel and DC by marketing largely to Asia and infusing the story lines with Eastern mythology. The comics will be available in U.S. shops.
New Orleans has a multicultural history that has earned worldwide attention since the hurricane, Weston says.
"Bad things seem to happen to great cities. And there are a lot of stories that deserve to be told from there," he says.
Webpage created 12 July 2007. Last modified 23 July 2007.
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