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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Above: Although Logan (Wolverine) is not a Catholic, and Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) is not really a priest, Logan nevertheless was so troubled by his recent actions that he informally sought absolution from his old friend.
[Source: Wolverine, volume 3, issue #6, page 18. Written by Greg Rucka. Pencils by Darick Robertson. Inks by Tom Palmer. Reprinted in Wolverine: The Brotherhood trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York (2003).]
Over the many decades since he was a child and youth in 19th Century Alberta, Wolverine's character has changed significantly. It is safe to say that Wolverine, at his core, is now something of a cynic and a skeptic.
Some fans characterize Wolverine as an "atheist," but this may be an oversimplification or a misidentification with regards to the character's current status.
Has Wolverine been an atheist? Yes, absolutely. Has he identified himself as an atheist in the past? Yes. Is he an atheist today? That is a more difficult question to answer. Currently, this question seems open to interpretation depending on the writer or reader. On more than one occasion, Wolverine has been shown having experiences that led him to have faith in "immaterial" and "metaphysical" phenomenon, including God and Heaven.
Wolverine has indeed expressed disbelief and frustration with God in isolated stories. For example, Wolverine apparently briefly identified his theological position as an unbeliever in The Uncanny X-Men during the Brood War saga in the 160s (circa 1983, but not #166). A story delving into Wolverine's past showed how he became an atheist during World War II after his girlfriend was killed by the villain Cyber. But Wolverine has certainly changed and developed, while having many influential experiences and not a few theological dicussions, since then. For example, Wolverine has actually been to Heaven. It is safe to say to say that Wolverine has been an atheist in the past, but too many stories have established Logan as having found and practiced religious faith to characterize the current character as an atheist.
Wolverine has spent considerable time in Japan, and has studied under some Japanese martial arts masters. Wolverine has been shown praying in Buddhist and Shinto temples, and participating in Buddhist ceremonies in both the comic books and animated adaptations of The X-Men. But Wolverine is not known to practice Buddhism regularly nor is known to have ever overtly identified himself as a Buddhist.
Furthermore, although it is far more common for religious Japanese to identify themselves as Buddhists than Shintoists, it should be remembered that Wolverine's late fiance, Mariko Yashida, was from a family that was overtly identified as Shintoist. (Various visual clues indicate the Yashidas were also Buddhists, as is often the case in Japan.) Mariko worshipped the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu. Her cousin, Sunfire, is an acknowledged Shintoist. The wedding of Logan and Mariko was to have been a Shinto wedding, as shown in Uncanny X-Men #170. However, Wolverine should in no way be regarded as a Shintoist.
Wolverine has also been depicted praying in a Christian church and seeking advice and absolution from his devout Catholic teammate Nightcrawler on religious topics.
Although Wolverine has never been portrayed as religiously devout or an orthodox member of any organized religious denomination, he has frequently expressed sincere religious belief. Indeed, his various experiences suggest that he has more reason to believe in God than nearly all other Marvel comic book characters.
Wolverine has a highly developed personal sense of morality and ethics that seems to be of his own devising, and not derived from any specific belief system. However, Japanese culture (including Bushido and a Samurai sense of honor), as well as the teachings of Charles Xavier, have been important influences in the formation of Logan's belief system. Another important aspect of Wolverine's goals and personal code of ethics is his drive to regain and retain his humanity in the wake of his transformation into a living weapon at the hands the Weapon X program, the military/intelligence program which gave infused his skeleton with adamantium and trained him as a deadly operative. Wolverine also works to keep his anger in check, lest he slip into one of his deadly berserker rages.
Neither an atheist nor an orthodox religious believer, Wolverine may best be characterized as one who struggles both with God and himself. He is rarely a static character, but seems always to be on a journey toward self-improvement and personal redemption.
Above: Wolverine prays at a Shinto temple in Kyoto, Japan. [Source: Wolverine: Soultaker, issue #2 (May 2005), pages 3-6. Written by Akira Yoshida, illustrated by Shin "Jason" Nagasawa; reprinted in Wolverine: Soultaker, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005).]
Wolverine is a hero not simply in the spandex-wearing, villain-fighting sense of the word. More importantly, he is marked as a hero by his constant battle with himself to overcome an inherently anti-social, violent, sinful, animal nature, while striving to live in a humanistic, spiritual, positive way.
With regards to the specific question of whether Wolverine/Logan believes in God, a reader of this website who has read every issue of Wolverine that has been published wrote that there have been numerous issues in which Logan has had the opportunity to debate about God and religion in general, always doing so with the sense that he believes God exists, although often wondering about specific points of doctrine and ethical questions.
Notable among recent storylines was an issue in which he sought out Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), an Catholic priest, to request last rites for a loved one who was dying in his arms. In Wolverine, volume 3, issue #6, Wolverine sought to receive spiritual absolution from Nightcrawler after feeling guilty about a recent with a particularly high death toll.
Wolverine is one of only a handful of characters in mainstream comics who is known to have seen the afterlife. After he lost his Adamantium skeleton because of Magneto, Logan was on his deathbed and was visited by Illyana Rasputin (a.k.a. "Magik," the sister of Colossus) in the afterlife, and he begged her to let him come home to heaven, or wherever she was.
Below: Wolverine: Some things have to be taken on faith.
[Source: House of M: The Day After, published by Marvel Comics Group (2005), page 34; reprinted in X-Men: The Day After trade paperback (2006); written by Chris Claremont, pencilled by Randy Green and Aaron Lopresti, inked by Rob Hunter, Norm Rapmund and Don Hillsman III.]
Below: Not long after coming back from the dead, Colossus and Wolverine talk about coming back from the dead. This scene shows that Wolverine is contemplative, or at least somewhat curious, about the "afterlife," at least inasmuch as the deaths and returns of Colossus and Psylocke might tell him something. Wolverine has not made up his mind about what he thinks the afterlife will be like. He is more of a "skeptical seeker" than somebody who has embraced a particular answer or belief set.
When the typically more philosophical Colossus turns the tables slightly and asks Wolverine why he now lives yet his sister is still dead, Wolverine isn't about to answer. Wolverine may be "the best he is at what he does," but answering deep philosophical questions about life and death is not what he does.
[Source: House of M: The Day After, published by Marvel Comics Group (2005), page 34; reprinted in X-Men: The Day After trade paperback (2006); written by Chris Claremont, pencilled by Randy Green and Aaron Lopresti, inked by Rob Hunter, Norm Rapmund and Don Hillsman III.]
Text from scene above, which takes place the day after "M-Day," the day when the Scarlet Witch's power caused most of the world's mutant population to be de-powered and turned into normal humans instead of mutants. From House of M: The Day After, published by Marvel Comics Group (2005), pages 33-34; reprinted in X-Men: The Day After trade paperback (2006); written by Chris Claremont, pencilled by Randy Green and Aaron Lopresti, inked by Rob Hunter, Norm Rapmund and Don Hillsman III:Colossus: How many students are left, Logan?
In the X-Men animated TV series, an episode portrayed Wolverine converting from atheism to belief in God. The episode, titled "Nightcrawler" (episode #44, Season 3, 13 May 1995), introduced Kurt Wagner, the overtly Catholic Christian character of the same name. Nightcrawler's strong faith in God caused Wolverine to question his own disbelief and find faith in God. This may be one of the most religious, theology-laden episodes ever made in a mainstream animated cartoon series. The episode is included in the DVD X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine, which was widely distributed in video stores and other outlets. From: Steve Beard, "Bamf! The gospel according to Nightcrawler", on Thunderstruck.org website (http://www.thunderstruck.org/nightcrawler.htm; viewed 8 December 2005):
With the heightened popularity of the X-Men movies, a DVD collection of animated TV episodes from the early 1990s has been released entitled X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine (Buena Vista). It includes an entire episode devoted to the origin and theological disposition of Nightcrawler.From: Tom Keogh, editorial review of X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine DVD (1992), posted on Amazon.com website (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000089G5M/002-8167473-0559256?v=glance&n=130; viewed 22 December 2005):
The story takes place within a monastery in a small Bavarian village in Germany. Three of the X-Men (Wolverine, Gambit, and Rogue) find themselves being aided by monks in the aftermath of an avalanche. Having been mistaken for a demon by the townspeople because of his looks, Nightcrawler explains to Wolverine and his friends that his genetic mutations were evident from birth and that the villagers chased he and his mother of out of town.
His mom (Mystique) also abandoned him as a child (in the comics, she throws him over a waterfall) and a family of travelling performers took him in. When he was young he was able to work in the circus, but he was still treated as an outcast, "shunned and hated." In talking with Wolverine, Nightcrawler says, "Though all people are flawed and struggle with the capacity for sin, none likes to be reminded of our shared human weakness. My appearance does not make it easy."
"Don't it make you crazy?" Wolverine asks with incredulity.
"It did once, but then I found peace by devoting my life to God," said Nightcrawler. "He directed me to this place [the monastery] where they value the character of my heart, not my appearance."
This only sends Wolverine further into a rage. "What are you talking about? God gave up on us long ago!" Nightcrawler counters, "No, my friend, God does not give up on his children-human or mutant. He is there for us in our times of joy and to help us when we are in pain--if we let Him."
Later, Nightcrawler tells Wolverine, "We are alike, you and I--angry at the world. My pain drives me to seek God, yours drove you away." Wolverine is further infuriated when he asks why God would have allowed him to be treated so badly. "Our ability to understand God's purposes are limited," says Nightcrawler, "but take comfort in the fact that his love is limitless."
Amazingly, the episode concludes with Wolverine kneeling in a French cathedral reading the Bible and saying, "I will give thanks to you O Lord. Though you are angry with me, your anger is turned away and you have comforted me. I will trust you. I will not be afraid."
Not a bad message -- especially coming from a superhero.
This animated anthology focuses on Wolverine's mysterious past and his heroic efforts at heavy-duty anger management. "Out of the Past," parts 1 and 2, find Professor Xavier's most challenging team member (real name: Logan) lured into a trap by former lover Lady Deathstryke, who seeks nasty revenge for the unintended destruction of her scientist father. Emotions run high and Logan's bad luck seems endless, but he is not without fellow-mutant friends here. (These episodes tell us one version of how Wolverine's body gained its interior metal frame.) "Nightcrawler" is an interesting variation on Frankenstein, in which Wolverine and X-Men newcomer/cleric Nightcrawler are attacked by a mob of paranoid villagers. "The Lotus and the Steel" finds Logan seeking inner peace at a Buddhist monastery in Japan, only to find himself in a Seven Samurai-derived plot.From: Scott C., review of X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine DVD (1992), posted on Needcoffee.com website (http://www.needcoffee.com/html/dvd/xlowolverine.htm; viewed 22 December 2005):
[The episode titled] "Nightcrawler" introduces the bamf-producing mutant who made such a splash in X-Men 2 and Brother Nightcrawler's faith in God and man makes Wolverine question his own beliefs. And in "The Lotus and the Steel" Logan goes to a Buddhist temple in Japan to work on his violent rages. Instead he has to confront a biker gang and a teleporting samurai bent on extorting a small village.From: "Even superpowers cannot save Western individualism: X-Men take up failed Liberal integrationist strategy" (review of X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine animated DVD), posted on movie review section of "Maoist Internationalist Movement" website (http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/movies/long/xmenwolverine.html; viewed 22 December 2005):
One episode celebrates Christian monks and another Buddhism in Japan. In the dialogues, a Christian with superpowers turned monk says that most people in the world believe in a God who loves them, "can so many be wrong?" Wolverine says "God gave up on us," the mutants, but in a later episode we see him praying in church after changing his mind.From: Jim Harvey, interview with Len Uhley (writer of "Nightcrawler" episode of X-Men: The Animated Series), published in Toon Zone News in 2003, posted on Marvel Animation Age website (; viewed 22 December 2005):
Obviously the whole idea of X-Men appeals to the idea of people seeking special powers. Each character has a special power, often lasers of some kind, the ability to fly and admantium claws in the case of Wolverine. Each mutant character has a unique "special" power--in line with Western individualism. We can only say that if people lived in a communist society after perfecting the science and art of cooperation, they would not need to look like a Wolverine with metal claws to feel "powerful" and nor would they stand in front of burning candles in churches to feel "connected" Nor would humyns [humans] face the constant fighting that Wolverine deplored in the Buddhist episode. Because workers do not control the means of production in day-to-day life, they feel a lack of power and pine for the X-Men and similar artistic works to make up for their alienation from power.
On the plus side, the farming and fishing toilers in Japan in the Buddhist episode do liberate themselves from their humyn oppressors extorting "tribute" taxes. They only need Wolverine to fight a similar superhero character on the other side... In the Christian episode and throughout, there is an underlying mob distrust of mutants including the X-Men. The main political theme of X-Men is the question of tolerance and getting along. In the Christian episode, X-Men have to beat up some intolerant Amerikkkans [Americans] before these Amerikkkans realize they are wrong about mutants. Instead of changing their ideas completely, the mob realizes it has "sinned." Still it took a gang of mutants with superpowers to get the Amerikkkans to make peace with their neighbors.
This interview was conducted by Jim Harvey for Toon Zone News in 2003. It is duplicated here in it's entirety.From: Paul O'Brien, review of Wolverine #175, on 28 April 2002 page "X-Reviews" website (http://www.thexaxis.com/reviews/280402.html; viewed 26 December 2005):
The new X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine DVD, from Buena Vista Home Video, is scheduled to hit shelves on April 29, 2003. The DVD, a compilation of various X-Men: The Animated Series episodes, features one episode focusing on a certain furry elf called Nightcrawler.
Toon Zone caught up with Len Uhley, the writer of "Nightcrawler," an episode featured on the DVD. Uhley says he made sure that the animated version of Nightcrawler stayed close to the comic book version, something he was interested in.
"I was more of a DC guy when I was a kid and reading comics," said Uhley. "However, then I started doing research in order to write for the X-Men animated series, and I was immediately taken with Nightcrawler's back-story. I campaigned shamelessly with Eric Lewald, the executive story editor, to get a crack at him."
The topic of religion is always a controversial subject matter for any series, whether it be live-action or animated. It turns out that dealing with such subject matter wasn't the difficult part for Uhley, but finding enough time to fully explore it.
"Writing it was hard, not only because it is a highly personal and delicate subject, but also because of the time constraints under which most TV animation is written," said Uhley. "I felt this one was a Big Deal, and I didn't want to blow it, you know?
"As for censorship, I don't recall any at all," said Uhley. "In fact, it was quite the opposite. When Lewald turned in our first draft of the outline, the Fox creative executive on the show, Sidney Iwanter, was adamant. Iwanter said 'Don't beat around the bush. Where's God in all this? I want to see them talking about a living, caring God!'
"I also heard from Lewald that Avery Coburn, in broadcast standards, told him, 'As long as you've handled the topic with respect, we have no problem with it.' Of course, we were thrilled," said Uhley. "This all flew in the face of our usual jaded expectations, you know, that the networks want to take the edge off everything. I will always be thankful to Iwanter for his support and encouragement. And to Lewald, who let me have my head on the religious content. He also did his usual skillful job amping up the action sequences, so hats off to him there as well."
One aspect of the episode that raised eyebrows was Wolverine's views on religion. Stating that he abandoned religion because of what happened to him in his past, Wolverine learns a powerful lesson when he meets Nightcrawler and experiences his unique point of view.
"I don't think Wolverine 'found' religion, I think he was just reminded of the faith he'd abandoned," said Uhley. "Remember, earlier in the episode, he said that he used to believe in God, but no more, thank you very much, after all the horrors he had seen. And yet, there was Nightcrawler, who certainly had cause to be bitter, looking at the world from a very different, hopeful, faithful perspective.
"Kurt's extraordinary perspective gets to Wolverine, scrapes away some of his emotional scar tissue, and opens him up to the possibility of a relationship with God," said Uhley, "His ending up at a kneeling rail was just a 'baby step,' that's all."
Given the subject matter of the episode, it was expected a healthy amount of feedback would arise. But when the "Nightcrawler" episode aired, the issue didn't garner as much attention as anticipated.
"Most of the feedback was positive," said Uhley. "In one chat room, one fan objected to Wolverine praying in a church, because he'd become a Buddhist in the comics or some such thing. Otherwise, the show got very little attention outside of the core fan base. I even did a search on the Internet, and came across one article in a tiny Christian magazine called Cornerstone. Oh, and I gave a copy of the tape to some clergy I know, and they thought it was well done. Otherwise, there was no publicity, no outcry, no anything. Maybe the DVD release will stir up a little discussion, but I doubt it."
Looking back on the episode, Uhley is incredibly proud of "Nightcrawler." The episode did what it set out to accomplish and turned out better than he could've imagined.
"I've always been proud of "Nightcrawler," because it was, I think, the first time that belief in God had been openly discussed in a mainstream, Saturday morning animated series," said Uhley. "I think that the production crew in this case did an especially fine job -- I remember that the director, Larry Houston, really took extra care with it. They even got Nightcrawler's 'Bamf!' right." "I later wrote another X-Men episode with a Nightcrawler guest appearance, called 'Bloodlines.' It also made passing reference to Nightcrawler's faith," said Uhley. "But it was more of a traditional Marvel Universe tale detailing the tortured family ties among Nightcrawler, Rogue, Mystique and, apparently, the entire defensive line of the Green Bay Packers. I don't know if that's slated for release on DVD or not."
...Besides "Nightcrawler", X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine includes the two-part "Out of the Past," "The Lotus and the Steel," and the bonus episode "The Final Decision." It will hit shelves on April 29.
Finally, we have another eight page story written by Jason Aaron, who is the winner of the Wolverine writing contest. Udon are on art, and to be honest it isn't one of their stronger efforts, with some stiff panels and inexpressive faces scattered throughout. Still, it tells the story well enough.
Plotwise, I'm not sure quite what to make of this one. Wolverine is on the run from hunters with dogs when he stops to change the tyre of a woman who talks to him about the bible. Aaron is presumably trying to make some kind of point about Logan's attitude towards religion, and unfortunately his take on the character is wildly out of line with mine. (I've always read him as an atheist.) Leaving that aside, there are a couple of nice moments in here, but the story flounders on plot mechanics which don't entirely make sense. Why, exactly, is a man on the run from a pack of dogs and a group of shotgun-wielding psychos stopping off to change a tyre? The set-up doesn't provide an adequate rationale for the situation Aaron is aiming for.
Nonetheless, definite points for effort, since it's at least trying to illustrate a character point, and if nothing else it's better than the lead story.
Below: Wolverine's early Christian upbringing is evident in this scene, as he prays to the Lord while trying to evade an unusually bestial Hank McCoy. After the villainous telepath Cassandra Nova has used her own powers (and the powers of Emma Frost) to revert Wolverine's mental state to how he was as a child growing up in 19th Century Alberta, Canada.
[Source: Astonishing X-Men #16, published by Marvel Comics (October 2006), page 5; reprinted in Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 3: Torn (2006); written by Joss Whedon, art by John Cassaday.]
Wolverine's prayer, from scene above:
Wolverine: Oh, Lord, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee and for any wrongs I have done in your sight including that dream I had about the chambermaid that spoilt my bedlinens but if you would please please make that moose creature not find me I will be virtuous always and give much more thought to good deeds and helping poor people unless you don't like them for some reason and that's why they're poor.
I'm in a tree. Quite high up, in fact. I climbed the tree rather readily -- and I'm hardly winded from all the running about. This mortal terror does wonders for the lungs, I should remember that for later. Dear Lord, let there be a later.
Below: Wolverine's early Christian upbringing is further evident in this scene. Wolverine's mind is still reverted to his teenage self when he meets the "Armor," a Japanes student at the Xavier Institute. In response to Wolverine speaking in a way that is clearly out of character for his usual self, Armor says something in Japanese. The contemporary adult Wolverine speaks fluent Japanese, but he doesn't understand her now because his mind is operating as if he was back in his teen or pre-teen years. Wolverine refers to her Japanese utterance as "heathen funny talk." The word "heathen" is one he learned while growing up in a Christian home in 19th Century Alberta to refer to non-Christians. His teenage mind here assumes that Armor's non-English (and clearly non-French) speech and foreign appearance marks her as a non-Christian "heathen."
[Source: Astonishing X-Men #17, published by Marvel Comics (November 2006), page 15; reprinted in Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 3: Torn (2006); written by Joss Whedon, art by John Cassaday.]
Below are some excerpts of the dialogue from this story, written by Greg Rucka and penciled by Darick Robertson. This discussion between Nightcrawler and Wolverine takes place in a New York City bar, where Wolverine has invited Nightcrawler to meet him after Wolverine's latest particularly soul-wrenching adventure:
Nightcrawler walks into the bar, where Wolverine is already sitting. Nightcrawler is using his image inducer to appear as a Catholic priest, complete with white collar and black shirt.From The Uncanny X-Men #165:
BARTENDER: Can I help you, father?
KURT WAGNER: A beer, please
LOGAN: Make it a pitcher and three glasses. Put it on my tab.
KURT WAGNER: Thank you, my son.
LOGAN: Knock it off.
[Kurt moves to place his hand on Logan's shoulder in either a consoling or greeting gesture.]
LOGAN: And don't think about touching me unless you're gonna look like you when you do it, Elf.
KURT WAGNER: I'm not certain that's the best idea, my friend. You know how people reat to my appearance.
BARTENDER: Show the "Father" your right hand.
LOGAN: Your hand, Jo.
BARTENDER: Always wanted to play show and tell with a priest.
KURT WAGNER: Ah, you don't--
BARTENDER: It's all right, Father . . . I won't lead you into temptation. [The bartender shows her right hand, which is clearly the hand of a mutant. She has a squid-like or octopus-like suction surface on the palm of her right hand, and her fingers are shaped somewhat like tentacles.] I'll have Brady get you boys some peanuts. [She walks away, to give Kurt and Logan some privacy.]
LOGAN: There you go, Elf. No more excuses. [Logan is letting Kurt know that he does not need to use his image inducer to mask his mutant appearance.]
[Kurt touches a device concealed in his belt, and drops the hologram mask that made him look like a normal human priest. Now he appears as his regular furry blue self. He is not wearing a priest's vestments, but is wearing simply a regular shirt and blue jeans.]
KURT WAGNER: Better?
LOGAN: Better is you not having to hide yourself. But it's a start.
KURT WAGNER: You're in a mood.
LOGAN: Has nothing to do with it.
KURT WAGNER: No. Of course not.
[After some small talk, not excerpted here...]
KURT WAGNER: What happened?
LOGAN: Nothing happened.
KURT WAGNER: Certainly something did. You're even more unpleasant than normal. And you could use a shower, I might add.
LOGAN: You think I don't know how I smell? You think I don't know?
KURT WAGNER: Self-loathinig does not become you, Logan.
LOGAN: This from a guy who hides his face?
BARTENDER: You want me to just run a tube from the keg for you?
LOGAN: Can you do that?
BARTENDER: I'll look into it.
KURT WAGNER: She likes you.
LOGAN: That's her mistake.
KURT WAGNER: [Long pause.] What was her name?
KURT WAGNER: The girl who died. The one you couldn't save. What was her name?
LOGAN: Lucy. Lucy Braddock. She was seventeen, Kurt.
KURT WAGNER: Is it working? The beer? Must be hard to punish yourself when your healing factor fights you every inch of the way.
LOGAN: You have no idea.
KURT WAGNER: Yet here you are, doing your best impression of a fish. We have both seen innocents suffer before, my friend. We have both seen the inhumanity of man to his fellow man. Why is Lucy Braddock so different that you drive across the country for three days without rest to meet me here, and to engage in this vain attempt to torture your liver?
[Logan says nothing.]
KURT WAGNER: Seventeen is too young, I agree. Seventy, some would say, is too young as well. We have both seen too much death, lost too many we have cared for. But as trite as it is to say, Logan, death is part of life. Even unnatural death, even, perhaps, murder.
LOGAN: Not murder.
KURT WAGNER: You think? I do not advocate it, of course, but I would point out that every Judeo-Christian religion has murder in the basic text. Cain slew Abel, and thus the world knew murder. One could argue that murder is as natural as dying of old age.
LOGAN: You don't really believe that.
KURT WAGNER: I am no longer sure what I believe, my friend. My grasp of ethical and theological theory is slipping, to say the least. As a result, I am forced more often than not to rely on the facts as I know them. Actions always speak louder than words. You know this better than anyone. Your actions have always mrked you, to me, as a good man. As an honorable man.
LOGAN: Three days ago I killed twenty-seven men.
[Kurt stares, speechless.]
LOGAN: Not much to say to that, huh, Elf?
KURT WAGNER: You were enraged?
LOGAN: All the way to the bone.
KURT WAGNER: And these men, they had earned this rage?
LOGAN: You're looking for an excuse.
KURT WAGNER: No, my friend, I'm straining to understand. Because if you tell me that these twenty-seven men were innocents all, then you are everything you have always feared yourself to be. And you would have to be stopped.
LOGAN: And you'd stop me?
KURT WAGNER: No. But I would die trying.
[A long pause as they stare at each other grimly.]
LOGAN: They were a cult. They'd broken a town. Made it afraid. They kidnapped women. Girls. And they used them up.
KURT WAGNER: Then you are describing evil, my friend. And evil begets evil.
KURT WAGNER: Ah, I see. If that is your question, Logan, I cannot help you.
LOGAN: You were a priest. Absolve me.
KURT WAGNER: Oh, it would be wonderful if it worked like that, wouldn't I? What a world we would have . . . legions of sinners, all committing their crimes with abandon! Safe in the knowledge that absolution was just one quick trip to the church away! They tried it once, you know. During the Middles Ages [sic]. Enough gold, you could be forgiven anything. Would you like that? Such a hollow forgiveness?
LOGAN: Do I need forgiveness?
KURT WAGNER: Isn't that what you're after? Were those men evil? Without question? By killing them in your rage, are you evil? You are unique, Logan. And I do not speak of what has been done to you. Is the wolf evil when it culls the sickness from the herd?
[The bartender flips a sign on the door to show the bar is closed. Logan puts cash on the bar to pay his tab. Kurt and Logan walk out of the bar and stand in pouring rain.]
LOGAN: That thing about wolves . . . I'm not an animal. I'm not.
KURT WAGNER: I know, my friend. I know you aren't.
LOGAN: . . . I'm not . . .
[End of this issue]
Logan: "What's doin', bub?"From: Radford, Bill, "Holy Superhero! Comic books increasingly making reference to faith", published in Colorado Springs Gazette, 6 May 2006 (http://www.gazette.com/display.php?secid=20; viewed 8 May 2006):
Kurt: "What does it look like?"
Logan: "Incongruous. I guess I never figured you for the religious type."
Kurt: "Why, don't I look the part? I admit I'm rarely seen in a church - but I draw comfort from my beliefs and from prayer. Such comfort is dearly needed now - by us all. You should try it, Logan. Who knows, you might like it."
Logan: "I did, in the army. A mistake. I believe in nothin' - never have, never will. What matters is what I can see, hear, smell, taste, thouch - tangible things, physical things. Reality. The rest is imagination."
Nightcrawler: "And you have no use for that?"
Nightcrawler: "I am sorry, my friend. I never realized how utterly, inescapably alone you must be - with nothing to hold onto but yourself. More alone than I - despite my outre appearance - could ever be."
Wolverine: "I ain't alone, bub - I got you. C'mon, lessee if they got any brew on this bucket."
"I think when I go to superheroes, I see there is a religious metaphor to begin with," says comic-book writer Steven T. Seagle. That metaphor is most obvious with Superman, he says.From: Soleine Leprince, "Discussing the origins of religious belief" in Daily Princetonian, 13 March 2007 (http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2007/03/13/opinion/17697.shtml; viewed 23 April 2007):
"He's the one who's better than us. He's more moral than us. He's more pure than us. He makes better choices than us, and therefore he is an example in a way that God or Christ is an example."
Generally, though, comic book characters aren't as simple or pure as they once were. Consider Marvel's Punisher, who exacts deadly vengeance, or Wolverine, who erupts in fits of animal rage.
Even comic-book heroes are painted as religious: Suppositions have been made that Superman Methodist, Spiderman is Protestant, The Thing is Jewish... and Daredevil is Catholic. As for Wolverine, he seems to be a former atheist who turns Buddhist.
Elizabeth D on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 09:57:13 PDT:From: Rebecca Salek, "Spirituality In Comics", on "Sequential Tart" website (http://www.sequentialtart.com/archive/dec03/tth_1203.shtml; viewed 5 January 2006):
I thought Wolverine as a Buddhist was odd too, but then I thought of the Shaolin Monks and wondered if maybe Buddhism is a way for the character to try to practice his fighting talents in a disciplined and ethical way?
appleblossombeck on Sun Jun 18th, 2006 at 11:06:31 PDT:
On Wolverine and Buddhism. Or anybody and anything, for that matter. There are very few characters who are acknowledged to be adherents of any one religion. Magneto, Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde being among the few examples. For these characters, like a lot of humans, their faith or former faith is a part of their identity. To change this would be to change the character. With characters who have no known faith, writers get a lot of leeway in showing the character involved in ceremonies, prayer, or questioning. Wolverine, due to his international nature, is one of the great examples of this. I bet I could go through my comics collection and find an instance of him either showing knowledge of or asking about pretty much every major religion. To the list in the article, I can add his knowledge of Canadian First Nations beliefs, as seen in his various interactions with Snowbird, Wendigo, and Shaman from Alpha Flight. Logan's Origin story showed his family to have no contact with clergy or involvement with a church. I think his involvement with Buddhism is that he respects it and greatly desires the peace he sees in that path, but he doesn't believe himself capable of finding that peace. That's part of the great poignancy of his character: his constant and unending search for peace and his own humanity.
For many people. December is a month which contains celebrations of religious, spiritual or cultural significance. For many people. December is a month which contains celebrations of religious, spiritual or cultural significance. In recognition of that, this month the Tarts pick out what they consider to be the best representations of spirituality in comic books...
Susan: I think the most touching thing I saw, that has stayed in my memory for years now, is a page in -- let me see if I can recall correctly -- an X-Men issue from the 1980s. They're out in Shi'ar space, desperate straits, et cetera. Wolverine walks by Nightcrawler's cabin and sees him on his knees, praying. There is a small discussion of his faith. That little scene has stuck with me more than Jean Grey sacrificing herself on the moon. My point was, they didn't dwell on it, didn't seem to try to make it all moralizing and hokey. It was very, well, matter-of-fact. And all the more touching for that. Especially considering the two characters involved. Wolverine would be the last person you would expect to respect someone's faith. Kurt's calm avowal of faith is not preachy, he's just saying what he believes. It illustrated that there's always things we don't know about people, even those we are close to. And that not all religious people are fanatics.
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):
April 11, 2003, 05:36 PM
Anybody been reading recent issues of this comic? ... "Wolverine" likewise had the title character battle crooked priests last summer.
It looks like the movie might also deal with this -- a quick glance at the trailer will show the characters in a church.
Any thoughts on this?
April 12, 2003, 04:24 AM
I remember from the cartoon The X-men were in Europe being attacked by good Christian peasants. In the end X-men win. Wolverine got the worst of it but at the end he went to the church and prayed. I found that really annoying.
My impression, which may be wrong, is that because these things are really aimed at kids the powers that be are going to push the 'Christianity is ultimately good' line.
April 13, 2003, 02:53 AM
That is annoying. I remember being really impressed with a particular issue where the X-Men were fighting Dracula (dumb idea, yes I know) and Wolverine tried to use a cross on him. Dracula just laughed and swatted him aside explaining that it didn't work because Wolverine didn't believe in god. I remember thinking "can Wolverine get any cooler?"
April 13, 2003, 03:06 PM
Wolverine #175 also had a recent battle in which a Christian widow was murdered in the crossfire during a fight with Wolverine. Wolverine stated he was probably going to hell.
Another element is that Marvel has it's own "gods" and "devils"... apart from Thor and his ilk there are cosmic beings like Infinity, Eternity Chaos and Order, (and also to an extent Galactus), and demons such as Mephisto, Hellstrom, Ghost Rider, etc...
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?
...without a doubt, Gambit would be agnostic if anything, due to his constant self-reliance and willingness to compromise his morals (Sinister, anyone?). If he wasn't, then he'd also be a hypocrite. Wolverine is an Atheist with occasional doubts. And Thor isn't so much Catholic, as much as he knows there are greater powers than he and his kind...
Me, I'm agnostic, but more power to you if you have faith in anything at all. As long as you don't try to ram it down my throat, that is.
From: "X-Men and Religion" forum discussion page, started 21 August 2005, on ComixFan.com website (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-35318.html):
Thaddeus HettleFrom: "Superman as Christian Allegory? The religion of Comics" message board started 14 June 2006 on Military.com website (http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/672198221/m/8000028270001/p/2; viewed 20 June 2006):
Aug 21, 2005, 10:10 pm
Wolverine became an atheist after Cyber killed his girlfriend back during WWI.
Anybody remember the episode of the old X-Men cartoon where the met Nightcrawler? He was all like, "turn to God for--" and then Wolvie knocks over a candelabra and yells "THERE IS NO GOD!"
BlindSwordExcerpts 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):
Wolverine spent considerable time in Japan, even marrying a couple of Japanese women, and has been seen in prayer in both Shinto and Buddhist Temples.
Kevin BennettFrom: "The Nightcrawler as a Roman Catholic Superhero FAQ" message board started 18 December 2005 on "Nightscrawlers" website (http://www.nightscrawlers.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=5447; viewed 3 June 2006):
14 May 2004 at 5:28 am
I enjoy it when a character's faith (or lack of it) is explored. Done properly, it can enrich characterization and be a powerful dramatic tool. I recall a long ago scene in X-Men when they were fighting the Brood where the atheist Wolverine and the Christian Nightcrawler had a brief discussion about faith, and I really liked the issue from around the same period in which the X-Men were battling Dracula. Wolverine attempts to make the sign of the Cross, but it has no effect on the vampire because he isn't a believer. However, Nightcrawler's cross works, and Dracula also burns his hand on Kitty's Star of David necklace when he grabs her.
chicoryFrom: "Religious Inclinations of heroes" message board, started 1 March 2005 on StarDestroyer.net website (http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=63632; viewed 8 June 2006):
posted on 14/3/06 at 21:25
I love what Nightcrawler's spirituality and religion give to the character - and those moments, like the conversation with the Logan after the brood encounter and the power that the cross and the star of david had when wielded by a person of faith were high moments.
The animated episode though really got on my nerves when I saw it recently. (It was nice being able to catch X-men at the convenient 11:30pm time slot whenever I remembered too - which I now think wasn't often enough since they replaced it with Power Rangers )
But, I preferred the subtle message offered in the comics to the heavy-handed way they did the animated story. Like on the brood ship Logan, who's lived a long time and seen a lot and possibly lost his faith a long time ago is allowed to keep his own religious beliefs. (That was a great exchange where Kurt tells Logan he can't imagine how lonely he must be and then Logan just replies that he has Kurt and then suggests they go and find some beer . Very subtle.
I didn't like how in the cartoon it's all presented as though there's only one correct way to think and one place to be in that way of thinking. With Jubilee and then the end where Rogue finds Wolverine in the church playing.
I'm not sure why that bothered me so much. I thought that Nightcrawler's place worked for him in the monastery - I just didn't like how the other characters reacted to his "message" I guess...
lgotFrom: "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):
Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:49 pm
Wolverine also proclaims to not trust any God to save him but he does not disbelieve him. Which is pretty much the best logic possible in DC and Marvel also, because the existense of God(s) there is without doubt.
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:55:56The excerpts below are from a newsgroup discussing, among other topics, the scene in which the Reverend William Conovor appeared to heal Wolverine from a Brood infection through the power of his (Reverend Conover's) Christian faith in God. Did Rev. Conover actually use his Christian faith to heal Wolverine, or did Wolverine say nothing to contradict this supposition, and thus allow the Christian clergyman to believe this is what happened? Also, Wolverine's status as an "atheist" is mentioned briefly. 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):
Subject: Religious beliefs of Marvel characters?
Does anybody know the religious beliefs of various characters?
Date: 21 Oct 2004 01:45:45
Trick question! There ARE Gods that are Marvel characters. One blatantly obvious: A vampire is repelled by religious symbols...
...The few times it [religion] has played a role is when Wolvie made a cross in front of Dracula, who was suprised by its non-effect (it was wielded by a nonbeliever), and Nightcrawler took the cross away from Wolvie and seared Drac big time. And then Drac was burned on Kittie's Star of David. And of course the Vamp that sputtered out on Thor's hammer...
Date: 22 Oct 2004 14:06:41
Out of interest, are there any comic characters, mainstream or otherwise, that are unbelievers? And if so, how do they tend to be depicted?
Date: 23 Oct 2004 10:08:27
From: Matt Deres
The one that comes to mind first is Wolverine, since he explicitly stated his position in UXM [Uncanny X-Men] 166 (I think) during the Brood wars. He has a brief discussion with Nightcrawler, whom he had found praying. Kurt said he felt sorry for Logan, since he (Kurt) is never truly alone since he has God.
From: Samy MerchiFrom: "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):
Date: Mon, May 11 1998 12:00 am Also note that it is more often than most atheistic characters mention their atheism. Atheism is not supported any more than any religion. The whole issue is simply avoided in books.
From: Johan Lundstrom
Date: Tues, May 12 1998 12:00 am
Right. Wolverine and Magneto are by far the most outspoken atheists, and even they rarely mention it.
From: Tim Elf
Date: Mon, May 11 1998 12:00 am
re: "Does anyone have any other instances of positive (or negative) portrayals of religion in comics?"
Positive: Glory Day Ministries, the preacher and his wife tied into the Brood saga, introduced by Claremont, but really developed by John Ostrander in the X-Men/Brood LS. An excellent example of a postive, fair portrayal of Christianity in comic books.
From: Samy Merchi
Date: Mon, May 11 1998 12:00 am
...Rev Conover's been mentioned several times: He pushed a Brood embryo into submission with the power of God.
From: Johan Lundstrom
Date: Tues, May 12 1998 12:00 am
We can't be sure; the scene was deliberately ambigous. It could have been a miracle or just Wolverine's healing factor finally catching up.
From: Samy Merchi
Date: Wed, May 13 1998 12:00 am
Yes, well, it's possible to read it that way. Personally, I always read it as Claremont attributing power to God, but not wanting to be obvious about it and therefore possibly offend people of other religions by implying that the Christian God was the real one.
Date: Wed, May 13 1998 12:00 am
I just reread that issue the other night and I definitely got the impression that Logan's healing factor caught up and fought off the Brood embryo. His healing factor was already working on fighting it off before he confronted the Rev. Then he went all Brood-y for a bit before his healing factor kicked into overdrive and got rid of the foul thing. When the Rev thought it was a power from god I don't think Logan said anything otherwise because he didn't want to take anything away the guy's faith.
That was a very good issue IMO [in my opinion]. He was supposed to go work towards easing mutant/human relations. He was definitely going to be a high profile muntant rights human. Was he ever heard from again? It would nice to have one of the books touch on that. They could say that he's been an active member of Chuck's underground or something.
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?
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 Catholics Nightcrawler and Gambit, the Native American heritage of Moonstar and Forge, the rather hazy goddess apparently worshipped by Storm, Wolfsbane's Scottish Presbyterianism, Cannonball's not specified church (not exactly specified, but Protestant and possibly verging or belonging to a fundamentalist denomination), and Kitty Pryde's very secularized Judaism. Colossus was, judging by some of his conversations with Kurt, raised as a well-behaved Communisit atheist, and Wolverine is a proudly-proclaimed agnostic.
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: "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):
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.
05-15-2005, 06:53 PM
...Magma worships the Roman gods so she's a pagan. We know that Alex is raised as a Catholic... Storm worships her goddess. And Logan worship nothing...
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM
...As for [other] characters...
Jean Grey - some branch of Christianity...
Archangel - Protestant
Havok - Catholic, apparently
Nightcrawler - Catholic, devout
Colossus, Magik - atheist (or now perhaps simply agnostic)
Storm - pagan
Wolverine - atheist (but has been to Heaven, plus seen power of cross wielded by faithful [Nightcrawler] repel Dracula)
Kitty Pryde, Sabra - Jewish
Cannonball - Southern Baptist
Karma, Sunspot - Catholic
Wolfsbane - Scots Presbyterian
Mirage - Cheyenne, plus some Asgard, presumably
Magma - Roman-Greco gods
Cypher - Some branch of Christianity
05-16-2005, 02:11 AM
...I agree with all this.
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
When has religion been used as a plot device in an xbook? [i.e., a comic book series related to the X-Men]
From: Ed Hebert
Date: Tues, Jul 21 1998 12:00 am
...there was the "cross to bear" thing between Maggott and Wolverine in X-Men #75. I don't know if it counts as a religious theme, for many men, during Roman times, had to carry the cross they were to be crucified on. However, the story of Jesus' last moments would be the most popular reference to get this metaphor from.
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am
...Nightcrawler is discovered praying by Wolverine in the Brood storyline circa [Uncanny X-Men] 160-something, and Wolverine is shocked, saying he can only believe what his senses tell him...
From: "(OFFTOPIC) Sleepwalker and a RANT!" thread started 9 April 1996 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/530027d02cbeb884/7c688dd20f2f433c; viewed 13 June 2006):
Date: Wed, Apr 10 1996 12:00 am
Say, this [religious affiliations of the X-Men] would be a neat thread. My memory doesn't really remember a lot of the X-Men having stated a religion... Anyone know any issues where a X-Member professed his/her religion?
From: Blase Martin Louis
Date: Thurs, Apr 11 1996 12:00 am
...Wolverine is an acknowledged atheist...
From: Sarah Anne Yost
Date: Fri, Apr 12 1996 12:00 am
...Wolvie doesn't believe in what he can't see or touch or cut (see the Brood saga)...
From: Chris Well, "Comic Book Faith", posted 13 June 2006 on "Learning Curve" blog website (http://chriswellnovelist.blogspot.com/2006/06/comic-book-faith.html; viewed 14 June 2006):
Beliefnet has an interesting piece [link to: http://www.beliefnet.com/features/comicbookfaith.html] on the religious affiliation of various comic book characters, with links to essays that use actual story instances to make each case. The roundup includes Superman (Methodist), Wolverine (Buddhist) and The Thing (Jewish), among others.
From: Mirtika, "Is Superman a Methodist?", posted 15 June 2006 on "Mirathon" blog website (http://mirathon.blogspot.com/2006/06/is-superman-methodist.html; viewed 15 June 2006):
Is Superman Jewish, Methodist, or a Christ figure? Newsweek is examining the matter.
A discussion on this has popped up on the Christian Fandom mail list. And I came across the subject over at GetReligion.
So, I offer this nifty assemblage of charts and lists and links on comic book religion found at Adherents.com.
They list Wolverine as "former atheist, has practiced Buddhism, believes in God." Ben "The Thing" Grimm is Jewish. You already know about Nightcrawler and Catholicism. But... Rogue is Southern Baptist?
When you're done with the superhero list, peruse the list of supporting (non-superhero) characters and the list of villains. Lex Luthor is, apparently, a Nietzschean atheist, and Pyro is a lapsed Catholic.
Personally, I'd love to see the whole batch of X-Men get born-again and baptized in a mega-issue, artwork by John Cassiday and story by Chris Well.
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: Tom Warren
Date: Sat, Jun 1 2002 9:49 pm
I believe that Kitty Pride is Jewish. The issue where they fight Dracula had a bit about this in there. And Wolvie is atheist probably, or some pagan type.
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 2:58 am
I seem to recall an issue where Wolverine and Kitty were fighting vampires. She fended them off using her Star of David, but Wolverine made a cross with his claws and had vampires all over him. The point was that a wearer's faith in a religious artifact protected them, not the artifact itself. Wolverine had no faith in the cross, so therefore it did nothing. That seems to be a clear hint that he's atheist, agnostic, or something else besides Christian.
From: Brian Doyle
Date: Sun, Jun 2 2002 8:28 am
...Rogue and Wolverine - Both were shown praying in the X-Men cartoon, but in a fairly non-demoninational way. It was in a Christian church.
From: Jim Longo
Date: Mon, Jun 3 2002 10:09 am
When the X-Men were kidnapped by the Brood, Wolverine came upon Nightcrawler praying. During the resultant conversation, Wolvie asserted that tried religion once, that it was a mistake, and that he now believes only in what his senses tell him.
Date: Tues, Jun 4 2002 6:57 pm
Nightcrawler is Catholic. Kitty Pryde is Jewish. Wolverine is probably atheistic/agnostic. Storm is apparently an animist or polytheist of some sort. Thunderbird would appear to be a Hindu (I don't think they've been specific but he's not a Sikh or a Jain and I'm pretty sure he's not a MUslim. He might be a Catholic.) As for the others, I don't know. Since most are from America or other European countries they're probably at least nominally Christian. Angel, being a good WASP, is probably an Episcopalian. Chamber is probably C of E. [Church of England] Rogue could be anything, maybe Baptist.
Date: Fri, Jun 7 2002 5:47 am
Kurt's also Catholic, of course. Jean would seem to be, too, but she's also studied Kabala. Remy being raised Catholic makes sense, given his background. Kitty's Jewish. Magnus was Jewish, but didn't practice. Rahne's Presbyterian. Logan's not Christian, but not neccessarily atheist. He could well be Buddhist. Xorn's Buddhist.
From: "Superheroes and religion", posted 14 June 2006 on "On Christopher Street" blog website (http://somacandra.livejournal.com/410090.html; viewed 16 June 2006):
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):
Date: June 16th, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
I find this [the religious affiliation of comic book characters] an interesting topic because most of the original creators in comics were Jewish, followed by Protestant and Catholic (and lapsed) creators in the 60s and 70s. It's been fascinating to watch writers striving for diversity over the years... However, with major characters who have been written by many writers over the years, there is often contradictory info (see the info on Wolverine for a good example).
From: Hosun Specious Lee
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am
Wolverine is not Christian. He may be another faith though. The reason being that when he formed a cross to ward off Dracula, it had no affect as he did not believe.
From: Steven L Cox
Date: Tues, Sep 21 1999 12:00 am
Might simply be [that Wolverine is] a lapsed Christian and lacked faith enuf to "trigger" the symbol. Marvel has made it pretty clear that just about any holy symbol will work against vampires as long as the possessor truly believes.
Date: Wed, Sep 22 1999 12:00 am
Wolverine has been established as a non-believer (this has been mentioned on a few occasions). The Infinity Crusade mini-series pretty much defined who were the believers and non-believers (or agnostics) among the heroes in the MU [Marvel Universe].
From: Jamie Coville
Date: Wed, Sep 22 1999 12:00 am
I don't have the issues, but I believe it was in a tale where he and Kurt (Nightcrawler) talk about religion. Wolverine makes it clear he don't believe in God, but Kurt tries to convert him but with no success.
Of course the story got bastardized for the cartoon audience and ended with Wolverine reading the bible in the last scene. Boy did I ever holler and swear over that one.
From: Paul O'Brien
Date: Wed, Sep 22 1999 12:00 am
Wolverine's made several comments over his history to the effect that he doesn't believe in anything beyond the experience of his senses. He may, in fairness, be closer to agnosticism. He DOES believe in the existence of the supernatural (because he's seen it), but that doesn't necessarily translate into accepting the existence of a supreme being.
Pleasingly, the writers of the recent Revelation miniseries got this more or less right. When confronted with actual angels, Wolverine seemed to acknowledge them as genuine supernatural entities but queried that they really were what they claimed to be. (And of course, he might have been right.)
From: Carmen Williams
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am
As has been said before, Wolvie's definitely an atheist. There's a scene in the 160s of Uncanny that makes the point very clearly; he tells Kurt that he is not religious and only believes in what his senses tell him. He may also have made reference to a previous religious belief, I'm not sure. Of course, even if he did it was probably a memory implant.
From: Carmen Williams
Date: Fri, Sep 24 1999 12:00 am
Hmmm. I think the last scene had Wolvie praying in a church, which would be a bit more definitive. This was after a whole episode with Wolvie snarling at Kurt about the world being rotten and how stupid it was to believe in a loving God, etc etc., and the clear implication of the last scene was that he was acquiring at least a little inner peace through religion. I can see how that might bother someone, but it didn't bother me. In fact, it intrigued me, because it's the first time I'd seen religion handled (and handled reasonably well) in a cartoon. I would have had a problem if Kurt had said "believe or you're going to hell," or "I want to save your soul from the devil," but he didn't. In fact, tolerance was kind of the point of the episode. As far as I can recall, it was just that Kurt was happy and at peace, and Wolvie very much wasn't, and Kurt wanted to help.
From: Andrew Furdell
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am
I guess it sounds half good, half bad to me. You present it well. But anyway, I can't help thinking it's kinda bad, just because that isn't the way real life is, you know? Most atheists are just like anyone else in that we're not likely to be converted, we're closed-minded and pig-headed, etc. I'd rather have seen Logan stick to his guns like in the comics.
From: Carmen Williams
Date: Fri, Sep 24 1999 12:00 am
Well... people do convert, you know. And I assume that at least some people are converted from atheism to theism, so I'm not sure it's right to just say "that's not realistic." And I'd like to point out that it really *wasn't* like the scene in the comic--Wolvie in the comic was surprised, and he didn't share Kurt's beliefs, but he didn't challenge them either. Wolvie in the cartoon kept doing so--sort of along the lines of "Life sucks! Especially our lives! How stupid are you that you can't see that? Why would you ever believe in a benevolent power?" This is very different from "I don't believe in anything I can't sense." Much less about the philosophy of it, much more about an emotional unwillingness to believe that that kind of goodness could possibly exist--presumably because, well, his life does suck, and always has. So his "conversion" at the end was really about losing some of his bitterness, about being willing to hope again. And that is what religion is to some people. I remember actually being touched by the way they pulled it off. It was also a good story for Kurt, because that kind of refusal to be miserable absolutely defines the character. And if anything's going to get through to Wolvie that maybe he doesn't have to be mad all the time, well, somebody who looks like and is being hunted as a demon and is still perfectly okay with his life would be a good example.
From: "Where are the Christian Superheroes?" forum discussion page started 22 August 2006 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-81451.html; viewed 5 May 2007):
08-22-2006, 10:03 AM
...I pose the question to you, my fellow Talk@Ramanians: If Christianity is the most popular faith in the United States, why aren't there more openly Christian superheroes?
08-22-2006, 03:22 PM
...One good example of a character's religion used in a relevant way in a super-hero story was when the X-Men fought a vampire (I think it was Dracula, I'm not sure). At some point one of them [Wolverine] held a crucifix to Dracula, who laughed it off, saying that you needed faith to make it work. As he said that, Nightcrawler picked up the crucifix and used it effectively against the blood-sucker. That is relevant to a super-hero story.
The X-Men books are also more suitable to showing characters with religious backgrounds because in most occasions, they would be normal people if not for the fact that they were born different. They don't usually have strong motivations for fighting crime or super-villains that go beyond acceptance and survival. The X-Men books are more "social" that most super-hero groups (as in the group being a reflection of society), so having a character interacting with others in a way that exposes their religious beliefs is more relevant than, say, if the same thing happened in the Justice League.
We also can't forget that, whatever the religon of some characters may be, the Marvel and DC universes are universes in which the Judeo-Christian religions have the upper hand. The Marvel Universe is not so obviously a Christian universe, even though there are clear depictions of Hell and other occasional Christian elements. I haven't read Fantastic Four for a while, so I am barely aware of some storyline having something to do with the afterlife. DC's most powerful super-hero is the Spectre, who is a servant of the Christian God. No one else in the DC universe measures up to him, not even gods from other religions, as we saw in Day of Vengeance. In Day of Judgment, we also see an afterlife that is very consistent with what a Christian afterlife would be like.
08-22-2006, 03:27 PM
Yeah, I agree that the X-books are more suited to portray the religious aspects of characters' lives. One of my favourite Wolverine comics is just him and Nightcrawler sitting in a bar and talking about religion.
From: "Comic Book Characters Listed by Religion" forum discussion started 7 March 2006 on "Truth and Beauty Bombs" website (http://www.truthandbeautybombs.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5569; viewed 10 May 2007):
Professor Stevie Freezie
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:28 am
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:18 pm
What does it mean when it says Wolverine is a "former atheist"? Okay, so what is he now, then? And when did Wolverine get religion?
And man, isn't religion in comic books complicated, with like Thor dashing around everywhere, and apparently Darkseid's a god of some kind (who knew?), and the Spectre running around, and dozens of heroes who've been dead and come back, to tell what they saw? And wasn't Storm a god at one point? And Wonder Woman?
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:23 pm
Forsyth, Wolverine is a Buddhist...
Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:25 pm
From the famous Buddhist berserker schools? Seriously, when did this happen? Wait. Wasn't there some Japanese chick he was in love with at one point? Did she die? Or is this some kind of way for him to try and control his berserker rages with pacifism so he doesn't kill five hundred people in a six issue arc again?
Of course, my knowledge of Wolverine extends about to the 90s X-men cartoon.
From: "Buddhist supers?" forum discussion started 13 January 2007 on RPGnet website (http://forum.rpg.net/archive/index.php/t-306345.html; viewed 12 May 2007):
01-13-2007, 07:18 AM
Are there any Buddhist superheroes/supervillains? The only one I can think of is Swift from the Authority (she's a Tibetan Buddhist)... So, what other Buddhists in comics have superpowers and fight crime/commit crime?
--kind of curious in this regard NB
01-13-2007, 02:40 PM
Wolverine's practiced Buddhism in the past.
01-13-2007, 03:13 PM
Man, no matter what sort of group of superheroes you try to put together, Wolverine finds his way in there eventually, don't he?
01-13-2007, 05:54 PM
He's the exalted of comics.
01-13-2007, 06:15 PM
Abyssal exalted perhaps.
01-13-2007, 06:35 PM
He's the best there is at what he does, and sometimes, what he does is chant sutras.
From: "Religion in comic books", published 14 June 2006 on "Get Religion" website (http://www.getreligion.org/?p=1679; viewed 15 May 2007):
[Rader comments section for this page]
June 14, 2006, at 4:57 pm
American superhero comics are, first and foremost, about MYTHOLOGY. Not just existing mythology (though many characters - like Thor and Wonder Woman - are drawn directly from myths); new myths are constantly being created and developed.Jack Kirby was the greatest mythmaker of them all; one of his crowning achievements was even called NEW GODS(a comic STAR WARS owes a HUGE debt to).It's fasinating to watch these myths develop and change as they pass through the hands of different creators; it really is like watching little religons develop (and the infighting between comics fans sometimes seems like fanatics yelling "INFIDEL!" at each other). But it should be noted: Hollywood changes these myths when it sends them to the big screen, and not always for the better. (When the first X-MEN movie came out, I saw a pair of matched posters for it - one featuring the heroes, the other the villians. Seperated like that, I noticed that all of the heroes were depicted as being classically good-looking, and all the villians were made ugly- a sort of visual moral short hand that wasn't in the comics. . . and clearly intended as such, because the most popular of the heroes, Wolverine, had gone from short, hairy, and ugly to tall, dark, and handsome.)
June 14, 2006, at 7:47 pm
The writers forgot that Wolverine is explicitly an atheist.
From: "The Church of Superman" forum discussion started 19 June 2006 on the "James Randi Educational Foundation" website (http://www.randi.org/forumlive/showthread.php?t=58627; viewed 15 May 2007):
19th June 2006, 06:03 AM
The Church of Superman
Hmmmm... the "religious" affiliations of comic book characters. Huh?
19th June 2006, 12:01 PM
...Admittedly, some of the statements are fair guesses.. Wolverine is a reformed atheist? Musta missed that issue...
19th June 2006, 11:56 PM
Looking at the two I was most familiar with, I was amused.
Despite the fact that Batman has said several times that he has no time for religion or god, they cite as evidence that Batman was a particular religion the shape of his tombstone. Ummm might have something to do with the fact that comics are a visual medium and the artist thought an ornate cross simply looked better than a plain headstone, ya think?
And the best and funniest bit of hypocrisy: the entry for Wolverine. After stating that although Wolverine has been shown praying in Buddhist and Shinto temples and was going to have a Shinto wedding this in no way makes him a Shintoist or Buddhist, they follow up by more or less saying that Wolverine has been shown praying in a Christian church and seeking advice from a priest so that makes him a Christian.
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?
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
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:
Jean: founder and prophet of the Church of the Phoenix
Storm: Neopagan, Goddess worshipper
01-17-2007, 06:25 AM
Wolverine is an atheist.
In one of the earlier issues I believe he mentioned something to Nightcrawler (concerning God) about only believing in what he can see, smell, or touch. I will try to find the issue and quote...
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.
The Lucky One
01-19-2007, 12:14 AM
As for Wolverine, I believe he's now more agnostic than flat-out atheist. Frankly, any character in either the Marvel or DC universes who's an actual atheist just hasn't been paying attention. There's clearly something out there, so the most any of them could reasonably be would be agnostic.
From: "Is Batman an atheist or is he just not very religious?" forum discussion started 2 April 2007 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/archive/index.php/t-187589.html; viewed 21 May 2007):
04-03-2007, 09:56 AM
Well, he [Batman] is a scientist and tackles life in a very logical way to nearly a fault. So, I would say that while he probably accepts the existence of one, or more higher beings as evident from his personal experience, he wouldn't be one for believing in a God based on scripture and faith alone. Of course there is no right answer and never will be, he can be what ever religion you want him to be.
Colossus and Wolverine are Atheists though...
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, 01:30 PM
This is a discussion I've had several times with my friends, and usually I step out of it when it turns offensive. (Which with my friends, it always does!) Thing to remember though that until recently, like the past decade, religion and talks of such were verboten in most main stream comic books. Now that's changed...
...Daniel "Iron Fist" Rand is a Buddhist and Magneto is Jewish. Xavier may just be nondenominational. No idea what Scott Summers is but it seems that Jean Grey is a Christian as well, and same with the Hank McCoy.
And then there's Blade and Wolverine... I don't think they really care if there's a God or not.
07-18-2002, 01:37 PM
re: And then there's Blade and Wolverine... ...I don't think they really care if there's a God or not.
That reminds me of an episode of X-Men tas that featured Nightcrawler were in the end Wolverine found faith in God.
From: "Atheist representation on the Avengers" forum discussion started 20 June 2001 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/avengers/view.php?trd=010620110715; viewed 24 May 2007):
Posted by Jae on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:07:15 GMT
Atheist representation on the Avengers
The teams pretty well rounded now, but are there any atheistic members?...
Re: Atheist representation on the Avengers
In my opinion, this issue is pretty well addressed in the 'Infinity Crusade.' The whole premise of the story divides all of the major Marvel heroes into "crusaders," and "infidels." The infidels were not necessarily dyed-in-the-wool atheist per say, but they did not have the faith required to be influenced by the powers of the villain (Goddess was it?).
I cannot remember how it all broke down that well, but the infidels included the scientific like Richards, and Iron Man, and hard cases like Wolverine and the Hulk. In general it seems that females were much more likely to be crusaders, and I am sure that the Black Knight, and Cap were amongst them. When the crusaders were gathered, they were drawn by images of various symbols which reflected their faiths...
From: "How many Atheist superheroes/heroines are there?" forum discussion, started 20 May 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?p=3716053; viewed 24 May 2007):
05-20-2007, 06:23 AM
How many Atheist superheroes/heroines are there?
05-20-2007, 06:34 AM
...I say Wolverine or Xavier. Both seem like they could be [atheists].
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...
09-15-2006, 09:44 PM
Mags is actually a born Jewish who was raised by gypsies in his youth.
...Wolverine was probably raised Catholic or maybe somewhat like a Puritan. I got the gist of it in Origin...
09-16-2006, 06:00 PM
Wolverine and Quasar are Atheists.
09-16-2006, 06:18 PM
I could never understand how any Earthbound super-hero or villian would be an atheist and/or agnostic.
They've seen gods up close!
09-16-2006, 06:30 PM
Yeah but not "God," at least the Jew/Christian/Catholic/Muslim/any other religion god.
09-16-2006, 08:26 PM
re: Wolverine [is an] Atheist.
That can't be true. He was praying at his elder brother's gravestone in the second issue of Origin, and I'm sure there was a line about Rose and him wanting to get married in a church.
I don't think he's renounced his faith per se, but he certainly isn't the best at what he does in regard to religion...
Basically, he believes in a higher power, and therefore not an atheist.
09-16-2006, 09:03 PM
I would have to put Wolverine down as a lapsed Catholic. He probably started out precticing but decades of pain and all the bad stuff he's seen and done have more than likely had a negative impact on any beilef he may have in a higher power.
09-17-2006, 02:43 AM
Wolverine must have got religion within the past decade, I remember from (I'm guessing an 80's X-Men maybe earlier) that Nightcrawler and Wolverine clashed in thier beliefs before becuase I am positive that Nightcrawler once told Wolverine that he must be very alone because he's atheist.
(or maybe he lost it, considering continuty)
09-17-2006, 01:23 PM
Right. Really, unless, you have the religion be a super-specific and important element of the character (like what they made Nightcrawler to be), it tends to be flexible. Sometimes you'll see a superhero or a villain confide in a priest just for story purposes, but then they'd somehow declare him Jewish. It happens.
Wolverine is an obvious case. Writers who remember his Japan background would show him praying like a Buddhist or visit Buddhist temples. Others don't care, and have him pray in a church. Then there are writers who think that religion doesn't fit Logan's demeanor, and have him be a skeptic or an atheist.
09-18-2006, 07:29 PM
Wolverine is an atheist. When the X-Men clashed with Dracula he tried to use a cross to hold Dracula at bay. However the only way any religious iconography or symbol holds a vampire at bay is if you have faith in it, the stronger your faith, the more it repells the vampire. Since Wolverine's cross was completely useless, he has no faith in it, and since he was at one time a Christian, he has renounced his Christianity and become an atheist...
09-18-2006, 08:40 PM
Couldn't it mean that he is just not very religious, or is not religious at all? The cross made effect only with Nightcrawler, which is one of the most religious characters in the MU [Marvel Universe].
09-19-2006, 04:04 PM
re: Couldn't it mean that he is just not very religious, or is not religious at all?
That's exactly what it means. It doesn't make him an Atheist.
From: "Ask an Atheist!" forum discussion, started 9 June 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-128514-p-5.html; viewed 30 May 2007):
06-21-2006, 10:13 AM
According to this (http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html#Me) list, the following superheroes are Atheists:
Mr. Terrific II
the Savage Dragon
Starman Ted Knight
06-21-2006, 11:48 AM
re: Wolverine (possibly)
Logan's definitely an atheist. I recall him saying as much to Nightcrawler over a beer once.
From: "Which superhero would be the best Muslim?" forum discussion, started 17 January 2006 on the "Muslim Student Association: University of South Florida" website (http://www.msausf.org/MSAUSF/forums/467/ShowPost.aspx; viewed 4 June 2007):
01-17-2006, 9:00 AM
Which superhero would be the best Muslim?
Salam. Me and Momodu were speaking to each other over some delicious baklava and coffee about which superhero would most likely be Muslim. I would say Batman is most likely to be a great Muslim because he practices great self-restraint when it comes to alcohol consumption, and fornication mashallah. Also, Batman does not eat pork because it slows him down in his nightly crusades against Joker and other foes. Also, he does not have time to backbite or gossip or engage in other forms of fitna because he is too busy cleaning the Batcave and changing the oil in the Batmobile. Thank You.
Momodu, on the other hand, says the Hulk would make an amazing Muslim because he always keeps his gaze lowered. Also, Momodu says the Hulk's purple pants somehow always manage to cover his a'ura, as in his body from his belly button down to his knees. Please dont be shy about showing your feelings. No one is here to judge you and all your postings are welcome.
DC and Marvel superheroes are both welcome
01-25-2006, 12:08 PM
I'll tell you who screams Muslim: WOLVERINE. He has 3 claws from each hand (3 is sunna), and he has a beard, mashallah. He is also on a constant search in which he travels all over the world to learn about his creator. And like most great Muslims, he may not have the biggest muscles, but on the inside he is stronger then steel. Finally, though we all know he could get Jean any day (cyclops is gay), he waits his turn, until there is an official seperation. I can only hope that we may all be as devout as Wolverine.
01-31-2006, 12:44 PM
Mouhannad, Wolverine would make a horrible Muslim. He never smiles, he is always angry and he is always chasing after Cyclops' fiance. He just can't get her because he has no game.
01-31-2006, 3:20 PM
Oh no, you did not go there. Wolverine was always angry for the right reasons, it's just Cyclops was a control freak and didn't want to lose the X-men to the obviously more influential member. And though Wolverine never really agreed with all of their expeditions, and wasn't always sure if he wanted to be a part of the next adventure, he conceeded to the wisdom of Professor Xavier. Finally, I think we all know where the X-men would be if Wolverine wasn't there. As for Jean... it was her fault she kept giving Wolverine hope while still claiming to belong to Cyclops. That is a no-no, and as a result the man is not fully responsible.
Anyways, Wolverine is a hardened dude whos been through a lot. you can't expect him to be a sissy hero who is so noble and shows great emotions and restraint. All in all, if I were an X-man I would want Wolverine to have my back.
02-06-2006, 11:10 AM
That is biggest load of bologna that I have ever read. First of all I think we all know that Wolverine was not a threat to Cyclops' position. If anyone was next in line to lead it would be storm since she is second in command. Second wolverine was always out for personal vengance especially when he fought Sabretooth. That doesn't seem like the right reason to be angry. I didn't want to have to go here but I guess I have no Choice. OK here goes. Wolverine liked to beat on women. Thats right I said it. He was constantly fighting Mystique hand to hand, and actually stabbed her a few times. He also got into a huge brawl with Lady Deathstrike who was once his fiance. And finally Jean did not throw herself at him. He was always chasing her but in the end he just didn't have what it took. Wolverine was a great hero, that's for sure. But could he be a great Muslim? I don't think so.
02-07-2006, 3:25 PM
Momodu, i think the only 100% accurate source to rule over this is Marvel itself. And according to that amazing source Sabretooth is a vicious blood thirsty mutant who has always been threatened by Wolverine. Wolverine's pursuit of Sabretooth is nothing short of Xavier's pursuit of Magneto, except on a smaller scale. As a matter of fact, it is even less controversial considering the fact that it could (COULD) be argued that Magneto is not necessarily all evil. Wolverine is an invaluable part of the X-men and has probably sacrificed more then any of them in order to help the Professor's cause. As for his relationship with Jean, well I still hold to the fact that Jean leaves the door slightly ajar for the possibility of those two, as she can't seem to make up her mind. But regardless, we are not asking who would make the perfect Muslim, but a good Muslim. Who knows, with Jean as Phoenix maybe he will finally move on.
02-08-2006, 10:15 AM
How dare you. I practically gave you that argument. I am not going to argue that Sabretooth isn't evil. All I want to say is that personal hatred is not a very good reason for revenge. Also on the issue of Jean, before Wolverine ever heard the word X-men Jean was engaged to be married to Cyclops. Now if you want to go back to the source, then I believe Marvel states that one of the main reasons Wolverine stays on the X-men is to be near Jean. Now I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that a good Muslim doesn't try to get his leader's wife.
From: Clark Goble, "Unpractical Ethics: Superheroes", posted 11 October 2005 on "Millenial Star" website [which comments on topics relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] (http://www.millennialstar.org/index.php/2005/10/11/unpractical_ethics_superheros; viewed 5 June 2007):
Even as comics have sort of become marginalized again, superheroes have experienced a renaissance the last five years or so. It seems every year brings two or three big budgeted superhero films. Admittedly most aren't terribly good. But while I've not read comics for quite some time, I do enjoy the Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman pictures. I have to confess I'm eagerly awaiting the forthcoming rebirth of Superman by X-Men's Bryan Singer. (And dreading Brett Ratner taking over X-Men). Anyway, I thought for a change of pace rather than doing a "practical ethics" I'd do the opposite. The most unpractical ethics of all: analyzing superheroes.
Now I know at least one person is preparing a post on an other blog taking exception to some of my views. And I'll further confess that with a few exceptions while reading graphic novels at Borders, I've really not read comics since the early 80's when I was a kid. Since comics are re-invented a lot, things may have changed. But here's my views...
X-Men. These guys always remind me of the Mormons in Missouri. Persecuted because they are different, yet not afraid to take matters into their own hands. Who is Magneto? Is it the Danites? Porter Rockwell? Lots of interesting parallels in our own history to the moral conundrums found both in the films and in the comics. To what degree must we be both in the world yet not of the world. The difference between X-Men and Superman is that where Superman is respected by the world, the X-Men are feared, distrusted, and ultimately the government works against them.
Comment from: danithew - http://blogdiss.weblogs.us
I like Wolverine. But there's nothing Mormon about him, far as I can tell, bub. Snikt!
[By the way, I like him in the brown and orange costume ... not that yellow and blue abomination.]
10/11/05 - 23:15
Comment from: danithew - http://blogdiss.weblogs.us
As far as adjectives go, Mormons are most like the X-Men. The X-Men are "uncanny" while Mormons are "a peculiar people."
10/11/05 - 23:18
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 the Arabian Knight (actually an Egyptian, he had a scimitar and flying carpet), 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.
So, on to religion. What religions do we find represented in Marvel? A lot of them are "weird" ones associated with exotic fantasy. Several decades ago, comic book writers could be fairly sure that none of their readers would know or be Tibetan Buddhists, Kali devotees, Voodoo practitioners, or Gypsies, so they felt free to make up details out of whole cloth, or portray some religions as wicked. Today this is no longer possible. Recall the Hindu reaction to Krishna's appearance on "Xena: Warrior Princess" (as a villain). So today, weird or evil religions are more likely to be entirely fictional, like the Triune Understanding (a Scientology pastiche) or the Ultimate Shi'ar (a cult not an alien race). The Greek and Norse pantheons appear to also be fair game.
Mainstream religions were generally unmentioned before the 1990's (though we do find Cap consulting the New Testament for inspiration during the 1970's, and of course Damien Hellstrom trained for the Roman Ritual). Then suddenly a number of characters were revealed as being of Roman Catholic background (Daredevil, Invisible Woman, Nightcrawler, Punisher), or occasionally Jewish (Thing, though he is predated by minor characters Doc Samson, Sabra, Kitty Pryde, and Justice). USAgent, in his stint as Cap, was hinted to be a conservative Protestant. What was the motivation for all this? In the case of Daredevil, his being Catholic became a kind of shorthand for guilt and so on. Nightcrawler was assumed to be Catholic because of his Bavarian origins, Punisher because of his mafia connections. Jack Kirby once drew the Thing with a prayer-shawl, and Jewish ethnicity seemed to reinforce the character's constant suffering and kvetching (and maybe his sense of humor too). I don't know what the story was with Invisible Woman, perhaps someone else will enlighten me.
In these cases, religions were still mainly used as shorthand. A number of non-heroic examples would fit the description of "religious leader turns out to be an evil-doer" (e.g."God Loves, Man Kills", or the Six-Fingered Hand or the cult of Joshua from Defenders). These too are fairly obvious targets (Protestant evangelists, cult leaders) from the point of view of the pop culture. Some positive (but highly "orientalized") images of Asian religions come to us via Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Karma from the X-Men (remember the appearance of the yin/yang emblem from her origin?) and even Wolverine (who adopted Japanese motifs in the wake of the TV miniseries "Shogun"). Note the different treatment with Western religions, which are more "ordinary" and generally lack magic powers.
I suggest that if real religions are going to be invoked, then they had better be done right. That means whoever writes Bro. Voodoo ought to take the trouble to find out what voodoo actually consists of in the real world, and find some way to fit the superhero within that (allowing for supernatural flourishes, of course). If Dr. Strange goes to Tibet, then the writer had better know something about the real Tibet, e.g. that it is under Chinese control. Marvel did actually try to make sense of the Cult of Kali awhile back (Shroud mini), but it became a kind of Hare Krishna pastiche (except presumably Shaiva rather than Vaishnava). It's okay to have villains who worship Kali (or whatever), but this shouldn't be presented as normal behavior for Kali-worshippers.
What about the other tendency? Suppose the writer for Wolverine wants to assign Wolvie a religion. Should Wolvie "just happen" to be revealed as having been a Quaker all these years (picking a religion out of the hat here)? And if that seems to have nothing to do with Wolvie as a character, isn't that the point--that not everybody fits the stereotypes? Or should his religion (once mentioned) be emphasized, so that Wolvie from now on must wrestle with his conscious according to his perception of the Inner Light, as taught by George Fox et. al.? But that risks making comics too didactic, which would be the kiss of death, wouldn't it?
From: "Religions of super heroes" forum discussion page started 14 August 2006 on "Wizard Universe" website (http://wizarduniverse.invisionzone.com/lofiversion/index.php/t1595.html; viewed 20 June 2007):
Aug 15 2006, 04:32 PM
What does "Wolverine: former atheist" mean?
Aug 15 2006, 04:56 PM
It means he believes in God now. He probably feels that's enough.
Aug 15 2006, 05:23 PM
Maybe he's agnostic now?
From: Kevin C. Murphy, "Can I get a (super)-witness?", posted 3 April 2006 by (kevincmurphy) on Triptych Cryptic/Ghost in the Machine blog website (http://www.ghostinthemachine.net/003749.html#003749; viewed 21 June 2007):
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html], with a handy graphic of who's a member of what "legion." The site also includes impressively detailed individual entries on each character -- not only the big guns like Methodist Superman, Episcopal Batman, Catholic Daredevil, and Buddhist Wolverine, but also everyone from Presbyterian Wolfsbane to the Mormon Power Pack.
From: "Jews and Catholics rule" forum discussion, started 9 July 2006 on "Pop Culture Shock" website (http://www.popcultureshock.com/pcs/forums/showthread.php?t=13549; viewed 28 June 2007):
07-09-2006, 09:18 PM
Default Jews and Catholics rule. [By this, the poster means that Catholics and Jews have the most representation among comic book superheroes.]
The Mormons are rocking out too!
(Fastest growing religion though, I hear, so I guess they deserve the reppin [i.e., representation].)
But the Muslims (22% of the world), the Hindu (15% of the world), the Sikhs ( totally typecast as supporting characters only!), Confucianists (7% of the planet), (and Athiests/Agnostics (17% of the world and growing fast!) all get the raw deal from comics:
Also be sure to check out the individual portraits. (i.e.: Superman is a Methodist but Lois is Catholic, Power Pack were all Mormons, Wolverine's a Buddhist, and Colossus, Booster Gold, and Iron Man are atheists. Their practices and more are described here:
From: "The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters" forum discussion, started 27 June 2007 on "City of Heroes" website (http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=8576731; viewed 6 July 2007):
06/27/07 02:31 PM
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters [link to: http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=8576731]
My Local newsradio station pointed this site out.
Let the battle begin.
06/27/07 03:13 PM
I think it's interesting and something that doesn't get talked about enough. But then I don't generally see alot of good debate and discussion in most comics anyway.
I can remember growing up and really loving some of the dialogue about religion that used to occur in X-Men. Between Nightcrawler (devout Catholic), Wolverine (Agnostic), and Colossus (Communist/Athiest) there was usually about a page of decent back and forth every few issues.
From: "Religious Super Heroes PC or otherwise" forum discussion, started 17 September 2003 on "HERO Games" website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-8036.html; viewed 12 July 2007):
Sep 24th, '03, 07:50 AM
While I agree about the dichotomy about [Nightcrawler's] looks and faith, I recall quite a few good moments in the comics I read at that explored Nightcrawler's religious side. (I thought he was introduced in the 70's myself-nitpick I know). Scenes I recall fondly were the X-Men battle against Dracula, where Kurt puts the hurt on Drac by taking two simple sticks and ramming them together in cross formation.
And the one where the X-Men are about to go into battle... Wolverine seeks out Nightcrawler, and finds him praying.
Nightcrawler admits he is, and admits how oten times he seeks comfort from such. He then asks Wolverine if he believes, and if so in what? Wolverine's response is "Me? I believe in what I can touch, smell, taste." With an inference that there is nothing more beyond that.
Nightcrawler gives him a look of sympathy and says "ach, mein friend, I never realized how lonely you really were until now."
Wolverine scoffs, and goes "Who's lonely? I got you ain't I?"
And off they go.
I think the other purpose Nightcrawler had was to contrast was to Wolverine's cynicism and disabelief in things he could not sense, and in Storm's former 'goddess'hood.
Really, it depended on the writer, there were some that even had Nighcrawler's faith shattered later on, but I'd still put him as one of the first religious super heroes, and it never struck me as in a particularly 'bad' way :)
From: "Superheroes by Religion" forum discussion, started 11 January 2007 on "Political Crossfire" website (http://www.politicalcrossfire.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=73989; viewed 16 July 2007):
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:20 pm
I wasn't sure whether to put this here or the Lounge, but this place rarely has anything light-hearted, so I suppose it needs it. So, here it is. I thought this was fascinating and should be expanded:
Yes, the Thing is a Jew.
I never expected that, lol.
Quote: Born on Yancy Street in New York City's Lower East Side, to a Jewish family, Benjamin Jacob Grimm...
Perhaps modelled after the Golem, no doubt?
Superman and Batman are, of course... Christian. ["Rolling Eyes" emoticon] (Superman is a Methodist, Batman is an Anglican.)
Let's see... Green Lantern is a bad Jew ("Jewish Catholic").
And ooh, Wolverine is a Buddhist! ["Very Happy" emoticon]
Kim Jong Ill
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:26 pm
I dissagree. I think Wolverine is more of an Irish Catholic. I mean, come on, all he does is drink and fight.... (joking)
The Central Scrutinizer
Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 2:38 am
No, the atheists drafted Wolverine in the second round. This is bulls**t.
Nightstalker [sic: This poster means "Nightcrawler."] is Eastern Orthodox, not Catholic.
What on Earth is "Jewish Catholic?" Seriously.
How is it that the Episcopalians and the CoE bunch get more big-name superheroes than any other group?
This site clearly has an Anglo-Saxon bias.
From: "Question about Magneto" forum discussion, started 12 May 2006 on "Giant in the Playground" website (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-15296.html; viewed 17 July 2007):
05-15-2006, 10:31 PM
Odder still, Wolverine is a Shintoist...
05-15-2006, 11:03 PM
Actually, Wolverine being Shintoist makes sense, considering most of his memories take place in Japan, and alot of his efforts to control his berserker have been based off of Japanese warrior training.
05-16-2006, 01:40 AM
In the nineties X-series, Wolverine seems to be angry and at odds with God. He speaks to a deformed monk named Kurt Wagner ("Nightcrawler") and seems to have a change of heart. He is even seen reading the Bible at the end of the episode. I think the comics' Wolvie may have converted to Shintoist after he became involved with a Japanese woman (did he marry her? I don't recall offhand) many years ago... So he might have been something else before that.
05-17-2006, 04:35 AM
What? Wolverine practices zen meditational techniques as part of his training, but he's neither Shintoist nor Buddhist. He does respect and is knowledgable about those traditions from his time in Japan, but otherwise I've always seen him as a general agnostic. He's had too many encounters with various scions of the supernatural from many different cultures over the years to accept just one.
Wolverine was, at one time a Christian, but after Cyber murdered his then-fiance around the time of WWI, Wolverine became an atheist. He's come back around to having a spiritual side more recently, but I don't think he'll ever be a straight-up member of any particular denomination ever again.
Also, his fiance Yoshida Mariko has been dead for years, but had they had a wedding, it would have been a traditional Shintoist affair. The Yoshidas were a very traditional family with aristocratic origins.
Despite the name of the page in the following source, it is not clear how "authoritative" this source is. This appears to be simply the viewpoint of one dedicated comic book fan. From: Jim Trabold, "Ultimate Marvel Handbook #19: (174)", posted 21 July 2006 in "Comics Nexus" section of "Inside Pulse" website (http://www.insidepulse.com/article_v3.php?contentid=49881; viewed 17 July 2007):
Hello everyone I'm Jim Trabold welcome to the Ultimate Marvel Handbook.
Hey Daron how are you today bud?
I'm pretty good. I'm curious though if anyone reading this column doesn't know who you are? I just find it interesting that you introduce yourself every week. I wonder if you're trying to reach the same mythic "new" readers that the comic industry is always preaching about.
I'm good. I'm missing out on SDCC but I'll make up for it next year. I still plan on reading the news and all coming from the con though. Can't wait for WW Chicago now.
Oh sure, you're gonna go to Chicago this year, and I can't make it.
Yeah that's enough con talk for now lol. Let's start.
[Question] 18 - I know that in DC, Batman (rumored), Atom, Starman, Booster Gold and Mr. Terrific are atheists, besides Wolverine and Hulk who else in Marvel is also confirmed or considered as the same?
[Answer:] Wolverine and Hulk actually do have faith in religion in their own manors. Hulk would be Bruce's religion Catholic and Wolverine was for a while but now is Buddhist.
As for confirmed atheists:
From: "Religious Affiliations of Super Heroes..." forum discussion, started 3 July 2007 on Fukushima Forums website (http://www.fujet.net/Forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=09a3ae0abf6efb8de2134680e092aee6&topic=815.msg7854; viewed 2 August 2007):
July 03, 2007, 12:11:58 AM
Now this is interesting...
July 03, 2007, 01:30:59 PM
I love it how fans seem to always seek order in the chaos that is serialized fiction. The Wolverine page on that site is exemplary of this: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/Wolverine.html . Obviously, the Marvel writers who have used Wolverine have no set "answer" to what Wolverine's religion is. One writer wants him to be Christian, another writer wants him to be Buddhist. Wolverine isn't real, so there's no problem. But from the fan's point of view, everything must tie neatly together into a single continuity, so this website expends 20 pages to answer a simple question: "What is Wolverine's religion?"
I'm not faulting the fans, mind you; just making an observation. It can be fun to geek out like this sometimes. But other times it's important to remember that fictional characters are not real people and, by rights, have no religion or birthday or best friends or favorite color underwear.
July 03, 2007, 04:12:43 PM
Geez Matt, did you even have a childhood or were you just born with the personality of a 60 year old?
mattoichiban - definitely ;)
July 03, 2007, 02:48:29 PM
Who's Wolverine? Is he Captain Canuck's half-brother or something?
From: "The New Improved Official Stupid Question Thread Marvel Edition" forum discussion, started 3 July 2004 on "Superhero Hype" website (http://forums.superherohype.com/archive/index.php/t-124699-p-15.html; viewed 11 August 2007):
07-24-2007, 11:01 AM
I recall an issue of Wolverine where it was said that in the Marvel Universe, the existence of god had been, beyond a shadow of a doubt, scientifically proven through some sort of mathematical equasion. So, wouldn't that mean that there are no athiests in the MU anymore?
07-24-2007, 11:02 AM
Do you know of any absolutely proven atheists in the Marvel universe?
07-24-2007, 11:05 AM
re: "Do you know of any absolutely proven atheists in the Marvel universe?"
Hmm. Well, obviously the old Communist villains from the 60s would be. Other than that, no.
07-24-2007, 11:42 AM
Is that in reference to the FF story where they met God, and He was Jack Kirby?
07-24-2007, 11:44 AM
No. Wolverine was just tracking some crazy super genius terrorist and, giving an example of the guy's genuis, mentioned that he had come up with a mathematical equation that proved the existence of God.
07-24-2007, 11:46 AM
It's possible that there are still atheists in the Marvel universe because people didn't believe him. After all, "crazy super genius terrorist" isn't exactly the kinds of descriptors I look for in an unimpeachable source.
07-24-2007, 11:47 AM
07-24-2007, 03:40 PM
There was an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy where the Beyonder was talking to a couple of other cosmics unfamiliar to me. They were talking about higher order beings in multiple echelons above what they knew. This would seem to prove conclusively that God does not exist in the MU. I don't remember it very well since I only glanced at it in the store and could not fit it in my budget at the time.
07-24-2007, 05:11 PM
Oh, God most definitely exists in the MU [Marvel Universe]. I was just asking if the bit in Wolverine where it was said that it had been scientifically proven on Earth was widly known or accepted, and how much it effected the MU.