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Daredevil Born Again trade paperback: Daredevil in front of a Catholic church
Daredevil: Born Again - The title and cover of this trade paperback publication reflect the overtly religious (and Catholic) nature of both this book specifically, and the Daredevil character generally. The volume collects Daredevil issues #227-233, written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli.
Matt Murdock and his mother, Sister Maggie

The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Matt Murdock

The Marvel Comics superhero Daredevil (Matt Murdock) has been portrayed in comics and in the 2003 feature film version as an explicitly Catholic character.

In Marvel's relatively new "Ultimate" line, Daredevil stated in Ultimate Spider-Man #109 that he is Catholic. This is firmly in line with the tradition of having characters have the same religious affiliation in all continuously published continuities as well as in film and television versions. There are no known examples of Marvel or DC super-heroes having a religious affiliation different in film, TV or continuously published alternative lines. Not all manifestations of a character display their religiousity with equivalent frequency or adhere to their religious faith with equal vigor, but there are no known examples of characters simply having an identifiably different religious faith from one version to the next.

Daredevil was apparently not overtly identified as a Catholic character when he first appeared. It seems likely, however, given Daredevil/Matt Murdock's family background and name, that Stan Lee and Bill Everett generally thought of the character as Catholic when they created him in the 1960s. It was not uncommon during that time for real-world religious affiliation to be viewed as a taboo subject. The religious affiliation of most major comic book characters was never overtly identified, even when writers created characters with a specific ethnic/religious background in mind.

Later writers of the Daredevil comic book series, including Frank Miller during his influential runs on the series, overtly identified Daredevil as Catholic and more frequently portrayed him in Catholic religious settings and situations. Frank Miller once said, "I figured Daredevil must be Catholic because only a Catholic could be both an attorney and a vigilante."

Frank Miller is often credited with first establishing Catholicism as Daredevil's religious affiliation, but this is incorrect. It was certainly Miller that brought this aspect of the character to the forefront, but Daredevil's Catholicism had been introduced prior to Miller's seminal work on the series. Tony Isabella has identified himself as the writer who first indicated that Daredevil is Catholic, back in Daredevil #119, in a story titled, "They're Tearing Down Fogwell's Gym." Isabella is an influential comic book writer whose creations include Black Lightning (another overtly religious superhero). Isabella is himself an active churchgoer and who has frequently and sensibly included religious elements in comic book characterization. Isabella has in the past commented on the relative ignorance found among fellow comic book writers with regards to real-world religious practice.

Much of the 2003 feature film takes place in the Catholic church at which Matt Murdock regularly visits a priest for confession.

In the "Born Again" storyline written by Frank Miller, it was revealed that Matt Murdock's mother, who he never knew as a child, had left his father sometime after Matt was born and became a nun. Sister Maggie apparently watched her son from afar throughout his life. In the "Born Again" story, Sister Maggie saves Matt Murdock from dying after she finds him severely injured by the Kingpin. When he touches the gold cross that Sister Maggie wears, Matt recalls that the same nun wearing the same cross came to him after he was injurred in the accident that first blinded him and gave him his super powers in his youth. Matt asked Sister Maggie if she as his mother, and although she lied to him and said no, his heightened sense of smell confirmed to him that her scent was so close to his that she was his mother.

From: "New Joe Fridays Week 28", published December 2006 on Newsarama.com (http://www.newsarama.com/NewJoeFridays/NewJoeFridays28.html; viewed 8 June 2007):

RQ: ted_dahlman [question]: I can only think of three Marvel characters who are practicing Jews (Thing, Shadowcat, and presumably Sabra), two who are practicing Christians (Nightcrawler and Firebird, both Catholic), along with a few Muslim heroes who have figured into minor roles in several stories, and the thousands of "mutant-hating bigots" who have shown up dressed in clerical garb.

JQ [Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics]: Hey there, ted_dahlman. Marc Spector, Doc Samson, and Magneto are also practicing Jews and don't forget Matt Murdock is a practicing Catholic. I know there's more, but I just thought I'd mention these four as they seem like important ones to include.

[EDITOR: Joe Quesada here is answering a spur-of-the-moment question. Marc Spector ("Moon Knight") and Magneto quickly came to his mind as Jewish characters and he mentioned them, echoing the questioner's language by using the term "practicing Jews." Of course Joe Quesada is not actually trying to say that Magneto and Moon Knight are "practicing" or observant Jews. He simply meant to mention them as important Jewish characters.]

RQ ted_dahlman [question]: What do you think accounts for the dearth of monotheistic heroes? Do you think we'll be seeing the topic of religion explored in the Marvel Universe anytime soon? Or see any characters convert? Have there been any Marvel stories in which organized religion has been portrayed in a positive light?

JQ [Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics]: I don't know if dearth is the right word to use, especially when traditionally there was no expression of religious beliefs by comic characters in the past.

Like so many of the characters we create, ethnicity, religious beliefs... and all of the things that make people who they are only come into play if they're an important part of what makes up the interesting aspects of a character from a storytelling perspective. For us to sit around a table and say, "hey, we need a dozen new Hispanic characters," seems forced and not the way we go about our creative business.

The characters that have religion play into their stories are that way because their religion played an important part in who they are as a character and it effects their decisions and their stories, no one more so than Matt Murdock. In direct contrast, one would have to assume that due to Peter Parker's Irish heritage (Parker/Fitzgerald), he's most likely of Christian Protestant beliefs, yet while there have been rare instances when he's reached out to God, it's not an important makeup of his character.

In the case of Matt Murdock, it's come to define him. It also adds an interesting juxtaposition and wonderful irony between a man who worships a Catholic god yet wears a devil suit to fight crime. There have also been numerous scenes depicting Matt gaining an incredible amount of comfort from his religion. The scenes of him in the confessional stand out most to me as one of many moments when organized religion has been shown in a positive light.

From: Andrew A. Smith (Scripps Howard News Service), "Comics superheroes of many faiths", published 3 February 2000 in The Houston Chronicle (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/religion/446482.html; viewed 30 November 2005):

Matt (Daredevil) Murdock is a well-established Catholic of Irish descent whose mother is a nun. (A number of terrific stories have emerged from the conflict between his deeply felt beliefs and his secret life as a vigilante.)

Daredevil movie poster
Daredevil (2003): The character's big screen debut features an overtly Catholic portrayal of the hero. Much of the film takes place within the Catholic church Daredevil regularly attends confessional. Daredevil (Ben Affleck) shares the screen with a Greek Orthodox girlfriend, Elektra (played by Jennifer Garner).
From: "Daredevil" article on Wikipedia.com website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daredevil_(comics); viewed 8 October 2005):
Matt Murdock is one of the most complicated characters in comic books, mostly due to the additions made by Frank Miller:

Catholic - Reflecting upon the character of Daredevil, Frank Miller has said that a person so conflicted as to be both a lawyer and a vigilante must be a Catholic. Identifying a religious affiliation was uncommon in comics as it was often seen to alienate those who were not part of that religion, though also, perhaps, because many early comic creators were Jewish. Miller's addition of the character's Catholicism offered many opportunities to comment on the overwhelming "Catholic guilt" that would cause him to think of himself as a devil. Kevin Smith, a Catholic himself, also utilized this aspect of the character prominantly in his run on the series.

From: Bob Rozakis, "It's RobRo: The Answerman: Alex Saviuk, What's it Worth & More" (column), published on Silver Bullet Comic Books website (http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/bobro/105572495084853.htm; viewed 25 May 2006):
It was said: "Frank Miller did introduce the Catholicism in DAREDEVIL. Matt's Irish, so it makes sense in a vaguely stereotypical way..."

Well, not to take much away from Frank, who did so much more with the concept than I ever did, but the first time we saw any indication of Matt's religion was in DAREDEVIL #119's "They're Tearing Down Fogwell's Gym."

I think I know the writer.

-- Tony Isabella (tonyisa@ohio.net)

[Rozakis:] I'd bet you do, Tony.

Popular film director Kevin Smith (a self-described practicing Catholic) first delved into comic book writing with Daredevil. Smith prominenly included Catholic themes in his stories. From: John Fellows, "The List; Daredevil", published 11 August 2003 in 9th Art (http://www.ninthart.com/display.php?article=638; viewed 30 November 2005):
By Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada & Jimmy Palmiotti
US $19.95
ISBN: 0785107371

Before the series was recently revamped, DAREDEVIL had become a second-rater, a book with a fondly remembered past, wallowing in an indifferent present. Letting it fade out of memory long enough for people to forget those low points, Marvel then handed the reins to Kevin Smith, noted director of CHASING AMY and MALLRATS.

Matt Murdock's life is torn apart when his girlfriend leaves him, his best friend - Foggy Nelson - is accused of murder, he's left looking after a lost baby, and worse is still to come. Is this the workings of a higher force? Or the sick machinations of a more human agency?

Smith brings DAREDEVIL's Catholic symbols and anxieties to the fore in GUARDIAN DEVIL, and though his style is overly wordy, his first shot at writing mainstream comics leaves an indelible mark on the hero. The heaped tragedies build to a crescendo that's all too typical of Murdock's life as he loses another loved one. The fact that GUARDIAN DEVIL occasionally demonstrates a lack of follow-through on certain points belies Smith's heartfelt emotions in the rest of the piece.

Milla calls her husband, Matt Murdock, a good Catholic boy Left: Matt Murdock's wife Milla Donovan referred to her her husband as a "good Catholic boy" when she revealed to reporter Ben Ulrich that she and Murdock were married. This reference is on page 2 of Daredevil volume 2, issue #58, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Alex Maleev. This was reprinted in the Daredevil Volume 9: King of Hell's Kitchen trade paperback (Marvel Comics: New York, 2004).

Matt Murdock's wife calls him a "good Catholic boy" after Daily Bugle investigative journalist Ben Ulrich tells Milla what he has been able to piece together about the recent events that led up to Matt Murdock (Daredevil) going missing for many days. Then Milla tells Ulrich that she simply wanted to meet him to ask his help in finding Matt, her husband. Ulrich is shocked by what Milla said, as he did not previously know that Murdock had recently married.

BEN ULRICH: I've checked everywhere. All the places you'd think he'd go and about a dozen places you wouldn't-- Matt Murdock has disappeared. I hope he's okay. Usually I wouldn't even worry about it. I mean, Matt always ends up okay. But with everythng upside down like it is -- Everything so-- I don't know-- I just hope he's okay.

MILLA: I-- I certainly appreciate your taking the time with me, Mr. Ulrich. I-- I didn't understand what was going on and--and your perspective on it-- It certainly-- yes, it certainly sniff. . . I'm sorry.

BEN ULRICH: It's okay . . .

MILLA: But, Mr. Ulrich, I don't care about any of this. I don't. I know I should, but I-- I don't. I called you here because I need your help in the worst way. I am at my wit's end. I'm-- I'm sick to my stomach . . . I just need you to help me find my husband. Please help me find Matthew.

BEN ULRICH: [a shocked expression on his face] Husband . . . Milla, when did you and Matt Murdock . . . get married?

MILLA: About-- about four months ago. May 4th.

BEN ULRICH: [shocked; says nothing]

MILLA: Hello?

BEN ULRICH: I'm-- I'm sorry. I'm just stunned.

MILLA: Well, I am blind. So could you be 'stunned' a little louder.

BEN ULRICH: I'm sorry. I, um, I just-- I guess I just never saw him as the marrying type.

MILLA: Good Catholic boy. Sure.

BEN ULRICH: Well . . . guess he never found the right woman.

MILLA: That's nice, thank you. He said-- he said I was like the this whole city all pushed into one woman. And-- and he does love this city, so . . .

Below: The excerpts from the surrounding pages below (with some panels deleted and cropped for the sake of space) are from the last page of Daredevil volume 2 issues #57 and the first two pages of issue #58:

Milla (Daredevil's wife) talks with reporter Ben Ulrich

Daredevil's religious affiliation was mentioned in Newsweek. (Steven Waldman and Michael Kress, "BeliefWatch: Good Fight", published in Newseek, cover-dated 19 June 2006, page 12):

Newseek article about religions of superheroes

From: Shannon Donahoo, "Are there Catholic superheroes?" page on Catholic Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of Melbourne website (http://www.cymmelb.org/resources/faq/fqother002.shtml; viewed 15 June 2006):

I saw Daredevil the other day and thought it was pretty cool. Did you know that Daredevil was Catholic? In the movie he goes to confession at least twice! Are there any other Catholic superheroes?
Hey John, I saw Daredevil too. I liked it a lot - but hey, I'm a comic geek so go figure!

You're right about DD being a Catholic - and that's not something made up for the movie either. While both in the movie and in the comics, Daredevil (aka blind New York lawyer Matthew Murdock) is a Catholic, he's not perfect - which is why he goes to confession. In the movie, DD lets a criminal die when he could have saved him. No, he didn't exactly kill the guy, but he certainly doesn't save him. Ben Affleck, the actor who plays Murdock/Daredevil is a lifelong DD fan and has said that he had problems with that treatment of the character.

Ultimately the movie is about Daredevil/Murdock's growth from vigilante to hero, and from a man without fear to a man with hope. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about (I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen the movie yet).

While I really enjoyed Daredevil I did have a few problems with it. First of all, I thought that there was too much CGI (In my opinion Daredevil moved too much like Spider-Man in the film) and the fight scenes were a little over the top, but that's just my movie preferences.

The only real issue I had with it was how Daredevil doesn't really go to confession to get forgiveness for his sins. Instead he goes to be told by the priest that what he's doing is okay. The priest however doesn't do that, reminding him that there are other ways to fight the good fight. An essential part of the film involves Matt Murdock falling in love with Elektra Natchios, and the film-makers handle that very well (the scene where Matt "sees" Elektra in the rain is beautiful), except - like so many films - Daredevil included an unecessary sex scene.

While we see Matt confess his violent nightlife as Daredevil to the priest, he doesn't confess his sleeping with Elektra, which is a sin. In the comics, especially the Kevin Smith written "Guardian Devil" story arc, we see that Matt's faith is important to him, but he is very selective about how he lives it. This is carried across in the film.

I'm not sure how much you know about Daredevil, but he's one of Marvel Comic's earlier superheroes. More or less, Matt was blinded as a child by radioactive waste, and later developed super-sense under the guidance of a ninja sensei Stick. While Stick doesn't appear in the movie (he shows up in the Elektra movie), the movie follows the greatest Daredevil storyline: the confrontation between the "Kingpin of Crime" Wilson Fisk (Michael Clarke Duncan), his assassin the psychotic Bullseye (Colin Farrell), the local vigilante Daredevil, and Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner) - the daughter of Wilson Fisk's business partner. Each character appears slightly different in the movie, but it's a very good adaptation.

Anyway, part of Daredevil's backstory (and not included in the movie) is that after Matt's childhood accident, a nun comes to visit Matt in the hospital. In the course of the comics, the nun is later revealed to be Matt's long-thought-dead Mum, Maggie.

The movie is full of references to faith - much of the movie takes place in a grand cathedral; and of course, there's that great visual gag that a man dressed like a devil is a good guy...

Daredevil poses with a Catholic Cross
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):
In the foreword to The Gospel According to Superheroes, a book examining superheroes and religion, legendary comic-book writer and editor Stan Lee says he always scrupulously avoided any mention of specific religions in his stories. "I thought of myself as an 'equal opportunity writer,'" he says.

But a few writers have brought religion into the mix when taking on some long-time characters. Frank Miller, for example, established Marvel's blind Daredevil as Catholic many years ago.

"From a story point of view, a guy that dresses up like a devil but is devoutly Christian is interesting," says Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics editor in chief. "Just the same way that the fact that he is a lawyer by day and practices vigilante justice at night is interesting and makes for great storytelling."

From: Terry Mattingly, "Comic book visionaries", nationally syndicated "On Religion" column, 5 November 2003 (http://tmatt.gospelcom.net/column/2003/11/05/; viewed 1 December 2005):
"Anyone who knows where to look can find plenty of examples of faith in the comics and the culture that surrounds them," [Leo Partible, an independent movie producer, graphic artist and writer] said. "There is darkness there, but lots of light, too."

...Hollywood writer Kevin Smith's "Daredevil" hero wrestles with guilt while leaning on his Catholic faith.

From: Peter S. Scholtes, "Ben Affleck finds a risk worth taking in 'Daredevil': Good Role Hunting", published in Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages, Volume 24, Issue 1158, 12 February 2003 (http://citypages.com/databank/24/1158/article11060.asp; viewed 12 May 2006):
[Ben] Affleck was introduced to [Mark Steven] Johnson by director Kevin Smith (Dogma)--a connection that also lends Daredevil its only nagging flaw. Smith has been writing his own Daredevil stories for Marvel since the late 1990s, delving more deeply into the character's Catholicism, a subject that hadn't come up until the mid-'70s. The idea of Daredevil going to confession was ingenious: It also broke a long-standing taboo against religion in comics. (Since then, the Thing has recited the Shema.) But Johnson goes so far as to set the climactic fight in a cathedral--though, thankfully, Smith's more recent (and racist) portrayals of odiferous Al Qaeda operatives didn't make it to the screen.

To be sure, I have my biases and Daredevil has his. (I'm the atheist son of a former priest, and, as only hyperextended geeks know, Murdock was the son of a nun.) But surely a movie this packed with sound, fury, and backstory could have jettisoned the God subtext altogether. Maybe the geeks need a devil's advocate.

Infinity Crusade

Daredevil was one of 33 characters who were identified as the most religious superheroes in the Marvel Universe in Infinity Crusade (June 1993). In this issue, a powerful being who identified herself as "the Goddess" kidnapped the superheroes she had identified as being the most religious active superheroes at the time. The Goddess was a manifestation of the "benevolent" side of Adam Warlock, and she planned to use these heroes in her crusade to rid the galaxy of evil and usher in a new golden age of peace. After these 33 characters had been kidnapped by the Goddess, the remaining superheroes gathered to try to figure out what was going on. The Vision analyzed data about who had been taken and who had not, and explained his analysis (Infinity Crusade #1, page 32):
Now that the appropriate files have been examined I believe I have sufficient hard data to put forth that theory I mentioned earlier. I feel confident I know why these particular paranormals were abducted. All the missing share a common trait or experience... An event or attitude that might be categorized as religious. Many among the missing hold deeply felt moral stands or intense spiritual belief systems. Those who do not fit that profile have all had after-death experiences... My theory does not hold that these attitudes aided in the missing individual's abduction, only that these traits may have determined who would be taken.
Daredevil was identified as among Marvel's most religious in Infinity Crusade

Sister Maggie: Matt Murdock's mother, the Catholic nun

Daredevil's mother, a nun, kisses him on the forehead
Sister Maggie, a Catholic nun, visits young Matt Murdock in the hospital after the accident that blinded him but also gave him his powers. At the time, Matt did not realize that the woman with the gold cross was his mother.

Scene from Daredevil #229, Marvel Comics Group: New York City (1986), page 4, written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli. Reprinted in Daredevil: Born Again trade paperback, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2005), 7th printing, page 56.

Daredevil's mother, a nun, visits him

Below: Text from Daredevil #229, page 4: the scene in which Matt Murdock's mother visits him in the hospital after his accident. This may be the first time that Matt's mother is shown as a nun, although it is not yet made clear in this scene who the woman is. In the previous issue (#228), Matt Murdock attacked the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk), but was defeated and badly beaten by him. The Kingpin arranged to have the unconscious Murdock trapped in a car that was then driven into the bay, in an effort to make authorities believe that a despondent Murdock had committed suicide. Matt Murdock/Daredevil managed to escape, but collapsed in an alley due to his injuries. In the scene shown below, he is dreaming, recalling the event surrounding the childhood accident with radioactive material which blinded him:

MATT MURDOCK'S THOUGHTS: Dad's anxiety paints the world red. He finally leaves and it's another night of terror and the endless coughing of someone down the hall. Then . . . soft steps . . . a soft woman's scene . . . a soft voice . . .

SISTER MAGGIE: Why does it hurt?

YOUNG MATT (in flashback): So loud . . . so smelly . . . everything . . .

SISTER MAGGIE: I see . . .

NARRATION/ADULT MATT MURDOCK: She breathes. Down the hall the coughing subsides. When she speaks again it's a gentle whisper.

SISTER MAGGIE: This . . . may not be a bad thing. What you could do with it . . .

YOUNG MATT (in flashback): Do . . . with it?

SISTER MAGGIE: Just think of it. It's a blessing, Matt. It's yours. Yours. And it's our secret. Don't tell anyone. Promise me now . . .

YOUNG MATT (in flashback): Who are you?

NARRATION/ADULT MATT MURDOCK: Lips, warm . . . kissing my forehead . . . lovingly . . . and something hard, dangling from her neck . . . [Young Matt's hand is shown reaching up to touch the cross necklace.] It's a cross . . . made of gold . . .

SISTER MAGGIE: Promise me . . .

NARRATION/ADULT MATT MURDOCK: A kind woman's gift of hope to me. I never understand it-- and she never comes back. But it gets easier . . .

Matt Murdock and his mother, Sister Maggie, a nun At the end of the scene above when Matt says "It gets easier," he was referring to the fact that being blind and having super-enhanced other senses gets easier for him, as he adapts to his new condition and learns to use his other senses to compensate for his blindness, and also learns how to control or deal with the abundance of sensory information bombarding him. The flashback/dream continues as we see Matt's father visit him again. These scenes of Matt in the hospital with his father were adapted fairly faithfully to the 2003 feature film Daredevil, but the movie makes no mention whatsoever of Matt's mother.

Later, in the same issue (Daredevil #229), Sister Maggie finds Matt Murdock collapsed, bleeding from injuries, in the gym where Matt's father (Maggie's former lover or husband) used to train. The final page of this issue is a poignant full-page image showing Maggie, the nun, cradling her injured now-adult son.

Matt Murdock and his mother, Sister Maggie, a nun in a Catholic church In Daredevil #230, in a story titled "Born Again" (by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli), Sister Maggie has brought an injured Matt Murdock (her son) to the basement of her Catholic church. She has been praying for him, and now exclaims, "Praise God! He's alive!" when she feels a pulse.
Catholic Church in which rests Matt Murdock

Below: Text from Daredevil #230, "Born Again", written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, pages 7-8:

MATT MURDOCK'S THOUGHTS/NARRATION: They've done some work on me. The broken rib is back where it belongs. I'm not bleeding. I'm one big bruise. Best not to pay attention how I feel. The more I focus outside myself, the -- that stench [referring to a homeless person or wino lying in the cot next to him] -- even his sweat smells like cheap wine -- I can taste his hangover with him -- can't stand it -- must move further out . . .

Sounds are muffled by the snow. The gulls, they only sound like that in the morning. Complaining. Like the whole city's complaining. I'm still in Manhattan. Narrow it down. Even past Brother Gallo next to me I can smell the neighborhood. Rats and concrete dust. Hell's Kitchen. I grew up here.

But what kind place am I in? Church bells. I'm in a church. Must be in the basement. A mission. Just me and the winos. Got to get away from these smells. [Matt tries to get out of bed, but collapses on the floor.] Okay -- who took the muscles out of my legs?

SISTER MAGGIE: You idiot . . . [Sister Maggie pulls Matt off the floor and back onto the cot.] My name is Maggie. You're staying here.

Matt Murdock notices the gold cross on his neck

Below: Text from Daredevil #230, "Born Again", written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, pages 14-15:

MATT MURDOCK'S THOUGHTS/NARRATION: When I first got my powers, I lived through a night of utter agony. My senses were wild. Everything hurt me. Every sound and smell. A woman came to me with words of hope. But never told me who she was. She wore a gold cross. I touched it. My fingers never fogot it. [Matt touches the cross hanging from his neck, a cross he was not wearing before, and which he notices now that he wakes up again after recovering further from his injuries.] It's this cross. This cross.

Who could love me so much . . . and stay away so long? Who are you Maggie?

ANOTHER NUN: Still the fever climbs, sister.

SISTER MAGGIE: It will break. It will.

Sister Maggie the nun prays for a feverish Matt Murdock

After the injuries he received at the hands of the Kingpin, as well as subsequent injuries, Sister Maggie and other nuns at the Catholic church mission in Hell's Kitchen patched up Matt Murdock as well as they could. But he became feverish and close to death. Sister Maggie (Matt's mother) prayed for him. Below: Text from Daredevil #230, "Born Again", written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, page 20:

SISTER MAGGIE: [praying] The fever grows in him. No Earthly force can stop it. He has lost too much blood. His body cannot fight. He will die.

But he has so very much to do, my Lord. His soul is troubled. But it is a good man's soul, my Lord. He needs only to be shown your way. Then he will rise as your own and bring light to this poisoned city. He will be as a spear of lightning in your hand, my Lord.

If I am to be punished for past sins, so be it. If I am to be cast into Hell, so be it.

But spare him. So many need him. Hear my plea.

Matt Murdock, recovered, realizes Sister Maggie is his mother

After Sister Maggie's prayer, Matt Murdock recovered fully from his fever. In this scene, he finally realizes, for the first time, that Sister Maggie is his own biological mother. Below: Text from Daredevil #230, "Born Again", written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, pages 21-22:

MATT MURDOCK/NARRATION: A heartbeat can tell you a lot. Mine, for instance, has slowed considerably the past few hours . . . ever since the fever broke. It's a pleasure just to sit and listen to it.

NUN: God has been merciful to that boy.

SISTER MAGGIE: God is just, Sister.

MATT MURDOCK/NARRATION: Maggie's heart is juts to my right. It's in great shape. She's got a lot of years left. And the tension has gone out of her sweat. She carries the same scent she brought to my hospital room, years ago.

SISTER MAGGIE: Are you hungry?

MATT MURDOCK: Not yet. But I will be-- Thanks to you.

MATT MURDOCK/NARRATION: It's a pleasant scent. So much like my own.

SISTER MAGGIE: Give your thanks to the Lord.

MATT MURDOCK: Maggie . . . Are you my mother?

SISTER MAGGIE: Of course not, child.

MATT MURDOCK/NARRATION (THINKING TO HIMSELF): A heartbeat can tell you a lot. Hers just jumped. She's lying.

Matt Murdock, sitting up in bed, far more healthy than before, smiles as he thinks these thoughts. He realizes here that Maggie is indeed his mother. Although she told him she isn't his mother, it is not even clear that she intended to deceive him. She knows, after all, of his heightened other senses. Also note the smile on her face as she answers him, and the way she addresses him as "child" while tellin Matt that she isn't his mother. Whatever her intention, the mystery of who Sister Maggie is has been cleared up for Matt, and forever after this he she was his mother.
Matt Murdock, Saved

After Daredevil #230 (titled "Born Again"), the very next issue, Daredevil #231, was titled "Saved," once again continuing the Christian-based themes of this story arc. In this issue, a revitalized Matt Murdock begins to bounce back and fight back against the Kingpin, who has tried to ruined his life. At the end of the story Matt Murdock is finally reunited with the former love of his life, Karen Page, the woman who at a low point in her life sold Daredevil's secret identity to the Kingpin for a drug fix, thus triggering the events told in the overall "Born Again" story arc.

From: Steve Beard, "Bamf! The gospel according to Nightcrawler", on Thunderstruck.org website (http://www.thunderstruck.org/nightcrawler.htm; viewed 8 December 2005):

Out of all the myriad of cartoon superheroes created in the last fifty years, very few have articulated or been indentified with a specific religious faith. There have, however, been exceptions to the rule. Last year, it was revealed in the comics that Ben Grimm (a.k.a The Thing) of The Fantastic Four was Jewish. In the movie Daredevil, crucifixes and other religious iconography flood the screen (as well as visits to the confessional) in order to convey Matt Murdock's struggle between vigilantism and his boyhood Catholic faith. In the Spider-Man movie, the Lord's Prayer is featured prominently when Aunt May is attacked by the Green Goblin.
An excellent article by Jeffrey Weiss, published in the Dallas Morning News, reported on religion in comic books, citing Daredevil and Nightcrawler as two of the relatively few superheroes who are depicted as explicitly religious in the comics. The article, published before the release of the movies X2: X-Men United (2003) and Daredevil (2003), incorrectly stated that the religious affiliation of these characters would not be a part of their depiction in the upcoming movies. This proved to be incorrect. In fact, both Daredevil and Nightcrawler were depicted in a very prominent way as explicitly religious. The big screen depictions of Nightcrawler and Daredevil were not only a departure from how superheroes are normally portrayed in movies with regards to religiosity, these characters were remarkable for mainstream Hollywood movies in general for being sympathetically portrayed religious characters. From: Jeffrey Weiss, "Comic-book heroes seldom reveal their faith: Recent revelation of the Thing's religion was a rare moment for pop culture", published in Dallas Morning News, 24 August 2002, re-posted on BeliefNet.com website under headline "Comic Faith: The Thing's Religion Revealed" (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/113/story_11303_1.html; viewed 30 November 2005):
There have been a few characters over the years whose faith has been made explicit. Daredevil, the blind superhero who will be played by Ben Affleck, is Catholic. Nightcrawler, a member of the X-Men who may make it into the next movie, is considering becoming a Catholic priest.

But their religion will not be a part of the upcoming movies. Neither is Ben [Grimm]'s faith a part of the plan for the FF movie, or the Punisher's for that character's movie, Marvel officials said. Marvel Studios CEO Avi Arad declined to explain why faith wasn't woven into the scripts. But comics industry experts said it was for the same reason religion hasn't been a big part of the books: Not offending is safer.

From: Barry Caine, "If a superhero lands in the forest, does anyone hear it?" (Movie Guy column), published 24 July 2006 in Oakland Tribune (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20060624/ai_n16506776; viewed 12 July 2007):

..."Superman Returns," which opens at 10 p.m. Tuesday... Superman's pending resurrection is inspiring super conjecture. For instance, Newsweek's "With Beliefnet.com" column has dubbed the Man of Steel a Methodist.

...while we're on the subject, the article uses data gleaned from Adherents.com to imbue other superheroes with their likely religious orientations...

They decided Elektra is Greek Orthodox. And Daredevil is Catholic, although god knows why.

From: Jeffrey Weiss, "Comic-book heroes seldom reveal their faith: Recent revelation of the Thing's religion was a rare moment for pop culture", published in Dallas Morning News, 24 August 2002 (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/thingjew.htm; viewed 21 December 2005):
Over the years, the writers told readers all kinds of things about the habits and foibles of the characters. We knew about their taste in clothing, their troubles with relationships, their sense of humor. But we rarely discovered whether they followed any particular religion.

That seems odd in one way. Back in the dawn of the modern comic book, more than 90 percent of Americans self-identified with a particular religion, mostly some kind of Christianity. Why wouldn't reality-linked superheroes have a particular religion?

Explicitly Religious Comics Characters
[list of 20 characters features 8 characters under the "Christian" subheading, including:]
Daredevil, Matthew Murdock, is a blind superhero and is Catholic.

From: Matt Yocum, "Interview: Greg Garrett" about his book Holy Superheroes! Exploring Faith & Spirituality in Comic Books (http://www.comiccritique.com/interviews/ginterviewSt10.html; viewed 15 May 2007):

I recently finished a book by Greg Garrett entitled Holy Superheroes! Exploring Faith & Spirituality in Comic Books. Mr. Garrett weaves his way through the tapestry of comics, threading through the concepts of power, responsibility, truth, justice, evil, and vigilantism...

Mr. Garrett has published the novels Free Bird (2002) and Cycling (2003) as well as nonfiction works such as The Gospel Reloaded: Exploring Spirituality and Faith in The Matrix along with Chris Seay. In addition he's written short fiction, articles, personal essays, film, music, book reviews, and worked as a sports writer. Mr. Garrett is a Professor of English at Baylor University and is currently studying to be a priest in the Episcopal Church. I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Garrett while he was in the deserts of New Mexico working on a book on religion and film...

Greg Garrett: Thankfully, there are also other kinds of conflict in comics - think about Brian Michael Bendis' recent work putting people in a room or standing around and talking. His recent "Decalogue" run on Daredevil was mostly just an encounter group sitting in a church basement, and it was freaking brilliant...

MY: As the book clearly shows, spiritual lessons can be learned from the archetypal heroes in comics. Are you aware of any religious characters in comics? How much does this play, do you feel, into who they are as a character?

Greg Garrett: A few overtly religious characters in comics - that is to say, a primary part of their identity is that they are people of faith - would be Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler from the X-Men, Peregrine and The Maid in Alan Moore's Top 10 mythos, and some writers' versions of Matt Murdock/Daredevil. There are other characters who profess a belief in God or a supreme being - in Holy Superheroes I mention a scene from one of the Superman books where Superman tells Lois that he is no different from anyone else using the abilities God gave him - but these four are characters for whom faith actually seems to make a difference in how they live their lives and in how and why they do the work they do. There's a difference between surface religiosity that many people profess - "I believe in God" or "I go to synagogue every week" - and religion that transforms a person's life, and I'd have to say that these characters seem to embody that transformation. The true work of religious people is the work of bringing peace and justice into the world. It's a gospel message, it's in the Hebrew Torah and the Koran, and we see it played out in the lives of these characters.

From: "Daredevil" article on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daredevil; viewed 26 December 2005):
Kevin Smith [the film director, wrote the] eight issue story entitled "Guardian Devil," which depicted Daredevil struggling to protect a child who he is told could either be the next messiah or the anti-Christ. This brings Matt to a crisis of faith that is exacerbated by the death of a loved one. The story concluded with a single issue without any form of violence (still a rarity in superhero comics) in which Daredevil resolved his issues by talking about his feelings with his close friends, mostly superheroes including Spider-Man and Black Widow, who had suffered similar losses. The storyline was massively popular, which not only re-established Daredevil as a first rate character, but also established Quesada as an intelligent editor (leading directly to his current position of Editor-in-Chief at Marvel Comics), Smith as a premier comic book writer, and paved the way for other screenwriters and novelists to write comic books including J. Michael Straczynski, Joss Whedon, Greg Rucka, Orson Scott Card, and Stephen King, to name a few...

[In the story] the mysterious figure who had told Matt the baby was the Antichrist was seen hiring Bullseye to get the child. Matt, meanwhile, became more convinced the child was evil and seemed to ignore anyone telling him otherwise. At one point, he even believed the Black Widow was in on this scheme and beat her down. He eventually went to see Dr. Strange who first showed that Matt was under a drug causing him to believe in the child's evil. Strange then summoned Mephisto who said that there were no plans for either Christ or the Antichrist to be reborn anytime soon. A comment from Mephisto sent Matt to his mother's church [the Catholic church at which his mother worked as a nun] where Bullseye had viciously slaughtered the homeless residents and nuns. A brutal fight between the two followed with Karen interfering. Bullseye pushed her away and took the child away. Before he went, he hurled Daredevil's billy club at him but Karen intercepted the deadly strike, the club piercing her chest. As Bullseye escaped, Karen died in Matt's arms.

An enraged Daredevil went on the hunt and eventually came to a skyscraper owned by the mystery man. Climbing up an elevator shaft, he suddenly found himself in a Hell-like environment with Karen among the damned. He was rescued by a hulking figure who identified himself as Matt's guardian angel and they needed to rescue the child in order to prevent Armageddon. Matt, however, sensed something wrong and took down this "angel" revealing him to be just a man in a fancy suit. He eventually came face to face with the mastermind behind all this: long-time Spider-Man foe, Mysterio.

A year earlier, Mysterio had learned all the chemicals he'd used over the years to create his smoke and hallucinagens had caught up with him: he had a brain tumor and lung cancer, both inoperable. He decided if he was going to die, it would be with a bang, with a grand scheme against his greatest foe. However, this was during the infamous Spider-Man Clone Saga and Mysterio didn't want to waste his final effort on a fake. So he picked Daredevil, figuring (as he put it) who better to face a second-rate villain than a second-rate hero?

Mysterio went to see the Kingpin, who at the time had fallen out of power in the underworld and was trying to rebuild. At first, the Kingpin laughed him off but when he heard Mysterio wanted to drive Daredevil mad, he was intrigued. For a million dollars, he sold Mysterio all the info he needed on Matt Murdock. Mysterio decided to strike through Murdock's religious upbringing. He artificially inseminated a young virgin so she'd think her baby was divine and, after the child's birth, killed the teen and her family. He'd hired an actress to get close to Foggy, drugging him so he'd see her as a monster and then giving the woman an overdose when she was knocked outside. He'd also posed as the doctor who gave Karen her AIDS diagnosis, using her own porn star/drug addict past to convince her. ("Maybe she was HIV positive, maybe she wasn't. You'd think she'd at least have gotten a second opinon.")

Daredevil finally knocks Mysterio down, shattering his helmet to reveal a pathetic figure with tubes in his nose. Mysterio is ready to have Daredevil kill him, but he doesn't. Instead, Daredevil points out how cliched and unimaginative this entire thing has been and how Mysterio is just a madman instead of the artist he claims to be, nothing but "another supervillain with a bad scheme to drive your archnemesis... I'm sorry, adopted archnemesis... insane." Mysterio is broken by his words, allowing Daredevil to get the child. As Daredevil turns back, he finds Mysterio pointing a gun at him. "You'll like this one, Devil. I stole it too. From Kraven." He then turns the gun on himself and fires.

The final issue has the aftermath as Matt is unable to speak at Karen's funeral. He meets with Spider-Man and has a long monologue about the pain of the world and the senselessness of it all. When he demands to know what possible good came out of this, Spider-Man points out how he saved the baby's life. Matt puts the child up for adoption with the name "Karen."

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):
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.

From: Lynn Arave, "Superhero/ Super savior? Religious imagery plentiful; local leaders worry about Superman's morals", published 8 July 2006 in Deseret Morning News (http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,640192870,00.html; viewed 15 May 2007):

The June 19, 2006, issue of Newsweek contained a list of the "suspected" religions of superheroes... Newsweek also listed Spider-Man as a Protestant, The Thing as Jewish, The Hulk as a lapsed Catholic, Daredevil as a Catholic, Batman as a lapsed Catholic or disaffected Episcopalian and Captain America as a Protestant...

The Newsweek article is online at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13249146/site/newsweek/.

Daredevil: Decalogue

The 5-issue Daredevil story arc "Decalogue" (Daredevil volume 2, issues 71-75, 2005) is framed around a meeting of a meeting of a support group called "The Devil Among Us." This is one of many Daredevil storylines which is replete with explicit religious themes and imagery, including substantial doses of Catholic imagery and Catholic characters.
Daredevil: Decalogue (story theme based on the Ten Commandments

The 5-part "Decalogue" story was written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Alex Maleev. The word "Decalogue" is a traditional term for "The Ten Commandments." Five of these ten commandments serve as the titles and thematic stories for individual issues. It is interesting to note that this is was the original framing device for the movie which became Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments. DeMille had originally intended to create a film set in contemporary times, with contemporary characters whose interconnected stories illustrate each of the ten commandments in the Old Testament decalogue.

Bendis's "Decalogue" within the pages of the Daredevil comic book series is told entirely within one evening meeting of "The Devil Among Us" support group. This may be the first meeting of the group. The flier for the meeting reads as follows:


A conversation support group for the people
in Hell's Kitchen to discuss Daredevil and his
effects on your daily life.
Join Reverend Bob Cumeo as he leads the discussion.
Participation urged but not required.

St. Mary's Church
Basement room 2
7:30 p.m.
Wednesday nights

Light refreshments.

Eight people (including Father Bob Cumeo and one other apparently Catholic clergyman who joins as a participant) participate in this evening's meeting. As they hesitantly reveal their stories, they learn that all of them have had recent encounters with Daredevil or have had their lives directly influenced by Daredevil. The learn that strange and inexplicable events in the lives of four of the group participants are interconnected. Eventually they realize that one of the people at the meeting, Lawrence, had an ancient Japanese spell taught to him by his sensei to conjure a demon. The spell is from a tradition known as "Mikkyo," which Daredevil explains is "a mix of all religious practices in Japan that existed around the time of the 6th Century." Lawrence had used his knowledge of this spell for financial gain. He was paid by Daredevil's old nemesis the Jester to conjure this demon as a source of power so that the Jester, a third-string villain at best, could successfully defeat Daredevil. But after a battle with Daredevil, Jester's body was evacuated by the demon, who then went on to influence another man to become a serial killer. (That man's wife and one of the women he attempted to attack, before being thwarted by Daredevil, are both at the support group meeting.) Finally, that demon (which is only the size of a baby), found its way back to Lawrence, and inhabited him as a host.

Daredevil had finally tracked Lawrence down, and was tracking him when Lawrence came into the support group meeting in order to flee from Daredevil. But Daredevil, went into the meeting as well, listening to the conversation without letting anybody know he was there. Lawrence finally revealed that he knew Daredevil was there, and pointed him out to the other participants. Daredevil was not in his costume, and identified himself simply as Matt Murdock, although everybody there knew that Matt Murdock and Daredevil were one in the same person, as a tabloid newspaper had recently revealed the hero's secret identity to the world.

After Daredevil reveals that he has pieced together what has happened with Lawrence and how the man used this ancient spell to conjure a demon, Lawrence walks away, intent on fleeing from Daredevil. But the demon was increasingly damaging Lawrence's body from within. Daredevil followed Lawrence and offered to help him, pointing out that he knows people (such as his friend Doctor Strange) who are gifted in the use of the mystic arts. But as the demon begins to emerge from Lawrence's mouth, Lawrence has a different idea. He shoots himself in the head, killing both himself and the demon.

Daredevil returned to the support group meeting, to offer some further explanations about what had happened, and to give the people there closure about these recent traumatic events.

Daredevil says that demons, just like God and Jesus and angels, are real Dialogue from Daredevil vol. 2, #75 ("Decalogue", part 5), written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Alex Maleev, pages 29-30:

WOMAN (former crack whore who was inspired by Daredevil to clean up her life): It's been forty-five minutes.

MEYERS (son of the criminal bomber known as "Don the Bomb", who rejected his incarcerated father's request that he assassinate Matt Murdock's law partner Foggy Nelson): I'm not leaving.

SECOND WOMAN (who had been attacked by the demon-inspired serial killer, but was saved by Daredevil): Maybe he's hurt. Maybe we should call someone.

MEYERS: And say what?

SECOND WOMAN: Reverend, please say something. Please tell me what I should be thinking. I really don't know what to think that this is--

FATHER BOB CUMEO: I don't believe any of it.

LYNN (co-worker of Milla Donovan, who is the wife of Matt Murdock): I believe every word.

FATHER BOB CUMEO: Some nonsense! I don't believe in demons from Hell. And I don't appreciate the bast--

[Matt Murdock, who is Daredevil, but in civilian clothing, appears it he doorway. Of course he heard what the priest was saying before he even arrived.]

MATT MURDOCK: You believe in God and Jesus and angels, right? Well, Father, I'm sorry . . . You don't get to pick and choose.


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? ...

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

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

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

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):

05/03/2003, 21:04

Ok, so in recent films it's been apparent that Daredevil and Nightcrawler are Catholic - Daredevil's confessor is also his confidant, and Nightcrawler allegedly is a former priest and is seen reciting the rosary (in German) in X2.

So, who else out there could be fielded in a "Catholic" Heroclix team?

So far divine providence might help w/ the tons of supersenses rolls one would make w/ Daredevil and Nightcrawler on your team... *grin*

05/04/2003, 01:12

...Daredevil/Matt Murdock, another Catholic, even in the comics you see him attend confession battling his "inner-demons"...

05/04/2003, 18:38

Nightcrawler, Daredevil, Aurora and Huntress definitely [are Catholic]...

Wilz 05/04/2003, 18:46

[The following are Catholic characters:]

Great characters and although the press has been bad lately - Great Religion.

05/05/2003, 01:42

...IIRC [If I recall correctly], here's the Catholic Clix you can play:


08/17/2003, 12:33

There was an article in the San Diego Union Tribune a while back that was titled "Superheroes reveal secret IDs-faiths". It was mostly about Thing revealing that he was Jewish. At the end of the article it lists religious comic book characters. According to the list, Wolfsbane is a Scottish Presbyterian, Nightcrawler is Catholic (he was trying to become a priest), Daredevil is Catholic, and The Punisher is a former Catholic seminary student.

From: "Christian comic book characters" forum discussion, started 27 December 2003 on "Christian Guitar Resources" website (http://www.christianguitar.org/forums/archive/index.php/t-67487.html; viewed 12 July 2007):

12-27-2003, 06:02 PM

Where have you seen Christianity professed by comic characters?

Ted Logan
01-10-2004, 09:49 PM

...Also, apparently Firebird and Daredevil are practicing Roman Catholics.

Excerpts from: "Are Superheroes Religious?" forum page, started 13 May 2004, in "The John Byrne Forum" section of the Byrne Robotics website (http://jb.24-7intouch.com/forum/get_topic.asp?FID=3&TID=558&DIR=P; viewed 9 January 2006):

Dana Smith
13 May 2004
Catholic folks... Firebird (Bonita Juarez), Jeanne Marie Baubier (Aurora), Daredevil, Living Lightning, Karma (was, not sure if she's still practicing), Dagger (Cloak's partner), Banshee, Siryn?, Sunspot
From: "Who is your religious superhero" discussion board, started 14 March 2006, on "Ship of Fools: The Magazine of Christian Unrest" website (http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=006489; viewed 24 April 2006):
Sophie Bell
Posted 22 March, 2006 06:58

I fell in love with the Daredevil comics because it was the first one I read that felt like I was reading about a "whole" person. Matt Murdock just felt so much more fleshed out as a character because of his religious beliefs.

From: "Religion of Comic Book Characters" discussion board, started 25 January 2006, on TheologyWeb website (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=70046&page=1&pp=16; viewed 25 April 2006):
January 26th 2006, 06:02 AM

While I don't think it matters whether Batman is a Catholic or Episcopalian, some characters are defined by their religious beliefs. Nightcrawler and Daredevil, for example, are fairly devout, and not merely religious. Their whole schtick is based on religion. It makes for interesting reading (and the strangest thing about them is that they both have a demon-esque appearance/persona).

From: "What Religion is Your Favorite Superhero?" discussion board started 20 April 2006 on official website of DC Comics (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000072337&start=15&tstart=0; viewed 8 May 2006):
Posted: Apr 23, 2006 2:31 AM

The best character that has any religious affiliations has to be Daredevil. He's a Catholic who dresses up like the devil, and a lawyer who's also a vigilante.

From: "Solo Series Wish List" forum discussion page, started 8/10/04 on "Nightcrawlers" website (http://nightscrawlers.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=4568&page=3; viewed 8 May 2006):
posted on 13/11/04 at 01:32

What other Catholic superheroes are there? [aside from Nightcrawler]

posted on 13/11/04 at 14:23

Daredevil, Cap America... even the Hulk sometimes! Not kidding!

posted on 13/11/04 at 15:27

Daredevil's religious??...

posted on 13/11/04 at 18:19

Oh yes he is. Read Frank Miller's classic issues.

So I find the Catholic devil thing a little redundant with Kurt.

From: comments section on "The Beast is an Episcopalian" page on "IFanBoy.com" blog website, posted 1 February 2006 (http://www.ifanboy.com/archives/000675.html; viewed 10 May 2006):
Posted by: Toga at February 3, 2006 06:27 PM

I was more attracted to Wonder Woman when Perez took her back to Greek religious roots and when Smith cranked up Daredevil's Catholic faith. I'm fairly religious myself (born into Catholism, moved on to nilihism, atheism, paganism and ending up at Taoism). I know most writers fear religion, for fear of alienating readers...

...Daredevil under Smith had that heavy flavor of Catholic.

Posted by: spidermav at February 6, 2006 08:03 PM

As per Michael's question, I think Daredevil OBVIOUSLY has used it [religion] well. Sadly, not many books will touch on religions. Sure, many will go with applied Christian and Catholic themes, but I think that with our 'Post 9/11 Politically Correct World', comic writers don't want to risk offending any group of people what-so-ever. If a writer made a Jewish or Muslim character and messed up one detail, no doubt a media outlet would blow it out of proportion. So, for now, it's too the three categories: Hero, Villian, and the gray spots inbetween.

Posted by: Michael at February 6, 2006 09:51 PM

I agree with all on the Daredevil/Catholic thing that Smith (re?)introduced. And being the geek that I am, I love all things realted to religion that appears in comics -- the Spear of Longious/Destiny, ideas of God and Angels, Asgard/Ragnarok, Greco-Roman and/or Egyptian pantheons, and so forth. I mean, the whole IDEA of the Spectre and, after Infinite Crisis' lead-ins, Eclipso really intrigue me.

From: comments about "Reeding Into Things #22: Comics Q & A", posted 26 February 2004 (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-26014.html; viewed 12 May 2006):
[Comment posted by:] Scots Fan
Feb 27, 2004, 04:01 am

As a person of the Catholic faith I would say that a number of characters show parts that are Catholic for example Matt Murdock, Peter Parker, Scott Summers, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson all to me would seem to be Catholic or at least have some of the underlining principles of Catholism.

From: "The Corner" (letter column), published in National Review Online, 29 July 2002 (http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/2002_07_28_corner-archive.asp#85294266; viewed 12 May 2006):
Comic book geeks have been writing me in regard to the news that the Thing is Jewish... While religion is rare in Marvel comics, it's not unheard of. After all, Daredevil, I believe, is a lapsed Catholic...
From: "New Christian JLA member" message board, started 5 May 2005 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000023085; viewed 15 May 2006):
Posted: May 6, 2005 3:09 AM

I am a Christian... There is a reason there is no Christian superhero. Same reason as there is no real Jewish [superhero]... that flaunt their religion or fight for religious belief specific notions. It's because they would be offensive to many, if not most, of the readership.

Besides -- Zauriel, Bloodwynd, Wonder Woman, the Spectre, the Quintet, etc., etc., are all based on or are slaves to religious beliefs, but none actively flaunt it, or debate which is correct, so a hard-line Christian super hero would probably not sit too well.

Posted: May 6, 2005 3:50 AM

Well, I'm gonna hit you. Nightcrawler, Daredevil, Nightwing, Huntress, Doctor Mid-Nite, and the Flash are all Christians... Many of them have debated their beliefs in the comics - as you say, not the hardline way, but that is definitely not the same as saying that they are not Christian superheroes, or that they are not devoted.

As far as I know, none of them are fundamentalists, against other religions or...

Posted: May 6, 2005 9:11 AM

I, too, would like to see Christianity depicted in a hero but done well. That seems to be one of the final challenges left to writers today. But how does the writer portray a theme as diverse as the Christian faith so that it sticks? There is more to Christians than intolerant fundamentalists. But how interesting are moderates? Nightcrawler and Daredevil seeking Christ for sanctuary... are character designs that meet the Christian core I identify with... I appreciate any writer willing to take up the challenge.

Posted: May 9, 2005 3:09 PM

It would be nice to see a bonafide Christian comics character who really acts like it. I mean, I like Nightcrawler a lot, but on occassion he hasn't acted very faithful to his calling (moreso in the past that recently, I think). And Daredevil... HOW many girlfriends has he slept with?

Posted: May 12, 2005 7:32 AM

...I'm an atheist.

That said, I have no problem with a religious character, like Daredevil or Nightcrawler...

From: archive of "Should Hal Jordan be a Christian" message board, started 15 April 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-53171.html; viewed 22 May 2006):
Brian R
04-15-2005, 11:29 PM

As for the topic at hand, I think it [Hal Jordan's religious affiliation] should NEVER ever play a part in the story. Who cares what religion he is? Just let everyone imagine that he is the same as them, that makes it easier for people to relate to him.

For some characters its different, because religion is ingrained in them, its just too much a part of who they are to be ignored (ie: Daredevil), but most of the time I feel it should be checked at the door.

Excerpts from: "Atheist superheroes" discussion page, started 2 March 2006, on "Atheist Network" website (http://atheistnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?p=209834&sid=5ca5d2a99f2714e2f90fcee608eb4ac4; viewed 26 May 2006):
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:23 am

[In the context of a discussion about atheist super-heroes, this message poster is citing some counter-examples, listing overtly religious super-heroes who are clearly not atheists.]

Daredevil's Catholic.

Nightcrawler's a Catholic priest... [etc.]

It doesn't seem to come up much, but religion gets mentioned from time to time.

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:54 am

I think the Daredevil was a Catholic who did seek to be absolved of his sins regularily.

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:49 am

Yet he kept on sinning... typical.

From: "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):
posted on 22/12/05 at 10:03

DareDevil is a Roman Catholic Super-Hero too, isn't he?

Saint Kurt
posted on 22/12/05 at 16:54

Yeah, he is. And so is Gambit actually. And there are others.

But since this site is about Nightcrawler, I wanted to focus on him in this FAQ.

From: "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: Tue Mar 01, 2005 6:38 pm

...What about other heroes? I notice religion rarely plays a part in mainstream superhero comics (absent things like the Vertigo line) but have you ever picked up on hints or outright admissions by some heroes as to their religious inclinations?

Seems that atheistic heroes are as rare in comics as in real life. If they are religious it's a sort Judaeo-Christian wishy washy sort of religion.

On the other hand Daredevil, for instance, is a devout Catholic. Any other examples of guesses?

Darth Sephiroth
Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 12:05 am

Daredevil is a Roman Catholic...

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:39 pm

Daredevil is definitely Catholic.

From: "Religious Beliefs of Marvel Characters" discussion board started 20 October 2004 on Comic-Forum.com website (http://www.comic-forum.com/marvel/Religious_beliefs_of_Marvel_characters_397905.html; viewed 8 June 2006):
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:55:56
From: OSinner1

Subject: Religious beliefs of Marvel characters?

Does anybody know the religious beliefs of various characters?

Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:16:20
From: Samy Merchi

Barring any actual solid evidence in the characters' own books, you could always fall back on the Infinity Crusade and see which sides the characters were on in that conflict. Anybody feel like whipping those issues out and checking these specific characters?

Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:52:34
From: The Black Guardian

Anyway, here's the list of those who "faithfully served" the Goddess: Captain America, Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man, Jean Grey, Namorita, Silhouette, Spider-Man, Puck, Archangel, the Inhuman Crystal, Firelord, Hercules, Shaman, Talisman, Moondragon, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Silver Surfer, Sersi, the Living Lightning, Thor, the Invisible Woman, USAgent, Moon Knight, Wolfsbane, Doctor Strange, Wonder Man, Daredevil, the Black Knight, Windshear, Sasquatch, Storm, Gamora, Sleepwalker.

IIRC, even if you read the crossover, it's still pretty vague in what religions the heroes believed.

Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:57:48
From: Samy Merchi

In many cases, it [Infinity Crusade] is the strongest canonical reference to many of the characters' religious stance. Some lucky ones have been dealt with at more depth in their own books (DD, Rahne, Storm et al.) but for many characters Infinity Crusade is the biggest canonical reference. If we want to go by canon rather than sheer postulation.

Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:33:58
From: Richard

Nightcrawler is the only major Marvel character who I have ever seen professing his faith during the course of an actual story.

Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:55:52
From: Mathew Krull

As Sammy pointed out, Daredevil's and Wolfsbane's religions were fairly important parts of the respective characters...

Date: 21 Oct 2004 13:32:11 From: Richard

My comment was about characters I've PERSONALLY seen openly professing their faith. While Matt Murdock being raised as an Irish Catholic has been fodderfor stories and it's a fairly safe bet to assume that he still is one, I can not recall any instance where he has stated point blank what his current religious beliefs are in a story. That said, I haven't read the entire run of Daredevil.

Date: 23 Oct 2004 02:10:43
From: Zach Adams

During Smith and Quesada's "Guardian Devil" he was shown going to confession and makes clear that he doesn't go to church or confession nearly often enough (gee, couldn't have anything to do with the whole living-with-Karen-outside-marriage thing keeping him away), and the main villain plays pretty heavily with Matt's faith.

Date: 21 Oct 2004 15:20:21
From: Paul O'Brien

Daredevil's Catholic, and they've made great play of that over the years.

From: "Muslim characters in comics" message board, started 22 January 2006 in Batman discussion board area of official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000059913&start=45&tstart=0; viewed 9 June 2006):
Posted: Jan 29, 2006 2:10 AM

No offense to you are your belief system but I think religion as a practice should be left out of comics. I'm not talking about Greek gods of Norse Gods no one believes in anymore... I just think at some point some member of either a different Muslim belief system than you or another Christian of Judeo-Christian religion will get offended at the portrayal. I think we should separate church and comics.

Probably too late (Daredevil's priest buddy, Spectre's host being Islamo-Judeo-Christian and Heaven exisiting and Lucifer as a balance to "the light"...

From: "Batwoman Is Back as a Lesbian" message board started 1 June 2006 on "The Giant in the Playground" website (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=comics;action=print;num=1149174700; viewed 12 June 2006):
Post by Ing on Jun 2nd, 2006, 11:17am

Catholic Superheroes:
Daredevil: one of his motivations is "Catholic" guilt, this was played up in the movie.
Bruce Wayne: non-practicing Catholic or Anglican.

Post by Ing on Jun 6th, 2006, 11:50pm

...What [about] Fundamentalist? They [mainstream comics] have Christians. They have practicing Christians. What more can you ask for? They can't really have an ultra-consesrvative Christian hero who goes around... What makes one a fundamentalist? Do they have to be "born again" Protestants? Can they be Catholics, or even Jewish? Wouldn't anyone who takes their faith seriously, instead of as a cultural identity, be a fundamentalist?

Nightcrawler is pretty fundamental in his faith and is one of my favorites, as is Daredevil. How much are you expecting it to be part of the character and what do you mean by fundamentalist?

From: "Banned for using this nic" thread began 4 Apri 1999 in rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/f38288dc4e56542/8a873a0a53da3d0d; viewed 12 June 2006)
From: Tom Galloway
Date: Mon, Apr 5 1999 12:00 am

...However, there's a couple of reasons why you don't see much religion in characters. First, it's episodic fiction in a universe created by multiple creators. As an example, Frank Miller established that Daredevil has a Catholic upbringing and is a practicing Catholic. Let's say I ended up writing Daredevil; I wasn't raised Catholic, so I'm going to have to do a fair amount or research and/or recruit Catholics to read my stuff over to get it right (in fairness, I don't know if Frank was raised Catholic or not). And this ties into the second reason; people can get awfully picky about religion, whether it's someone getting their religion "wrong", or even a character being of a religion different from their own which they don't approve...

From: "The religions of comic book characters" thread started 10 February 2001 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/13590fda80c5d6e1/e5e0b094ced80f0b; viewed 12 June 2006):
From: Terry McCombs
Date: Sat, Feb 10 2001 6:35 pm

For the most part you don't get much of an idea as to the private lives of most comic book characters. Marvelish soap opera not withstanding.

What I mean is you don't get much of an idea what their politics or religion might be. This is sensible enough I guess as they don't want to offend any of their customers... for the most part you just can't really say just what, if any religion or personal philosophy that or that comic character might follow.

What do you think?

From: Menshevik
Date: Sun, Feb 11 2001 6:05 am

...As far as Marvel is concerned, there are a few characters where you do: there's the very noticeable Catholicism in "Daredevil"...

From "TS: Liberality For All vs. DMZ" discussion page started 30 November 2005 (http://ilx.wh3rd.net/thread.php?msgid=6419391; viewed 13 June 2006):
Huk-L (handsomishbo...), November 30th, 2005

...does the lack of clearly religious characters prevent those to whom their faith is a defining characteristic from finding characters they can identify with?

kingfish hobo juckie (jdsalmo...), November 30th, 2005

Dude never read Daredevil or Punisher, did he? What about the early Marvel Knights Punisher were Frank Castle was armed with angelic automatics to go cap some demons?

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

Posted by Will at 7:47 pm on June 14, 2006:
...I have not followed Daredevil, but remember how the movie highlighted overtly Catholic elements. Whether Battling Mudock's son is devout or just a "cultural" Catholic, he is certainly concerned with issues of good and evil...

Posted by Avram at 9:55 pm on June 14, 2006:
Eve Tushnet wrote a few months back [link to: http://eve-tushnet.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_eve-tushnet_archive.html] about the Daredevil storyline "Decalogue", praising the writer's treatment of Matt Murdock's Catholicism. It's out in trade paperback (Daredevil volume 12), so it might be worth checking out for anyone interested in religious themes in superhero comics.

Cerebus isn't a superhero comic - it pretty much defies description - but it's got some interesting religious themes. For one thing, the plot involved a lot of religious politics for a while (with the main character being made Pope of his fantasy-world religion), and a climax of the 6000-page story consists of a religious and philosophical argument among several characters. At some point Dave Sim, the writer/artist, underwent some kind of weird personality shift and created his own real-world religion based on his favorite parts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and spent a chunk of the comic having his character deliver a bizarre and prolonged biblical exegesis.

Posted by Katie Q at 10:18 pm on June 14, 2006:
Cerebus isn't really a good example of comic book religion, is it? Or of anything related to humanity or reality, come to think of it. Daredevil really is a good example though; good call, Avram. For a multitude of reasons, Catholics work very well in fiction, as opposed to Protestants, especially of the Evangelical branch, who can come off as bland and treacle (or bigoted and small-minded) if not handled very carefully.

What bothers me about these suggestion you guys keep posting is that these stories are about religion. You've yet to name many characters who are religious and carry that ideology into their adventures without making the stories about religion itself. And that's hard to do. I can't recall all that many myself.

I really just appreciate it when writers treat religious characters as religious people; they don't even have to be overwhelmingly devout, just real. And super hero comics by and large aren't about religion; like c.tower noted, they work best in dealing with metaphor. It's just very few heroes have a functional religious life during their off-time, and that's rather unrealistic and alienating. Off hand, I can only think of relasped Catholic Huntress (from Birds of Prey) and Presbyterian Wolfsbane (currently appearing in X-Factor) as super heroes who actually go to church once and a while. And there's Daredevil, of course, but his religion is only mentioned when he's in a moral crisis. So, who else? The Thing and Kitty Pryde, who only remember they're Jewish when the story calls for it?

Posted by c.tower at 6:49 pm on June 15, 2006:
It should be noted that, as serial fiction, mainstream American comics pass through many hands, and change along the way. For example: It wasn't until Frank Miller's famous run on Daredevil that the character was established as a Catholic - almost 20 years after the strip first appeared.

From: Michael, "No Sunday School In Smallville", posted 12 June 2006 on "Tales to Mildly Astonish" blog website (http://talestomildlyastonish.blogspot.com/2006/06/no-sunday-school-in-smallville.html; viewed 15 June 2006):

...There are precious few heroes of faith in comics, mainstream or alternative, and the more I think about that, the less I like it. Most heroes' religion is used as a type of shorthand characterization, something to fill space in the Handbook... Nightcrawler is a devout Catholic, but stories using his faith rarely treat it with the weight and respect it deserves... Daredevil's Catholicism has been treated in a similar manner, with Kevin Smith being the lone writer to examine it in detail...

By the way, the fact that Smith is one of the few voices in contemporary pop culture to examine American faith in a well-rounded manner speaks volumes about the dearth of serious religious discourse in this country...

From: "Superheroes and religion", posted 14 June 2006 on "On Christopher Street" blog website (http://somacandra.livejournal.com/410090.html; viewed 16 June 2006):

[reader comments:]

From: mysanal
Date: June 16th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC)

...Religion was often touched on in comics, but when Chris Claremont took over the X-Men in the 1980's, he made the characters regiously diverse as well as ethnically diverse. I think Shadowcat and Nightcrawler were the first characters to have specific religious affiliations...

Of course, Daredevil is now the comics most famous Catholic. Check out all the guilt!

From: "Any Christian Superheroes?" thread began 22 April 2004 on rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.dc.universe/browse_thread/thread/4e5839f075fecf76/8821b5db671e7ce1; viewed 20 June 2006):

From: Gustavo Wombat
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 12:03 pm

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

From: Jeremy Henderson
Date: Thurs, Apr 22 2004 3:03 pm

Huh, no one's brought up Daredevil yet, who's faith has often played a prominent role in his own comic.

From: Dreighton
Date: Fri, Apr 23 2004 4:01 pm

...Daredevil has prayed and is very Catholic. A whole arc by Miller was entitled "Born Again" and used heavy Christian symbolism. The first arc of the relaunch by Quesada was about the Catholic church...

On a related side note: I'm amazed at how few characters/heroes have been motivated by their faith especially a Christian faith. One of the main tenents of the Christian faith is loving and helping others. Since heroes do that (help others) I would think more would have the "why do they do what they do" being part their faith. Also, as a Christian, one of the things we are taught is we all have "talents" or gifts from God, and what we do with those talents is our gift back to God. I would think some "heroes" would use their super powered gifts as gifts back to God.

From: Ken from Chicago
Date: Sat, Apr 24 2004 1:58 am

Also, I think Matt "Daredevil" Murdock is Catholic. He's always hanging around cathedrals.

From: Daibhid Ceannaideach
Date: Sat, Apr 24 2004 6:21 am

The impression I get of Superman (most notably in the Kismet story following the Blaze/Satanus War) is that he is motivated at least partly by religious faith (at least inasmuch as that's part of being "raised right" in Kansas), he just doesn't talk about it much.

But yeah, it is odd that out of the three most noticably Christian superheroes (Nightcrawler, Daredevil and Huntress) one is motivated largely by circumstance (being a mutant) and the other two began their careers seeking revenge.

From: "Atheist superheroes?" thread, started 21 September 1999 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/browse_thread/thread/e8d686f0b20944a6/e46638dbdaa8a219; viewed 22 June 2006):

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

...Anyone care to post a list of those characters whose spiritual beliefs are on record? Of the top of my head:
Daredevil: Roman Catholic
[6 other characters listed]

From: Mareska Kellemvore, "No real update yet", posted 24 June 2006 on her blog website (http://mareska.livejournal.com/116525.html):
Mareska Kellemvore (mareska) wrote, 2006-06-24 12:54:00: Newsweek recently published an article about the religions of various superheroes. Now some have been established in continuity (Daredevil, for example, is Catholic)...

From: Doug Tonks, "A Higher Power", posted 22 October 2006 on "All New! All Different! Howling Curmudgeons: Two-Fisted Comics Commentary and Criticism!" blog website (http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/009995.html; viewed 25 April 2007):

The never-identified but usually heeded "they" claim that there are two topics you should never talk about: religion and politics. But since Mike already brought up religion... I'll follow it up with a link to this page [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html], which lists the religious affiliations of various comic book characters. Many of the religious identifications are backed up with lengthy supporting arguments, but some of the more minor characters get little or nothing in the way of explanation.

Some of them are not too surprising... Others are obvious: Nightcrawler and Daredevil are each Catholic...

Posted by Doug at October 22, 2006 7:12 PM

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):

Mr Wesley
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, 10:11 AM

Isn't Daredevil a Catholic?

08-22-2006, 10:11 AM

Daredevil's Catholocism is pretty essential to the character.

08-22-2006, 10:12 AM

re: Isn't Daredevil a Catholic?

Yeah, that's right. Good call.

08-22-2006, 10:15 AM

re: Daredevil's Catholocism is pretty essential to the character.

Daredevil is actually a very, very weak example of a Roman Catholic. It's a core concept to his upbringing, but I wouldn't call him a scion of the Faith. Additionally, if you look at how "essential" it is, Daredevil's faith (overall) is a matter of convenience rather than an influence in his actions.

08-22-2006, 10:16 AM

There's a chapter in the Super-Heroes and Philosophy book about religion and Daredevil.

08-22-2006, 11:59 AM

I think the idea is someone who lived their life as an active Christian, not just calling him one and leaving it at that.

Few heroes I can think of actively live their life by any faith. Several Daredevil/Catholic stories come to mind.

A couple of very recent Ben Grimm/Jewish stories where his being a Jew mattered or informed the story.

But rarely someone who is actively Christian - I'll take it they mean Protestant because Catholic can be awfully different - or Jewish and the attempts to balance that with their life as a superhero or conflicts that might arise because of it.

08-22-2006, 12:07 PM

re: I think assuming a character's religion fictional or otherwise is an insult... A lot of people are Christian... here is a person, therefore he must be Christian. That is a logical fallacy. All characters are to be assumed religionless... i.e. agnostic, until proven otherwise either through their direct speech, "I am a so and so" or actions like attending certain churches... but you cannot just assume someone is Christian because that is the majority.

I think you can. If 75% of Americans are, then most American characters will be - though not necessarily fully practicing ones. But enough to celebrate Christmas every year in all those Christmas specials, occasionally mention God (like Spider-man has occasionally prayed to God-recently in fact, and Uncle Ben has been shown, from time to time, having a Cross on his headstone), and occasionally get a Church scene.

You see a fair amount of God/Devil stuff in comics, but it is a vague, monotheistic God, but rarely do you ever see any reference at all to Jesus Christ.

The vague Monotheistic God vague spirituality seems to threaten or offend no one, and I guess they would be worried a Jesus reference would offend people.

08-22-2006, 12:12 PM

re: Daredevil is actually a very, very weak example of a Roman Catholic. It's a core concept to his upbringing, but I wouldn't call him a scion of the Faith. Additionally, if you look at how "essential" it is, Daredevil's faith (overall) is a matter of convenience rather than an influence in his actions.

It allows the writers to have the confession scenes (which in real life has become from the norm to more of a rarity), talks with Priests, and the stereotypical Catholic guilt trips from his dual identity.

Other than the confessions, I don't see him actively as Catholic.

08-22-2006, 12:17 PM

re: Other than the confessions, I don't see him actively as Catholic.

What do you mean? Do they have to show him attending mass for him to be a convincing Catholic?

08-22-2006, 01:47 PM

re: What do you mean? Do they have to show him attending mass for him to be a convincing Catholic?

I mean he stereotypically goes to confession and talks to Priests (and his mom is a nun ). But he doesn't ever reference any specific Catholic believes, or attempt to use his catholic religion as a basis for making X choice or Y choice.

I am not complaining or anything, it adds something to the character. Same with the Punisher-he goes to confession too. He's Catholic but he isn't "Catholic."

Daredevil has some of the trappings or culture associated witgh Catholoicism, but there's no evidence he is a practicing Catholic other than confession.

That's all I am saying. It works for Daredevil and all. He's more of a semi-lapsed Catholic if anything.

08-22-2006, 01:53 PM

Mainly it's probably a matter of what somebody has mentioned earlier - they're trying to avoid offending potential readers by steering mostly clear of the topic.

And there's something inherently wrong with that.

Voodoo, witchcraft, paganism, etc are all common fare in comics.

Many prominent Jewish characters (which there should be more of, given modern comics as we know them were invented by Jewish creators.)

I applaud the efforts of Virgin Comics [which is creating comics featuring Hindu characters].

But make characters overtly Christian? That's offensive!


In an age where there are active agendas to create characters with more diversity in ethnicity and sexual orientation, there's nothing wrong with having a few Christian characters here and there. (Yes, I'm very aware of Matt Murdock and Kurt Wagner.)

It's a sad state of affairs.

08-22-2006, 03:22 PM

The way I see it, there aren't many opportunities for a character to display his religious convictions in a super-hero story and have them be relevant. For a street-level hero like Daredevil for example, it would be odd if he stopped someone from being murdered because the Bible says "thou shalt not kill." Not even the most devout person thinks as the Bible as the first reason why people should not kill each other. What I'm saying is, there is a basic mainstream morality that most people share, whether they are from one specific religion or not religious at all. The differences between specific religions or people who aren't religious at all are sometimes so particular and arbitrary that referring to them for guidance during the life-and-death situations super-heroes encounter every day would seem somewhat misplaced.

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 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, 03:59 PM

re: I don't think there is much internalization that can be helped by a greater display of religious belief.

Frank Miller made leaps and bounds on his run with DD about Faith and religion (which is why I'd admit would make DD Catholic moreso than modern portrayals). Smith's Green Arrow: Quiver also uses internalization to express exploration of Faith.

Do we believe for example, that people of a particular religion have common personality traits among them? We would be crazy to think so. There are people of all types who are part of all religions. Really, religion only becomes relevant in a stronger internalization context if 1) religious themes are being discussed or 2) the person in question is an extremist motivated by religion. Since we are talking about characterization, and since we agree (I hope) that different religions will not "produce" people of different personalities, religion itself can't be a relevant source of character motivation, unless in the cases I described.

I'd argue differently. Religion is more than praying. It really is a way of life that affects how people act. Some people struggle with it. Some ignore it. Some embrace it. John F. Kennedy was Catholic - would you suggest he was an extremist when he prayed during the Cuban Missile Crisis? I'd argue that his Catholic upbringing brought him to question some very major issues going on in the world at the time. Then there's also the question of some of the programs he created - the Peace Corps? One could argue that such an idea originated from what he knew of successful Catholic missionaries.

I for one am not interested at all in the average behavior associated with religious life. If a character exhibits a pattern of praying constantly, or going to church, or doing or thinking whatever it is that is particular to his religion, I would be bored to tears, unless it is brilliant writing of the kind I've only encountered maybe once or twice in my comic book-reading life. I am not sure, but I would take a guess and say that most readers feel probably the same way.

You assume religious means monastic. Many people who practice religions have conflict between their faith and the world around them and seek to reconcile what they know should be done with what is being done. That is the stuff of great drama and growth for characterization. Which is why I find it a disservice to say hero X is "N" but it doesn't really mean anything.

From: "Religion and Superheroes, Not Just for Thor Anymore", forum discussion started by "Christian" on 4 May 2007 on "Voices from Beyond" website which provides forum service for "Straight to Hell: A Hellblazer Site" website (http://hellblazer.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5540&st=0; viewed 10 May 2007):

May 4 2007, 12:55 AM

...This web-site has a listing of most superheroes and supervillains and their religious affiliation. I've been having lots of fun with this site!


Demon Chas08
post May 6 2007, 04:31 PM

Isn't Daredevil Catholic,too?

St. Apathy
post May 6 2007, 05:01 PM

QUOTE: Isn't Daredevil Catholic,too?

Frank Miller seems to think so.

A while back there was aother one of these lists but with political parties. Iron Man and Batman were Republicans it said, does anyone know where that went?

post May 6 2007, 05:15 PM

QUOTE: Isn't Daredevil Catholic,too?

Yep. As St Apathy says, this was one of Frank Miller's ideas, so it's now regarded as canon and hasn't been tampered with since. It works well with the character, and I doubt that there's a lot of Jewish or Presbetyrian Murdochs in New York in any case.

post May 7 2007, 12:57 AM

Yeah I believe the Frank's words were something along the lines of "He's a lawyer by day and a vigilante by night. Ofcourse he's Catholic!"

As dogpoet says it works well in terms of a character of alarming opposites. A Catholic who dresses like the Devil, a lawyer and vigilante, disabled and a superhero.

post May 7 2007, 01:04 AM

He's a mess!

No. I like the idea of D.D. as a Catholic also.

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.

Also, Daredevil is Catholic and the book clearly grapples with Catholic themes and archetypes. I think Kevin Smith mentioned something about that being a reason he was interested in the book as a kid.

posted by Asparagirl at 8:14 PM on February 5

From: "Who's Catholic in the Marvel Universe" forum discussion started 5 February 2005 on "HCRealms" website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123637; viewed 10 May 2007):

02/05/2005, 15:35

I know a lot of characters are Jewish, so I was wondering who is officially Catholic?

I know Daredevil is. It's a major part of his personality and often occurs in storylines.

I also believe Firebird from the West Coast Avengers... After that, I'm pretty much stumped.

Anyone have any others?

Marvel Catholics:

02/05/2005, 20:50

Daredevil and Nightcrawler are the only ones, I think.

From: "Most Religious Avengers/Marvel Heroes" forum discussion started 5 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-158828.html; viewed 25 May 2007):

01-05-2007, 07:42 AM

I found this interesting article in the internet about religious Marvel Universe heroes. Wonder Man and Captain America are some of the ones mentioned:


["The Religious Affiliation of Wonder Man" page, which shows Wonder Man and the list of other heroes chosen by the Goddess in the Infinity Crusade crossover event.]

01-05-2007, 08:25 AM

That's a really interesting article. I, for one, am not adverse to characters being religious, as belief in a higher being makes up about 99% of the world's population.

Wild Card13
01-05-2007, 12:16 PM

Daredevil is pretty religious. So much, in fact, that when trying to figure out a way to break his spirit, Mysterio chose to use his Catholic faith against him.

John Nowak
01-05-2007, 12:10 PM

...The Wonder Man article was just a list of people involved in the Infinity Crusade.

01-05-2007, 04:13 PM

It would seem like it since they don't mention Firebird, Nightcrawler or Daredevil.

Kirk G
01-05-2007, 04:50 PM

I would have picked [as "Marvel's Most Religious Heroes"] Bonita (Firebird), Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler), and Matt Murdock (Daredevil) in that order for the top three.

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. Now I know what you are thinking, "Not this again". But hear me out. I'm not looking for how religion itself is portrayed in comic books or superheroes. None of that Superman is = to Christ stuff.

What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books. First one that pops into my head is Magneto. He is either Jewish or Gypsy.

I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion. I think this will porbably be a pretty short list, as most comic book characters are never mentioned to be one religion or the other.

Ultimately, I think I might want to use this information and see how their characters are portrayed, and see if there are any significant parallels, or if it effects how the character acts.

I'm a religious studies major, and recently got back into the comic book world after a 10 year hiatus. So, although I know most general things, I'm probably not as versed as some of you in this area. I'll see if I can start off the list. Off the top of my head this is what I got:

Magneto: Jewish, or Gypsy
Nightcrawler: Christian - Catholic
The Thing (Ben Grimm): Jewish
Daredevil: Catholic (I think)

09-15-2006, 09:32 PM

What about Daredevil? he's really steeped in Catholicism.

the eternal
09-15-2006, 10:45 PM

I thought about Daredevil too. For me it worked.

09-17-2006, 12:08 PM

With Ben, it was less any kind of PC or conservativeness (kind of ironic shoving those together though) and more an attempt to actually make him Jack Kirby. If you notice the last couple of years, since at least the late 90s, Ben has become Jack's avatar in the MU more and more, even being drawn to look a little more like him when in human form. That, and apparently Kirby always considered Ben Jewish. There's a synagogue in Simi Valley in California that Kirby belonged to that has a piece of artwork from him hanging in it of Ben wearing a kippah and a tallis while reading the Torah. So it was less any kind of spiritual agenda, more the final phase of turning the Thing into Jack Kirby.

Other than that, a lot of it is just fleshing out character backgrounds. When Frank Miller made Daredevil Catholic, it wasn't making any kind of a message, but gave the character a deeper background. Iceman's ethnic diversity (because it has nothing to do with religion, he's half-Jewish by heritage, not by practice) is an attempt to give him a little more dimension, although it is kind of half-hearted.

When you get down to it, for 99% of superheroes, their religion is nothing more than background info. Name me a character who actually practices their religion, other than a couple of characters with fake religions whose powers are intertwined with them. What, Nightcrawler, Daredevil, and the only times we ever see him in church is usually when he just got his ass kicked and he wants to see his mom. Josiah X for his three whole appearances, and that's only because he's a Muslim clergyman. Beyond that, I'm pretty much stumped.

From: "There Are No Lions Here", posted 15 October 2006 on "Pretty, Fizzy Paradise" blog website (http://kalinara.blogspot.com/2006/10/there-are-no-lions-here.html; viewed 30 May 2007):

[Reader comments:]

At 5:51 PM, Tom Foss said...

mela said: You have to guess (like Adherents does) to find the good pious people, while the bad ones are rendered as larger than life and thus more painfully obvious.

Is there really that much guesswork? Daredevil, Huntress, and Nightdrawler are all outspoken Catholics. Punisher is a semi-lapsed Catholic. Granted, Catholicism is a subset of Christianity, but that's about equal to the number of outspoken Jewish characters I could name off the top of my head. Given the number of Christmas specials and cross-bearing headstones in comics, I think we can come to some pretty clear conclusions about a lot of non-Catholic Christian characters as well.

At 7:48 PM, david brothers said:

...My problem with the treatment of Christianity in comics is that, like another commenter said, the heroes who are Christians, with the exceptions like Daredevil, Huntress, etc, are rarely shown having anything to do with Christianity beyond saying "Oh my God."

The loud "Christians," the obvious ones, they tend to be screaming hellfire and brimstone corrupt bigots. Chuck Austen's kind of hilariously poorly thought-out exploding communion wafer Nightcrawler as anti-pope story comes to mind, as does Ennis's Preacher (which I did enjoy) and William Stryker...

From: "Superman is a Methodist..." forum discussion, started 6 Marach 2006 on "Catholic Answers" website (; viewed 31 May 2007):

Mar 6, '06, 11:46 am

Superman is a Methodist, and the best we [Catholics] can do is Nightcrawler?

Who is Nightcrawler?


Sorry -- just tickled me the right way.

Mar 6, '06, 12:04 pm

Nightcrawler is so much better than Superman. He can teleport short distances, which is better than being the "man of steel," and he's with the X-men.

Here's a picture:
Depending on which canon you read, many of the X-men are Catholic...

And of of course, there is always Daredevil, who is devout in his Faith.

Catholics are well represented in the world comics, don't worry.

Yours in Christ,

From: "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):

[Reader Comments]

Comment from: Charles - http://job21-3.blogspot.com

It seems to me that Marvel was one of the first to really start portraying its heroes as human with real problems. Spiderman is a great parallel to Mormon culture and responsibility. He knows he has a responsibility to family and still tries to temper his powers with his social responsibilities. I've never read the Fantastic Four, but I'm under the impression that in the comics they have similar problems as everyone knows who each one is, they don't really have hidden identities.

Superman is another great example. I liked the idea about living in the world but not being of it. However, most of the storylines are pretty weak as to why he does what he does. The two best are from Smallville, where he feels responsible for causing so many problems when he crashed on Earth and the second is from the book I mentioned earlier where Superman has a deep sense of wanting to belong in a world where he is different. These are pretty selfish reasons, but because of his ethics and the way he uses his powers he gains a strong following.

Batman is the most real. He has no powers other than a keen intelect and a super bank account. He made a choice to do good and go after those that were above the law. In a way he is taking his cue from the constitution, where it states that we have a moral duty when the government fails to take up our own arms (don't turn this all legal, its just an observation and a way that it fits into the Batman universe).

Batman is my favorite, not because he has any powers, but because he doesn't. He only has his devotion.

Unfortunately not many comics deal with religion. Daredevil is a Catholic, but not a very active practicing one. Spawn deals with redemption but doesn't really look at religion in the traditional sense, it seems to hang on the Dante view of hell and the magical properties of the spirit world, where demons have physical bodies and unique abilities. Its not so much about faith, but redemption - but redemption in who's eyes?

The X-men comparison is interesting.

Its interesting to see that people try to find the values that they themselves hold dear in popular culture. We try to see the Mormon Parallels in characters that are decidely un-Mormon. I think everyone has that same sense of belonging and this is one way we manifest it, to claim someone as our own, or see how they could, if only the writers would put pen to page and tell us the personal faith driven stories that never make it onto the pannels in the comic books.

10/12/05 - 11:00

Comment from: lyle stamps - http://valuespundit.blogspot.com

Charles: I would disagree that comics don't deal with religion. They may not have characters who are openly religious; but religion is about making daily choices; the right choices. Maybe it isn't about Mormons projecting themselves into pop culture, but pop culture trying to answer the big questions and our choice to see this w/in a religious framework.

10/12/05 - 14:50

Comment from: Charles - http://job21-3.blogspot.com

Lyle, I think we are going to have to disagree here. Religion is about making daily choices and preferably the right choices at that, but religion goes much further. Its about faith in things not seen. Finding salvation and redemption. For Mormons it includes authority from God. For many others it reflects a moral ground and framework which allows us to interact with the rest of the world.

Most Comics do not address this part of daily life. There are a few that do, Daredevil being one of them, Nightcrawler from X-men another. Most Superheroes are A-religious, most likely by design. They do reflect choices between right and wrong, but often they are the framework for those moral choices not religion.

10/12/05 - 16:19

From: "MSNBC talks religion of superheroes" forum discussion started 15 June 2006 on BKV.TV website (http://www.bkv.tv/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=117679&sid=4ea823f1318d399750740ae4287a02f5; viewed 6 June 2007):

Robert JC Gill
Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:34 pm

...I'd think that Daredevil's Catholicism should be mentioned; how could anyone forget Frank Miller's BORN AGAIN storyline?

From: "Jewish Heroes or Villians in Marvel Universe?" forum discussion, started 12 December 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://www.xmenindex.com/forums/comicbooks/t-97146.html; viewed 31 May 2007):

Sandy Hausler
02-01-2006, 05:05 AM

...Actually, overt religious belief and practice among Marvel characters is pretty sparse. Firebird is a religious Catholic, but we don't see much of her (and really never did). Rahne Sinclair was a devout Protestant, though you wouldn't know it since her latest remake. Daredevil is Catholic, but I'm not sure how devout. And Cloak and Dagger hang out in a Catholic church, but I'm not sure of their personal religious beliefs...

From: "Religion in Comics" forum discussion, started 17 May 2007 on official DC Comics message board website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?messageID=2003785241; viewed 7 June 2007):

Posted: May 17, 2007 8:37 AM

Yesterday, I read Action Comics #849, and the issue had several religious references and implications. Because of this, I decided to discuss it with everyone else here. Does religion have a place in comic books?


Posted: May 17, 2007 4:53 PM

Okay, while I'm on the subject, here I go...

I like Daredevil a lot and do like the fact that Matt Murdock is a Catholic. It helps me to "identify" with the character a little bit.

I also do like Zauriel alot since he's obviously a religious character but does not seem to adhere to any specific religion. I grant you that his beliefs do tend to lean towards judeo-christianity or something resembling that but he never (at least to my recollection) avowed himself to any specific religion. I also like how when he refers to what we call God he refers to it as the Presence. As if to say that there is someone up there but it has no physical form we could comprehend. I think it leaves it all up to personal interpretation and goes a long way to not offend anyone in their religious beliefs, contrary to what Ratsstar suggested. No offense.

I also like Nightcrawler alot for being a Catholic too. Much like Daredevil, I "identify" myself with him on some level because we share similar beliefs.

Still, if I may give one word of advise to everyone, there are two subjects that many of us (including me) should avoid discussion of in our daily lives, Politics and Religion. It's less of a hassle if you do.


Posted: May 17, 2007 10:44 PM

Does religion have a place in comic books?

Yes. It does.

Religion can be used as a powerful storytelling device. And as such, it definitely has a place in a storytelling medium. In the hands of a good writer, religion can add quite a bit to a story. So it's definitely a tool for use in comics.

Beyond that, I guess it becomes a matter of opinion. Whether or not a specific story uses religion well to tell its story. I believe Walt Simonson used old Norse religion extremely well to tell Thor stories. I believe Kevin Smith used Catholic imagery and concepts very well to tell Daredevil stories. So there are two examples of what in my opinion were writers using religion well in a comic.

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...

So, on to religion. What religions do we find represented in Marvel? ...Mainstream religions were generally unmentioned before the 1990's (though we do find Cap consulting the New Testament for inspiration during the 1970's... 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...

From: "Here, God exists in Four Colors and Two Dimensions", posted 7 March 2006 by grabbingsand on Metafilter website (http://www.metafilter.com/49827/Here-God-exists-in-Four-Colors-and-Two-Dimensions; viewed 11 June 2007):

Jimmy Olsen is a Lutheran. Really. And Clark Kent? Methodist, it seems. Daredevil, Gambit, Huntress and The Punisher? Catholics, all of them, though I have to wonder when Frank Castle last went to Confession. With about half of DC Comic's line-up heading to church in the latest issue of Infinite Crisis and knowing that Civil War is imminent in the House of Marvel, what better time than now to contemplate the particular faiths of our two-dimensional heroes.

[User comments:]

Well of COURSE [expletive] Daredevil is Catholic.

posted by drinkcoffee at 5:46 PM on March 7

From: "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters (Doug Ramsey Fans, please help)" forum discussion, started 17 October 2006 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-87949.html; viewed 20 June 2007):

10-17-2006, 02:42 PM

I found this site white tries to identify the religious affiliation of comic book characters.
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html ...

10-17-2006, 08:42 PM

Excellent site. I only knew one character's religion, and that was Daredevi, a Catholic. Very interesting site. Thanks

From: "Doug TenNapel on Black Cherry" forum discussion, started 16 May 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=112821; viewed 28 June 2007):

05-16-2007, 12:19 PM

With almost no exception, when a particular viewpoint, lifestyle or issue is brought up in comics, it is because it is going to be Addressed. As in belabored, beaten to death, and rammed down the reader's throat. And it is very rarely entertaining.

Ben Grimm is Jewish. They've never belabored the fact, they've never done a "Pro-Jew" story, he's just Jewish, occasionally it gets mentioned, and that's it. It's part of what he is. Daredevil is Catholic. His being Catholic is a vital part of his story (or at least it was made one) but it's not like he goes around leaving tracts with the guys he captures. I don't recall Spidey's faith every being addressed, so I wouldn't be surprised if he were Christian, just due to the law of averages. But if it doesn't affect the story in any way, is there a need to mention it? I say no, you seem to say yes.

From: "Doug TenNapel on Black Cherry" forum discussion, started 16 May 2007 on "The Engine" website (http://the-engine.net/forum/lmessages.php?webtag=ENGINE&msg=8767.1; viewed 28 June 2007):

[Excerpt from "Doug TenNapel on Black Cherry", an interview conducted by Newsarama correspondent Michael C. Lorah with acclaimed comic book writer Doug TenNapel about his latest series, Black Cherry:]

NRAMA: Faith and mentors seem to be big themes in much of your work, and it looks like Eddie has both in Father McHugh. [Editor: "Eddie" and "Father McHugh" are two of the central characters in Black Cherry] Why do find these themes continually inspiring?

DT [Doug TenNapel]: Ask any person about what they think about God and you will get an amazing story. It won't just be any old story either, it will likely cut straight to the core of who that person is. It's so bizarre to me that this most personal, dramatic, amazing story device is getting pressure to be removed by story-telling industries... including the supposedly progressive comics industry.

The fact that Superman was born and raised in Kansas by conservative farmers yet he never even talks about the Bible stinks to high hell to me. It's idiotic and it ends up making these characters less human instead of more. Superman has exactly dick to do with any "Smallville" I've ever been to. This is why I actually LOVED the Red Son Superman so much; they finally gave us a contrast of what would happen if Superman didn't carry Kansas in his worldview. More of this! Less of draining worldviews and philosophies out of comics! Especially worldviews that are considered "anti-comic" like certain conservative ones.

It is the pulp nature of comics that makes is such an incredibly powerful medium. I don't think you could get funding to make a Red Son Superman movie with a 250-million-dollar budget, but you could do a limited-run book series to explore a philosophy... no harm done.

It's why I laugh so hard at a vocal minority in comics that just freaks out if my characters bring up Jesus Christ. They don't freak out if a character says the word "____" or decides to be gay in a series, but if Spiderman ever converted to Christianity these critics would have a period. I thought we were farther along than that in the discussion and debate department of comics. I'm shocked at the level of groupthink within a medium that should be anything but a monolith of worldview. There should be a robust debate of worldviews within comics... it's why I so look forward to Frank Miller's Batman vs. Islamic terror. That kind of material should be the norm not the controversial rarity that it is.

From: Stu West (S_G_WEST)
16 May 16:31

I find myself agreeing with some of that: I wouldn't like the Miller/Mazzucchelli DAREDEVIL run nearly so much if it didn't have those heavy Catholic overtones. But I'm stumped about what the hell HOLY TERROR, BATMAN has got to do with God.

Anyway, where was the outcry when they did that FANTASTIC FOUR comic which revealed the Thing was Jewish? Apart from the odd positive write-up, I doubt anyone even noticed.

From: "Stuart Moore's A Thousand Flowers: O Deadly Night" forum discussion, started 2 December 2003 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-6949.html; viewed 28 June 2007):

The Amazing Spider-Fan
12-02-2003, 12:25 PM

12-02-2003, 01:08 PM

I really enjoyed, I believe it was Daredevil #241 ( I can't remember for sure) that was written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by Todd McFarlane. It was not specifically a Christmas story but it took place at Christmas time and he was talking to that pack of kids the Fat Boys who always admired him. Here he is saying they should be home for Christmas with their families, and the kids respond with all sorts of reasons why they don't want to be at home and Christmas is terrible for them. I always that was a pretty sad statement but I always am upset when I hear stories about underprivileged children having terrible Christmases.

From: Brad Meltzer, "Jewish Superhero Website Listing", posted 28 June 2007 on his official MySpace website (http://www.bradmeltzer.com/labels/Comics.html; viewed 9 July 2007):

Thanks to Jack G. for this. And I so admire The Acidic Jew [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/AcidicJew.html].

Jewish superhero website listing:



[reader comments posted in response to this, at:

I know your purpose was different than as taken, but, I still think it's very interesting that both Marvel and DC (as well as independents) have incorporated religions in their characters' backgrounds.

Sure, we know some have religious/mythoological backgrounds (Thor, Nightcrawler, Daredevil, Bibleman) but, to see how many do, is interesting... I found it interesting that these universes incorporated religions from all over the world, just like a real universe would...

Thanks for that interesting link, Brad.

Posted by LegendsOfBatman on Monday, July 02, 2007 at 9:32 AM

From: "It's like this webpage was written just for Austin316." forum discussion, started 24 June 2007 by Final_Flanner on "Back Room Almanac" website (;pid=583084;d=all; viewed 10 July 2007):

by Austin316 (06/24/2007 21:23:10)

It is complete nonsense even to suggest that Batman and Daredevil are anything other than Catholic.

From: "The Gay Superhero" forum discussion, started 30 August 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showthread.php?t=77086; viewed 12 July 2007):

08-30-2005, 10:42 AM

This is a blade that cuts both ways.

You could hardly say that we Catholics have [great] superheroes.

Look at the two most major "Catholic" heroes that Marvel has: Daredevil and Nightcrawler. (I'm not that familiar with DC characters that might be Catholic.)

Daredevil, supposedly a "devout" Catholic, is perpetually guilt-ridden and doesn't exactly even try to adhere to the Catholic sexual ethic. If anything he's a grade-A Catholic stereotype: always feeling guilty and actively contradicting himself. (I still like Daredevil though!)

Now take Nightcrawler. A one-time seminarian whose faith was turned upside down by a bunch of insane wanna-be papist mutant-haters. And in the last few years: brooding and guilt ridden. I liked Kurt better when he was happy-go lucky AND a practicing Catholic. How much of a missed opportunity there was by having Kurt LEAVE the priesthood! Again, comics give in to the stereotype and walk away from real chances to have characters that are different and noteworthy.

The lack-of or limiting of minority characters and gay characters are only the most obvious ones given the world we currently live in.

But the same fact applies accross the board: characters are created to appeal to the MIDDLE... or slightly left of MIDDLE.

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

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

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

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

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

Shadowcat - Jewish
Thing - Jewish
Magneto - Jewish
Daredevil - Catholic
Nightcrawler - Catholic

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 17th, '03, 09:38 PM

Another thread got me to thinking a bit about religious super heroes. They do occur in comic books. Some it barely gets mentioned, some few are quite devout in their faith. Examples that come to mind are Nightcrawler, Firebird, and Daredevil. Both Kitty Pryde and Ben Grimm are Jewish...

From: "Gods and Champions" forum discussion, started 11 September 2004 on "HERO Games" website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-21728.html; viewed 12 July 2007):

Sep 11th, '04, 04:46 AM

Doesn't it seem that religious based Superheroes get a sort of lopsided treatment? Characters like Thor, Hercules and others never seem to catch much flak for claiming to be pagan gods and such, but Christian based supers are either unheard of or portrayed as over zealous wack jobs. I'm not a particularly religious person so please don't take this a some sort of rant, just something I've noticed...

Sep 12th, '04, 07:13 AM

The Kevin Smith arcs of both Daredevil and Green Arrow dealt with the christian mythos in a fairly even-handed way: Smith, himself a catholic, seems to be able to handle investigation of religious matters without getting ovely preachy or offensive either.

From: "Superhero Religious Views?" forum discussion, started 9 June 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-116001.html; viewed 13 July 2007):

06-10-2007, 04:39 PM

...With both Superman and Batman, they tend to leave religion out of it, probably to avoid discussions like these. Sure you can have Daredevil as a Catholic, but Supes and Bats are very iconic characters and one of their appeals is that they can appeal to anyone...

From: Rick Phillips, "Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters", posted 14 July 2007 on "Black Lightning Limited" blog website (http://blacklightninglimited.blogspot.com/2007/07/religious-affiiation-of-comic-book.html; viewed 16 July 2007):

I have linked to this site before but I didn't see the photos [collage illustrations] that they now have on the site. It is called The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters [http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_collage.html]...

[Reader comments]

July 14, 2007 5:01 AM
Luke said...

Very interesting. Apparently, being Catholic, like I am, is a good lead-in to being either demonic (Hellboy, Daimon Hellstrom), demonic-looking (Nightcrawler, Blue Devil), or full of guilt (Daredevil). That, or Irish, it would seem.

My favorite Catholic characters were always Nightcrawler -- who actually was in the seminary at one point, and Firebird...

Great find!

From: "Mistake in Ult. Spidey 109!" forum discussion, started 13 July 2007 on official Marvel Comics website (http://marvelcomics.com/boards/viewtopic.php?p=1769511&sid=196e05349d4603bed7683869825cdad6; viewed 18 July 2007):

Posted: 07.13.2007 12:49pm

Mistake in Ult. Spidey 109!

Alright, in Ult. Spidey 109 [i.e., Ultimate Spiderman #109], Daredevil states that he's Catholic (which I never knew, but is cool to have a Catholic super-hero {I myself am a devout Catholic}) and that he feels bad for being the cause to Spider-Man's struggle with Kingpin.

However, Spidey also states that he feels it is wrong to "kill" Kingpin. That it is Immoral. Now, any other Catholic will agree, nobody deserves to die. Death is sad no matter what!

Yet the "Catholic" Daredevil still wants to kill him! That is a mistake, and I feel strongly against it.

Posted: 07.13.2007 1:11pm

Daredevil was pushed to the very edge which may have caused this.

Posted: 07.13.2007 3:03pm

Well, I think it's because of what Peter said. Those were some powerful word's that he said.

Posted: 07.13.2007 3:14pm

He says he is Catholic. Maybe he is a lax Catholic or saw it as the greater good.

Posted: 07.13.2007 3:23pm

What does this have to do with what we were taking about? Because I don't know much about Catholics, so I fail to see what you mean.

Posted: 07.13.2007 3:44pm

Lax Catholic means that he doesn't really go to church, or participate much at all in his religion. Or if he saw it as the greater good, that would mean Daredevil thought that killing him (something Catholics don't/shouldn't support) would actually be for the better.

Posted: 07.13.2007 3:48pm

Well, he didn't [kill anybody], so I don't see how there was a mistake [in this comic].

Posted: 07.13.2007 4:43pm

Well, I might not be right on this (a Daredevil fan would have to check), but I think he (Daredevil) and Nightcrawler are both some form of Catholics in 616-Universe too! There are quite a few characters with visibly religious affiliations in comics for DC and Marvel, the majority of them I've noticed are either Jewish or Catholic. Probably more if you look harder.

Posted: 07.13.2007 7:42pm

Daredevil could be a devout Catholic even though he wants to kill the Kingpin. I am a practicing Catholic and believe in the death penalty.

Posted: 07.13.2007 11:42pm

I know that Spider-Man is a Christian because in Amazing Spider-Man I see him pray a lot. I don't think he's Catholic, but I know he's a Christian. Maybe he's Hebrew or something.


Posted: 07.14.2007 12:43pm

First of all, jimmyjay88, I'd like to hear more about WHY you believe in the death penalty. I mean, honestly, the only good to come out of it is to deter crime. But we don't! We're telling people to stop killing people... by killing people!

Good description, comicfan93. A Lax Catholic is also a Cafeteria Catholic (like he picks and chooses part of the religion). Mel Gibson (sadly) is a good example of this.

Posted: 07.14.2007 1:47pm

I think Matt's a non-practicing Catholic in all continuities, but he still goes to Confession and stuff.

I know the film's aren't based off the Ultimate line, but in the Director's Cut of Daredevil, it's implied that Matt never actually goes to church because of his activities as Daredevil. In fact, it explicitly shows him arriving at church after the sermon has ended the day after Fisk's arrest.

Posted: 07.15.2007 3:16am

George Bush is a strong Christian who is against abortion, but he is for the death penalty. And you never know, Matt might be dealing with rough times and he loses his edge. All religions have followers who make a few mistakes here and there. That's why Catholics have confession.

Posted: 07.15.2007 1:48pm

...I am starting to think Matt Murdock is a cafeteria Catholic (Lax Catholic) and/or is going through rough times.

Posted: 07.16.2007 1:06am

...[As for the] matter at hand: It's not a mistake. Matt Murdock makes his own decisions. Just because you follow a religion doesn't mean you're going to agree with all of its teachings. He also doesn't believe what he is doing is right. He just thinks it will help people if the Kingpin is gone. (Even though in my mind it's more about revenge for him and getting rid of Fisk will just create a power vaccuum.) I'd also like to point out that there is a certain sense of irony in the fact that Murdock decided upon the alias of "Daredevil" and dresses in the likeness of a demon. Yes it was his father's nickname, but i think it has to do more with the fact that he knows what he is doing isn't exactly Righteous. That's my two cents. I'll explain it more if needed.

From: "Make your own new religious movement/sect/cult" forum discussion, started 20 July 2006 on "GovTeen Forums" website (http://forums.govteen.com/archive/index.php/t-175444.html; viewed 27 July 2007):

Jul-24-2006, 02:10 AM

Yeah, I've seen that before, but thanks for bringing it to the forefront of my mind. "Lapsed Catholic" is a term that comes up a lot when talking about super heroes. I guess the whole "Catholic guilt" is something that readers can easily pick up on and entertain themselves with.

Now what a tanget we're on now: For a comic character that has noteworthy religious struggles, the first one that pops to mind is Daredevil, and that site you were nice enough to share goes into some details about it: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/Daredevil.html

Apparently an issue of Comic Book Marketplace inadvertently indicated that the Hulk had been revealed as Jewish when in fact the writer was trying to note that Ben Grimm ("The Thing") had been revealed as Jewish. This misprint prompted the following discussion. From: "What issue was the Hulk revealed as Jewish?" forum discussion, started 12 November 2004 on IMWAN website (http://www.imwan.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=999; viewed 31 July 2007):

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 8:01 am
Kurt Anderson

It's rare for superheroes to appear in church, unless their religion plays heavily into their characterization (Wonder Woman, Daredevil). I don't see Batman or the Atom or Green Lantern going to church, but I don't assume they're athiest or agnostic. I work with dozens of people on a daily basis, have no idea if they attend mass unless they work it into a conversation (and very few do that).


Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 6:08 am
Darin Wagner

...I said "some writers do tend to insert some of their own faith (or just a faith) into superheroes not known to have a designated faith."

Daredevil wasn't particularly Catholic until Frank Miller added that element. It was such a successful addition to the character's persona that it has yet to be retconned away. This happens sometimes and you can get away with it with the less-iconic characters like Daredevil. Prior to Frank Miller's influence, there was nothing particularly religious about Daredevil. His religious status, like most superheroes, was left ambiguous so that, for all intents and purposes, the reader could insert their own.


Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:12 am
Kurt Anderson


Why does it upset you so to see comic book characters associated with religious faiths? It stands to reason that a percentage of them would be extremely religious.. some would attend services... some would consider themselves part of a religion even if they don't participate.. just as in the real world.

Yet you seem to be offended by writers who build on characters by including religion... something that is a part of most folks' lives and has greatly affected politics over the past few decades. Not exactly a topic that should be shoved under a rug.

It seems ridiculous to keep characters stagnant, stuck in the vaccum built by their creators.

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:56 am
Darin Wagner

I reject the premise on which your question is based. [Darin later makes it clear what he means by this: He rejects the assumption in Kurt's question. Darin does not actually object to comic book characters expressing religious faith.]

Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:43 pm
Edward J. Cunningham

Makes sense to me. Regardless of what denomination a certain hero may belong to, it is very, VERY rare that it is mentioned or made a big deal about. Probably the biggest hero where their faith is made a big deal over is Daredevil.

From: Tom R., "It's Kabbalah-in' Time!", posted 24 July 2006 on "Father McKenzie" website (http://fathermckenzie.blogspot.com/2006/07/its-kabbalah-in-time.html; viewed 10 August 2007):

...The religious affiliation of fictional super-characters is an intriguing topic. Some are, err, confessedly Catholic (X-Men's Nightcrawler, Daredevil's Matt Murdoch), while others are obviously Baptist or Methodist (Superman's Jonathan and Martha Kent, Spiderman's Aunt May). Other characters, though, are harder to call...

In any case, from my (medium-level) reading I don't think many superheroes (as distinct from kindly adoptive parents who bake great Thanksgiving pies) are really religious in any meaningful sense. The Catholic ones I mentioned tend to be tormented by guilt -- as you would too, if you either looked like a devil or dressed like one -- and to spend a lot of time hanging around churches, but otherwise aren't distinctively Catholic. They don't, for example, ask themselves whether letting the bad guy fall to his death from a cliff edge, because he refuses the hero's helping hand, counts as "direct or indirect formal or material complicity with homicide" pursuant to the Doctrine of Double Effect. Nor, for that matter, can I picture, say, Peter Parker [link to: http://www.theage.com.au/news/film-reviews/spiderman-3/2007/05/02/1177788214439.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1] asking himself "WWJD?" before deciding whether to continue hot pursuit of Doc Ock, or pause to stop a granny being run over...

From: "Comics Industry is a Secular Ghetto" forum discussion, started 20 February 2007 on ComicCon website (http://www.comicon.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/ubb/get_topic/f/2/t/009378/p/3.html; viewed 11 August 2007):

David Porta
posted 03-02-2007 02:50 AM

re: I don't agree that comics are particularly secular. Read most Vertigo and you'll see a line that deals quite a bit with religious themes, maybe not how you'd like them to deal with them (some are, in fact, downright abrasive to conservative Christian values), but they're not "secular."

Anti-Christian bigotry that comes from a non-religious place? That's is most ASSUREDLY secular.

Listen, I'm just talkin' numbers, man.

Look at it this way. Roughly 2% of Americans are Jews. Roughly 2% of Americans are homosexuals... Okay, how many times in comics has a character's homosexuality been tossed up at you? Now, how many times has a character's Jewishness been tossed up at you?...

Now, roughly 85% of Americans are Christians. How often has a character's Christian-ness been tossed up at you?

I mean, Daredevil is Catholic. Nightcrawler is Catholic. Outside of that Astro City TP [trade paperback], where are the Evangelical Protestants? Catholics are the minority. Where are the Lutherans, fer cryin' out loud?! I'm Lutheran. (Yeah, that's right. Missouri Synod Lutherans and Wisconsin Synod Lutherans are conservative, Biblicist, Evangelical Protestants.)

Movies? Michael J. Fox played a Lutheran soldier of conscience on Casualties of War.

You JUST don't GET it, do you?

92 percent of Americans profess a belief in God and 84 percent call themselves Christians. Where ARE they in the world of mainstream comics? VILLAINS?! That just PROVES my point! That's ANTI-CHRISTIAN bias coming from bigoted comics writers. Sheesh! Are you totally CLUEless?

"Modern comics are more realistic." No they're NOT. They exist in a fantasy world where 84 percent of Americans embrace villainy (portrayed as YOU describe).


So, you would say that laws outlawing religion would not be "secular," because they deal with religion? What fantasy world are you IN, man?

Pat ONeill
posted 03-02-2007 07:36 AM

Actually, given that the majority of Marvel's stories take place in and around NYC, Catholics would not be the minority, they'd be the majority, as they are in nearly every large city on the East and West Coasts, and even in many midwestern cities, like Chicago.

BTW, like the idea that somehow, in Porta's world, Catholics like DD and Nightcrawler don't count in that 85% Christian group.

From: Kelly Fryer (a Lutheran blogger), "Share Your Faith Like A...Superhero?", posted 31 July 2007 on "Reclaiming The F Word [Faith]" blog website (http://reclaimingthefword.typepad.com/reclaiming_the_f_word/2007/07/so-how-come-rel.html; viewed 12 August 2007):

On a personal note, my all time favorite comic book character is Daredevil (disappointingly played by Ben Affleck a few years ago). His alter ego, Matt Murdock is a blind attorney. And he is a Roman Catholic, like I was for the first 20 years of my life. Frank Miller, one of the Daredevil writers, once said, "I figured Daredevil must be Catholic because only a Catholic could be both an attorney and a vigilante."

Is that like "both preacher and ass-kicker?!"

Anyway, Matt did good works dressed like a devil.

Sounds a lot like simul justus et pecattor to me... simultaneously saint and sinner.

I'm thinking maybe his secret identity was Lutheran.

From: "Comics and Faith/Religion" forum discussion, started 12 August 2007 on Jinxworld website (http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showthread.php?t=122876; viewed 18 August 2007):

08-12-2007, 08:30 PM

I am looking for some new comics, or old ones I've missed, dealing with faith and religion. So far I have... I am looking more for mini-series. It need not be pro- or anti- religion, I am open to both. Suggestions?


08-12-2007, 11:37 PM

Daredevil: Born Again.

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