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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Clint Barton


From: "What religion do superhero's belong to? [sic]" forum discussion started 18 July 2002 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=41332; viewed 21 May 2007):

07-18-2002, 01:02 PM

What religion do superhero's [sic] belong to?

I'd like to discuss what religious beliefs are favorite costumed hero's belong to. Everyone knows Daredevil is Catholic. But beyond that, what do we know of superhero's beliefs? I'm thinking of mostly the Marvel Universe, but you DC fans feel free to contribute as well...

07-18-2002, 01:30 PM

This is a discussion I've had several times with my friends, and usually I step out of it when it turns offensive. (Which with my friends, it always does!) Thing to remember though that until recently, like the past decade, religion and talks of such were verboten in most main stream comic books. Now that's changed...

Let's see...

Peter [i.e., Spider-Man] is probably Protestant, and Steve Rogers I believe was raised Catholic but later supports his own self-styled beliefs.

Frank Castle was once a Catholic priest... But you could say he "fell from grace" there. The second Ghost Rider, Dan Ketch is also Catholic, whereas Johnny Blaze is Baptist. (That may have changed since I was reading it, but who knows.) Hawkeye is also Baptist too.

I don't think Dr. Steven Strange fits into any religious category.

Bruce Banner is actually a Christian. That's one of the defining points that Peter David brought him. The contradictory nature of science versus soul that Banner goes by. I remember it being an interesting story...

Black Widow is an atheist. (That's a problem with coming from an atheist country!) And I believe Tony Stark is the same. (But James Rhodes is of faith, but what faith, I'm not certain.)

Daniel "Iron Fist" Rand is a Buddhist and Magneto is Jewish. Xavier may just be nondenominational. No idea what Scott Summers is but it seems that Jean Grey is a Christian as well, and same with the Hank McCoy.

And then there's Blade and Wolverine... I don't think they really care if there's a God or not.

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...

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

Wilz 05/04/2003, 18:46

Hawkeye is Catholic. Remembering his mini-series, when he was pretending to be dead his had a Catholic funeral (if memory serves me right). Kingpin was portrayed as Catholic (link to the whole mafia thing) in early DD. Vision also played with the whole religious-Catholic thing at one point.

[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:


Possible Catholics (or lasped Catholics):

Catwoman (her sister was a nun)
Plastic Man

From: "Religion in Comics", posted 22 December 2006 on "Noble Nonsense" blog website (http://www.mania.com/noblenonsense/blog/136.html; viewed 25 May 2007):

...I was brought up with the belief that people should not talk in good company about politics and religion. Even a slight slam on the current administration at the dinner table with my straight ticket Democrat voting grandfather will garnish a quick but disgruntled look followed by "that's enough!" On another tangent I once blew my nose at the table and had to eat in the kitchen for the rest of Thanksgiving.

But religion is a touchy subject. So I'm putting out my entire bias out there before I get into it. My fathers Methodist, mothers agnostic (her mother died when she was 13... so I don't blame her), and my sister was agnostic but now Methodist. Me? Atheist up until four years ago. My best friend is atheist. I converted to Roman Catholicism.

The idea behind finding your faith is extremely personal and spiritual. Some people really FEEL the calling to their spiritual side, as did I. Some find their faith out of habit. Some out of a sense of duty to family or loved ones. I'm not judging WHY people go to church or what their reasons are for it but some times you just don't know. It's okay to be atheist, some sect of Christianity/Judaism/Islam, Hindu, etc. I'm not giving my okay or want it to sound like I'm giving approval or being condescending. Just noting an observance that being atheist, Islamic, Buddhist, Protestant, Orthodox, long list of other religious beliefs, works for different people and I respect it. Lot of people have issues with the paradigms in Christianity. How can some sects do interpretation while others are literal? If they are doing the literal then just existing is a paradigm and a complex mess of hatred. Its a mess and trying to find a point in it all without sounding harsh or critical sucks. So in general I go by what was taught to me: be respectul, listen, and learn.

Now apply all the mess of religious debate to the comic world. Yeah... not fun. After 9/11 I really wanted to see Captain America (I'm guessing a Protestant based character... my assumption) team up with the Arabian Knight so they could do some sort of unity between religious/cultural beliefs against violence. Didn't happen. Would've been a good one folks.

Comic writers, editors, etc. address real life issues and on occassion bring up the issues of religion and politics. In most cases the political mindset can be easily viewed or interpretated. Religion not so much for the big 2 publishers. People, in this age atleast, are more vocal about their political views. It's the norm. So thats reflected in comics. But religion... well thats not always thrown out there. I mean its hard to do that. Look in Marvel Universe. You've got cosmic beings, demons, mutants, super powered humans, and gods of all different origins. A bit hard to have a set of religious beliefs there. Though you could make a comparison to Creed and the Friends of Humanity and their killing of mutants to extremist Christians that have attacked and the killing of homosexuals (or for those uptight, uber sensitive Christians reading this... the Islamists who attack women that are not wearing their full clothing). But thats an interpretation. Which is really common for X-Men. Much praise for their creation to show aspects of society.

If you go to wikipedia (or www.marveldatabase.com) and type in say... Hawkeye. You won't get his religious affiliation. I don't know and or care what he is. In fact the only two people I know for certain their religious beliefs are is The Thing and Kitty Pryde. Both Jewish. Which come to think of it The Thing being Jewish makes sense in a comparison to the legend of the Golum. I doubt that was the intention though.

But I guess the main reason for this post is this question: Should writers address religion in comics?

I guess I'm mixed on this. I mean to some degree I want to know that my favored characters have some sort of spiritual side. Except I think it would be hard to have a religious belief in said universe. I know it can easily be argued that it could change my opinion of the character if I knew their religious affiliation. But in reality it really hasn't. I still like Thing. Doesn't bug me at all that his religion is different than mine. He saves the world who cares if he's not my denomination of Christianity?! Kitty Pryde is still my third favorite X-Man.

But I can see the argument. Would Iron Man being a Scientologist change my mind about him? Yes... I'd like him less... which is hard because I like him very little at the moment.

I think religion in comics can be done REALLY well and for the most part interesting enough. But to be an active reader it almost requires people to be open minded when they read. Readers need to understand that their belief isn't the only one in the world and someone else thinks THEIR belief system is right. If you can step outside of that for a moment then its all gravy. I mean The Preacher dealt with religion but wow... what a great read...

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