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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Vance Astro
of the New Warriors and the Avengers
(also known as "Marvel Boy")

Selections from: Steven M. Bergson, "Jewish Comics: A Select Bibliography" last updated 28 June 2005 (http://www.geocities.com/safran-can/JWISHC.HTM; viewed 23 December 2005):

Skolnick, Evan. "Radicals" The New Warriors #59 May 1995 (NY: Marvel)

Skolnick, Evan. "Shalom, Shalom (Goodbye, Peace)" The New Warriors #58 Apr. 1995 (NY: Marvel)

In New Warriors #59, the New York-based superhero team the New Warriors are attacked by Sabra, who has been mind-controlled by an unknown enemy. Justice is a member of the new Warriors who, like Sabra, is Jewish. Justice snaps Sabra back to reality by getting her to think of her dead son, who Justice resembles. He does this by reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

New Warriors #58, featuring Jewish super-heroes Sabra and Justice, and Syrian Muslim super-hero Batal

From: "Jewish Comics Exhibit Notes" webpage, last updated 5 December 2004 (http://www.geocities.com/hadassahfink/comicexhnotes.htm; viewed 4 July 2007):

New Warriors #58
Israeli super-agent Sabra accompanies Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to a peace conference in New York, where he is to meet with Syrian President Haffez al-Assad. However, someone manages to brainwash Sabra, making her try to kill both politicians.


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):

08/16/2003, 20:18

Other Jewish heroes are: Justice, Sabra, Magneto.

From: "Passover Wave! Ragman and--?" message board started 13 April 2006 on official DC Comics website (http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?forumID=29209087&threadID=2000071426; viewed 1 June 2006):

Posted: Apr 13, 2006 10:54 AM

...Marvel wise, Kitty Pryde, the Thing, Doc Samson, Moon Knight and Vance Astro/Justice are all Jewish...

Posted: Apr 13, 2006 9:15 PM

So far my League of [Jewish Superheroes] is as follows:

...Vance Astro ... Great. Could they have picked a MORE obscure character to make Jewish?

[Seven other Jewish superheroes listed, with comments about each.]

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/e8d686f0b20944a6/2f9353e0760b00e7; viewed 23 June 2006):

From: JARJR2
Date: Wed, Sep 22 1999 12:00 am

re: "Anyone care to post a list of those characters whose spiritual beliefs are on record?"

Justice - Jewish (kind of iffy... He doesn't really believe anymore so he may actually be atheist... according to NW [New Warriors] #58-59)...

From: Carmen Williams
Date: Thurs, Sep 23 1999 12:00 am

Others on the list [of Marvel superheroes with known religious affiliations]:
Justice - I believe he's of Jewish descent, but I have no clue if he practices
[8 other characters listed]

From: "Atheist representation on the Avengers" forum discussion started 20 June 2001 on "Comic Boards" website (http://www.comicboards.com/avengers/view.php?trd=010620110715; viewed 24 May 2007):

Posted by Jae on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 11:07:15 GMT

Atheist representation on the Avengers

The teams pretty well rounded now, but are there any atheistic members?...


Posted by D-Man on Wednesday, June 20 2001 at 20:10:53 GMT

...Probably the best comic you could find to figure out who believes in a god or a god, or have deep faith in God or a god would be:

Infinity Crusade
The Goddess uses the heroes' faith and belief in gods and such to recruit heroes.

Here are a list of Avengers who are "believers" so are recruited by the Goddess:
Living Lightning
Black Knight
Invisible Woman
Wonder Man
Captain America
Scarlet Witch
Moon Knight

...Other Avengers I'm guessing might be "believers":
Silver Claw

All other Avengers are up in the air.

From: "Islamic super heroes: Are there any?" forum discussion, started 23 August 2005 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-76010.html; viewed 28 May 2007):

08-23-2005, 10:06 PM

Well, anyways, I was thinking of an idea for a UN-sanctioned super hero team with represenatives from different countries, and one of them is a female telepath from Turkey... named Sultana. And I suddenly realized that for the life of me I can't think of a single Muslim super-hero from either Marvel or DC.

So, are there any? And please don't turn this into a political debate.

08-24-2005, 01:11 PM

...In Marvel, the New Warriors (led by Justice, himself Jewish) have encountered Israeli superhero Sabra and Syrian champion Batal. Their religions aren't specified, but does anyone care to guess...?

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):

12-12-2005, 05:50 AM

Reading the " Black Panther thread" got me thinking. Are there any Jewish heroes or villians in the Marvel Universe?

12-12-2005, 08:04 AM

Justice from the the New Warriors / Avengers is Jewish.

Typo Lad
02-01-2006, 06:04 AM

They also made a point of Justice being Jewish a time or two.

02-03-2006, 12:32 AM

...with Justice, just for the record, [he is Jewish] only on the mom's side. And yes, I know, that does make him actually Jewish. On the other hand, I can't remember them ever showing him being Jewish.

Typo Lad
02-03-2006, 05:48 AM

Evan Skolnik wrote a story where Vance's Judiasm played an important part.

Oh and for the recoprd, Astrovik COULD be a Jewish name. Do we have proof the dad's not?

02-05-2006, 12:11 PM

From what I recall, Sabra (Marvel's prototypical Jewish hero) did everything but strip for Vance [Justice] when she met him. I thought it weird at the time because of the age difference.

Typo Lad
02-05-2006, 02:37 PM

I thought it [the scene between Sabra and Justice] weird because it was just so damn trampy. "Look! A Jewish Mutant! LET US MAKE BABIES!"

02-05-2006, 12:55 PM

re: Oh and for the recoprd, Astrovik COULD be a Jewish name. Do we have proof the dad's not?

Vance has referred to himself as "half Jewish" -- so only one side of his family is.

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)... What was the motivation for all this? ...Jack Kirby once drew the Thing with a prayer-shawl, and Jewish ethnicity seemed to reinforce the character's constant suffering and kvetching (and maybe his sense of humor too)...

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