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August 29, 2012 5:49 PM   Subscribe


 
Captain Canuck is a Mormon?!?!? I had no idea.
posted by Harpocrates at 6:17 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna go to cons and sell fan art of The Thing wearing tefillin.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:18 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great article, but I have kinda a serious problem with Quasar-the-atheist-superhero...

Namely, these people belong to a world full of angels and demons and magic and extra-dimensional entities and even the occasional actual outright god.

How can you refuse to admit the existence of Thor, when it only takes one quick phone-call and you could meet him for beers (or mead, perhaps) after a hard day of fighting against aliens?
posted by pla at 6:25 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm gonna go to cons and sell fan art of The Thing wearing tefillin.

I don't think that's in short supply.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:25 PM on August 29, 2012


This is awesome. I find it kind of interesting that Marvel characters seem, on the whole, to be a more religious bunch than their DC counterparts. I don't know if that's just because there are probably more Marvel characters or whether they're just better fleshed out. Marvel even has more atheist than DC does, so it's not just that Marvel characters are more devout, just more likely to have said something about religion at some point.

I also found it hilarious that the vast majority of Evangelical characters were from independent presses ("Christian Knight"? WTF?) or from presses that don't even really do comics (Thomas Nelson? Really? You've been in business since 1798. Haven't you anything better to do?)
posted by valkyryn at 6:27 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


How can you refuse to admit the existence of Thor, when it only takes one quick phone-call and you could meet him for beers (or mead, perhaps) after a hard day of fighting against aliens?

By not believing, in particular, that he's a divine presence involved in creating the universe so much as a big burly dude with a hammer that can throw lightning?

It's not as though say, the Marvelverse really has a giant divinity-detecting machine. Yet. Maybe Reed Richards will get around to it one of these days.
posted by Archelaus at 6:28 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm gonna go to cons and sell fan art of The Thing wearing tefillin.

In the old country, the family name was Grimowitz.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:29 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


How can you refuse to admit the existence of Thor, when it only takes one quick phone-call and you could meet him for beers (or mead, perhaps) after a hard day of fighting against aliens?

There is a difference between acknowledging the existence of Thor and the acknowledging the divinity of Thor.

by god that was a weird sentence.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 PM on August 29, 2012 [21 favorites]


By not believing, in particular, that he's a divine presence involved in creating the universe so much as a big burly dude with a hammer that can throw lightning?

My existence negates your Judeo-Christian beliefs. Every one.
posted by brain_drain at 6:34 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


And really, Batman should be the leading Episcopalian/Anglican
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:35 PM on August 29, 2012


One of the reasons they gave for discounting Wolverine as an atheist was that he went to church as a child. That this is a disqualification for atheism will come as a surprise to many an atheist.
posted by hoyland at 6:46 PM on August 29, 2012 [17 favorites]


I found it interesting that some of their evidence for, say, Clark Kent's Methodism is old Metafilter threads.

[And now that I'm looking more closely, this may actually be a double, though the first link from a post in 2006 is now links here.]
posted by klausman at 6:47 PM on August 29, 2012


One of the reasons they gave for discounting Wolverine as an atheist was that he went to church as a child. That this is a disqualification for atheism will come as a surprise to many an atheist.

Indeed. Atheists tend to be people who actively explored faith, rather than simply accepting it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:49 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


pla: we've faced the same issues in my D&D games. It's one thing for a character in that sort of setting to refuse to worship any of the gods, and another one to deny their existence (or even "divinity," depending on how one would define that, as in D&D "divine magic" exists as a powerful force which calls upon the gods directly for its use.) In that sort of setting, atheism is sort of paradoxical, in that one would be attempting to use rationalism to deny what is clearly and measurably a part of their world.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:49 PM on August 29, 2012


For us taoists, there's George Orr.
posted by sonascope at 6:51 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


In that sort of setting, atheism is sort of paradoxical, in that one would be attempting to use rationalism to deny what is clearly and measurably a part of their world.

C.f. the Maesters of A Song of Ice and Fire who appear to be actively working to reduce supernatural intrusions into their world.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:52 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cain and Abel is the most important story in the Bible. What love Cain had. Would you kill someone out of jealousy for God? Love God with ALL heart mind and soul.

I'm gonna steal the author of this comic's offering. Prolly won't work. I think Metallica must have gotten boucoup offering credits for creeping death.

God says, "true-speaking personages dispose Before mouthed discommended
large between relationship overflowing relating "
posted by losethos at 6:53 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think someone has overlooked THE HOLY AVENGER
posted by Auden at 6:53 PM on August 29, 2012


I read, once, a comment by either Jerry Siegel or Joe Schuster which went something like 'If I'm Jewish, then so is Superman.' And yeah, he was Jewish.

Part of Marvel's obsession with the religions of its characters can be attributed to Chris Claremont, who, for better or worse, helped shape the Marvel universe in the eighties and into the nineties. I mean, the X-characters talked about religion all the damn time. Magneto was Jewish and so was Kitty. Wolfsbane had religious hang ups, as did Nightcrawler, Cannonball, and probably six or seven others I'm forgetting. Claremont had this bizarre talent for leaving a bunch of messed up stuff in the background and never turning it into a story like a real writer would, but somehow that stuff flavored his work and, even when it was very bad, made it more interesting to read.

More importantly though, Claremont had a weird fixation on a sort of science-fiction version of predestination. His characters were always being forced to do evil things (Storm had her body taken over by Emma Frost, turning evil (Jean Grey), being corrupted by supernatural forces (Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik), or spending their time convincing themselves they would burn in hell (Rhane Sinclair, aka Wolfsbane). In Chris's hands, moral choices were always being yanked out of the characters hands by forces far beyond human control, but then they had to suffer the endless guilt for and consequences of those choices anyway.

For a decade or so, my feeling was that the guy had some unresolved issues there and didn't realize what he was doing in his fiction. But then I saw *Lord Of The Rings* (which I'd never read) and realized that he might have just been taking a few pages from Tolkien.
posted by Clay201 at 6:58 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apparently this is something comics writers actually think about. There's a great blurb from former Superman writer Elliot S Maggin about how he generally considered Superman to be Jewish, despite Clark Kent & his family being Methodist.

Is Superman Jewish?
The unwarranted assumption in the explanations above is that Kryptonians are not Jews. I dissent from that notion. While they are not direct descendents of the Judeans of the Middle East from whom the term "Jewish" comes, I always ascribed effectively Jewish doctrine and ritual to the Kryptonian tradition. In fact, the Kryptonian tradition is congruent with and certainly predates the Judean, so they have at least as much claim to the tradition as any of us.

I give all my characters religions, so I've thought this through - really. The Kents are Methodist (as is Clark), Lois is Catholic, Perry is Baptist, Jimmy is Lutheran (no surprise there) and Bruce Wayne and Batman are both Episcopalian (even less of a surprise there). And Superman (like the Siegels, the Shusters, the Weisingers, the Schwartzes, the Maggins and the Luthors) is Jewish.

This is so self-evident that it may as well be canon.
posted by annekate at 7:14 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]




All superheroes are Jewish.
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sigh. Jimmy Olsen is all I get?
posted by Stynxno at 7:18 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something patently ridiculous about claiming that Nightcrawler edges out Daredevil (both Catholic) because Nightcrawler has the higher profile (!!!), but then handing Baptist over to Black Lightning over ROGUE??? Really???
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:18 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Punisher: originally Catholic, now just a big ol' mess of vigilante anti-hero.

"Bless me, father, for I have sinned... and it's about to get much worse."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:19 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]




All of them: The Invisible Man.
posted by Decani at 7:23 PM on August 29, 2012


The unwarranted assumption in the explanations above is that Kryptonians are not Jews.

They have a hard time with Ethiopians, extraterrestrials are another order of magnitude.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:25 PM on August 29, 2012


No Unitarian superheroes?
posted by Area Man at 7:45 PM on August 29, 2012


Why are these websites so terrible looking?
posted by PipRuss at 7:47 PM on August 29, 2012


Sikhs appear to be pretty underrepresented among comic book heroes. They seem to be mostly sidekicks, occasionally villains. Peace-loving badasses are natural superheroes. So someone should correct this.
posted by gingerest at 7:49 PM on August 29, 2012


Batwoman is a lesbian jewish redhead, and they want to go with The Thing?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2012


I kept waiting for a Krishna superhero and was sorely disappointed. :(
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:58 PM on August 29, 2012


Batwoman is a lesbian jewish redhead, and they want to go with The Thing?

What are you, one of the Yancy Street Gang?
posted by Artw at 8:11 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Scientology is not represented at all!
posted by Mister_A at 8:16 PM on August 29, 2012


That's strictly a Darkseid type deal.
posted by Artw at 8:18 PM on August 29, 2012


I am skeptical that Art Garfunkel can truly be identified as a Jewish Superhero; however I am pleased that Paul Simon is listed as his ally.

The Uplifted Animal page eventually brought me to GORILLA CITY ruled by King Nnamdi, the telepathic gorilla isolationist. The Flash hangs out there, apparently, and gets involved in gorilla politics..
posted by ChuraChura at 8:23 PM on August 29, 2012


Where do I sign up for the Religion of Bea Arthur?
posted by mykescipark at 8:27 PM on August 29, 2012


It's Kabbalerin' time!
posted by Egg Shen at 8:29 PM on August 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


All this talk about Superman being Jewish is bullshit. Bullets bounce off his chest. Who's going to circumcise him?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:29 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


No actual big Anglicans? Like straight up CoE types?

Surprised.
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 PM on August 29, 2012


So what are American Muslims' opinions on Dust? I'm not super familiar with Islam, and haven't read her in comics, but when I looked at her I kinda thought, she's wearing a stylized niqab, but it's tight on the top so you can see the silhouette of her chest. Also her power is to turn into sand... I guess as someone who is part Asian-American, I can be hyper-aware of the portrayal of Asians in western media--like "oh, of course the Asian character has to be in a weird Asian fusion outfit and knows kung fu." I don't want to assume anything of Muslims, so I guess I was just curious if there was a similar sentiment with Dust.
posted by picklenickle at 8:32 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is actually probobly a really respectful and character interesting way to write a superhero who wears a niqab, both for practical purposes and as a declaration of faith, even shoehorning in a " if you mandate it, it stops being a religious rite and becomes a burden" thing but I don't know how Dust was written so I can't say, I'd love to hear from someone who knows more.
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 PM on August 29, 2012


No actual big Anglicans? Like straight up CoE types?

Surprised.


Not Really. Welcome to The Church of Substitute Heroes!
posted by KingEdRa at 9:03 PM on August 29, 2012


I kept waiting for a Krishna superhero and was sorely disappointed. :(
posted by These Birds of a Feather


Super Commando Dhruva's parents are Shyam (aka Krishna) and Radha, FWIW.
posted by vidur at 9:17 PM on August 29, 2012


Thor is a trans-dimensional being, part of a fetish group that is adrift in time who has adopted the Norse saga's and mythologies as a vessel to present themselves to humans (aliens in meat puppets). Thor is hardly omnipotent and clearly subservient to his father's whims and wishes, still very young he often rebels or runs away from his father hiding out on earth. His super strength explained by moving between dimensions. His power arises from tech concealed in his costume and props. The new Avenger movie has a scene in which Thor is called an inter-dimensional being. His tech is not supernatural just seems like it is. Thor is just playing a part of a Norse god.
posted by pdxpogo at 9:46 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Claremont had a weird fixation on a sort of science-fiction version of predestination.

Not so sure of this. It might have been less "predestination" than "editorial direction."

Example, there was this episode, in space, in which Kitty was being chased by an Alien ripoff, and Kitty was faced with a moral decision: should I open this airlock, allowing my dearest, best friend (Nightcrawler) to survive, knowing that this giant space cockroach that wants to eat my face might die? Oh, the angst!

And, like the true Claremont heroine she is, Kitty ultimately does nothing. The space cockroach lunges at her, stupidly pressing the airlock control itself, ejects itself out into space and dies, allowing Kurt to enter.

The "moral choice" is a fake. You know, I know, everybody knows that saving Nightcrawler takes priority over harming a murderous giant cockroach, but let's all pretend this is a "hard decision." And then, just to make sure that Kitty's gloves aren't sullied by the consequences, let's take the choice out of her hands and deliver it to "fate."

So Kitty walks away, pure and unsullied, no (murderous alien cockroach) blood on her gloves.

See, there was a time when "editorial direction" at Marvel shrank from its heroes taking life, in any form. (Which resulted in some pretty ridiculous stories, in my opinion. There was even this statement, at one point, that "Wolverine never killed anybody." No kidding.) Generously, I think Claremont might have winked at this in his stories, while hewing strictly to the direction handed-down by the higher-ups.
posted by SPrintF at 9:49 PM on August 29, 2012


SPrintF:

Sure, the characters got to make decisions some of the time. For example, during the Brood storyline, all the X-People thought they were going to die and they chose to spend their presumed final days helping the space whales. But even there, you get this idea that whatever they do, they're still at the mercy of God forces they can't control.

Really, I think you put your finger on something when you point out how Kitty ends up not making the hard decision. When Phoenix was out of control, the X-Men had to decide whether to let the Shi'ar take her out, take her out themselves, or defend her against the Shi'ar. But in the end, they didn't choose. They angsted, and then Jean made the decision herself. (And in the process, achieved a sort of god-like status in the X-Universe. Which is maybe another discussion).

You also raise an interesting point regarding Marvel's anti-life-taking policy. You'll recall that Pheonix killed several billion people in one fell swoop. It's pretty astounding that Marvel permitted this. But once they had, Claremont said in an interview, she had to die. At one time he'd thought about having the story turn out differently, but the massive death toll painted him in a corner. By the laws of fiction (at least, the kind of fiction he wrote) or by the laws of his employer, she had to get the axe. To apply this logic to your Kitty example, if she'd killed the cockroach, she would then have had to suffer punishment for it.

Maybe that's why Claremont's characters were always being forced to do bad things through telepathic manipulation or mystical corruption. If they did these things of their own free will, they'd have to be punished and, pretty soon, they'd all be dead.
posted by Clay201 at 10:39 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


How can you refuse to admit the existence of Thor, when it only takes one quick phone-call and you could meet him for beers (or mead, perhaps) after a hard day of fighting against aliens?


This is Quasar you are talking about. Somewhat regular dude who ended up with Thor-level powers, wore the title "Protector of the Universe" for a while. Why should he believe in divinity as opposed to "very, very powerful being" when he could hold his own with 9 out of 10 gods in his particular universe?

At that point he might as well start thinking he is a god himself, which probably isn't too good for mental health for most 20-something American males. Best for everyone involved if he denies that there are gods, no divine rights and so on rather than adopting the trapping himself. Plenty of room for atheism in Marvel.
posted by N-stoff at 10:44 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


All this talk about Superman being Jewish is bullshit. Bullets bounce off his chest. Who's going to circumcise him?

Born under a red sun. In the old country.
posted by Artw at 11:01 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have kinda a serious problem with Quasar-the-atheist-superhero...

In the Marvel Universe, something like Pantheism is literally true. "Eternity" is a character who is the sum total of every living thing in the universe, and Quasar has met and spoken with him.

It's actually much more confusing than that. Eternity and Infinity together are the embodiment of time and space, and are equals with Death, Oblivion (embodiments of the absence of life and the absence of space) and Galactus (the only survivor of the previous universe, and somehow a cornerstone of this one). In addition there is The Living Tribunal, who is a sort of omnipotent cosmic judge, greater than all of them, but not really regarded as a god or a creator, more like the embodiment of a concept like karma or fate.

So possibly it makes sense to say Quasar is an atheist with respect to human religions, because he has personally met these omnipotent cosmic entities (to whom Thor is more like a human being than a god).
posted by straight at 2:26 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]




Scientology is not represented at all!

If you follow the "Heroes arranged by religion!" link and click on the "more religions" option in the menu to the left, you'll find "Scientology" on that list.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on August 30, 2012


So we have Jewish (1 flavor), Muslim (2 flavors - regular and Nation of Islam), Buddhist (3 flavors - zen, Tibetan and regular), Confucian (0 varieties) and Christian (roughly 31 flavors, depending on how you count).

Also, on the list, LGBT, Feminist, gambling, radical pacifist and Vegan/Animal Rights. There's a disclaimer (rather weak, really) on the LGBT pages, but the others are remarkably disclaimer free.

I'm not sure what my exact point with this information is. Perhaps the Muslim characters aren't fleshed out enough to know which denomination they are. Perhaps the Buddhists are identified as Theravada/Mahayana/etc. by their creators. Perhaps the writers tend to think of Hinduism as a completely unified set of beliefs, instead of a religion that can have beliefs as far different as those of Christianity and Buddhism.

But I suppose, reading this, that we should probably acknowledge the bent of the cataloger.
posted by Hactar at 4:53 AM on August 30, 2012


Correction: are identified should be aren't identified. My favorites for an edit box.
posted by Hactar at 4:54 AM on August 30, 2012


Similar ground was covered here, as more of a cataloging comic book characters' religions. We Greek Orthodox get Elektra.

Aside: At Elektra's father's funeral in the movie Daredevil, the priest is played by John Bakas is actually the Greek Orthodox priest for the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles.
posted by deanc at 4:58 AM on August 30, 2012


Some of the superheroes listed under various religions are put there for completely dubious, speculative reasons. Take Shock-Headed Peter from Top 10; he's assumed to be a Baptist because the writer assumes he's from the South because he's kind of a hick and also quite bigoted (against robots).
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:47 AM on August 30, 2012


In the Marvel Universe, something like Pantheism is literally true.

Not really. Eternity is a being/character, and the Living Tribunal does his thing, but there are occasional canonical references to the "One-Above-All." The Living Tribunal answers to the One-Above-All, for example. There are periodic implications that this is the Christian (and Jewish) "God," but the stories are a little more ambivalent about whether any particular religious doctrines are true.

So I think it would be more accurate to characterize the Marvel universe as being somewhere between monotheist and deist. It's pretty clear that there is a single, personal, being that created the universe, but it's entirely unclear how much interaction said being has with the universe now. It's not straight-up deism, because there is some involvement, especially by proxy, but it's not straight-up theism either, because most theistic perspectives, whether mono- or poly-, tend to conceive of a more active role for their deities.

In one sense, atheism, as such, is problematic in the Marvel universe, if by "atheist" we also mean "materialist," which is a common but not necessary element of the belief. That's quite clearly not the case, as the universe quite clearly operates beyond straight materialism. But if one simply means denying the theological concept of "divinity," then yeah, that's still definitely doable.
posted by valkyryn at 7:29 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Top Ten's King Peacock is Yazidi. His power is he "talks to Satan" - which mostly involves knowing just where to punch things to make them crumble into dust.
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on August 30, 2012


Until they show that Wolverine is conclusively an atheist, they're inaccurate at best.
posted by grubi at 7:43 AM on August 30, 2012


Wolverine totally finds God in one episode of the cartoon series (god how do I know that?)
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on August 30, 2012


NOT CANON
posted by grubi at 7:51 AM on August 30, 2012




I'm sorry, but can we go back to The Thing for a second? When the hell did they retcon his Jewish identity in? That reeks of a sort of stunt casting.

I know Kitty Pryde is probably the obvious choice and a great character in general, but let's be honest. Her Jewish identity is pretty much limited to wearing a Star of David on her neck. And Sabra, the "Hey, Everyone! I'm A Jewish Superhero From Israel!" hero, has the superpower of subservience, giving up her own strength to supercharge others. Pass.

The greatest Jewish figure in comics is Magneto, and it's not even close. His Jewishness and Holocaust-based backstory actually inform his actions within his stories.
posted by mkultra at 7:52 AM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Valkyryn, I guess I'm not convinced the "One-Above-All" stuff is canonical. There's the occasional reference, but their heart doesn't really seem to be into it. And as you say, other than an occasional tiny reference, "God" plays no part in any of these cosmic events.

Contrast with DC, where The Spectre is said to be the personification of God's wrath, a member of the Justice League, Zauriel, is an angel from an apparently Christian heaven, Krona's attempts to peer into the beginning of the universe are mysteriously thwarted just as he glimpses a mysterious hand at the creation of the universe, the Phantom Stranger is possibly the Wandering Jew or an angel who refused to take sides during Satan's rebellion. There's much more of a narrative commitment to God's role in the DC universe.
posted by straight at 7:57 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Dr. Manhattan is the ultimate atheist superhero, although his experiences on Mars may have made him an agnostic

And what, with all the Dr. Stranges and Moebiuses and Spawns and Sandmen of the world(s), there's got to be a great Satanist superhero, right?
posted by elr at 7:57 AM on August 30, 2012


Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, is sort of a lapsed Satanist superhero.
posted by straight at 8:00 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a difference between acknowledging the existence of Thor and the acknowledging the divinity of Thor.

There should be Kirby's corollary to Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently powerful and alien being will be called a "god."

And of course, we can go back to ancient Greece as a rationale for skepticism: Are entities that are neither all-powerful or all-good worthy of being called "god?" This isn't getting into real-world religions like Tibetan Buddhism where Brahman may or may not exist, and while lesser deities probably exist, they are bound to Samsara, will eventually die, and are inferior to humans in their understanding of Dharma.

DC "canon" strikes me as ambivalent if you consider Hellblazer, Preacher, Sandman, and some parts of Swamp Thing as part of that universe. One reasonable interpretation runs along the same lines as Pullman's His Dark Materials: the thing that gets worshiped as "god" isn't the ultimate god. But both DC and Marvel metaphysics are a muddled mess.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia apparently has a "list of fictional jews."

Jewish superheroes and villains
Atom (Ray Palmer) is a lapsed Jew.[201]
Batwoman (Kate Kane, DC Comics) Her current incarnation is both a Jewish as well as openly lesbian superheroine.
The God of Cartoons By; Paul Palnik Creative Light Press.[202]
Iceman (Bobby Drake, Marvel Comics) - half-Jewish.[203]
Justice (Vance Astrovik, formerly Marvel Boy of the New Warriors) (Marvel Comics).[204]
Legion (son of Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller, a Jewish Holocaust survivor)[205]
Magneto (Marvel Comics) - born Max Eisenhardt, a Jewish boy in Germany during the Nazi era, Magneto is a survivor of Auschwitz, but turned his back on his human ethnicity and religion and has for years only identified himself as a mutant. However, his experiences with anti-Semitism during the Holocaust in Europe were and are a major influence on his quest to fight against anti-mutant oppression.[206][207][208]
Masada (Team Youngblood).[209]
Moon Knight (Marc Spector, Marvel Comics) Moon Knight (1st series) #37 May 1984 Marvel Comics.[210]
Prime (Kevin Green, Malibu Comics).[211]
Quicksilver (Marvel comics) -- Pietro Maximoff, son of Magneto and twin brother of Scarlet Witch. Paternally half-Jewish and maternally half-Roma.
Nyssa Raatko (DC Comics) -- Jewish mother, non-practicing.[199]
Sabra (Ruth Bat-Seraph, Marvel Comics).[212]
Doc Samson (Dr. Leonard Samson, Marvel Comics).[213]
Sandman (Golden Age DC Comics) - half-Jewish.[214]
Scarlet Witch -- Wanda Maximoff—self-identifies with the Roma people, raised by Roma, her mother Magda was Roma, and an Auschwitz survivor, but her father Magneto was born Jewish.[215]
Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde) of the X-Men (Marvel Comics).[216]
Shaloman[217][218][219]
The Thing (Benjamin J. Grimm, Marvel Comics) A former non-practicing Jew who recently (and belatedly) had his Bar Mitzvah[220][221][222]
Volcana (Marsha Rosenberg, Marvel Comics).[223]
Gertrude Yorkes of the Runaways (Marvel Comics) - Jewish family, currently agnostic.[224]
Ragman (Rory Regan, DC Comics).[225]
Wiccan (William Kaplan, Marvel Comics).[226] He is Jewish and an openly gay male.
I feel like this should be turned into a song by Adam Sandler.
posted by zarq at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Magneto is Jewish, Scarlet Witch is, too
The Thing and Iceman and Moon Knight, it's true"
posted by grubi at 8:40 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


"We know that the Atom doesn't practice anymore
Kitty Pride's got Jewish pride you cannot ignore
Quicksilver's dad's a survivor as much as he's a Jew
Batwoman's one of us and she like the ladies too"
posted by grubi at 9:21 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


There should be Kirby's corollary to Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently powerful and alien being will be called a "god."

What could have been if a certain weird fiction author had l
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on August 30, 2012


(dammit)

...lived on: Adventures into Darkness.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on August 30, 2012


But both DC and Marvel metaphysics are a muddled mess.

I think Marvel less so than DC, because they mostly haven't tried to tell stories like Preacher or Ostrander's Spectre or Superman going to Heaven and meeting his adopted Dad that try to have their fictional cosmic entities interacting with or commenting on real-world religious ideas about God. Marvel's "One-Above-All" could just as easily be a facetious reference to Stan Lee for all the difference it would make to any story.

Marvel metaphysics are weird, but I think they're largely consistent about their pantheon of personifications: how, for instance, Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death, has a pact with and is subservient to Death, the personification of all death.
posted by straight at 9:39 AM on August 30, 2012


Preacher isn't DCU... But yeah in terms of the DC stuff it's an area where cross-story continuity gets really weird. I think part of this is that much more than Marvel the DCU is a patchwork of properties brought together with a shared universe happening in the overlaps, and a lot of the outlying stories are supernatural in nature with their own ideas about metaphysics.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on August 30, 2012


When the hell did they retcon [the Thing's] Jewish identity in?

2002. The authors say that they had always thought of him as Jewish, but I wouldn't bet too much money on the integrity of comic book authors making pronouncements about their intentions with respect to their own work.

That being said, Grimm was established as coming from "Yancy Street," which is a stand-in for Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, as early as the 1960s. That being a pretty well-known Jewish neighborhood gives the authors more credibility than they might otherwise have. It's not quite as bad as, say, DC making Alan Scott gay despite zero evidence for this in the past seventy years.
posted by valkyryn at 10:30 AM on August 30, 2012


I'm not convinced the "One-Above-All" stuff is canonical

Of course, Marvel's take on canon is more or less that it's all canon. They don't do reboots, they just move on and tell different stories. If you want to say that evidence for that is fairly slim, I'd agree. The concept doesn't show up all that much, and both Marvel and DC are pretty careful to avoid making any definite pronouncements which might affect the validity of actual religious beliefs.

But I don't think you can just ignore it either. Those stories were told, and though the One-Above-All certainly doesn't play a huge role in the stories told in the Marvel universe, I don't think it's fair to say that it's not a part of the stories at all.
posted by valkyryn at 10:33 AM on August 30, 2012


>>In the Marvel Universe, something like Pantheism is literally true.

>>Not really. Eternity is a being/character, and the Living Tribunal does his thing, but there are occasional canonical references to the "One-Above-All."


Which is a common idea behind Pantheistic beliefs. Catholicism and Orthodoxy sort of straddle that line, with Saints and Angels being the intermediaries, but the God behind them is knowable.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:57 AM on August 30, 2012


Look, Batman is obviously an atheist. Obviously. No amount of crosses on headstones or other circumstantial stuff is going to negate that.
posted by Acheman at 1:10 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I know people like Chuck Dixon keep saying Nightwing is a Christian but I think it makes much more sense for him to be one of those guys who just vaguely believes that there's something good out there, but doesn't think about it too much. Also fits quite well with him being raised by Roma parents and then by an atheist.

Also, I think we can all agree on one thing, it's that Pagans are really overrepresented in comics. Forget 31 types of Christian. That comicbookreligion site has like 3 pages on Atlantean Graeco-Roman paganism alone, forget all the other categories. Plus the hilarious category of 'Ethnically half Graeco-Roman deity'.
posted by Acheman at 1:21 PM on August 30, 2012




Look, Batman is obviously an atheist. Obviously. No amount of crosses on headstones or other circumstantial stuff is going to negate that.

THANK YOU. His whole outlook on life is shaped by disillusionment, for crying out loud.
posted by grubi at 1:30 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


We'd know if he believed in god because he'd have a plan to beat him.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have to take issue with Wolfsbane demonstrating that she is "a devout Christian" Scots Presbyterian by wearing a cross necklace. A lapel pin for the Rotary luncheon next Wednesday, perhaps, but not a necklace. Too flashy.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 1:05 AM on August 31, 2012


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