Posted by KumoriKunoichi (588 posts) - - Show Bio

I was born Jewish and come from a Jewish family. I am not practicing though. I do like, however that comic books have a wide range of religions. Some of them are portrayed  in a very nice light. Others, I think in a sense, might be overdoing it. For example:  
 

The Muslim: Dust 
You have Dust, a Muslim.  I think she's portrayed in a very positive light because not only do they show her keeping with her faith and praying, but they also have her wear a traditional outfit. Considering the media and stereotypes people normally give to certain religions, I think this is a great example of how religion doesn't make someone evil. Sooraya is a very soft-spoken person with a kind heart and is always willing to go out of the way to protect her friends. When Icarus died, she blamed herself for not doing more and she's probably one of the most human X-Men around.
                                   
The Jewish: Magneto
Then you have Magneto, a Jewish Holocaust survivor. There's no doubt that he has PTSD from everything that happened to him. The Holocaust was probably one of the most horrific events in history: I also lost family. His method of coping the first time was rather extreme: he did not want mutants to face the same thing. However, he has learned to survive and he uses his instincts that he used back then to be less extreme. He knows the horror he survived and always relates everything to his experiences. As for his faith, he never forgets it. He and Shadowcat both practice at times. 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
   You have Idie Okonkwo, the third "Light" that was activated by Hope. She is a Christian and has upheld her faith very well for a young girl. For example, she believed that her powers were a sin even though everyone else told her she had nothing wrong with her. She also thought that Kitty and Peter being "together" before marriage was immoral (though saying being in a hospital with a crazy baby was safe might have been a little over doing it). When she was talking to Nemesis, she wanted him to fix the sin, claiming everyone was cursed. That part was interesting to me because it showed just how strongly she believed in her faith. Her sales pitch to the crazy baby though, I thought might have overdone it. We understand that she's a young woman who is a strong believer in her faith but saying to a baby that doesn't want to be born that he could be christened and not go to hell might have been a bit much. It's not really of what she said but because almost everything she says is religion based and I think that's getting in the way of development.    
 
 
 
The Christian: Idie
    
 
 
 
Then you have people like Reverend Stryker and Reverend Craig who kill others in the name of "God." They condone murder because they think being a mutant is a sin of God whereas they commit the bigger sin by murder. I think that's not only hypocritical but I also believe that it's such a bad view of religion. There are a lot of views that people die in the name of religion (I won't lie, I agree with this), however that does not make every religion BAD or everyone from a certain faith EVIL. These two men show a double view of intolerance and while I know they were supposed to be evil, I think blaming deaths on a higher power is a bit much and shows a lot of negative stereotypes about some faiths.  
 
 
I have no problem with any religion, before you comment. I believe in tolerance for all, whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Catholic, Buhddist, whatever. 
 
What do you guys think though about how Religion is portrayed in comics? 
#1 Posted by cyberninja (10383 posts) - - Show Bio
I guess it's hard for comic book writers to depict the struggle between good and evil without mentioning religion, that's one of the oldest comic book cliches. Religion itself doesn't really had anything to the character development, it's actually the character's spirituality and outlook on life.

#2 Posted by SleepyDrug (75 posts) - - Show Bio

Most comic characters don't really acknowledge any religion.   You mention Shadowcat as Jewish.  But so are Doc Samson and Thing.  Overall, I'd say it a pretty wide range of views.   
 
For every religion, we see comic characters who represent the good and the bad.  It is also important to note motive.  Magneto might be Jewish (since it isn't specifically stated anywhere, if I recall correctly) but his actions have nothing to do with any religion.  Shadowcat isn't really a practicing Jew, but it has a certain influence. 
 
I'm surprised you didn't focus on some other characters who are more openly religious.  Nightcrawler is devoutly Catholic, and nearly became a priest.  Dust is a good example; as was Arabian Knight before her.  But then there are other Muslim characters, such as the members of Desert Sword, who are far more violent.   We've also seen Christian fanatics like Reverend Stryker. 
 
But religion isn't seen in comics much, except for funerals.

#3 Posted by PowerHerc (85336 posts) - - Show Bio

Religion is such a touchy subject that no one will ever be able to present it without at least some dissent and maybe even major controversy.

#4 Posted by Paracelsus (1280 posts) - - Show Bio

I think religion can be sensitively handled( without hitting people over the head with the spiritual equivalent of a two-by-four), see "Remembrance Of Things Past" in which not only is Ben Grimm's Jewishness( both ethnically and in the religious sense) is well handled, but also a story in the Marvel Holiday edition of 2004 featuring the Fantastic Four in which young Franklin asks his parents and Uncles Ben and Johnny as to how they spend their Christmas( "Uncle Ben" of course as he's Jewish doesn't do Christmas, but Reed and Sue's responses to this question are the most intriguing- esp the part when Sue admits that she goes into St Patrick's Cathedral around Easter and Christmas to light a candle and pray for the deceased members of her family- she is obviously a Catholic- is there any other St.Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan belonging to another denomination?but the word in question is never used) Other characters such as Firebird, the aforementioned Nightcrawler and even Venom all have religious( usually Catholic) motivations without being overly preachy or holier- than -thou!

Terry

#5 Posted by Jnr6Lil (7882 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice topic.

#6 Posted by victoriancuckoo (228 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't think of too many specific instances where religion was a major factor in a story arc (that I've read) but since religion plays a role in how people make decisions, I rather like the idea of it influencing comic book characters, so long as it handled as a character trait as opposed to a sweeping generalization.

#7 Posted by Superguy0009e (2265 posts) - - Show Bio

depends on the writer, in some comics like Battle Pope....well....i think you get it

but for some instances, like nightcrawler or daredevil, when a good writer comes on board, it can really help flesh out the character

#8 Posted by Jnr6Lil (7882 posts) - - Show Bio

@victoriancuckoo said:

I can't think of too many specific instances where religion was a major factor in a story arc (that I've read) but since religion plays a role in how people make decisions, I rather like the idea of it influencing comic book characters, so long as it handled as a character trait as opposed to a sweeping generalization.
#9 Posted by sky-pirate (111 posts) - - Show Bio

@SleepyDrug said:

Most comic characters don't really acknowledge any religion. You mention Shadowcat as Jewish. But so are Doc Samson and Thing. Overall, I'd say it a pretty wide range of views. For every religion, we see comic characters who represent the good and the bad. It is also important to note motive. Magneto might be Jewish (since it isn't specifically stated anywhere, if I recall correctly) but his actions have nothing to do with any religion. Shadowcat isn't really a practicing Jew, but it has a certain influence. I'm surprised you didn't focus on some other characters who are more openly religious. Nightcrawler is devoutly Catholic, and nearly became a priest. Dust is a good example; as was Arabian Knight before her. But then there are other Muslim characters, such as the members of Desert Sword, who are far more violent. We've also seen Christian fanatics like Reverend Stryker. But religion isn't seen in comics much, except for funerals.

Think the first time Marvel openly confirmed it, was a few years ago, in X-Men: Magneto Testament. Prior to that, I think most people just assumed he was Jewish, because of his status as a survivor (even though, Jews weren't the only group of people, murdered during the Holocaust. Romani, Sinti, Soviet prisoners of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, homosexuals, people with disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses and other political and religious opponents. So, Magneto and/or his family could've just as easily been any of these things).

No, characters religons aren't brought up that often. I remember once, Spider-Man talked to Loki and admited believing in "a god" (but, leaving out which specific religion he belongs to, only that it's not Loki). Other than that, I can't think of many times, that a character's religion is adressed.

#10 Posted by Paracelsus (1280 posts) - - Show Bio

hmm- we KNOW that Matt Murdock, Frank Castle ( Daredevil and the Punisher respectively) are Catholic, as are the Invisible Woman and the Human Torch), but Spider Man?-

Terry

#11 Posted by TerryMcC (307 posts) - - Show Bio


If you want a listing of what comic book character is a member o which religion (for instance did you know that Lois Lane is also Catholic, and J. Jonah Jameson's realigion is "hates Spider-man"?) then take a look at some of the lists they have at 
 
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters

 
http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

#12 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

If anyone is interested in comics with some religious themed stories I have a few ideas:

-Daredevil: Born Again:Daredevil fall to insanity and destitution at the hands of the Kingpin, as well as his subsequent struggle to build a new life for himself. Major interest: This story-arc is where we are introduced to Daredevil being a Catholic.

-Daredevil: Guardian Devil: Daredevil suddenly takes care for an infant that may be either the Messiah or the Antichrist.

Static: Louder Than A Bomb: A three-issue story about Static putting himself between Dakota's African-American and Jewish communities when Commando X instigates a riot.

#13 Posted by COBRAMORPH (1646 posts) - - Show Bio

Religion in comics annoys when me they turn the old religions of myth into "regular" superheros. Thor was just as much a god as those three middle east ones are. Heck, why not make Jesus into the first mutant?

#14 Posted by krspaceT (1509 posts) - - Show Bio

Religion, its something that has to be handled carefully. Its abused worse than drugs

#15 Edited by Lvenger (21258 posts) - - Show Bio

Religion does have to be handled carefully in comics. Fortunately there are atheist comic book characters too to balance things out

Booster Gold - Flashpoint
Booster Gold - Flashpoint
Online
#16 Posted by Jorgevy (5114 posts) - - Show Bio

@COBRAMORPH said:

Religion in comics annoys when me they turn the old religions of myth into "regular" superheros. Thor was just as much a god as those three middle east ones are. Heck, why not make Jesus into the first mutant?

because the first mutant, or at least one I can remember that precedes Jesus, already exists. Heck, I think there's at least 5 characters in Marvel who are mutants that precede Jesus chronologically

Also, I love the idea of turning the myths and religions of old into super heroes/ super powered people. It kinda fits with the whole "any sufficiently advanced technology will seem like magic" or the "any advanced alien species will appear as gods to less advanced sapient species" thing.