Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's clobberin' time! Oi vey...

A fun post to the Website at the End of the Universe shows that the Fantastic Four Thing is Jewish (proof here). It also links to a WikiPedia list of Jewish, or Jewish born superheroes and comic books characters. As always, with WikiPedia, there just HAS to be the odd item that reminds us all how unreliable WikiPedia is. In this case, one Phantom Stranger, tagged as "possibly Jewish", which is basically like saying the Christian god (all three of him) is "possibly Jewish".

The Phantom Stranger's true origin was never fully disclosured, and he is one of the more mysterious characters in the DC universe. He's supposedly immortal, spiritual, mystical and arcane character, with god-like, yet never fully discussed, powers and nature. In Secret Origins, several writers presented their version of the Stranger's origin. One of them claimed him to be an Angel, that after Lucifer's rebellion was cast away from heaven, but were forbidden entry to hell, left to eternally wander the earth. Another one had him as the Wandering Jew, and so on. Extrapolating that this means the Stranger is Jewish... I don't think so.

In Pratchett's Discworld, magical characters, such are Wizards and Witches, are said to not believe in Gods, in the same way you don't believe in doors. They're there, and they're useful, but just not something you believe in. Attributing religion to the Phantom Stranger, in my opinion, is following a similar route, as he is a demigod in his essence, and is "beyond religion". Are the angels religious? That's an obvious one, but, was Moses religious?
I don't think so. There's a pre-requisite for being attributed as "religious", which is the blind faith in your deity. I find it hard that someone who's been talking to god on a daily basis, even arguing and openly defying said god, can be said to be religious. In Comic book terms, characters like the Phantom Stranger, or the Spectre (the embodiment of the Angel of Vengeance), cannot be said to be religious.

Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is an interesting character in this aspect. In her current format, she was created from sand (clay) by the Greek Gods, she walks with them, and was even deified at a certain point. In War of the Gods, she fought with them and against them. Despite all that, she is constantly portrayed as devoutly religious, often invoking, or praying to them. Is this a case of simply a person needing something to believe in (as many religious figures would have you believe (no pun intended), belief is a natural instinct, like love or hunger), or just a plea from one on a lower level to a higher one? Most often, Wonder Woman is invoking Gaia, Which is 2 "generations" above the Greek or Roman gods, so that might be the case. Or it might be that the act of praying is what the gods accept as a form of calling or summoning. So when a god meets someone in a pub, he doesn't leave his phone number, but praying instructions. That would be it.

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