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View Full Version : What is the Judeo-Christian God's place in the Comics pantheon vs the other "Gods"?


astro
07-30-2003, 12:29 AM
The Spectre in DC Comics is/was the personification of the judgement and vengeance of the Judeo-Christian God, and the Swamp Thing often makes reference to God, the Devil and references the Christian conception of Heaven and Hell along with the angels and demons.

The DC and Marvel universes, however, are lousy with Gods and various pantheons of all varieties and DC even has a sorta/kinda origin story for all this called the "God Force or God-Wave". It's a sensitive subject, however, and IIRC there was once story many years ago when Galactus, who would normally have more power than a bushel load of ordinary Marvel garden variety "Gods", said, "Even Galactus is no God!", assumedly referencing THE Judeo-Christian God.

So where is the JC God in all this? How do DC and Marvel reconcile or otherwise wedge the JC God into all this relative to the all other "Gods" extant. Is the JC God considered some kind of "Super-God" more powerful than even the Beyonder or is he just part of the overall God scrum?

Master Wang-Ka
07-30-2003, 12:56 AM
I'm no expert, but I'm fairly sure that Jahweh, aka Jehovah, aka the Judeo-Christian God, has never made an actual appearance in Marvel Comics OR DC comics. Both publishers do have a variety of incarnations of Death, as well as versions of "Satan," (notably Marvel's Mephisto), but neither has ever dared actually come right out and have God guest-star...

...unless you count his multiple appearances in the "Preacher" series, from DC's Vertigo imprint. It's worth noting that this is not part of the regular DC continuity, so it's not like God and Batman could team up to go kick the Joker's ass or anything.

Marvel, however, has published comics about a variety of religious figures from the Judeo-Christian pantheon, most notably Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

Click here and scroll most of the way down the page to see what I mean. (http://www.strangecult.com/pisser/covers.html)

Hometownboy
07-30-2003, 01:04 AM
Can't say about DC or Marvel, but for high-level hijinks will have to mention the infamous "Son O'God Comics" parodies in National Lampoon in the 1970s. Drawn by no other than Neal Adams, IIRC, the panels depicted a Jehovah, Jove, multi-armed Vishnu and Mumbo Jumbo, God of the Congo, among others, observing the trials and tribulations his offspring goes through, changing into a superhero by saying the magic words "Jesus Christ!" Seems to me there was wagering and high-fiving and other fun and games in the Gods' Living Room, etc. Well worth hunting up .

astro
07-30-2003, 01:16 AM
Originally posted by Wang-Ka
....so it's not like God and Batman could team up to go kick the Joker's ass or anything.

Old Testament or New Testament God?

Miller
07-30-2003, 01:31 AM
Originally posted by Wang-ka
...unless you count his multiple appearances in the "Preacher" series, from DC's Vertigo imprint. It's worth noting that this is not part of the regular DC continuity, so it's not like God and Batman could team up to go kick the Joker's ass or anything.

Of course, God is currently dead in the Preacher continuity. Of course, I'm sure he'll be brought back. You know how comics are. They can't let a popular dead character just stay dead, they've always got to ressurect them.

Odinoneeye
07-30-2003, 05:54 AM
God appears at least once in DC comics, one of the Lobo mini-series. He apparently finds Lobo really funny and laughs like this...

HAR HAR HAR!

Of course, that might not be considered cannon.

smiling bandit
07-30-2003, 06:38 AM
Well, part of the reaon is that, when it comes down to it, you have three options for including God:

1) God is just another character, like Odin.

2) God is a transcendant being of awesome, infinite power.

3) God stands around, cracks jokes, and gives the heroes advice. (i.e., the Holy Father Figure)


In the first case, God is no longer very interesting, and you just won't and basically said every Christiant in your comic world is a complete dunce, worthy of ridicule. At this point, you also have the theorectical possiobility of Christiant superheroes getting vastly more power than their diety. This does not work very well because Christianity is not a mythic/poetic religion in the same way as the pantheistic ones.

In the second case, there is nothing interesting that can be shown.

The third case is better fulfilled by an agent of God or some mystical superbeing, not God.

RikWriter
07-30-2003, 07:41 AM
The Savage Dragon had an issue once where a Kirby-esque God battled an equally muscular Satan.

ArrMatey!
07-30-2003, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by astro
Old Testament or New Testament God?

And would Batman be prepared?

Max Carnage
07-30-2003, 03:38 PM
Astro, you just embarrassed me at work! Congrats!

Living Tribunal is the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe. Well, the most powerful ever visualized. But even he recognizes The One Above All. TOAA has never actually been shown to have his hand in matters and we're not really told what TOAA does, but it's pretty much assumed that this is God, just not given name so as not to offend anyone.

Ogre
07-30-2003, 04:41 PM
God appears quite a bit in some comics, at least conceptually. In Sandman, for instance, the Judeo-Christian religious framework encompasses all of the mythos, with angels, demons, and Satan as major characters at one time or another. There was even a brief glimpse of Heaven, I believe, and several excursions into the pits of Hell. Gaiman, I believe, considered the other pantheons as "lesser gods" for the purposes of his story, and left the Judeo-Christian one purposefully ineffable (a theme that comes across in a couple of Gaiman's later novels as well.) While it's certainly arguable whether the Judeo-Christian god is subject to the same "laws" as the other ones (the more worshippers he has, the more powerful he is,) there are, IIRC, suggestions that the J-C god is the Prime Mover...that which began everything.

Also, in Alan Moore's superb Promethea, he explored the Kaballah at length in a multi-issue series, and at one point, Jesus Christ was explicit depicted as one of the "Risen Gods" of the Fifth Sephira, in the same class as Balder, Osiris, Mithra, etc. I particularly liked Moore's thematic treatment of Christ, by the way...as the living embodiment of where godhood meets the highest and noblest in humanity. Also, in a different issue, the main characters actually entered the highest Sephira, Kether, which is the Godhead. So the Judeo-Christian god has at least once been specifically graphically depicted in a non-comedic way in comic form.

cbawlmer
07-30-2003, 05:11 PM
Right now in The Mighty Thor, a large cult of people calling themselves Asgardians have begun publicly worshipping Thor as a god, even demanding that they have Thursdays off as a religious holiday (because it's Thor's Day). The Catholic church and perceives Thor as a major threat to their power and influence, as do many governments. Asgard itself is floating above New York City, and has been for quite awhile now (although none of the other comics in the Marvel universe seem to acknowledge this). So far the Judeo-Christian god hasn't turned up to challenge, Thor, but some of his followers have tried to kill Thor and the Asgardians who worship him. Thor himself has not demanded worship, but he hasn't told people to stop either. So, score one for the Norse guys over the Judeo-Christian guys, I guess.

I think it would be lots of fun if God and Batman teamed up to fight the Joker though.

ArrMatey!
07-30-2003, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by cbawlmer
I think it would be lots of fun if God and Batman teamed up to fight the Joker though.

Yeah, but all the really good team-ups have to start with misunderstandings and fights... Oh wait! I can see it now!

Batman gets angry at G-d, blaming the allmighty for the death of his parents, and jumps him while he's playing skee-ball.

Jehova sees Batman's mask with the 'horns' on top, thinks it's Satan, and the two beat the tar out of each other in an arcade, until the Joker shows up and they have to band together!

Yeeeeeeah! That'll save the Batman movie franchise!

Or I could just go lie down now...

Ranchoth
07-30-2003, 06:47 PM
...'course, if you leave the JC God out of the day-to-day functionings of your comic's universe out of respect of your reader's sensibilities, you bring up another problem...namely, when überuniversal entities (Like Galactus, or the Monitor and Anti-Monitor) start mangling the fabric of existance, or pagan Gods (Like the Asgardians or Olympians) show up and start mucking about on Earth...it kind of makes the JC God look like he's never doing anything.

Especially when Satanic characters do show up on a regular basis. :eek:

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
07-30-2003, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by Wang-Ka
Marvel, however, has published comics about a variety of religious figures from the Judeo-Christian pantheon, most notably Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

Click here and scroll most of the way down the page to see what I mean. (http://www.strangecult.com/pisser/covers.html) I totally want to read those tourism shill comics. X-Men at the Texas State Fair! Spidey and the Hulk save the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders! Yeeeee-hawww!

Originally posted by ArrrMatey
Yeah, but all the really good team-ups have to start with misunderstandings and fights... Oh wait! I can see it now![/b]So can Batman beat God if he's prepared?

photopat
07-31-2003, 11:43 AM
At least as far as DC is concerned, I think the gods of the various pantheons, or at least the more benevolent and wise ones, recognize that they are not the "creators" and that there's a being greater than all of them.

In Sandman-Seasons of Mist, toward the end when it's been decided who will take over hell, Odin asks one of the angels on whose authority it claims the keys to hell. The angel just replies "who do you think?" and all the other gods and demons and lords of order and chaos are just left silent, as if to suggest that "oh, yeah...we can't argue with that."

Bryan Ekers
07-31-2003, 12:44 PM
DC has an Israeli supercharacter named "The Seraph" (http://dcworld.itgo.com/TheSeraph.html) who had the strength of Samson etc. and could call for miracles like stopping the flow of time and whatnot. He got pissed in one story and beat a terrorist half to death, but the big G (never seen, but represented by glowing text) intervened, scolded Seraph and took away his powers until he atoned at the next Yom Kippur.

Seriously.

Lemur866
07-31-2003, 02:15 PM
The Beyonder wasn't far different that Tom the Dancing Bug's "God-Man".

cbawlmer
07-31-2003, 02:41 PM
It's kind of indirect, but in Marvel comics you can only ward off vampires with a crucifix or other religious object if you, the wielder of said object, actually believe in the power it symbolizes. Once, Wolverine tried to fight Dracula with a Star of David and it didn't work, but it worked when Kitty Pryde used it. That's more an example of personal empowerment than divine intervention, but either way, Dracula had to back off.

Ephemera
07-31-2003, 03:52 PM
Don't you mean Nightcrawler and a crucifix, not Kitty Pride and a Star of David?

cbawlmer
07-31-2003, 04:20 PM
I'm sure Nightcrawler COULD use a crucifix, but this was quite a few years ago and I'm pretty sure it was Kitty Pride and the Star of David. Maybe I can find the actual issue...

El Elvis Rojo
07-31-2003, 04:39 PM
No, Kitty was able to fend him off with a Star of David as well. The thing is, they're the same God, technically, so either one should work.

Joseph Michael Lynsner's Dawn storylines deal heavily with God. In his mythos, he commonly refers to him as Ahura Mazda (the name of the first recorded male God), but makes specific reference that he is indeed God (Adonai, Jahwe, Allah, etc, etc). The most you see of Heaven is the outside, but the inside is supposed to be a paradise. God, though, is a stickler for rules and regulations and is symbolised by chains; they hold things together and keep order. The tale of Lucifer's fall from Grace deals with Lucifer taking God's commandment to watch over mankind to mean "Put humanity over Me," and because Lucifer loved God so much, he refused...and was thusly cast out of Heaven for breaking the rules.
Ahura Mazda plays a big part in two of the three Dawn series, but seeing as how only the first issue of the third is out, I'm sure he'll show up again. Mainly, though, he just shows up to order Dawn around, and then bitch when she decides to do her own thing. Last we saw of him, he'd just kicked Lucifer out of Heaven again, and got his hand cut off by Dawn and turned into a halo for "the Abomination," some odd creature that safeguards the doorways to other worlds.

In Marvel, there have been a couple of times where Wolverine's bit the dust and been visited by an angel that's sent him back to life, so I think it's pretty safe to say He exists in the Marvel universe, but He doesn't seem to have that much of an active roll (kinda like in real life).

I'm not sure about most of Image comic's, most of their stuff seems to exist on separate planes. There's the ever famous Savage Dragon's "Don't F*#K With God!!" issue, where God goes to Hell and kicks Satan's ass in order to save Dragon's Soul. Spawn constantly deals with Heaven and angels, but I'm not quite sure how God sits in the hole thing. I know Hell has plenty of rulers, and at some point, I recall seeing a "Supreme Being of Heaven" that looked like a little old lady, but I don't know if that was supposed to be the Big Guy or not (anyone else know?).
In The Authority, one of the characters is known as "The Doctor" and is some type of shaman that is somehow tied into the lifeforce of the planet. Once one dies, another is awaken. They've hinted that Jesus Christ was one in that you see him several times in the crowd shots, and when in one storyline where someone took over his powers and was turning his tundra into a shopping mall, one guard complains about a shaman who "Keeps getting up evertime we shoot him and saying 'He forgives us of our sins'".

El Elvis Rojo
07-31-2003, 04:51 PM
Oh yeah, there was also a big Marvel/Top Cow crossover where Mephisto got a glimpse of the Top Cow universe (which is a subset of Image) and saw that there was no devil there to corrupt and collect the souls of this world's inhabitants, so he crossed over, manipulated a bunch of heroes and villains, and started to riegn Hell down on that version of Earth. God never showed up, and all it took the Silver Surfer showing up to help put Mephisto back in his place. From this, one could gather that, without a Devil, there's probably no God either, so it's possible that in the Top Cow universe, there is no God.

But looking back on that, Spawn, the Darkness, and Witchblade are all Top Cow comics (at least, I believe they are), and if that's the case, the entire premise to the crossover is a load of crap. Man, now my brain's hurting...

cbawlmer
07-31-2003, 05:26 PM
Found it. The Kitty Pryde/Dracula encounter was in Uncanny X-Men #159 from July 1982.

El Elvis Rojo, the crucifix shouldn't work for a Jewish person because it specifically invokes Jesus Christ, whose divinity I don't recall Jews really accepting. ;)

I don't know, maybe if you went at it from a really complicated Holy Trinity angle it MIGHT work, but there probably wasn't room in the comic's 22 pages for Claremont to tackle that.

El Elvis Rojo
07-31-2003, 10:14 PM
Originally posted by cbawlmer
El Elvis Rojo, the crucifix shouldn't work for a Jewish person because it specifically invokes Jesus Christ, whose divinity I don't recall Jews really accepting. ;)


I know. What I meant was that Christians and Jews believe in the same God, so if a Crucifix works for a Christian, it makes sense that a Star of David would work for a Jew.

Johnny Bravo
07-31-2003, 11:34 PM
Originally posted by Bryan Ekers
DC has an Israeli supercharacter named "The Seraph" (http://dcworld.itgo.com/TheSeraph.html) who had the strength of Samson etc. and could call for miracles like stopping the flow of time and whatnot. He got pissed in one story and beat a terrorist half to death, but the big G (never seen, but represented by glowing text) intervened, scolded Seraph and took away his powers until he atoned at the next Yom Kippur.

Seriously.

.... holy crap.

I have SO got to find those comics!

Miller
08-01-2003, 12:10 AM
Kevin Smith penned a series of comics that brought Green Arrow back to life, which included a couple of scenes set in Heaven. Not bad: the Pearly Gates looked like titanic stained glass windows, and there are some good cameos from Jason Todd and Barry Allen once he gets inside. Inlcudes the following exchange:

Green Arrow: Don't tell my you've gone and "found Christ" on me now.

Spectre: Sort of... I do work for the guy some consider his dad.

Aslan of Narnia
08-01-2003, 01:00 AM
In the Crisis miniseries, it is shown thru a portal at the beggining of time that a giant hand comes from beyond to create the universe. I'm pretty sure that it was implied that this was THE god, the one who commanded Specte and all the other beings of heaven.

I believe that the being was called The Word, but maybe I'm thinking of when Destiny of The Endless heard the first words and started to write.

Mockingbird
08-01-2003, 01:12 AM
Towel boy.

Ephemera
08-01-2003, 01:31 AM
Originally posted by cbawlmer
I'm sure Nightcrawler COULD use a crucifix, but this was quite a few years ago and I'm pretty sure it was Kitty Pride and the Star of David. Maybe I can find the actual issue...

This (http://www.uncannyxmen.net/images/spotlight/nightcrawler11.jpg) is why I asked you if you meant Nightcrawler instead. :)

Ogre
08-01-2003, 01:38 AM
Wow. That some some extra-cheesy comix action right there. Oog.

Malacandra
08-01-2003, 06:42 AM
Originally posted by Dewey Cheatem Undhow
So can Batman beat God if he's prepared?


Can an omnipotent God create a superhero so tough He can't beat him?

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