Monday, September 03, 2012

Greatest Superheroes Based On Their Religious Faith

The greatest Methodist superhero? Superman.
The greatest Jewish superhero? The Thing.

Comic Book Religion offers up others, here.

From the piece...

Greatest Mormon Superhero: Captain Canuck

When it comes to religion, Latter-day Saints (or "Mormons") outnumber Jews in the United States (according to the 2007 survey of 35,000 people by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, based in Washington, D.C.). Yet there have been literally hundreds of Jewish super-heroes in published comics, but only a handful of Latter-day Saints - even fewer if one considers only super-heroes overtly identified by name as Latter-day Saints.

From this relative paucity, we have selected Tom Evans (the Canadian counterpart to Captain America) as the greatest Latter-day Saint superhero. Captain Canuck is a relatively prominent super-hero (at least compared to other Latter-day Saint superheroes). Captain Canuck was genuinely written as a Latter-day Saint by his creator and principle chronicler. Plus, he always displayed devotion to his beliefs and a strong moral center that Latter-day Saint readers can be proud of.
Captain Canuck is not as well known as some mainstays of Marvel and DC comics (a la Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, et al), but he is universally known among Canadian comic book fans. Captain Canuck was even honored on a Canadian postage stamp. Captain Canuck easily ranks in the top 2 or 3 most famous Canadian superheroes of all time, and he is well known and respected among comic book fans with interests in classic independent (non-Marvel/non-DC) superhero characters. But one knock against Captain Canuck's "greatest" status is the fact that he is NOT part of the two best known comic book universes: Marvel and DC.

Another problem with Captain Canuck is the fact that it isn't clear that he was ever overtly identified by name as a Latter-day Saint in published comics. Captain Canuck was the creation of a devout Latter-day Saint comic book writer - Richard Comely. Captain Canuck says Latter-day Saint-style prayers in published comics and does and says a number of things which clearly hint at his religious affiliation. Among careful readers, there is no real question about what Captain Canuck's religion is and that he was a sincere, devout member, but because it wasn't mentioned by name, this fact is unknown by many.

But Captain Canuck is a Latter-day Saint and, moreover, he is a truly great super-hero. He represented Canada before there was Alpha Flight or other modern Canadian national heroes and he embodied Canadian ideals and philosophies more than most super-heroes who just happen to be Canadian. (Wolverine, for example, hardly represents Canadian values and ideals). Canadians, tolerant by nature, never seemed to mind that they were represented in superherodom by a member of a denomination that may be very prominent in Alberta but is a small minority in most of their nation.

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