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Observance of Superhero: The Road Not Considered

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Wednesday, Aug 4, 2010
Beyond Belief: Superheroes sometimes remain resistant to the idea of religion, despite encountering divine figures.
This week, deviating slightly from the usual topic of the relationship between religion and superheroes, Observance explores superheroes and the absence of religion.

Though this series typically tackles religious superheroes and villains, it wouldn’t be fair to not consider funnybook characters who steer toward the way of atheism. As interesting as the Earth-dwelling comic gods may be, the characters who align themselves with no religion in the company of deities intrigues even more. In response, this entry will look at two heroes who have stared gods in the face yet refuse to change their atheist beliefs.
  
The current Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt for those taking notes, has openly and dramatically dissented from the spiritual majority of the DC Universe. That’s right, folks—that isn’t a cross on his face. Ironically, the guy became a super hero after an inspired meeting with The Spectre, Mr. Spirit of God’s Vengeance himself. But he is the third smartest guy on DC’s Earth. According to him.


Holt is a firm believer in science as the definitive backing to any occurrence or experience. And although his stance has become an increasingly common plot point, it does make one wonder if Mr. Terrible teaches Sunday School classes.


Savage Dragon, the Eric Larsen creation that may be the only original Image character with its dignity still intact, had a one-on-one meeting with God in Heaven. The green-skinned hero remained an atheist, with further narrative going back and forth on the legitimacy of the meeting. Whether or not it was all in his head, it certainly didn’t keep the character from continuing to be his obnoxiously vulgar self. Respectively.


At least the finned hero is not afraid to affiliate himself with spiritually-themed characters. Savage Dragon’s team-up history includes Hellboy, Battle Pope and Spawn.


Whether its confidence or stubbornness, the unyielding atheists of comics continue to intrigue in each storyline and thought balloon. And if fans wish to debate the possible ironies or justification of a character’s viewpoints, they should do so respectively.

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