Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bruce Wayne, Lapsed Episcopalian?

While doing a little background research for a certain supporting character whose easy-to-guess alter ego was just revealed in my Beginnings story, I came across this site devoted to "The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters." (That link takes you to a page of text; if you want to make a more dramatic entrance, check out this far more visually interesting one, which groups the gang by faith, making for some wacky juxtapositions, like Black Lighting, Rogue, and someone named Playback as part of the "Legion of Baptist Superheroes.")

There is a voluminous amount of information and speculation here, both about the fictional characters and the real-life religions they may or may not be affiliated with. Needless to say, I had to check out the entry on Batman right away. Evidently the big controversy is: lapsed Episcopalian, or, in the webmaster's words, "an exquisitely bad Catholic"? Along the way, there is talk of the character's creator's Judaism and the years that young Bruce Wayne spent studying Eastern religion. Much is made of panels like these:

which I, of course, include here not for their theological content but for their depictions of the sexiest man on Earth in his Tibetan skivvies.

I've long contended that there is a strong spiritual dimension to my own bat-centric fantasy life, so it's interesting to see someone devote so much time to actually mapping out the beliefs of these characters. It's a variation on those "Superhero Science" books and TV shows, and it reminds me that I've seen a couple of books on the philosophical and religious lessons of comic book heroes that I mean to pick up some day. I'd provide links to them on Amazon, but the last time I set out to do that I got distracted by a bunch of other fascinating-looking volumes and never quite found the ones I had in mind.

And that's a lesson I've already learned.

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