God in the comic books, sort of.
For those who are not familiar, Matt Murdock/Daredevil (the gentleman with red hair) was raised Catholic and meanders between practicing and lapsed throughout his published history. Wrestling with his faith and reconciling belief in a good God with the evil he has witnessed in the world are frequent elements of Daredevil stories. He is probably the Marvel Comics character who is most often and consistently written as engaging with traditional Christianity as we know it. Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler and Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane are two other notable Christian believers.
Reed Richards’ (the other gentleman in the linked pages) best friend Ben Grimm is one of several practicing Jews in Marvel Comics. The Muslim faith & tradition of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel are a central part of her story. Other characters are depicted as believers or practitioners of various other religious traditions, although I am not remembering at the moment any stories where those beliefs were central to the story. And there are characters who practice religions specific to the Marvel Universe, such as the religion of the Shi’ar people (who are not from Earth).
Most scientists in Marvel Comics are written these days like Reed Richards is written here, some variation of skeptical or agnostic or atheist because there is no scientific proof of God or the supernatural. While this matches a common perception about real world scientists, I’m not so sure it is internally consistent. There is a lot of empirical evidence of the supernatural available to someone like Reed. He and other scientists have met literal gods (e.g. Thor) and been to heaven and hell.
For that matter, Reed Richards has met the being responsible for creating the physical world he is occupying when he has this conversation with Matt Murdock. His son Franklin Richards created it a few years ago after the Secret Wars event. Very few characters know that, however, so perhaps Reed is preserving the secret, or perhaps he means some deeper level of creation.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that these are preview pages from an upcoming issue and not the full story or last word on Matt or Reed’s beliefs. The Bleeding Cool website has a tendency to make a bigger deal of such things without providing context to generate clicks. For example, a while back there was a Batman story where Batman mused about his own beliefs, and the preview pages made it seem like maybe he was losing faith. Bleeding Cool got some mileage out of that story, but when you read the whole issue there was more to the story that didn’t make the news headlines.
The One Above All. Yep, he met that entity.
For that matter, Yahweh exists in Marvel as well, but the only people (to my knowledge) who met him are the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), other deities (including Thor), and several demons.
Or perhaps asking for consistency in the Marvel universe is akin to asking for consistency in the bible.
Probably not your intention, but that isn’t a horrible analogy. @AndyWalsh can probably clarify more, but marvel is pretty self-consistent, because it’s universe is really a multiverse. The minor inconsistencies that still arise are well explained as the result of multiple storytellers.
Of course it’s all fiction, but there (I’ve heard) a controlling narrative that is enforced from a cannonocial sources internal at Marvel. This is “reality” what ever any of the specific storytellers might do that deviates from this. That centralized authority is critically important to maintain consistency across such a large franchise, with complex licensing and copyright constraints across it’s portfolio.
Marvel, it seems, gives a window into the complexity and power required to establish consistency across a large cannon for just several decades.
To extend that control over millenia, it would require institutions that lasted that long across multiple languages, cultures, governments, and religions. In the case of the gospels and the bible, there is demonstrably not a centralized institution governing it’s stories that could plausibly govern the texts over which we see otherwise surprising consistency. So consistency can be written off this way. Instead there have to be other explanations, such as describing from multiple perspectives the same real events in the world we all inhabit.
There seem to be enough typos and perhaps missing words in that text to make your point unclear. Especially “consistency can be written off this way.” More importantly, I reject the majority of your premises. The Marvel universe is not consistent, nor is the bible. Or maybe you mean to refer to inconsistency. Can’t tell.
Not really, while there is (or was) a multiverse in Marvel, most of the stories happen in the main universe (Earth 616), so there are plenty of inconsistencies.
If memory serves, there were few religious references prior to Frank Miller taking over as writer. It was Miller’s stories that really defined the modern version of the character, which became much deeper and darker. But then, dark is what Miller does best.
Fair enough. Do you think there are more or less inconsistencies in the Gospels? My guess is that there is less, both in terms of absolute and relative numbers.
Oh, definitely less. But, then again, Marvel had way more writers, and most of them had free reigns for where they wanted to take their stories.
Might also be a case of ‘write what you know’, since Miller himself was raised Irish Catholic and thought that it might be an interesting storyline.
It’s gratifying to find how many readers of PS are comic book geeks.
@John_Harshman Marvel comics were forbidden in my household (clearly unchristian messages, doncha know…), so my only exposure was when I went over to my friend’s house. He had a huge collection and I read as much as I could for a couple of hours per week. I was not allowed to be the geek I really desired to be!
OK, maybe I should have qualified “throughout” better since my knowledge of Silver Age Daredevil is limited. Still, Miller started writing Daredevil in the 70s, so that’s still at least 40+ out of 55 years.
(I found this article, which I think supports your overall point that Matt Murdock’s religion was not immediately introduced even if it suggests Miller was not absolutely the first writer to reference it: When Did We Learn Daredevil Was Catholic? | CBR .)
The very idea of canonization as applied to multi-author fiction is presumably a metaphor drawing on the idea of a scriptural canon, so I think comparison is pretty inescapable.
@Djordje is correct that while Marvel Comics does have a multiverse, it is not routinely invoked to explain inconsistencies. The biggest exception to this is future stories. Characters occasionally travel to the future, and sometimes the subsequent stories continue long enough to reach that same point in time. Rarely do the “real-time” stories match the “skip-ahead” time travel stories; alternative timelines/universes are the stock explanation. Also of note: for a while, Marvel actually awarded “no-prizes” to readers who came up with clever ways to reconcile apparently contradictory plot or characterization elements.
Over at DC, the multiverse and alternate timelines are a more prominent feature of how stories are reconciled. Not necessarily on a month-to-month basis, but periodically they have big continuity housekeeping events to sort out which stories “count” and which stories are no longer part of the history of the current versions of the characters.
Lucasfilm notably has Steve Sansweet & Pablo Hidalgo who oversee consistency across all the various storytelling media for Star Wars. And even then, Disney opted effectively for a multiverse option by relegating all pre-Disney non-movie stories to “Legacy” status rather than be obligated to maintain continuity with them.
As for the relative consistency of the Gospels and Marvel comics, my very subjective qualitative sense is that the Gospels are more consistent, but I’m not sure how much more. It’s not very often that you get multiple tellings of the same events in comics the way you do with the Gospels. And when you do, there is an obvious incentive for the retelling to do something different to justify its existence. So, for example, the early years of the X-Men have been covered several times, including the original comics by Lee & Kirby, the X-Men: First Class series, and X-Men: Season One. Both of the later comics make different tonal, editorial and aesthetic choices to make the stories feel more contemporary. As a result, there is not perfect 1-to-1 correspondence.
The sliding time scale adds further wrinkles. To prevent the characters from aging too much, the origins of most Marvel characters are perpetually about 10 years prior to whenever now is. (There are exceptions; Captain America’s origin is fixed in WWII and instead the amount of time he spent frozen keeps expanding.) So Iron Man’s origin was originally linked to the Vietnam War, but has since been updated to the Persian Gulf fighting of the 1990s and then an unspecified conflict in Afghanistan. So there are a number of discrepancies like this which are not mistakes but deliberate storytelling updates.
But that’s not exactly necessary, since Cap doesn’t age because of the super soldier serum.
Yeah, get it right!
Sure, if it were just Cap, you could appeal to the super soldier serum. But the thawing of Cap is tied to the origin of the Avengers. So if you leave that event at a fixed date, then all the Avengers are aging, which directly or indirectly means that just about everyone in the Marvel Universe is aging. Hence the thawing of Cap keeps moving along with the sliding time scale.
So in Endgame, how does Captain America become old in the denouement?