Presence (DC Comics)

Presence (DC Comics)

Infobox comics character
character_name = The Presence

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publisher = DC Comics
debut = "More Fun Comics" #52 (February 1940)
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supports =
aliases = God,Yahweh,Jehovah,Elohim,King Of Kings,Lord Of Lords
powers = Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience
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The Presence is a fictional comic book representation of the Abrahamic God. The character was created by Grant Morrison for the DC Universe. The Presence is described by the fictional angel Zauriel in an issue of the JLA comic.

God in DC Comics

The religious cosmology of the DC Universe is complex with many pantheons of deities co-existing alongside each other. It involves elements from multiple religions, mythologies, and modern created concepts such as the Endless. It is not always clear how the Abrahamic God fits in to this - for example one particular "Wonder Woman" storyline by Eric Luke featured the Greek Titans fighting Judeo-Christian angels and Hindu gods.

According to writer Greg Rucka, in an interview about his "" miniseries: “...the sort of unspoken rule in the DCU is that the Judeo-Christian God sits above all others. And then below that you can have your New Gods and your Greek gods and whoever else you want.” [("Rucka Reveals Final Crisis: Revelations"]

DC's superhero comics have always drawn upon Judeo-Christian Mythology for plot elements - the first appearance of "The Voice" was in the 1940 origin of the Spectre - but they have traditionally used surrogate concepts and names rather than refer to the Judeo-Christian deity directly. The superhero comics are published under the Comics Code - a set of ethical guidelines drawn up in the 1950s in reaction to anti-comic book hysteria. The Code does not explicitly refer to God, but does say that "Ridicule or attack on any religious or racial group is never permissible." [] . Later revisions of the code are phrased in terms of respecting religious beliefs and religious institutions. That may account for the superhero comics hesitancy when dealing with God.

The lack of a central doctrine means that multiple "aspects" of God have been introduced by different writers. Significant examples of God surrogates include:

*The Voice - the disembodied "Voice of the Presence" that spoke to and empowered Jim Corrigan as the Spectre in More Fun Comics #52 (by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, February 1940). This is the most "active" version of God seen in the comic books. At one point it even answers the Spectre's prayers by resurrecting the murdered Justice Society ("Justice League" vol. 1 #124). When The Voice uttered the first word, it created The Word , it was already being traced by Destiny in his book.
*The Hand - an image of a hand appearing out of a nebula has been referenced numerous times in different DC Comics as a metaphor for the creator or the mystery that exists at the moment of universal creation. First seen in "Green Lantern" Vol. 2 #40. In "Crisis on Infinite Earths" #10, the villainous Anti-Monitor tried to replace this hand with his own but was stopped by The Spectre.
*The Source - the universal spirit from Jack Kirby's Fourth World cosmology.
*The Presence - the unseen Judeo-Christian Deity from Grant Morrison's fictional angel mythology.

Many references to similar beings appear to be obvious references to the Judeo-Christian sect's supreme deity, but they are sometimes revealed to be other entities in the DC Universe.

Some events from Judeo-Christian Mythology are assumed to be a part of the fictional timeline of the DC Universe, but they often involve significant artistic license. For example: it was Eclipso (the original agent of God's Wrath) who caused the Great Flood and it was his replacement, the Spectre, who unleashed the ten plagues on Egypt and later parted the Red Sea for Moses. The DC Universe is repeatedly shown to have been created via a variation of the Big Bang and human evolution through natural selection, yet paradoxically it also has a Garden of Eden and a version of Lilith, Adam's first wife (e.g. Peter David's "Supergirl" series). A hint to reconcile this occurs in a "Sandman" issue in which Cain, Abel, and Eve tell a story to Daniel Hall (grandson of Carter Hall) about their past and Abel says "this did not happen on Earth" before being shushed.

Powers and abilities

The Presence is alleged to be the most powerful entity in the DC Universe. Different stories portray it as being the "creator of the DC universe" and thus transcending all things with the Presence itself being its representation within creation. Other stories have it as another god who inherited a large portion of the godwave, the force that created the gods of the DC universe, and relies on the faith of its worshipers to empower it.Fact|date=July 2008

Vertigo Comics

In the 1980s the mainstream superhero comics spawned a series of spin off comics and graphic novels that took an increasing sophisticated and mature attitude towards their stories. The Vertigo imprint was formed as an umbrella for these new books and to mark them as distinct from the rest of DC's superhero comics. Since then the fictional superhero and Vertigo continuities, and their representation of God, have increasingly diverged. The Vertigo Comics are not covered by the Comics Code so they can be less restrained in their treatment of the Bible and God. Note that, while originally set in the DC Universe, the continuity with the Vertigo line has gotten blurry over the years (see Vertigo Comics.)

In "Hellblazer", it's stated that Jesus was conceived from the archangel Gabriel raping Mary ("He'd committed rape behind a carpenter's in Nazareth, and a cycle of agony began that ended on a hill above Jerusalem...")"Hellblazer" #64, April 1993, Vertigo Comics, writer Garth Ennis]

In Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" mythos God's angels are shown as residents of the Silver City, a place that is styled upon Heaven, but is explicitly referred to as a separate place. Within the city there are two towers. At the top of the tallest tower, the Tower of Unendingly High, is the Primum Mobile, the Throne of Light, where God resides. Angels can only approach the Throne if they are summoned there. The second, shorter tower contains an audience chamber where the voice of God, the Logos, can be heard. Sandman's God is, again, never explicitly referred to by name, and is in fact rarely mentioned at all, save an exchange between an Egyptian deity and an angel in Season of Mists: "On whose authority?" "Whose do you think?"

A significant character in the Sandman series is the fallen angel Lucifer Morningstar. More consistent with John Milton's "Paradise Lost" than with the Bible, DC's Lucifer rules in Hell. In "Season of Mists" he renounces his throne and leaves Hell. His story, and the quasi-Biblical references surrounding him, is expanded upon in Mike Carey's "Lucifer" series. God, The Presence, in that series is referred to by name as Yahweh. He is the father of Lucifer and Michael Demiurgos ("Lucifer" #26 (July 2002)).

Since the end of Lucifer, the Presence has now vacated his creation and his granddaughter Elaine Belloc has taken his place. How this affects other aspects of the Presence has yet to be seen.

Other media

The Hand of the Creator, from the Green Lantern comics and the Crisis, made an appearance in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing, Part 2: Time Warped". It is seen towards the end of the episode when Batman and Green Lantern chase Chronos to the beginning of time. Chronos hoped that by traveling to the beginning of time he could become God.

See also

One-Above-All, the Supreme Being of the Marvel Universe.

External links

* [ DC Power Rankings]


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