Tony Stark is an atheist now?
...Larry’s Google search revealed that there are at least 17 atheist characters on series television and – here comes the shocker! – nine in comic books. Among them is a fella I thought I knew pretty well because, for three years or so,I was his chief biographer. Tony Stark’s the name, and Iron Man’s the game.Oh good grief. So now Tony's been turned into an atheist? Now that is definitely contrived. If he doesn't believe in God, then he doesn't believe he worked alongside Thor in the Avengers, nor does he believe in Asgard. What next, will the Marvel staff claim he hired Bambi Arbogast as a secretary because she's an atheist too?
When I was writing Iron Man for Marvel, the question of Tony’s belief system never arose, just as than the question of his favorite breakfast cereal never arose. That may be because comics are a very compressed way of delivering stories, and anything not germane to the plot is generally omitted, or it may be because somewhere in the pit of my psyche I thought that characteristics like religion were off-limits. Nobody ever told me that they were, but religion was never, ever mentioned in comics – or in movies or television or radio, and very seldom in genre novels. The no-religion stricture was one of those taboos that I assumed without really giving them much thought. However, I don’t believe that the taboo didn’t exist. My guess would be that the dudes in the carpeted offices feared that identifying a character’s religion would alienate anyone of a different faith. Maybe they were right.Not at all, as the establishment of Daredevil and the Punisher's own Catholic faith should make clear. Audiences were perfectly fine with that. In fact, everybody was perfectly fine with Green Arrow spending a short time at a monestary in a sign of his own religious faith after he accidentally killed a criminal towards the end of the initial run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow in the early 70s; O'Neil should know, because he wrote it! Today's trendy new writers, however, clearly aren't so fine or respecting, which explains their sudden push to make more established characters atheists all for the sake of it. And the way they're doing it only suggests they're contemptuous of Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Since O'Neil brought up the subject of breakfast cereal, it does seem odd that much of the time, nobody ever tried establishing what the favorite foods of a superhero could be. I'd think it an excellent challenge to work on, and it's not something that has to stick with one single food at all times. They could have Tony Stark making asparagus his favorite food at one point, and later on they could establish that he went and considered corn-beef his favorite food instead, and back again. It certainly wouldn't be as controversial as turning him into an atheist.
If there's one more thing to worry about, it's whether Marvel's editors have turned Tony from capitalist into a socialist. I don't know if they've actually done that yet, but sadly, judging from all the out-of-character storylines appearing today, it could happen.