Originally Posted by Thwip!
This. Forcing a character to be gay or creating an all new gay or ethnic character out of a desire just to have one for the novelty and not as a result of an organic storytelling will come off as trite and like a marketing scam to grab readers. We need it to be naturally occurring. Miles in USM who initially was felt by many to be a marketing move has, through not forcing his story, become the highest selling ( i believe ) Ultimate Universe book.
With regards to the religious aspect I've never felt the need to have to identify with the religious beliefs of the character in order to get more from it. Granted i'm atheist, but whether Captain Britain has a longer Lord's prayer than a Roman Catholic is a matter of in-consequence to me. Though are there any atheist superheroes or villains out of a matter of interest? None spring to mind really.
That all being said I always thought Peter Parker was some manner of Protestant whilst Bendis recently joked that he must be jewish because of the guilt
It seems like it depends who writes the books. Fraction's Iron Man made a reference or two to not believing in God but it wasn't at all a significant point of characterization, and I haven't seen any other writers get into it.
In Paul Cornell's Lex Luthor story, Luthor said he was atheist, and it played into why he hated Superman, but I haven't seen any other writers address that either.
Colossus mentioned being raised an atheist in the early Claremont/Byrne/Cockrum issues but I think they might have changed that as his relationship with Kitty Pryde developed.
- "As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."--Roger Ebert