Real Name: Brendan of Ardfert and Clonfert
Identity/Class: Human magic user, 5th & 6th Century AD - connected to Camelot
Occupation: Agent of the Roman Catholic Church
Affiliations: Merlin; The Roman Catholic Church
Enemies: Chthon, Darkhold, Modred the Mystic
Known Relatives: Unrevealed
Aliases: Brendan the Voyager, Saint Brendan
Base of Operations: The British Isles
First Appearance: (Mentioned) Avengers I#187 (September, 1979); (seen) Dr. Strange III#11/2 (December 1989)
Powers/Abilities: Great magical powers, however relying purely on "white" magic; probably capable of performing exorcisms, banishing demons, etc.
(History) - 484 AD - Brendan was born in Ciarraighe Luachra, near the present city of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland.
Brendan was baptized at Tubrid, near Ardfert. For five years he was educated under Ita, "the Brigid of Munster", and he completed his studies under Bishop Erc.
512 AD - Brendan was ordained by Bishop Erc.
512-530 AD - Brendan built monastic cells at Ardfert, and at Shanakeel or Baalynevinoorach, at the foot of Brandon Hill. It was from here that he set out on his famous voyage for the Land of Delight from 530 to 537 AD (see Comments).
The story of Brendan's voyage was carried about, and, soon, crowds of pilgrims and students flocked to Ardfert. Thus, in a few years, many religious houses were formed at Gallerus, Kilmalchedor, Brandon Hill, and the Blasquet Islands, in order to meet the wants of those who came for spiritual guidance to St. Brendan.
(Marvel Chillers I#1 - BTS/Dr. Strange III#11/2) - Some accounts (see under Merlin and Merlin Demonspawn) claim that it was the the false Merlin, aka the dark-haired "mutant" later known as Maha Yogi and Merlin Demonspawn, who summoned Saint Brendan. Not so! It was the real Merlin. (I know because I wrote that story! :-) ) The chronology of Brendan's involvement in this matter actually goes as follows:
(Dr. Strange III#11/2 - BTS) - The Darkhold, who had fallen into the possession of Morgan Le Fay, was stolen by her lover Magnus who brought it back to England and locked it inside a tower.
(Incredible Hulk II#210 (fb) - BTS / Thor Annual#17 - all BTS) - More or less concurrently, the real Merlin and the Black Knight left Camelot; the
Black Knight went off to battle Morgan Le Fay. Taking advantage of the real Merlin' absence, the Merlin Demonspawn moved to Camelot and impersonated him.
(Strange Tales I#134 / Avenger Annual#22/2 - BTS) - The Thing and the Human Torch unwittingly helped Demonspawn defeat Kang.
(Marvel Chillers I#1 - BTS) - Demonspawn, drunk with power, became known as evil and/or senile. Young Modred the Mystic refers to him as a "dry and aging charlatan, who is so senile that he cannot tell a wand from a poker." Modred's master, Gervase, states, "Merlin has grown strange of late, and there art whispered tales of dealings he has made with dark forces! His students are sworn to silence by him, and none may leave on pain of death."
Demonspawn summoned Modred to Camelot to serve him. Rather then submit, Modred instead sought the Darkhold, but was overcome by its power.
(Dr. Strange III#11/2 - BTS) - That dire event attracted the attention of the real Merlin, who was still away with the Black Knight. By then, Merlin was tired and weary, probably a consequence of the world-shattering emergency he had been dealing with. He knew that, even with the Black Knight's help, he could no longer forestall Camelot's ultimate fate. He also knew that he would have to deal with Demonspawn upon his return to Camelot. So, when on top of all this, he sensed the power of the Darkhold rising again, Merlin knew he needed help, and he called upon the Roman Catholic Church. Using a crystal ball, he communicated with the Pope (for which Pope, see comments below). In those days the Church was not afraid to use its powerful white magic to fight evil.
(Marvel Chillers I#1 - BTS) - Meanwhile, the Darkhold struck at Modred and his beloved Janice.
(Dr. Strange III#11/2) - Brendan arrived. It took the combined powers of Brendan and Merlin to battle and ultimately contain the Darkhold. Then, Brendan and Merlin entombed Modred, who was still in the Darkhold's power.
(Marvel Two-In-One#33 (fb) - BTS) - Unwilling to give up on Modred, and likely unwilling to challenge the combined powers of the real Merlin and Brendan, Demonspawn placed four elementals at Stonehenge and sent them forward in time to find Modred when he might awaken.
(Avengers I#187 - BTS/Dr. Strange III#11/2) - Meanwhile, Brendan scattered the pieces of the dreaded tome throughout Christendom so that it could never gain plague mankind. Eventually it was partially reassembled by Mad Monk Aelfric in Spain c. AD 1140 AD (as per Werewolf by Night I#3) but that is, as they say, another story.
(Incredible Hulk II#210 (fb) / Journey into Mystery I#96 / Eternals I#4) - Upon his return to Camelot, the real
Merlin, with Sersi's help, overpowered Demonspawn, and perhaps inspired by Brendan's solution to the Modred "problem",
also trapped him inside a special crypt.
(History) - 550 AD - Having established the See of Ardfert, St. Brendan proceeded to Thomond, and founded a monastery at Inis-da-druim (now Coney Island, County Clare), in the present parish of Killadysert. He then journeyed to Wales, and thence to Iona, and left traces of his apostolic zeal at Kilbrandon (near Oban) and Kilbrennan Sound.
c. 555 AD - Brendan returned to Ireland, and did much good work in various parts of Leinster, especially at Dysart (Co. Kilkenny), Killiney (Tubberboe), and Brandon Hill. He founded the Sees of Ardfert, and of Annaghdown, and established churches at Inchiquin, County Galway, and at Inishglora, County Mayo. His most celebrated foundation was Clonfert.
577 AD - Brendan died at Enachduin, now Annaghdown and was interred in Clonfert
Thanks to Luis Dantas for pointing out that Brendan was first mentioned in Avengers I#187.
Comments: "Created" (or adapted) by Jean-Marc Lofficier & Roy Thomas (writers) and David & Dan Day (artists).
Modred's story (Marvel Chillers#1) has on occasion been listed as having occurred @ in the latter half of the 9th Century AD, but Dr. Strange III#11 confirms its date as having taken place in the 6th Century.
Which Pope Dispatched Brendan to Help Merlin?
Since Brendan's heroic period took place roughly between 530 and 550 AD, the pope whom Merlin contacted could have been any of the following five Popes, depending on the exact year of the Summoning:
- #55 Boniface II (530-32);
- #56 John II (533-35);
- #57 St. Agapetus I (535-36) -- also called Agapitus I;
- #58 St. Silverius (536-37);
- #59 Vigilius (537-55);
For more about the Real Merlin vs False Merlin
More about Brendan from the Catholic Encyclopedia
St. Brendan belongs to that glorious period in the history of Ireland when the island in the first glow of its conversion to Christianity sent forth its earliest messengers of the Faith to the continent and to the regions of the sea. It is, therefore, perhaps possible that the legends, current in the ninth and committed to writing in the eleventh century, have for foundation an actual sea-voyage the destination of which cannot however be determined. These adventures were called the "Navigatio Brendani", the Voyage or Wandering of St. Brendan, but there is no historical proof of this journey. Brendan is said to have sailed in search of a fabled Paradise with a company of monks, the number of which is variously stated as from 18 to 150. After a long voyage of seven years they reached the "Terra Repromissionis", or Paradise, a most beautiful land with luxuriant vegetation. The narrative offers a wide range for the interpretation of the geographical position of this land and with it of the scene of the legend of St. Brendan. On the Catalonian chart (1375) it is placed not very far west of the southern part of Ireland. On other charts, however, it is identified with the "Fortunate Isles" of the ancients and is placed towards the south. Thus it is put among the Canary Islands on the Herford chart of the world (beginning of the fourteenth century); it is substituted for the island of Madeira on the chart of the Pizzigani (1367), on the Weimar chart (1424), and on the chart of Beccario (1435). As the increase in knowledge of this region proved the former belief to be false the island was pushed further out into the ocean. It is found 60 degrees west of the first meridian and very near the equator on Martin Behaim's globe. The inhabitants of Ferro, Gomera, Madeira, and the Azores positively declared to Columbus that they had often seen the island and continued to make the assertion up to a far later period. At the end of the sixteenth century the failure to find the island led the cartographers Apianus and Ortelius to place it once more in the ocean west of Ireland; finally, in the early part of the nineteenth century belief in the existence of the island was completely abandoned. But soon a new theory arose, maintained by thos scholars who claim for the Irish the glory of discovering America, namely, MacCarthy, Rafn, Beamish, O'Hanlon, Beauvois, Gafarel, etc. They rest this claim on the account of the Northmen who found a region south of Vinland and the Chesapeake Bay called "Hvitramamaland" (Land of the White Men) or "Irland ed mikla" (Greater Ireland), and on the tradition of the Shawano (Shawnee) Indians that in earlier times Florida was inhabited by a white tribe which had iron implements. In regard to Brendan himself the point is made that he could only have gained a knowledge of foreign animals and plants, such as are described in the legend, by visiting the western continent. On the other hand, doubt was very early expressed as to the value of the narrative for the history of discovery. Honorius of Augsburg declared that the island had vanished; Vincent of Beauvais denied the authenticity of the entire pilgrimage, and the Bollandists do not recognize it. Among the geographers, Alexander von Humboldt, Peschel, Ruge, and Kretschmer, place the story among geographical legends, which are of interest for the history of civilization but which can lay no claim to serious consideration from the point of view of geography. The oldest account of the legend is in Latin, "Navigatio Sancti Brendani", and belongs to the tenth or eleventh century; the first French translation dates from 1125; since the thirteenth century the legend has appeared in the literatures of the Netherlands, Germany, and England. A list of the numerous manuscripts is given by Hardy, "Descriptive Catalogue of Materials Relating to the History of Great Britain and Ireland" (London, 1862), I, 159 sqq. Editions have been issued by : Jubinal, "La Legende latine de S. Brandaines avec une traduction inedite en prose et en poésie romanes" (Paris, 1836); Wright, "St. Brandan, a Medieval Legend of the Sea, in English Verse, and Prose" (London, 1844); C. Schroder, "Sanct Brandan, ein latinischer und drei deutsche Texte" (Erlangen, 1871); Brill, "Van Sinte Brandane" (Gronningen, 1871); Francisque Michel, "Les Voyages merveilleux de Saint Brandan a la recherche du paradis terrestre" (Paris, 1878); Fr. Novati, "La Navigatio Sancti Brandani in antico Veneziano" (Bergamo, 1892); E. Bonebakker, "Van Sente Brandane" (Amsterdam, 1894); Carl Wahland gives a list of the rich literature on the subject and the old French prose translation of Brendan's voyage (Upsala, 1900), XXXVI-XC.
Profile by Jean-Marc Lofficier (yes, that Jean-Marc Lofficier!).
Brendan should be differentiated from:
Thanks to Luis Dantas for pointing out that Brendan was first mentioned in Avengers I#187.
Images: Dr. Strange III#11 page 28 panel 5, page 27 panel5 and page 28, panel 3
Avengers I#187 (September, 1979) - Mark Gruenwald & Steven Grant (plot), David Michelinie (writer), John Byrne (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Roger Stern (editor)
Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme#11 (December, 1989) - Roy Thomas, Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier (writers), David & Dan Day (artists), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Last updated: 05/24/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are tm and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Back to Characters