CHARON

Real Name: Charon

Identity/Class: Olympian god

Occupation: Ferryman

Group Membership: Olympian gods

Affiliations: Gordon Allsworth, Ares, Hercules, Jimmy, Master Judge of the Lower Depths, Pluto

Enemies: Robert

Known Relatives: Erebus (father), Nox (mother), Aether, Moros, Keres, Thanatos, Momus (brothers), Hemera, Nemesis, Ponos, Limos, Usmine, Mache, Phonos, Pseudea (sisters), Ophion (alleged grandfather, deceased), Eurynome (alleged grandmother), Ouranous (great-grandfather, deceased), Gaea (alleged great-grandmother)

Aliases: Charun (Etruscan Myth)

Base of Operations: the River Styx, Hades

First Appearance: (Golden Age) Captain America's Weird Tales#74 (October, 1949); (modern) Thor I#462 (May, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Charon possibly possesses the same conventional attributes of the Olympian gods including superhuman strength (Class 25 perhaps), extreme long life and resistance to injury. It is unknown as to whether he can manipulate any forms of magic or if his skeletal appearance is his true appearance or an illusion created for the sake of his position. If the latter is true, he may at least have skills in shapeshifting.

History: (Greek/Roman Myth)- Charon is the son of the ancient (possibly Hyborian) gods Erebus, god of day, and Nyx, goddess of night. Predating Zeus overthrowing the Titans, he was probably serving as a ferryman delivering the souls of mortals to underworld for millennia before Pluto began governing the underworld. He has only been negligent in this position on a few occasions as when Theseus, the Athenian King, and his best friend, Peirithous, leader of the Lapiths, paid their way through on their way to attempt to abduct the daughter of Zeus, Persephone. On his way to retrieve his beloved Eurydice, the Argonaut Orpheus tempted Charon’s heart with a song and on his last labor, Hercules was also allowed to pass. Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, was also allowed to pass through to consult the dead seer Teiresias and Aeneas, the wandering prince of Dardania, was also permitted to Underworld to consult with the souls that had passed over into the afterlife.

(Incredible Hercules#129 (fb) - BTS) - When Hercules forced Charon to carry him into Hades during his 12 labors, Pluto punished Charon with a year in chains.

(Captain America's Weird Tales#74) - The Red Skull went to the lower region and managed to write Captain America's name in the Fatal Book, the book in which those who would be damned were found. At midnight Captain America was taken to the river Styx. Charon introduced himself and brought Captain America on his ferry to the Master Judge of the Lower Depths. (see comments)

(Thor I#462)- In modern years, Charon delivered the war-god Ares to Pluto, who wanted his allegiance in using Thor's brief madness as a weakness to attack him.

(Thor Annual#19)- Charon transported Pluto through Tartarus while Pluto examined various people he had imprisoned there while scheming a new attack on Thor.

(Hercules III#5) - Charon ferreyed Hercules, television producer Gordon Allsworth, Jimmy the cameraman, and Robert the assistant across the River Styx. When Robert told him that he loved him on "Tales From the Crypt," Charon broke his thousands of years of silence to curse Robert out and throttle him.

(Incredible Hercules#129) - When Hercules, Amadeus Cho and Aegis approached him to get a ride on the River Styx, Charon, who was still angry for breaking his silence the last time Hercules came to him, demanded ten thousand gold chips from him as payment. Amadeus Cho won enough chips and Charon was sure that he would be punished again for bringing Hercules and his friends to Tartarus.

(Chaos War: Ares#1) - In a cruel joke on Ares after his death at the hands of the Sentry (Bob Reynolds) Pluto had Charon seemingly deliver Ares to the Elysian Fields only to thwart him entering the Elysian Fields each time and abduct him from Charon's boat and cast him into the lowest gates of Hades.

Comments: Adapted by Stan Lee (?)
Reused in Marvel Comics by Ron Marz, Jim Starlin and Bruce Zick.

In Etruscan Myth, Charon is called the son of Mantus (Hades) and Mania (either Persephone or Hecate). This is obviously erroneous.
    --Obvious to whom?

The ocean goddess Eurynome is also mother of the three Charities (Roman Graces) known as Pasithea (wife of Hypnos), Euphrosyne and Aglaea (Roman Charis, second wife of Hephaestus) by Zeus. If the account of Eurynome as Charon’s grandmother were true, the Charities would be his aunts.

The twist in the end assures that the story was not a dream. The Red Skull in this story was not identified. Follow the link to Albert Malik's profile to learn more about it. Captain America should be Jeff Mace, but it is also possible that it was already the Communist hunting fake "Steve Rogers". The "Master Judge of the Lower Depths" most likely was Pluto. The only problem with this story is that Charon seemingly broke his silence which would make Hercules in his 2005 title a liar which wouldn't be a big surprise.

Thanks to Per Degaton found the info for the Weird Tales appearance.

A Hyborian version of someone resembling Charon also appears on Conan the Barbarian#250. A skeletal ferryman transports others across the River of Darkness :

The use of a coin to pay the ferryman for a trip across the River of Darkness is obviously derived from the Greek/Roman Myth of paying Charon to ferry the dead across the River Styx. The Hyborian era (16, 000 - 8, 000 BC) obviously predates the Greek and Roman Civilization, but it makes sense for the Hyborian version to have simply continued into the later legend, especially given the location of the real River Styx (Stygia, which became Egypt) in the Hyborian Era, and its connection to the underworld's River of Darkness.

While it is conceivable that Charon predates most of the Titans and their progeny the Olympians, it is unsure if it is actually he or not.

Other ferryman gods in other pantheons include Mahaf of the Egyptian gods and Ursanabi of the Mesopotamian gods. The latter character appeared in Captain America Annual#11 (possibly an Eternal?).

A Charon imposter appeared in Young Allies#13.

Per Degaton notes that the character who appeared in the corner box of Journey Into Mystery Volume II is a ferryman, not unlike Charon.

Charon also appeared in Uncanny X-Men Annual#4, "Nightcrawler's Inferno".
--Jason Carpenter
The whole realm of Hell (mirroring Dante's Inferno) in that story is a facsimile conjured by Margali Szardos.
--Snood

Profile by Will U and Prime Eternal Chaos War update by Markus Raymond.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Charon should not be confused with:

  • Charon, Charlie Ronalds, anti-mutant terrorist, @ X-Factor Annual#8
  • Charon 2099, Controller from the Theatre of Pain, @ X-Men 2099#22
  • C'Harona, Hyborian priest of Mitra, @ Conan the Barbarian#147


images:
Chaos War: Ares, p2-3 (main)
Thor Annual#19, p1 (green robe)


Appearances:
Captain America's Weird Tales#74 (October, 1949)
Thor I#462 (May, 1993) - Jim Starlin, Ron Marz (writers), Bruce Zick (penciler), Mike Decarlo (inker), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Thor Annuall#19 (1994) - Roy Thomas (writer), Jerry DeCaire (pencils), Romeo Tanghal (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Hercules III#5 (September, 2005) - Frank Tieri (writer), Mark Texeira (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Incredible Hercules#129 (July, 2009) - Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak (writers), Ryan Stegman (pencils), Terry Pallot (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Chaos War: Ares#1 (February, 2011) - Michael Avon Oeming (writer), Stephen Segovia & Carlos Rodriguez (pencils), Danny Miki, Carlos Rodriguez, John Wycough, Victor Olazaba & Don Ho (inks), Mark Paniccia (editor)


Last updated: 06/18/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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