Real Name: Ishiti
Identity/Class: Hyborian-Age demon
Occupation: Demon goddess of snakes, guardian of the Amulet of Set, tormentor of the damned
Affiliations: Set (patron god), Eshe Lon and Revelle (wizards loyal to her), the Serpent Men (servitors)
Enemies: Conan, Pelija Lon, presumably Gaea, Mitra, and other enemies of Set
Chthon , Hyppus (uncles), Gaea, Isuus, Oshtur (aunts), other Elder Gods;
Damballah, Dragon of the Moon, Phorcys, Siapep, Sligguth, Yamato-no-Orich (brothers), Tartessus (sister);
Children of Ishiti & Man-Serpents (spawn, descendents);
extended family via Set and other Elder Gods
Aliases: Snake Goddess of Set
Base of Operations: The Isle of the Living Dead, presumably somewhere in Set's dimension
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#134 (May, 1982)
Powers: Ishiti demonstrated the ability to stop time so that was frozen for all creatures and inanimate objects save snakes and any living being and any living being who had been bitten and envenomed by a snake, and what they had been carrying on their person.
In her more humanoid form, Ishiti could extend her arms with two long snakes with hands where their heads should be. By use of these snake-arms, Ishiti could apparently draw someone across the dimensional void to her realm. Ishiti's scaly hide was impervious to conventional weaponry. She also possessed the ability to spew forth from her mouth powerful blasts of mystic energy called "Ishiti's fire" that could transform (with repeated hits) ordinary humans into Serpent Men. Ishiti's mouth was fanged, and her bite was likely venomous (to dinosaurs, I guess, since she was big enough to swallow Conan).
History: Much of Ishiti's history has not yet been chronicled. She has ties to Set, but her specific connection to him remains unclarified.
(Conan the Barbarian I#134 (fb))- The wizard Eshe Lon lived in the border kingdom village of Lucerthan with his daughter, Pelija. A boy, Ranj, who had been Pelija's lover was found brutally murdered, and the villagers, assuming that he had jilted her and been killed in retaliation, hired several bounty hunters to bring Pelija back for execution. Of these bounty hunters, the one who succeeded, was Conan. Upon learning of his daughter's capture, Eshe contacted Ishiti, but she could not prevent what had already begun, so she provided another course of action: she produced an asp, which bit Eshe. This immunized him to Ishiti's next step: stopping time. Ishiti also excepted an hour glass from the time freezing, as when its sand ran out, time would resume for those who had been frozen. (Ishiti did, however, freeze the effects of the snake venom in the affected person's veins, so that it would not start to act until the hour glass ran out.)
(Conan the Barbarian I#134)- Coincidentally (?), Conan and his horse were bitten by a viper just before Ishiti stopped time, excepting them both.
Encoutering Eshe, Conan agreed to help save Peliga in hopes of an antidote to the venom. However, while Conan and Eshe could themselves move, they could not move anything that had been time-frozen. This presented a problem, as Ishiti had stopped time after the villagers had managed to roll a large boulder off a cliff so that it would fall on Peliga, who had been shackled to a chain anchored to a spike in the ground. The boulder was frozen in mid-air just before it would have landed on Peliga, but Eshe and Conan could move neither of them.
However, Conan had had some rope on his horse when both he and the stallion were bitten by the viper. The rope, thus immunized, could be moved. So, Conan wrapped the rope around the time-frozen boulder tightly, while looping an end of it around the branch of a tree, and then tied that end around the stake anchoring Peligas leg.
Conan came up with a bold plan soon implemented: when time unfroze, the force of the boulder resuming its fall tore out the stake, freeing Peliga, whom Conan immediately pulled to safety. Conan then quickly handed Peliga to Eshe, who, on Conan stallion, rode off with his daughter to safety. Conan then stole a horse from a villager after a brief skirmish and followed.
Conan saw that his horse had succumbed to the viper venom, and could feel it resuming its effect on him. He confronted Eshe, who refused to provide him with an antidote-- and revealed that he had killed Ranj, in fear that Ranj would take his daughter away from him in Lucerthan. Ishiti returned after learning of this, as she felt enraged that Eshes motives amounted to such selfishness. She cured Conan after destroying Eshe.
(Conan the Barbarian I#138 (BTS))- Revelle, Pelija's uncle, and the brother of Eshe Lon, magically summoned both Consan and Pelija to his lair in order to use them as pawns in retrieving the mystic amulet of Set. Under the pretext of saving Eshe Lon, who languished in Ishiti's otherworldly realm, Revelle sought to obtain the return of the amulet that was the source of his brother's powers, taken with into the underworld where Ishiti had consigned her treacherous servant. Using his own sorcerous powers, Revelle transported both Conan and Pelija to the otherworldly Isle of the Living Dead, where Ishiti kept Eshe Lon captive. Once there, the two confronted, and fought through the hordes of snake people infesting the island. Bending the bars of his cage to gain entrance, Conan removed the ruby charm of Set from about Eshe's throat, only to learn from his sudden transformation and attack that Eshe was now a serpent demon, as well!
(Conan the Barbarian I#139)- Quickly passing off the amulet to Pelija, Conan engaged the transformed Eshe in battle, Eshe chained to the wall. (did I forget to mention that Eshe was chained to the wall? One wonders why they didn't just jump out of reach, but hey, this is Conan. He's always up for slaying some twisted demon spawn. --Greg O.) Finally, Conan delivered a mortal blow. Realizing that Revelle had played them for fools, knowing there was no way to save Pelija's father; Conan and the girl decided to make their escape. The other prisoners of Ishiti's lair began to transform and break free. Conan tried to fight them off, but Pelija warned him to stand back, and called upon the Amulet of Set's power to crush the attacking serpent men. Fleeing back the way they came, Conan and Pelija fought their way once more through rooms full¤ of snake people, writhing serpents, the altar where Pelija was to be sacrificed, and so forth. (With all the climbing down through the floor, chambers full of snake people, going up through the¤ceiling, etc. I am somewhat reminded of a Dungeons and Dragons module. --Greg O.)
At one point, Conan performed the rather impressive feat of slaying enough snake people to form a pyramid of dead bodies, thus allowing him to climb up through an opening in the roof. Nearing the entrance, Conan and Pelija found the way blocked by a strange barrier, from which the snake people fell back into hissing confusion and fear. Turning around, they discovered that the barrier was, in fact, one of the coils of Ishiti herself, looped around the entrance to her dungeon. Conan promptly leapt to the offensive, only to be hit by bursts of Ishiti's fire, and slowly transformed into a snake demon, despite the protection of the amulet. In a last-ditch effort, Conan climbed to the top of the crypt and leapt straight down the gaping throat of Ishiti. The snake goddess was seemingly victorious, until a lump appeared in her coils-- a Conan-shaped lump that cut its way out! Ishiti dead, her corpse collapsed into something like the sloughed off skin of a snake. Conan suddenly emerged, whole and unchanged once more, cured by the powers of the amulet once Ishiti could no longer overpower them.
Comments: Comments: Created by Bruce Jones and Gil Kane.
Ishiti apparently died at the end of Conan#138 and has never been seen or heard from again (much like her brother Sligguth). However, as pointed out in that very issue, demons and gods alike both have well known recuperative powers, so it is entirely possible Ishiti is lurking out there somewhere in the dark dimensions of space and time. If only Marvel would let me write Dr. Strange or Moon Knight or something! I'd tie up so many loose ends it isn't even funny!
Conan#134 was a nice, self-contained story. The cover, though, seemed a bit misleading, as it showed Ishiti or a Serpent Man menacing Conan.
To my knowledge, Ishiti has no authentic mythological basis. --McDonagh. I am not aware of any mythological basis for Ishiti either. Her second appearance/incarnation partakes of a combination of two mythological creatures, however; the medusa and the naga. --Greg O.
As Ishiti refers to herself as "the Child of Set", it is likely she is the directly descended daughter of the Elder God Set, though who her mother might be and whether she was mortal, goddess, or giantess is a matter for speculation.
The snake people appear to be yet another kind of Serpent Men, one of the many demon races to rule the earth before the rise of man; this one was more demonic than the typical version, though similar in form. In the Hyborian Era particularly, there were the Serpent Men most Marvelites are familiar with: humanoid body with a serpentine head and scaley green skin. However, there was also a second type of serpent creature associated with Set-- the naga like creature from the Robert E. Howard story "The God in the Bowl", with a long serpentine body, no limbs, and a human-like head referred to as the Man Sepents. This second kind has appeared in various issues of Conan the Barbarian. It is this kind the second (and possibly true) form of Ishiti most closely resembles. In her first appearance, Ishiti had a human-like torso with two arms, a snake's tail in place of legs, and a medusa's head with serpentine features.
One wonders how the other members of the Set-ite repertoire reacted to Ishiti's mercy, considering the Cimmerian's past actions against Set. Ishiti said "know that even a demon goddess of Set is not without compassion". She had better hope that Set, Damballah, Sligguth, Thulsa Doom, Thoth Amon, Kulan Gath, the Serpent Men, and the gang all have compassion towards her.
by Per Degaton and Greg O'Driscoll
Ishiti, the Demon Goddess of Set should not be confused with:
The Children of Ishiti should not be confused with (though might
be related to):
Pelija Lon, daughter of Eshe Lon, was a
skilled swordswoman, huntress, and guerilla fighter, an expert at
setting deadly traps, but even she was no match for Conan in
single combat. Inheriting her father's gift for sorcery, she
decided that, after avenging Eshe's death by murdering Revelle,
she would spend the rest of her life as a priestess of Mitra.
After being saved by Conan from the demonic C'harona, she thanked
him for showing her the way. Conan asked if she wouldn't rather
show her appreciation in a more tangible way. Pelija laughed as
she rode off, saying that serving Mitra is her way of showing
gratitude, but that for Conan there would always be other women
and other worlds. Conan rode off in the other direction saying
other worlds he had had enough of; Other women? There's a subject
he might like to explore...
-Conan the Barbarian I#134, 138-139, 147
Eshe Lon, an over-protective and
insanely jealous father, it was he that actually killed and
dismember the boy Ranj, after he had seduced and then spurned his
daughter, ironically setting the villagers out for Pelija's blood
instead of his own. He later betrayed Conan and Ishiti punished
him for his selfishness. On the Isle of the Living Dead in
Ishiti's realm, Eshe Lon was one of hundreds of prisoners
transformed into soulless snake things. He was slain in this form
by Conan. -Conan the Barbarian I#134, 138-139
Revelle Lon, Eshe's brother and Pelija's
uncle, he desired that Conan and Pelija not save his brother, but
return the powerful Amulet of Set so he could use it for his own
ends, to rule the world. The evil wizard tried to force Conan to
turn over the amulet by seizing Pelija and threatening to slit
her throat. Conan called his bluff, and Revelle did the deed. (Guess
he wasn't bluffing. Bad call, Conan. --Greg O.) Taking the
dying Pelija in his arms, Conan applied the pendant to her
throat, and she was healed by its power! Plenty pissed off Pelija
took the pendant from Conan and charged the powers of Set
"from whence this charm came, to punish this liar."
Revelle laughed it off until a snake crawled out of his own mouth
and strangled him. -Conan the Barbarian I#138-139
The Children of Ishiti or Snake People, were inhuman creatures akin to the pre-Cataclysmic Serpent Men, but were of various colors (orange, green, yellow, etc.) instead of universally green, and their heads were almost dragon-like in appearance. Unlike the Serpent Men, they seem to be incapable of human speech. -Conan the Barbarian I#138-139
The Amulet of Set, never specifically named or called by any particular title, it was referred to throughout as a "fetish", "amulet", "pendant", "charm", etc. Carved from a giant ruby with an eye in the center, surrounded by a coiling dragon/serpent, and filled with the powers of Set, it was once in the possession of Eshe Lon. Brought back to earth from Ishiti's island in her otherworldly realm, Pelija used it to punish her evil uncle, and then asked Conan to destroy it. Revelle stated that with it he could rule the world so one might guess the amulet's powers are vast. However, it was only ever shown to perform a few magical feats: healing of wounds both minor and life-threatening; undoing magical transformations such as those caused by Ishiti's fire; causing the very earth and stone of Ishiti's crypt to leap to obey when commanded to crush the Snake People, and lastly (my favorite!) causing a snake to pop out of Revelle's mouth and then strangle him. The amulet proved incapable ofprotecting Conan from Ishiti's fire until Ishiti herself was dead; thus, however mighty it might have been, the amulet did not grant one dominion over spawn of Set such as Sligguth and Ishiti herself. The ultimate fate of the bauble is unknown, presumably Conan destroyed it by smashing it, or throwing it into the seas. But, seeing as how it was carved from a big ruby, Conan might have been tempted to spend it, meaning it could very well be waiting to be dug up by an archaeologist somewhere tomorrow. -Conan the Barbarian I#138-139
Last updated: 09/09/10
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All characters mentioned or pictured are
™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights
Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters