LUDI

Real Name: Llud

Identity/Class: Human, raised to godhood, degenerated into a demon:
(see comments)

Occupation: King of Britain (c. 55 B.C.)

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Worshipped by the Druids, as well as their descendents;
Dweller-in-Darkness, Ningal (allies); Lenore Wilkins (nearly became his bride); Dr. Druid (see comments)

Enemies: Murdoch Adams, Clea, Dr. Strange

Known Relatives: Llefelys, Nynniaw, Caswallan (brothers), Beli-Mawr (father)
Ningal referred to Ludi as his "demon-brother", but this is more likely a term of allegiance than relation.

Aliases: Llud, Lud, Nudd, Nodens

Base of Operations: An unnamed astral realm; appeared on Earth around Stonehenge

First Appearance: Chamber of Chills#4/3 (May, 1973)

 

 

 

 

Powers: Ludi presumably has some degree of superhuman strength (Class 10) and durability, and is immune to the effects of disease and aging. He possesses large wings enabling him to fly. He can teleport, and alters his density so as not to be touched by conventional weapons or even certain forms of magic. He can reach into a person and tear the soul from their body.
His primary weakness appears to be loud sounds and vibrations, although an enchanted sword through the heart doesn't do him much good, either.
Ludi's powers were amplified to an unknown degree by the Dweller-in-Darkness when he battled Dr. Strange. Unlike many empowered by the Dweller, Ludi was not vulnerable to blinding light.

 

History: (mythology (mixed with history)) - Llud was an ancient king of Britain, and his brother Llefelys was an ancient king of France (actually Gaul). Llud was haunted by a series of three plagues that infected Britain and whose arrivals were predicted by three phantom screams which occurred every May Day. Nynniaw prophesied that the screams came from two dragons buried in a cavern in his kingdom. Llud and Llefelys joined forces to kill the dragons and the plagues stopped.

After Llud's death, he was apparently elevated to the status of godhood, loosely(?) associated with the Celtic Gods, and was worshipped by the Druids as some sort of sun god.

(Druid#1 (fb) -BTS) - "Lud's Gate...the place where St. Paul's cathedral now stands--where men and animals would be burned in sacrifice to the sun god, Lud...Lud's Gate was lit by the glare of men and cattle burning together in great Wicker Men"

(Chamber of Chills#4/3 (fb) ) - The "charcoal burners" who first lived in the forests of an unnamed "fenland" in Britain (long before the coming of the Romans) were the early worshippers of Lud/Ludi. Lud brought good crops and fine weather. For such gifts, every so often he demanded that a bride be given to him to carry back to his astral world, through that darkness which is his gateway.
The people who built Stonehenge also adored Ludi. There he was wont to appear in all his demoniac majesty as incantations were shouted skyward in his worship.

(Druid#1 (fb) - BTS) - The magic and lessons of the Druids died on a Roman Blade in the second century.

(Chamber of Chills#4/3 (fb) - BTS) - In the middle ages, priests buried the artifacts needed to summon Ludi from his other world.

BTS - At some point Ludi became allied Ningal, another god-turned-demon.

(Chamber of Chills#4/3 (fb) ) - More recently, laborers opened those sealed and forgotten vaults, and Ludi returned anew.

(Chamber of Chills#4/3) - A cult of Ludi's worshippers drugged and hypnotized Lenore Wilkins, to become the newest bride of Ludi. The ceremony was interrupted by Murdoch Adams, who had happened upon it. Ludi initially fled from Adams (the sound of his gun caused him pain), but then returned to pursue him when Adams headed to a church in order to employ the "rite of exorcismorum" against him. Ludi broke into the church and slew the priest before the ritual could be started. In desperation, Adams attacked him with a sledgehammer, which did little harm, until the rotted end went flying off and struck the immense church bell. The deep reverberations of the bell caused Ludi intense pain--Murdoch realized this and began to ring the bells repeatedly. Ludi made his portal of blackness and returned to his realm, but the peals of the bell shattered his portal, banishing him from Earth once again.

(Dr. Strange II#35) - Ludi answered a call for an alliance from the Dweller-in-Darkness, and had the Dweller free Ningal as well. The Dweller amplified Ludi's power and sent him to Earth, to battle Dr. Strange. Ludi quickly overpowered the mage and had him at his mercy, but Strange's lover, Clea, hurled the Ebony Blade at Ludi. The enchanted sword skewered Ludi, weakening him. Strange grabbed the Blade and slashed at Ludi repeatedly, until Ludi fled through a mystic portal.

 

 

Comments: Created by Gardner F. Fox and Howard Chaykin.

All mythological info contributed by William Uchtman. The mythological history listed is for the mortal Lud/Llud. The Druids worshipped a God named Lud/Llud, but it has not been ascertained whether the two beings are the same. The comic history prior to Chamber of Chills is for the god Lud. The demon Ludi claims to be the god who was worshipped by the Druids, but this has not been definitively proven.
Druid myth is exceedingly difficult to pin down. Some sources name him as Nodens, which may be another name for the Greek God Neptune. Other sources list him as
Nuadhu, who is another Celtic God.

There are a large number of demons who claim to be gods. My guess is that they went without worshippers for so long that many of them began to prey on humans and degenerated into demons. Another possibility is that the demons are merely impersonating the gods, and the true gods' fates remain unknown.
Lenore revealed the history of Ludi, as dating back to "before the Romans came", which would put that info at odds with being the historical Llud. A couple of possiblities: (1) Ludi's a big, fat liar and a poser; (2) Lenore's got her facts wrong (she was just recovering from being drugged and hypnotized, after all); (3) The god Lud and/or the demon Ludi are not connected to the historical king Llud.

As discussed in the OHotMU, "The distinction between 'demon' and 'god' is somewhat blurry. While gods tend to be more benevolent in nature than demons, there are also evil gods. While gods tend to be the objects of worship more often than demons, there are also demons who are worshipped....While most demons are born as demons, it is possible for a god to physically degenerate into a life-preying demon." Their classification scheme would place Ludi in the level of a Class Two demon, one of those from a later generation than the Elder Gods, who dwell within realms often known as Hell.

Druid, aka Dr. Druid/Droom, Anthony Ludgate Druid is named for Lud's Gate, and can trace his ancestry back to the druids who worshipped Lud.

I'd love to see Warren Ellis get a series in the MAX line. Perhaps "WISDOM" starring his British family (Peter, Romany, and Harold), or "SATANA", "HELLSTORM", "DRUID," etc. I'm betting he could turn Ludi into a frickin' nasty creature.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Ludi and/or Lud have no known connection to:

The Wicker Man created by Morgan le Fay and Mordred in Black Knight I#4 is based on the Wicker Men used by the Druids.


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Appearances:
Chamber of Chills#4 (May, 1973) - Gardner Fox (writer), Howard Chaykin (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Dr. Strange II#35 (June, 1979) - Roger Stern & Ralph Macchio (writers), Tom Sutton (pencils), Pablo Marcos (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Druid#1 (May, 1995) - Warren Ellis (writer), Leonardo Manco (artist)


Last updated: 08/02/02

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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