Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human, magic user, possibly existing as a spirit
Occupation: former Fortune Teller and Tarot Reader, Spiritual Advisor
Group Membership: Formerly Garvey's Carnival
read for Ted Sallis and Daimon Hellstrom
Enemies: Daimon Hellstrom (Hellstorm/Son of Satan), Katherine Reynolds, Christine and Elwood Sandt
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Madam Swabada
Base of Operations: currently unknown;
formerly St. Louis, Missouri;
the fairgrounds of Citrusville, Florida; the Astral Plane
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight I#20 (February, 1975)
Powers: Madame Swabada possesses a number of Extra-Sensory Perception abilities, as well as training a variety of classical skills of prophecy. She has demonstrated clairvoyance and precognition often via scrying (crystal ball), Tarot Card reading, Libomancy (reading smoke from burning objects), and other means. She also appears to be able to alter perceptions and possibly to access the astral plane, control others, and cast illusions.
History: Madame Swabada's training and origins are unknown. She worked as a Fortune Teller in a number of locales.
(Giant-Size Man-Thing#5(fb)) - Ted Sallis and Ellen Brandt stopped off at Swabada's tent at the Citrusville Fairgrounds as they hosted Garvey's Carnival. Via Libomancy, she prophesized that a change would soon occur in his life "--a catastrophic change--and beyond that desolation--perhaps even madness..."
(MarvSpot#21(fb)-BTS) - The National Eye, a tabloid type newspaper, published a story debunking occult phonies. Included in this article were Madame Swabada, who was branded as a fraud, and Daimon Hellstrom, who was regarded as being authentic. As related by Swabada herself, this infuriated her, especially since the devil's own offspring was supposed to be trusted more than herself. It angered her more than her elderly body could handle, and she had a heart attack and died.
- Swabada sought revenge on Elwood Sandt, the publisher of the
National Eye, as well as Hellstrom, and decided to go through
Sandt's daughter, Christine. She sent Christine, along with the
Tarot Card for death, an invitation for a reading and invited her
to bring a friend. As Swabada had planned, Christine brought two
friends, her Parapsychology teacher, Katherine Reynolds, and her
associate Daimon Hellstrom. Swabada instantly recognized
Hellstrom and read for him instead. Her Tarot reading predicted a
number of smaller events, but also told him that his quest for
victory (defeat of his demon-father) was unattainable and would
come to naught. Hellstrom was furious, revealed himself as the
Son of Satan, incinerated her table and cards, and threatened
Swabada, but then collapsed. Hellstrom went out for some fresh
air, along with Katherine and Christine, but were soon attacked
in a fashion prophesied in the cards. After overcoming the
attack, Hellstrom went back to Swabada's store demanding answers,
but found the store completely bare, as if no one had ever been
Over the next several hours, the Son of Satan had a number of attacks and encounters which also mirrored the predictions from his Tarot reading. Swabada would appear intermittently to taunt Hellstrom, Sandt, or Reynolds, before vanishing again. Swabada eventually revealed her origins and reasons for the attacks to Hellstrom, who called her a liar, insisting that she was a living, breathing person, standing in front of him as they spoke. To which she responded, "Yes, that is a problem, isn't it? Well, perhaps I am lying. It's difficult to say..." She then continued to taunt him, causing his world to turn upside down, and a number of other assaults.
Finally, she confronted him on the Astral Plane, creating simulacruma of his friends and family to erode his confidence. This culminated in a struggle between Hellstrom and his own Darksoul which threatened to destroy both forms. Hellstrom managed to convince his Darksoul that they must accept each other, and they re-merged. The Son of Satan then blasted Swabada's astral form with a burst of Hellfire, apparently exorcising her from his mind at last.
Comments: Created by Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema.
Prime Eternal was kind enough to point out the GS Man-Thing appearance I had forgotten, but I am almost certain I remember Swabada showing up somewhere else, hobnobbing with some other mystic character. It's got to be a Gerber story, but I can't find it anywhere I check. Anyone have any idea what I'm talking about? Maybe it was just that whole block of Pepper Jack cheese I ate...
It's hard to know what the real deal is with Swabada, as Gerber's big on the nothing-is-real-or-what-it-seems type plots. It's unclear whether Swabada actually did die, or just was seeking revenge for being shunned, and used her abilities to back-up her story. And she never really did anything to Christine or Elwood Sandt, but targeted Hellstrom himself.
Swabada's prophecy for Sallis came true, as shortly after that story, as he was transformed into the mindless Man-Thing.
Some of the stories use real time dates, such as May 1, 1971, for GS Man-Thing#5's prologue, which is most likely topical (and meant to set it before the story in Savage Tales#1, published in May, 1971). It would not be difficult to place Savage Tales#1 (or a lot of the magazine stories for that matter), the Man-Thing's origin, prior to the modern era, but I think it is generally accepted that it occurred during the modern era.
Giant-Size Man-Thing...now that's comedy!
No known connections to any of the whole slew of Madame-somethings out there, or
Lambada, the Forbidden Dance!
Last updated: 10/13/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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