Real Name: W'Sulli
Occupation: Tribal Chief, Witch-Doctor.
Group Membership: Leader of his unidentified tribe.
Affiliations: Partner of Dr. Kinji Obatu; one-time ally of Idi Amin; controller of the Nightspawn, summoner of the Eternal Warrior.
Enemies: Black Panther; Brother Voodoo; Mi'chi'li; Nightspawn; the Thing.
Known Relatives: Mi'chi'li, son, deceased.
Base of Operations: Tribal village in a small nation bordering Uganda
First Appearance: Marvel Preview I #12 (Fall, 1977)
Powers/Abilities: W'Sulli is an accomplished Houngan, or voodoo witch-doctor. However, W'Sulli is very old, and his current powers are a small fraction of what they once were. He has a lifetime's knowledge gained from practicing voodoo, though his memory is now failing. W'Sulli's displayed abilities are all ritual magic, and as such require a measure of time and preparation to conduct.
With a Govi, or sacred urn, W'Sulli can trap spirits, either to control others or to protect his own spirit. W'Sulli can summon, though not control, the spirit of the Eternal Warrior. W'Sulli can destroy certain undead, such as zombies. Presumably he knows many other rituals which he has not displayed use of.
W'Sulli is subject to a fit-causing illness which can leave him unconscious.
(Marvel Preview I #12 - BTS) - W'Sulli came to an African tribe, becoming first the tribe's witch-doctor and later its chief. Six years after W'Sulli joined the tribe, his estranged son infected the tribe with a voodoo-created plague, killing most of the village while W'Sulli chose not to oppose him out of fatherly loyalty.
(Marvel Preview I #12) - W'Sulli's son Mi'chi'li, also a voodoo master, sent the Nightspawn to W'Sulli's village. W'Sulli attempted to oppose it, but suffered a fit and was rendered unconscious. The vampire killed the remaining living villagers and left, believing W'Sulli dead. Upon recovering, W'Sulli summoned the spirit of the deceased Eternal Warrior, also known as Sar'wa or Gilgamesh, and Sar'wa defeated the Nightspawn and killed Mi'chi'li.
(Marvel Two-in-One #41 (fb)) - The Nightspawn recovered and returned to attack W'Sulli, but W'Sulli managed to trap the vampire's spirit in a Govi (sacred urn), making the vampire into a zuvembie, a controlled undead. Using the zuvembie Nightspawn as a slave, W'Sulli rebuilt his village and gathered a new tribe. Dr. Kinji Obatu stumbled across the village, and the two began working together.
(Marvel Two-in-One #40) - At W'Sulli's behest, the Nightspawn traveled to New York City, where it kidnapped people (including the Black Panther) whom the Daily Bugle had put on a list of the city's "Ten Most Successful Blacks."
(Marvel Two-in-One #41) - W'Sulli and Dr. Obatu delivered the ten kidnap victims to Uganda's dictatorial ruler, Idi Amin. W'Sulli transferred the spirits of the ten into the Govi, placing the ten entirely under his control and at Amin's disposal. However, The Thing and Brother Voodoo came to rescue the Black Panther, and at Brother Voodoo's direction the Thing smashed the Govi, freeing the ten enslaved people and restoring the zuvembie to its vampiric status. The now-freed Nightspawn attacked W'Sulli, leaving him either dead or unconscious, before feeling into the night.
W'Sulli, Mi'chi'li, the Nightspawn, and the Eternal Warrior were created by David Kraft, Bob Brown, and Pablo Marcos.
"Zuvembie" was used at Marvel as a generic term for a controlled zombie, though it has also been applied to controlled vampires (as in this case) or even to controlled living people disguised as zombies. The term does predate its Marvel usage- Robert E. Howard's 1939 story "Pigeons From Hell" features a zuvembie, there identified as a form of female zombie created by West Indies voodoo magic.
Use of the term "zuvembie" allowed Marvel to "cheat" the Comics Code Authority- the CCA did not allow the use of zombies in its books. The CCA's General Standards (section B/5, as revised in 1971) read "Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, or torture, shall not be used. Vampires, ghouls and werewolves shall be permitted to be used when handled in the classic tradition such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and other high calibre literary works written by Edgar Allen Poe, Saki, Conan Doyle and other respected authors whose works are read in schools around the world." Apparently no such limitation applied to zuvembies (perhaps the CCA could not prove exactly what a zuvembie is, though everyone knows a zombie is undead?). Marvel did have several "zombies" in its books, but those were generally in the larger magazine-format black and white books, which Marvel did not submit to the Comics Code Authority.
The Nightspawn is unnamed in these books, but the Appendix in the Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 6: The Fantastic Four (2004) establishes the Nightspawn name for him. It also establishes that the Nightspawn first appeared in Marvel Preview #12; though the Preview version has hair while the Two-in-One character does not. One could hypothesize that the fall in the fire at the end of the Preview story, combined with the mystic assault of the Eternal Warrior, burned his hair off. Or, it could be artistic license.
In regards to the Eternal Warrior sub-profile below, there's the following note: In Tales of the Zombie#3, an eternally reincarnated reborn from the grave warrior named Gilgamesh appears as a samurai. - Per Degaton
With the sliding timescale, the references to handing the victims over to Idi Amin become topical, and the actual recipient of the kidnappees would now be another, unspecified, African dictator. The Fantastic Four Encyclopedia changed "Idi Amin" to "Eda Arul"; this is equally topical. - Loki
W'Sulli has no known connections to
The Eternal Warrior has no known connections to
The Nightspawn has no known connections to
(Marvel Preview I #12) - The Eternal Warrior is an African spirit. He is "he who returns from the grave to fight and conquer, then retires to the oblivion of the grave." Before death, his name was Gilgamesh, W'Sulli knew him as Sar'wa, and he has been known by many names to many people throughout the ages. As living dead, the Eternal Warrior has strength, endurance, speed, and resistance to injury much greater than a normal humans- as he his undead, it might be impossible to kill the Eternal Warrior before completion of its mission. The Eternal Warrior has only fleeting memories of his original life.
Summoned by W'Sulli, the Eternal Warrior was armed with spear and knife and dressed in tribal warrior's garb. It is not known if the Eternal Warrior always appears in these clothes, or if his clothing and weapons are determined by his summoner's expectations.
W'Sulli summoned the Eternal Warrior, who accepted W'Sulli's pleas for aid in stopping his murderous son, Mi'chi'li. The Eternal Warrior defeated Mi'chi'li's vampiric slave, and slew Mi'chi'li with his spear. The Eternal Warrior then left the vampire in flames, returned Mi'chi'li's body to his father, and then returned to oblivion until summoned again.
(Tales of the Zombie#3) - "Gilgamesh. That had been his
first name. There had been so many since that he
sometimes forgot. For he was the Eternal Warrior,
returning from the dead to fight and conquer and
returning to his restless grave when the deed was
In feudal Japan, Gilgamesh was summoned by a man who wished to have his daughter freed from a dragon. Gilgamesh assumed the form of a Nipponese samurai. Gilgamesh fought the dragon, only to discover that the daughter had been turned into (or always was?) a demon, projecting images of her human form to lure the unwary. Gilgamesh returned to the grave. --John McDonagh
The Nightspawn is an African vampire who, through unknown circumstance, became controlled by W'Sulli's son, Mi'chi'li. When the Eternal Warrior slew Mi'chi'li, the vampire was freed from control. The vampire later attacked W'Sulli, but W'Sulli trapped his spirit, making him a Zuvembie. When the Thing destroyed the urn that trapped his spirit, the freed vampire attacked W'Sulli and then fled into the Ugandan night.
As a Zuvembie, the Nightspawn was completely under W'Sulli's control. He maintained all his normal powers, and even enjoyed certain undefined protections from destruction.
As a vampire, he presumably possessed all traditional vampiric powers and weaknesses- he was seen to turn into mist and into a bat, drank blood, was able to recover from extreme damage, and was weakened by a cross.
- Marvel Preview I #12
Marvel Two-in-One #41, p11, pan7 (Head)
Marvel Preview I#12, p23, pan4 (Full body)
Marvel Preview I#12, p35, pan2 (Eternal Warrior)
Marvel Two-in-One #40, p26, pan4 (Nightspawn)
Marvel Preview I#12 (Fall, 1977)
Marvel Two-in-One #40-41 (June-July, 1978)
Last updated: 12/09/04
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