TOME of ZHERED-NA

Classification: Magical text

Creator: Illyana Kale

User/Possessors: Cult of Zhered-Na, Illyana Kale, Joshua Kale, Jennifer Kale, Andrew Kale, the Witches (Jennifer Kale, Satana, Topaz)

First Appearance: mentioned: (Adventures into) Fear#11 (December 1972)
    (true book seen): (Adventures into) Fear#15 (August, 1973)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Tome of Zhered-Na allegedly possesses all mysticism known to man and demonkind at the time of its creation. It is presumably less powerful than the legendary Darkhold, Book of the Vishanti, etc., though Dr. Strange described it as a force more powerful than any had encountered (though he might have been speaking of the Hellphyr).

    The Tome is protected by a spell that requires that only one of the Kale lineage may retrieve the Tome, and that person must be assisted by a representative from the underworld and a representative of divinity. If these rules are not followed, the Hellphyr is unleashed.

History:
(Adventures into Fear#15 (fb)/Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Deluxe Edition#6: Jennifer Kale/#16: Dakimh/Dr. Strange III#33/2 (fb) - BTS)

    <18,000 B.C.> - In the years before the Great Cataclysm,
Zhered-Na was banished from Atlantis for prophesizing the sinking of Atlantis, after which she recruited a number of disciples from a colony of Atlanteans established years before on the mainland Thurian continent (see comments). When the Great Cataclysm occurred, the superstitious people of the town below blamed the Cult of Zhered-Na for the tremors. They stormed her cavern temple, slaying Zhered-Na and slaughtering many of the Cultists. Only Dakimh and a few other disciples escaped, bearing with them scrolls containing her mystical knowledge, keeping her teachings alive over 20, 000 years into the future.

(Witches#2 (fb) - BTS) - Centuries ago, a divine spirit and a dark spirit came to Earth and passed the knowledge of mysticism to Illyana Kale, a descendent of the priestess' original Cultists, who added the information to their scrolls and transcribed it into the Tome of Zhered-Na. However, the gods were angered at the spirit for giving away their most guarded secrets to a human. Knowing the book was too powerful and that humans could not be trusted to watch over it, they cast a spell, locking in the Hellphyr for protection (see comments).

(Adventures into Fear#15 (fb) - BTS) - Though other copies were apparently made, by the modern era, only one existed (see comments).

(Adventures into Fear#13 (fb) - BTS) -  Joshua Kale, a descendent of Illyana, came to lead the remnants of the ancient Cult out of Citrusville, Florida, taking possession of the Tome.

(Adventures into Fear#11 (fb) - BTS) -  Jennifer stole a mystic text which she thought was the Tome of Zhered-Na from her grandfather, Joshua, who was head of the Cult of Zhered-Na, intending to attempt a spell for the fun of it.

(Adventures into Fear#11 ) -  Jennifer, alongside her brother Andy, used the book, unwittingly summoning Thog and another demon to Earth, though they were driven off and destroyed, respectively, by the Man-Thing, as well as the burning of the Tome by Andy.

(Adventures into Fear#13) -  Joshua Kale told the other Cultists of the imminent invasion by the residents Sominus, which Zhered-Na had foretold 20,000 years before. However, when he prepared to read the details on the invasion, he found the Tome missing.  The Cult was most distressed and one of the members, Brainard, even accused Joshua of having stolen the Tome himself. Without the Tome, the Cult could not hold off the invasion.
    Jennifer described having burned the book, but Joshua revealed that it was not the Tome she had stolen, but some other book.

(Adventures into Fear#14 - BTS) -  As the world began to be driven mad by the opening or a portal to Sominus, Joshua gathered the Cultists and brought them deep into the Man-Thing's swamp to perform a ritual to recover the Tome. Kale called upon the Mists of Maalock, which transported both Jennifer Kale and the Man-Thing to the dimension of Sandt. There they encountered Dakimh, and though they failed to recover the Tome, they had passed Dakimh's test, earning his trust and support.

(Adventures into Fear#15) -  Joshua gathered the Cult and detailed the full origins of Zhered-Na, her teachings, and her Cult. However, while Dakimh took Jennifer Kale and the Man-Thing on an extradimensional voyage, the demons of Sominus abducted Joshua and the Cultists and brought them to their realm. As Jennifer approached the Tome, Yopp, an elf demon from Sominus appeared and transported Jennifer, the Tome, and the Man-Thing (but not Dakimh) to Sominus. There Joshua guided her to touch the Tome, restoring them all (and the Tome) to Citrusville. The Guardian of Sominus was transported there as well, but out of its realm, it was easy prey for the Man-Thing.
    However, the Tome then vanished once again, apparently no longer needed with the invasion over. The Cult apparently dissolved as well.

(Witches#1 (fb) - BTS) - His powers at their low ebb and seeking to lower his competition, Satan made plans to unleash the Hellphyr to slaughter the magic users on Earth.

(Witches#1) - Posing a Lou, caretaker of a collection of rare books in the New York Library, Satan led Andrew Kale to the Tome of Zhered-Na, knowing that his contact with the book would unleash the Hellphyr. Andrew Kale actually became the host to the Hellphyr upon touching the Tome. The magical users associated with Earth all felt the mystic backlash caused by the coming of the Hellphyr. Recognizing the threat, Dr. Strange gathered Satana (an agent of the underworld), Jennifer Kale, and his own disciple, Topaz (an agent of divinity) to use the Tome to contain the threat.

(Witches#2 - BTS) - The Hellphyr crippled the mutant mystic Glamor and later slew her husband Illusion when he sought to investigate her death.

(Witches#3- BTS) - Satan confronted Andrew Kale, forcing the completion of his conversion into the Hellphyr just as Jennifer Kale approached his apartment.

(Witches#4) - The Hellphyr attacked Jennifer, but she destroyed it with the aid of Satana and Topaz. Dr. Strange then demanded they turn the Tome over to him, but the three Witches refused, as Jennifer insisted she carry on her family legacy, and her partners backed her up.

COMMENTS: Created by Steve Gerber, Val Mayerik, and Frank Bolle.

    In Doctor Strange III#33/2, the Dweller in Darkness describes Zhered-Na as having been exiled to the landmass that later became the Americas. If Zhered-Na was exiled to the Thurian continent, this would be a mistake, because the Thurian continent did not become the Americas, but rather Africa/Europe/Asia. By the way, I don't know of any Kull stories that dealt with the landmass that became the Americas. Conan did, however, travel there in Savage Sword#167-169 and in Conan of the Isles.
    Oh, and Valka (Zhered-Na's deity) is a god from the Kull stories. He is thus a character from the REH mythos, and I'm not certain that Marvel is even allowed to mention him anymore.
    Another odd contradiction: in Amazing Spider-Man Annual#23 (and every other appearance--Snood), Kamuu and Zartra (and Zhered-Na)were both colored a regular peach/pink flesh tone, but in Doctor Strange III#33/2, they were colored blue. Since the Atlanteans are the ancestors of the Irish and Scottish, and I don't see any blue Scots, I would go with the Amazing Spider-Man Annual#23 coloring.--Per Degaton

--They should be Caucasian. There was probably confusion of the later Kamuu and Zartra, who were Homo mermani. See the Master List for clarification--Snood.

    So how come Joshua and Jennifer did not unleash the Hellphyr when they used the Tome back in Adventures into Fear? My guess is that the spells they used accessed the realms of Therea (a benevolent realm of gods) and Sominus (a dark realm of demons). Presumably, Joshua and the other previous holders of the Tome took careful steps to always follow these rules.
    It's also possible that Joshua Kale had only a copy of the Tome, while the original was hidden in the New York library, but given the forces accessed by the Tome in the Adventures into Fear stories, I'd prefer to think that it was the original Tome.

    Interestingly, in Adventure into Fear#15, Jennifer says, after encountering Yopp, "Are you the big evil thing that guards the Tome?", perhaps foreshadowing the existence of the Hellphyr over 30 years before it actually appeared!

The Tome of Zhered-Na has a small entry in Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic.

Profile by Snood.

Clarifications:

The Hellphyr has no known connection to:


Hellphyr

    A magical creature (presumably a demon) created by the combined efforts of the gods of divinity and darkness, it is allegedly powerful enough to destroy all magic users on Earth. It can be harmed by sufficiently powerful magical force, but can apparently only be destroyed by the combined power of one of the Kale lineage, a representative from the underworld, and a representative of divinity. Its primary weapon was its immense size and strength, magical in nature, and powerful enough to destroy virtually anything it attacks. It will apparently possess the person who touches the Tome without following its rules of usage, transforming that person body and soul into the Hellphyr.

    Satan duped Andrew Kale into touching the Tome, unleashing the Hellphyr, which possessed Andrew. Over a few days, the Hellphyr began slaughtering magic users, crippling the mutant Glamor and slaying her husband Illusion. Andrew was unaware of the possession initially, but he eventually was transformed permanently into its form, and the three Witches slew him in the process of destroying the Hellphyr.

 

--Witches#1 ([2(fb)], 1-4

 

 

 

 


images:
Witches#1, p4, panel 1 (Tome)
    p4-5 (Hellphyr)
(Adventures into) Fear#15, p21, panel 4 (text pages)
Witches#2


(Adventures into) Fear#11 (December 1972) - Steve Gerber (writer), Rich Buckler (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
(Adventures into) Fear#12 (February, 1973) - Steve Gerber (writer), Jim Starlin (pencils), Rich Buckler (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
(Adventures into) Fear#13 (April, 1973) - Steve Gerber (writer), Val Mayerik (pencils), Frank Bolle (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
(Adventures into) Fear#14 (June, 1973) - Steve Gerber (writer), Val Mayerik (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
(Adventures into) Fear#15 (August, 1973) - Steve Gerber (writer), Val Mayerik (pencils), Frank McLaughlin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Witches#1-4 (August - September, 2004) - semi-monthly - Brian Patrick Walsh (writer), Mike Deodato Jr. (#1-2) & Will Conrad (#3-4) (artist), John Miesegaes (editor)


 

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Last Updated: 08/22/04

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