Real Name: Dan-Ayido-Hwedo
Occupation: God of the Dead
Identity/Class: Extradimensional (Ala; African Gods) magic-user
Aliases: Agaou Wedo, Anviewo, Dam-Ayido, Dan Houeza, Dan Petro, Dan Yi, Dangbe, Danger, Danger Mina, Danh, Dumballah, the Rainbow Snake, the Serpent God, the Snake-God, et al.
Group Membership: The Loa (Gods of Voodoo) of the African Gods
possibly the Avengers (see comments)
Relatives: Ayida Wede (wife), Lusa (father), Mahu (mother),
Sagbata (Baron Samedi, twin brother), Shango/Xevioso, Ogun, Gu, Maou, Loko, Zaca, Legba, Eschu, (brothers), Ayaba, Faa, Erzulie, Avlekete (sisters), Akonadi (sister-in-law),
Nyambe, Orishako (uncles), Asase-Ya (aunt),
Ananse, Mmoatia, Mmboro, Onini, Osebo (cousins),
Buluku (grandfather), Gaea (grandmother, alias Nana)(--see comments)
Base of Operations: Ala
First Appearance: Dracula Lives#2 (1973)
Powers/Abilities: Damballah possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Loa or African Gods. Like all the Loa, he is immortal. He has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by conventional means. He is immune to all known terrestrial diseases. If wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for Buluku (aka Nyambe, Ndriananahary), or a number of gods of equal power working together to revive him.
Damballah typically takes the form of a snake, though he may be able to shift into human or other forms. He presumably has some superhuman strength and his own Loa metabolism gives him far greater than human endurance in all physical activities.
Damballah possesses the ability to tap into and manipulate certain undefined occult energies associated with curses and the underworld. Possibly not as powerful as known underworld gods as Hades, Hela or even Ndrianadhary, he has certain powers over life and death. Damballah can also bestow power in his mortal followers, such as the power to control others.
(Dr. Strange III#17/2) - Dan-Ayido-Hwedo (left) and his twin brother Sagbata (right) were the two Earth Gods, composing one of the six divine sets of twins of the Orishas (Sky Gods) Lusa (the sun god) and Mahu (the moon-goddess). Damballah has always ruled the dead and the grave while Sagbata was death and disease, the force that carried them there.
(myth) - In ancient times, Dan-Ayido-Hwedo was the snake-god, personified by a coiled serpent with its tail in its mouth.
(Dr. Strange III#17/2 / myth) - As Dam-Aydio, and later as Damballah, he became worshipped by the tribes of what would be modern Africa and watched over the processing of the souls of who entered Iku, the African underworld ruled by Ndrianadhary.
(Dr. Strange III#17/2 /myth/history) - In the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth
Europeans began invading Africa and carrying the African tribes,
the Yoruba, Fon, Ewe, Dahomey and Ibo tribes, to North America to use as slaves.
In 1492, Columbus discovered la Isla Espanola (the Spanish Island), later called Hispaniola, then Santa Domingo, and still later Haiti. When the Spaniards cam, the isle was inhabited by 300,000 Arawak "Indians." Ruthless exploitation by the newcomers resulted in their extinction.
Barely a decade after Columbus, the Europeans began to import Black slaves to work in Hispaniola's fields. As many as 30, 000 captives were brought from the West African Coast. Worshippers of the Vodū carried their beliefs through the Caribbean islands, particularly Haiti, the southern rim of the United States and into much of Central and South Africa. The Africans sought solace from their ancient gods for protection and even combined elements from Catholicism and the Holy Roman Church. Compared by some to St. Patrick, Damballah found more prominence in the religion of Vodū (bastardized into "vaudou" and "voodoo" by confusion with the French "vaudois" (a French catholic heresy)) and Santeria than he ever did in Africa.
(Dr. Strange III#17/2 - BTS/#20/2 - BTS) <17th Century> - After Sagbata used power from the Elder God Chthon to establish a basis for the creation of zombies via voodoo magic, the Loa/Council of the Vodū gathered to find the means to protect mankind from zombies. With the possible aid of Gaea, Legba created a magical spell that allowed the formation of the Lord of the Loa, later known as Brother Voodoo.
(Tales of the Zombie#1 (fb) - BTS) - Damballah APPARENTLY created and empowered the twin Amulets of Damballah, which enabled a person holding one of the Amulets to control the zombie wearing the other Amulet.
(Dracula Lives#2/7 (fb)) - Damballah's earthly manifestation coiled upon the naked body of Marie LaVeau when she danced on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain, over a period of four generations.
(Blade: Crescent City Blues) - Marie LaVeau summoned Damballah to slay Brother Voodoo, who offered his humbled pleas to Damballah, as well as Baron Samedi (Sagbata), telling them that Marie was insulting them and not truly loyal to them. Damballah then turned on Marie, crushing her within his coils.
(Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1/3 - BTS) - Ian McNee invoked the Claw and Bane of Damballah to aid him against enchanted trees summoned by Ian McNee.
(Journey Into Mystery I#627 (fb)) - Damballah attended the Devil's Advocacy to talk about the Serpent (Cul)'s actions on Earth.
Comments: Adapted by Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, and Dick Giordano.
Damballah has been called on for power by many. As such, he may be behind-the-scenes in just about every voodoo story. However, this profile only details the actual appearances, especially since it is difficult to tell which times the Loa Damballah was invoked, as opposed to the Set-spawn Damballah. I'm sure most beings believed they were dealing with the Loa Damballah, but that doesn't make it so.
Damballah, the spawn of Set, was created billions of years ago, we speculate
that the Loa Damballah usurped his name and some of his followers, much like the
Egyptian God Seth did with Set. While many appearances are clearly the spawn of
Set, it remains to be seen how many practitioners of Voodoo obtained power from
the Loa Damballah as opposed to the Set-spawn Damballah. I would ASSume that
Brother Voodoo (with the exception of Dr. Strange II#48) called on the Loa
Damballah, as did Marie Laveau, as the god turned against her when Brother
Voodoo convinced him of her evil.
The human sorcerer Damballah clearly drew power from, and was even possessed by the Set-spawn Damballah.
In general, I would ASSume that most appearances in voodoo related characters were intended to be the Loa Damballah, but it may be that ones in which the magic was used for evil purposes that the Set-spawn Damballah was involved.
evil practitioners (besides those already discussed) would be all three Black
Talons, Calypso, Dramabu, Katanya, Mama Limbo, "Mambo," Mambo Legba,
Mister Six, Papa
The criminal Baron Samedi only pretended to use magic, but was really a techno-villain.
Benevolent practitioners included (besides those already discussed) Anton Cartier, Layla, Mammy Tuba, Ian McNee, Papa Doc/Doc Kabel, Papa Jambo, etc.
The Index to the Avengers describes the bring from Avengers I#152 as being the Set-spawn. The description as being evil in Avengers I#152 would SEEM to make it appear as if it were the Set-spawn in that issue, but it could just be that the Loa Damballah had not yet realized the evil nature of the Black Talon.
William had listed the following as aliases: Baron Cemetary, Baron
These are known aliases of Sagbata, and I prefer not to confuse the two unless there is evidence that confirms this.
He also lists these relatives: Obatala (grandfather), Odudua (grandmother), with Gaea and Buluku as great-grandparents.
However, Dr. Strange III#17 lists Damballah as the grandson of Buluku, not the great-grandson. As Damballah's parents were twins, he would not have another pair of grandparents. So, as far is as known in the MU, Buluku is Damballah and his siblings' grandfather. Obatala and Odudua have not actually appeared in the MU.
In addition, Will compiled this entry using info from other media sources, beyond just the myth and Marvel comics. I tried to cut out anything from other media sources, but if you notice an inclusion of such info that is not evident in myth/history or the comics, let me know, and I'll correct it.
This profile is not meant to
get into incarnations of Damballah in other realities. Leave me alone, you
Damballah the Loa should be distinguished from:
Doctor Strange III #17, 2nd story, page two, first panel (with Sagbata)
Dracula Lives#2, p66, panel 3 (w/ Marie)
Blade: Crescent City Blues, p33, panel 1
Tales of the Zombie#1 (1973) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Steve Gerber (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (pencils/inks)
Dracula Lives#2/7 (1973) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Gene Colan (pencils), Dick Giordano (inks)
Dr. Strange III#17 (May, 1990) - Roy Thomas, Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier (writers), Geof Isheroowd (pencils), Mickey Ritter (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Blade: Crescent City Blues (March, 1998) - Christopher Golden (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Mark Pennington (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Mystic Arcana: Black Knight#1/3: Ian McNee story (September 2007) - David Sexton (writer), Eric Nguyen (artist), Nathan Cosby (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Journey Into Mystery I#627 (November, 2011) - Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (art), Ralph Macchio (senior editor)
First Posted: 10/18/2004
Last updated: 09/20/2007
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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