DAMBALLAH

Real Name: Damballah

Identity/Class: Elderspawn (see comments); Distant Past - modern era

Occupation: World conqueror

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Black Talon (Samuel Barone), Damballah and his followers, Nenaunir of the Hyborian era, Sabia of the Hyborian era, Toroa of the Hyborian era, the Zembabwei of the Hyborian era; (see comments)
    formerly Brother Voodoo

EnemiesAtum/Demogorge, Avengers, Brother Voodoo, Clea, Conan, Conan (Conn), Dr. Strange, Wong  (see comments)

Known RelativesDemiurge (grandfather);
    Set (father);
     Chthon , Hyppus (uncles), Gaea, Isuus, Oshtur (aunts), other Elder Gods;
     Dragon of the Moon, Phorcys, Siapep, Sligguth, Yamato-no-Orichi (brothers), Ishiti, Tartessus (sisters);
     extended family via Set and other Elder Gods
    Sabia described herself as the "Bride of Damballah," though whether there was any such relationship is unconfirmed.

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Presumably extradimensional;
    existed from
Distant Past - modern era

First Appearance: (In shadows) Avengers I#152 (October, 1976);
   (Fully seen)  King Conan#3 (September, 1980)

Powers/Abilities: Damballah can travel to Earth in spirit form and can manifest himself as an immense snake or humanoid serpent. He can possess other serpents and transform them into facsimiles of his own form, and he can control serpents. He can also possess and control others, even those of advanced mystic training, such as Brother Voodoo. He often uses a Wangal (amulet) to affect others.

 

 

 

History:
(Silver Surfer Annual#2) - Hoping to dominate the planet, Set spawned monstrous offspring to help him, including Sligguth and Damballah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(King Conan#2 (fb) - BTS) <see comments> - Damballah earned worshippers amongst the people of Zembabwei and possibly others.

(King Conan#3) <see comments> - Nenaunir, ruler of Zembabwei, summoned Damballah to Earth to consume his sacrifice: Conan. The warrior king fought fiercely against the Earthly manifestation of Damballah, but ultimately began to succumb to its mighty coils. However, when Conan's son Conn stabbed Nenaunir in the heart, Damballah lost his hold on the Earthly plane and faded away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Strange Tales I#169 (fb) - BTS / Dr. Strange II#48 (fb) - BTS) - Damballah, posing as the Voodoo god by the same name, gained a follower in a Haitian voodoo practitioner, who convinced others that he was actually the Voodoo god Damballah. The Set-spawn Damballah gave the human Damballah a Wangal (magical amulet or talisman), which granted the human powers, but put him partially under the Set-spawn's influence.  The human Damballah manipulated other Haitians to his own ends through fear. The human Damballah slew Daniel Drumm, Brother Voodoo.

(Strange Tales I#169(fb) + 170(fb) - BTS) - Daniel's brother, Jericho, merged his spirit with Daniel to become the new Brother Voodoo. Despite the human Damballah's summoning of the Council Supreme, Brother Voodoo overpowered them all and tore Damballah's Wangal from his neck, at which point the human Damballah's snakes swarmed over and killed him.

 

 

 

 

(Avengers I#152)  - When the Avengers threatened to overpower the Black Talon (Samuel Barone), he summoned the spirit of Damballah, which was "so evil that its presence was like a physical blow." The Avengers and everyone else present except the Black Talon (even the other voodoo practitioners), were crushed to the ground, until the Scarlet Witch cast a flaming torch into the shadows containing Damballah, and the flames disrupted the shadows, exorcising Damballah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Dr. Strange II#48 (fb)) - Brother Voodoo attempted to use Damballah's Wangal to increase his own power, but instead the Set-spawn Damballah possessed the spirit of Daniel Drumm, enabling him to control Brother Voodoo (see comments).

(Dr. Strange II#48 (fb)) - Damballah led a group of human followers to New York.

(Dr. Strange II#48) - Brother Voodoo confronted Dr. Strange, asking for his help in retrieving the stolen Wangal, but Strange suspected the truth and exposed Damballah via the Amulet of Agamotto. Damballah escaped Strange's bands of bedevilment and Strange's sanctum, taking Daniel Drumm's spirit with him as he headed out to cause more chaos. Heading to an exotic pet store, Damballah possessed a python, transformed it into a humanoid snake, and led the other snakes on a rampage. It then left the humanoid snake form, allowing Dr. Strange to return the snakes to their homes and then follow the humanoid snake on a wild goose chase. Damballah waited until Strange sent out his astral self after the humanoid snake (now just an illusion), and then he possessed Strange's soulless body. Strange realized the deceit and returned home in time to drive Damballah out of his body, and then he assaulted the Set-spawn on the astral plane.
    Fleeing from Strange's apparently superior power, Damballah manipulated his human followers, now merely mindless thralls, into attracting and assaulting Strange. As Strange fought the followers and then performed a spell of restoration to return their minds to them, Damballah returned to Strange's sanctum. Clea managed to hold him off until Strange's Cloak of Levitation and Amulet of Agamotto, sent by Strange to act under pre-arranged instructions, arrived and imprisoned Damballah. Strange soon arrived and freed Daniel Drumm's soul and then imprisoned Damballah within the Wangal.

 

 

 

Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and Danny Bulandi.

    Damballah would technically fit the term Elderspawn, referring to the children of the Elder Gods (Serpent Men, Spider-Men, Wolf People, Harpies, etc.). He's not technically an Elder God, but rather the spawn of one, so he shouldn't be Class One. He was created on Earth, and would be one of the earliest of the Class Two, but the term Elderspawn is much more appropriate.

        In Dr. Strange II#48, Strange denounces that Damballah as a demon: "I reject your claims of godhood! You are merely an extradimensional parasite which has taken advantage of some men's misguided faith." In Marvel Team-Up Annual#5, Doctor Strange states that the Damballah of the cult in Haiti is the spawn of Set. Actually, though, the human Damballah was possessed by the spirit of the Set-spawn Damballah, and I don't consider them quite the same.
    In Dr. Strange III#17, we see that there actually are true Voodoo Gods, and Damballah is one of them. Since the Dam-Ayido Damballah has been stated as part of the Buluku family, that means that the bad Damballah is Set's spawn. In the Saga of the Serpent Crown back-ups in the "Atlantis Attacks" annuals, we see Damballah directly confirmed as a spawn of Set.
    It is ironic, by the way, that in Doctor Strange III#16, in both the main story and the back-up, that the Damballah from Doc II#48 was called "the false Damballah".....since as I have shown the Doc II#48 Damballah must be Set's spawn, and Set's spawn was born not longer after the creation of the Earth, so he would have long predated Dam-Ayido! The Damballah from Avengers I#152 is confirmed to be the Set-spawn Damballah in the Avengers indexes.
--Info in italics by Per Degaton.

    Similarly, I don't think it is definitely confirmed that the snake god in King Conan#3 is the Set-spawn Damballah. It actually could be a manifestation of Set, or some other demon altogether. Still, the Set-spawn Damballah seems the most likely to me.

    His name was Damballah at least as far back as 10000 BC or perhaps even billions of years ago, before Demogorge drove the Elder Gods from Earth, either of which is earlier than I might expect the African Gods to have been around. Perhaps the African Damballah stole the Set-spawn's thunder, much the way Seth did to 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.
    Among the evil practitioners (besides those already discussed) would be all three Black Talons, Calypso, Dramabu, Katanya, Mama Limbo, "Mambo,"  Mambo Legba, Mister Six,Papa Nebo, Papa Shorty,etc.

    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, Mama Tuba, Papa Doc/Doc Kabel, Papa Jambo, etc.

    Carycomix replies that "If so, then Set's kid may have had another name. Perhaps, the Stygian equivalent of Apophis? According to the STARGATE: SG-1 website, the symbol for the actual Apophis of Egyptian mythology was a snake!"   

    When Brother Voodoo first came to Dr. Strange, he told him that Damballah's Wangal had been stolen by followers of the god, who had torched his mansion, injuring his servant, Bambu. Dr. Strange readily determined that Brother Voodoo actually had the Wangal, so how much of his story is true remains unknown.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
He should be distinguished from:

Wangal of Damballah, aka the Amulet of Damballah should be distinguished from


Wangal of Damballah

 

    Also known as the Amulet of Damballah,  it is a magic item powered by the Set-spawn Damballah, it granted power to the human Damballah until it was taken from him by Brother Voodoo. It then allowed the Set-spawn Damballah to possess Daniel Drumm's spirit, until it was exorcised by Dr. Strange, who then trapped Damballah within it.

 

--Strange Tales I#169 ([Dr. Strange II#48(fb)], Strange Tales I#169(fb), 170(fb), Dr. Strange II#48(fb), 48

 

 

 


images:
King Conan#3, p39
Avengers I#152, p27, panel 3 (eyes)
Dr. Strange II#48, p12, panel 1
    p13, panel 1
    p19, panel 1
Silver Surfer Annual#2, p61, panel 5


Avengers I#152 (October, 1976) - Gerry Conway (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks)
King Conan#3 (September, 1980) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks)
Dr. Strange II#48 (August, 1981) - Roger Stern (writer), Marshall Rogers (penciler), Terry Austin (inker), Allen Milgrom (editor)
Silver Surfer Annual#2 (1989) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)


Last updated: 09/04/10

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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