Real Name: Sabia
Identity/Class: Human (Hyborian Era) magic user
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Man-Dragons, Toroa; possibly Damballah (she invokes his name suggesting he is her god, but there is no evidence of him responding)
Enemies: Captain Neth-At, Conan, displaced Stygian swamp dwellers.
Known Relatives: Toroa (relation unknown, see comments)
Aliases: Bride of Damballah, Sorceress of the Swamp
Base of Operations: Swamp land along the Viper River inbetween Harakht and Attalus, known as "Viper's Head", Stygia, Hyborian Era
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#82 (January, 1978)
Powers/Abilities: Sabia is a sorceress with mystical powers. Her only demonstrated powers were enchantments and charms, both of which were used against Conan; the charm temporarily held him in a state of paralysis and ordered him to answer the "Call of Damballah." When she ordered it he was forced to arrive and her village Isle and witness the "Dance of the Skull". Her dancing along with Toroa's Juju magic turns men into half man/half alligator type creatures called Man-Dragons. The full extent of her powers will never be known.
History: (Conan#82 (fb) - BTS) - Sabia and her partner Toroa began a campaign to drive out or kill the Stygians living around Viper's Head.
(Conan#82) - Conan was returning from Attalus to Harakht, the Hawk City, when he encountered a beautiful brown-skinned woman in the jungle. She asked why he was riding so late in the outlands. The woman told him that her brother had a hurt leg and could not walk, and that she was lost. She asked Conan to come with her to check on her brother and he agreed, although he knew deep down there was no injured brother. His uneasy feeling were due to the fact that the lady had cast a mild enchantment over him. Conan's strong will helped him snap out of it, but not before he was led into a trap and attacked by three armed Kushite men, whom he quickly defeated. The woman escaped.
Conan later met a Stygian soldier in the same swampy area, named Captain Neth-At, the apparent leader of a group of swamp dwelling Stygians. He learned from Neth-At that the woman was one of a pair who sought to eliminate the Stygians in Viper's Head. Conan also learned from him that her name was Sabia. Neth-At explained that Toroa was the second half of the threat. Conan decided to help Neth-At and set out to find Toroa, but found Sabia instead. Conan was determined to get some answers from her, but she put a charm on him. He was paralyzed, and the charm was then accompanied by an order to return to the woman's village Isle, where later that night he would witness the "Dance of the Skull". Sabia told Conan that he would scream for death at that time. Before the paralysis passed from Conan, Sabia ran off again and shouted, "So speaks the bride of Damballah".
(Conan#83) - Conan, now under Sabia's dangerous charm, met with Neth-At again, but before long he was drawn to return to the village Isle of the witch-woman, proving the charm was working. Along the way Neth-At spotted someone is the swamp and fired an arrow that hits it's target in the chest. His target turned out to be Sabia, but Neth-At was suddenly drawn into the water, where he was attacked and killed by an unknown creature. Conan pulled the dead body of Neth-At from the swamp and continued toward his predetermined doom. Along the way he found blood where Sabia had been standing, but no body, which meant Sabia is still alive.
Conan arrived at the village and saw Sabia engaged in a wild dance while Toroa stood over a Kushite moaning on the ground before him. Locked in the strong spell of Sabia's charm, Conan was forced to watch the dance. After a few moments Sabia keeled over and landed headlong into the ground, the arrow shot earlier by Neth-At finally accomplishing it's purpose. Under closer observation Conan saw that most of the shaft of the arrow had been removed, but a small portion was still protruding from her chest. With her death, the enchantment controlling the barbarian ended.
Comments: Adapted from the story "Black Canaan" by Robert E. Howard, written and edited by Roy Thomas, pencilled by Howard Chaykin, inked by Ernie Chan.
In Conan the Barbarian#82, Neth-At explained that no one knows "whence" Toroa came, but he arrived with Sabia. Neth-At was also unaware if Sabia was the wife, sister, daughter or some other relation to Toroa.According to REH.world and other sites, "Black Canaan" was written by Howard in latter 1933 and eventually published in the June 1936 issue of Weird Tales. It was set in the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas junction region and was a re-write of the rejected "Kelly the Conjure-Man," inspired by the local legend from Holly Springs, Arkansas, where REH's grandfather William Benjamin Howard had settled. REH wrote that original story following some encouragement from H.P. Lovecraft.
Profile by Nemedian Chronicler.
Sabia has no known connections to
Toroa has no known connections to
The Man-Dragons have no known connections to
Man-Thing, Ted Sallis, who also lives in a swamp--Savage Tales I#1
Man-Serpents, spawn of Set--REH’s The God in the Bowl; Conan the Barbarian I#7
Dragon Man, the creation of Gregson Gilbert,--Fantastic Four I#35
Dragon Man, Draco--Spider-Man: Invasion of the Dragon Men
Dragon Men, robot agents of Draco--Spider-Man: Invasion of the Dragon Men
any other people with Dragon or Man in their names
The apparent leader of a group of exiled Stygians that live in the swamp in an area known as Viper's Head. Neth-At unknowingly saved Conan's life just before his own demise.
Toroa was a witch-man bent on total control of Viper's Head and willing to kill to get it. He was skilled in a powerful form of dark magic called Juju. He was cast out of the fabled city of Kheshatta, for practicing this magic. When Conan searched for Toroa, the witch-man protected his vacant hut with a Juju spell, but Conan was wise enough to know not to enter the hut, because he knew how they were protected. Toroa's most dangerous magic, combined with Sabia's "Dance of the Skull" turned men into Man-Dragons. After Sabia died, Conan tried to kill the dangerous Toroa. He quickly realized Toroa was not as skilled with a sword as he was with Juju magic, and soon killed the witch-man..
Before Toroa's death he ordered a group of half man/half alligator creatures in the swamp called Man-Dragons to strike down his enemies. They attacked Conan, but he quickly defeated a few of them and escaped the water.
These creatures were a product of an unholy union between a Juju spell cast by Toroa and a dance called "Dance of the Skull" performed by Sabia. A subject being punished had a charm placed on them, which prevented them from running. They were then forced to witness the "Dance of the Skull", as the night wore on the victim slowly began to transform into a half man/half alligator creature. They were quite strong and agile swimmers. They were also forced to obey the orders of their master. After Toroa's demise, it is unknown what became of the creatures, but many continued to existed beyond Toroa's death.
Conan#82, p27, pan 1 (Sabia top image)
Conan#82, cover (Sabia second image)
Conan#82, p14, panel 7 (Neth-At)
Conan#82, p16, panel 1 (Toroa)
Conan#83, cover (Man-Dragons)
Conan the Barbarian I#82-83 (January - February 1978) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Howard Chaykin (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks)
Last updated: 09/09/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com/
Back to Characters