SALADIN

Real Name: Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayub

Identity/Class: Human conventional weapon user; Kurdish citizen (born in Iraq) @ 12th Century

Occupation: Sultan of Egypt & Syria
formerly: Ruler of Egypt for Nur ad-Din

Group Membership: Ayyubids Dynasty

AffiliationsAl-Adil, Black Knight (Eobar Garrington, possessed by Dane Whitman), Nur ad-Din, Shirkuh

Enemies: Black Knight (Eobar Garrington), Crusade leaders (Conrad of Montferrat, Leopold of Austria, Phillip II of France, King Richard Plantagenet),
Crusader (El Alemain), Nur ad-Din, Hashishin (Rashid ad-Din, Hassan Ibn Sabbah, Karna, many others), Izz Al-Din (ruler of Mosul)

Known Relatives: Al-Adil (brother), Al-Afdal (son), Al-Aziz (son), Al-Kamil (nephew), Ayyub (uncle), Az-Zahir (son),
Shirkuh (father), 14 other sons

Aliases: Righteousness of the Faith

Base of Operations: Damascus, Syria
formerly: Cairo, Egypt
formerly: Damascus, Syria
formerly: Tikrit, Iraq

First Appearance: Ideal II#4 (January, 1949); (Marvel) Marvel Comics Presents#52/3 (1991)

Powers/Abilities: He was a great leader whose merciful nature made him famous among Christians and Muslims alike.
He was trained in war strategies and armed combat with sword and shield. He was probably well educated in other areas as well.

 

History: (Historical) - Saladin was born into a Kurdish family in Tikrit, Iraq. For education he was sent to Damascus where he lived at Nur ad-Din's court for ten years. After military education under his uncle Shirkuh he became vizier (1169) in Egypt after Nur ad-Din's enemies were defeated. Two years later after the reigning caliph's death Saladin ruled over Egypt for Nur ad-Din, who died before he could oppose the growing threat by Saladin. Saladin was now Sultan of Egypt and was soon Sultan of Syria as well. In the following years he extended his territory westward the Maghreb, conquered Yemen and took over Nur ad-Din's old territory Syria, where he was welcomed in Damascus. In Aleppo and Mosul, the other big cities of that area, he wasn't welcomed, but he was able to get them under his control as well.
  Around the same time Crusaders bothered Saladin, but he hardly lost any battles against them and over the next years he took back all the cities the Crusaders had taken from the Muslim. The Third Crusade began and King Richard entered the battle against Saladin and his troops.

(Black Knight Comics I#2/4) - Saladin challenged the Crusader, a Saracen prince named El Alemain, who had joined the Crusaders after discovering that he was really an Englishman. Saladin was defeated by the Crusader in a quick battle, but could escape King Richard's knights and the Crusader.

(Marvel Fanfare I#52/1 (fb) - BTS) - Saladin gave his brother Al-Adil a sword as a gift.

(Marvel Fanfare I#53/1 - BTS) <August, 1191> - A message from King Richard concerning an exchange of Muslim prisoners for the True Cross (see comments) was brought to Saladin by a Saracen, who got it from the abducted Black Knight.

(Marvel Comics Presents I#73/3 (fb) ) <1191> - King Richard sent the Black Knight, controlled by Eobar Garrington, to kill Saladin before the Hashashin sent by their leader Rashid ad-Din could do the same thing. The first to arrive at his camp was the Black Knight and after a short fight against Saladin's guard Ishtar, Saladin faced the Knight on his own. With shield and sword Saladin battled the Black Knight in his tent, but when Saladin's sword was broken it seemed to be over. In the same second the Hashishin entered to kill Saladin and the Black Knight helped Saladin to defeat them. Afterwards the situation was the same as before, but Dane Whitman regained control over Eobar's body and spared Saladin's life because he feared to alter the future if Saladin wasn't alive to defeat the Crusaders. For failed assassination attempt Saladin kept the Black Knight prisoner for several weeks before ransoming him back to the Crusaders.

(Historical) - In 1192 King Richard and Saladin came to an agreement over Jerusalem. It was given into Muslim hands, but it was also open to Christian pilgrimages. In 1193 Saladin died in Damascus.

Comments: Adapted by (Atlas Comics) Stan Lee & Joe Maneely;
(Marvel Comics) Jason Balgobis, Russell Lyman & Dave Cockrum

It is unclear when Saladin gave the sword to his brother Al-Adil. The placing of this even after the historical info is without further reason.

There is no reason why the historical events shouldn't have taken place on Earth-616 like they did in real world's history. Read on for more historical trivia about people mentioned in this profile.

The Ayyubids were a dynasty named after the Kurdish military leader Ayyub from Armenia. Saladin was his nephew.

Nur ad-Din was ruler of Syria from 1146-1174. Nur ad-Din began to fear Saladin after he became Sultan of Egypt and seemingly planned a war against him, but Nur ad-Din died before this ever happened. Saladin never fought Nur ad-Din.

Al-Afdal, Al-Aziz and Az-Zahir were three of Saladin's seventeen sons. They all got their share of power after Saladin's death. (see comments in Al-Adil profile)

The True Cross is the cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified.

Izz Al-Din Masud was the ruler of the Iraqi city Mosul. After being defeated in 1186 he was allowed to continue his reign of the city after accepting Saladin as his overlord. As soon as Saladin was dead he attempted to start a revolt against the new Sultan, but Saladin's brother Al-Adil stopped him.

It didn't get through too well in the profile, but Saladin really was a good man. He was a merciful ruler and even in war he never raised his hand against civilians (unlike the Crusaders). Saladin was respected and liked not only by his own people, but also by his foes like King Richard. He was such a good person that when he died there wasn't enough money left to pay his funeral because he gave everything to those in need.

Most of the historical info was taken from Wikipedia.

On the true cross; Muslims do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, they believe that Allah cast an illusion and brought Jesus of Nazareth up to Heaven, fooling people.
 
Of course, all the alleged pieces of the true cross put together would amount to enough wood to construct a battleship.
--Doc Savage

I learned too late about Saladin's appearance in Black Knight Comics, but thanks to Greg Gatlin I got a short description for this appearance. Greg has a cool site about Atlas Comics you can visit under the following link: Atlas Tales. Later Per Degaton pointed out an even earlier appearance of Saladin in Ideal II#4 (also thanks to Atlas Tales).

The story in Ideal II#4 was named Richard the Lion-Hearted. It was a historical account of King Richard featuring Saladin and King Philippe II. I don't have a synopsis of the story, but with 34 pages it was the main feature in the comic.

I wonder if Saladin appeared a few more times in the Golden Age?
--Markus Raymond

Profile by Markus Raymond

CLARIFICATIONS:
Al-Adil should not be confused with:

  • Paladin, the mercenary, @ Daredevil I#150
  • Paladin Corporation, hired Elektra, @ Elektra II#28
  • Paladins, of Arakne, @ Knights of Pendragon II#6
  • Sala, Korbinite, @ Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill#2
  • Aladdin, robbed burial chambers of King Solomon's Tomb, @ Black Panther I#1
  • Aladdin, of Ultraverse, @ Hardcase#4
  • Alaeddin, lamp stolen by Alibar; mentioned only, @ Thor I#474
  • any other character with a similar name

images:
Marvel Comics Presents#73, p22, pan4 (Saladin body shot)

p23, pan3 (Saladin head shot)


Appearances:
Ideal II#4 (January, 1949) - Stan Lee (writer)
Black Knight Comics#2 (July, 1955) - Joe Maneely (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Fanfare I#52 (August, 1990) - Steven Grant (writer), Scott Hampton (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Marvel Fanfare I#53 (October, 1990) - Steven Grant (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Jose Marzan (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents I#73 (1991) - Jason Balgobis & Russell Lyman (writers), Dave Cockrum (artist), Terry Kavanagh (editor)


Last updated: 10/03/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
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