Real Name: Hoda

Identity/Class: Human (African) magic user (1950s era)

Occupation: Unrevealed (possibly tribal shaman)

Group Membership: Bantu tribe

Affiliations: His zombies

Enemies: Waku (see comments), undead animals

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile in South Africa (see comments)

First Appearance: Jungle Tales I#2/2 (November, 1954)

Powers/Abilities: A member of the Bantu tribe, the maliciously ambitious Hoda knew a secret incantation which could raise the dead as zombies--the spell worked on both humans and animals; he displayed no other magic powers. Judging by his appearance, Hoda filed his teeth down to pointed fangs (either that, or he had a really lousy dentist).  Hoda was armed with a long knife that he carried on his belt.

Height: 5'8" (by approximation)
Weight: 150 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Bald

History: (Jungle Tales I#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Hoda is unknown, but he was a member of the Bantu tribe led by the young chieftain Waku.  At some point, Hoda learned a secret incantation which would allow him to create zombies.

(Jungle Tales I#2/2) - As a fierce storm began to cause the rivers to overflow, the Bantu village was threatened by flood-waters.  Waku saw that the only place of safety was north, near the Valley of the Dead, a forbidden burial ground of long-dead ancestors. Reluctantly, the young chieftain led his people through the jungle to seek shelter in a cave near the cemetery.  But the scheming Hoda wanted to kill Waku and usurp him as the tribal leader.  That night, as Waku stood guard, Hoda sneaked away from the cave and went to the burial ground.  He called upon the "gods of evil" and recited an incantation to raise a small group of zombies.  Hoda then led his undead underlings back towards the cave.  Hearing Hoda's shouted commands, Waku went to investigate and came upon Hoda and his putrid pawns.  Hoda ordered the zombies to kill Waku, but the young chieftain avoided the grasps of the cadaverous creatures and ran through the jungle--more concerned about the safety of his tribe than himself, the brave Waku led the zombies back to their burial ground and away from his people.

   Hoda watched as Waku eluded the zombies, for although they were tireless, the undead moved slowly and were no match for the quick and agile Waku.  Realizing that he needed more zombies, Hoda magically commanded for more of the dead to rise.  The earth trembled and stirred, and more of the dead arose...but this time, these were the dead of the jungle beasts.  To Hoda's shock, the undead animals began to attack his human zombies; Waku escaped while Hoda could only wonder why the beasts would not obey him.

   Outmatched by the beasts, the zombies returned to the safety of their graves, and the enraged animals, looking for fresh victims, saw only Hoda.  From a distance, Waku heard Hoda's screams, then saw the undead beasts crawl back to their own graves.  But Waku had known something about the burial ground that Hoda did not: These were the graves of the tribe's hunters, and the beasts slain by them.  When the beasts were brought back to life, the only thing they could do was attack those who had killed them...and the one who had disturbed their rest.  As Waku returned to his people, he knew there would now be peace in the Valley of the Dead.  

Comments: Created by Don Rico (script) and Fred Kida (artist)

Four months after this story was published, the Comics Code was in effect, which forbade (among other things) the use of zombies in comics.

Although his death was not actually shown, I guess we can assume that Hoda is kaput.  But I thought of a way to bring him back: Maybe as he was being killed by the zombified animals, Hoda recited his incantation to himself so he could return (a little worse for wear) as one of the undead.  He could be used as an enemy for the Black Panther and attack Wakanda with his own "legion of the unliving".

In regards to Waku: "Waku, Prince of the Bantu" was one of the regular features that ran in Jungle Tales, so he probably deserves his own profile someday, which is why I didn't include a sub-profile for him.  This is the only Waku story I've seen so far.

It was never specified exactly where in Africa this story took place.  The Bantu peoples inhabit a large geographical area stretching east and southward from "Central Africa" across the "African Great Lakes" region down to "Southern Africa," which encompasses several countries.

Nor was it specified in what time-period this story took place.  Waku and his people lived a primitive lifestyle, with no modern conveniences.  I'm assuming that this story took place in the year it was published, but it could just as easily have been a few centuries earlier.

I recently noticed in Marvel Atlas#2's profile for South Africa, in Prominent Citizens, it states: "Waku was a warrior chieftan of the Bantu in the early 20th century"--since this narrows down (a little) what country and what time-period Waku was based , we can therefore assume the same for Hoda.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Hoda has no known connections to:

Hoda's zombies

Unidentified and numbering at least seven,  in life, they had once been hunters.  They were resurrected as zombies by the evil Hoda for his scheme to kill the Bantu chieftain Waku.  They were driven back to their graves when Hoda resurrected some dead jungle beasts--beasts that the deceased hunters had previously slain.

--Jungle Tales I#2/2

Undead animals

A group of dead jungle animals resurrected by Hoda's magic, they included lions, rhinos, snakes, and gorillas.  The beasts attacked Hoda's human zombies because the zombies had once been the very hunters who had killed the animals; the unliving beasts then turned on Hoda, apparently killing him before returning to their graves.

--Jungle Tales I#2/2

images: (without ads)
Jungle Tales I#2/2, p4, pan1 (Hoda leading zombies)
Jungle Tales I#2/2, p2, pan7 (Hoda headshot)
Jungle Tales I#2/2, p3, pan8 (Hoda raising zombies from their graves)
Jungle Tales I#2/2, p5, pan7 (undead animals)

Jungle Tales I#2/2 (November, 1954) - Don Rico (writer), Fred Kida (artist), Stan Lee (editor)

Last updated: 08/22/17

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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