Classification: Semi-humanoid extraterrestrial race
Location/Base of Operations: Cliffs in unidentified region of Africa circa the 15th and 16th centuries, at least (and possibly millennia before, see comments)
Known Members: None identified (believed to be extinct)
Affiliations: None (see comments)
Enemies: Bogondi (Goru, Kuroba, Loga, Nayela, numerous others unidentified), Solomon Kane,
Aliases: Harpies (see comments);
"bat-men," "creatures from Hades," "demons," "foul things," "human bats," "winged hellions of flesh and bone," "winged men," "winged things"
First Appearance: Weird Tales Volume 20, Issue 1 (July, 1932): "Wings in the Night";
(Marvel; pictured only) Savage Sword of Conan#20/2 (July, 1977)
(Marvel; identified) Savage Sword of Conan I#53/2 (June, 1980)
Powers/Abilities: The Akaana were winged, semi-humanoid creatures. Solomon Kane considered the creature to possess certain physical characteristics of bird, wolf, and ape.
Their leathery wings were strong
enough to carry their own weight as well as that of an adult human
without obvious strain. An Akaana could swoop down from the sky and great speeds, grab an adult human, and rapidly carry him high into the air. The peak speed, maximum height, and the duration for which they could fly without resting is unrevealed.
They had sharp talons on their hands and feet and large fanged teeth in their mouths.
Apparently of a non-mystical nature (see comments), they were not susceptible to magic staffs such as the Staff of Solomon. However, they were susceptible to swords, daggers, axes, and blunt trauma.
Traits: The Akaana have some degree of intelligent, mocking and tormenting their enemies. They spoke with each other, although the sounds were nothing like human language, and they had an "ogre-ish" laughter.
Carnivorous, the Akaana apparently
prefer the taste of human flesh, although they will feed on pigs and
presumably other creatures as needed.
Type: Bilaterally symmetric semi-humanoid avian to pteropine bipeds
Eyes: Two (on head; solid red color seen)
Fingers: Four (including opposing thumb)
Toes: Three anterior (forward-facing ) and one posterior (backward-facing)
Skin color: Varies (red, green, purple, gray, and blue seen)
Average height: Approximately 5'5"
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 (fb)) <Circa the 1440 AD> - After the Bogondi relocated to the region of the Akaana and built upper and lower Bogonda, they glimpsed the Akaana flying through the air.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Akaana initially prayed on children undiscovered, although the disappearances were appreciated.
Eventually a young warrior strayed off into the hills, and the Akaana slew and partially devoured him before dropping his mangled corpse into the Bogonda village. The Akaanas' "ogreish laughter" was heard by the villagers.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 (fb)) - As the Akaana grew bolder, appearing in broad daylight, a Bogondi warrior slew one of the flying creatures with his bow and arrow. The creature's death scream brought a score of the Akaana dropping from the sky, tearing the slayer to pieces in front of his tribe.
When 100 Bogondi attempted to
leave the "devil country," they sought a pass in the hills but instead
found the cliff dwellings of the Akaana. As the Akaana attacked en
masse, the Bogondi found their bows and spears futile before the
swooping of the taloned fiends. All Bogondi involved were slain.
The remaining Bogondi subsequently tried to escape the region via the way that they had entered, but they were blocked by a great horde of cannibals who fought them for nearly a full day and eventually drove them back, broken and defeated. Meanwhile, the Akaana circled overhead, "laughing their fearful mirth to see men die wholesale."
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2
(fb) - BTS) - The surviving Bogondi returned to their village, and the
1500 remaining tribe member resigned to their inevitable fate
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 (fb)) - After years of drought and famine, the Akaana attacked more frequently and savagely, nourishing themselves by feasting on the Bogondi.(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2 (fb) - BTS) <Late 16th century; see comments> - The people of Lower Bogonda eventually revolted, and the Akaana slew the entire population of that village.
(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2 (fb) - BTS) - One or more of the Akaana hurled a human victim to be impaled on a tall branch of a Baobob tree, far above where any human could climb or reach.
(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2
(fb) - BTS) - As part of their regular sacrifice to the Akaana, Goru tied a man to a tree.
(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2
(fb) - BTS) - The Akaana encountered and cruelly tore into the man tied to a tree,
removing both of his eyes, flaying his flesh, and generally mutilating
(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2 - BTS) - Having entered the region after fleeing cannibals, Solomon Kane encountered a village slaughtered by the Akaana (Lower Bogonda), after which he found the skeleton of the person the Akaana had impaled on the Baobob tree.
Kane subsequently found the unidentified, mutilated man tied to a tree as a sacrifice to the Akaana; before dying, the man told Kane of his torture by the inhuman Akaana, the priest Goru and his own brothers involvement in his being tied there, and vaguely referenced "wings" in terror.
(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2) -
Shortly after burying the Akaana's victim as evening arrived, Kane was
attacked by a cannibal. As they fought, however, an Akaana swooped
down, grabbed the cannibal and flew off with the man who screamed in
horror and/or agony.
(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2 -
BTS) - Having
caught only a glimpse of the creature, Kane connected the winged
creature, the slaughtered village, the skeleton in the tree, and the
mutilated sacrifice. He wondered why such creatures had not wholly
devoured the sacrificed man.
Kane slept that night in the
branches of a tree, reasoning the great branches should guard him from
the sudden swoop of a winged creature, while he would hear anyone
trying to scale the tree to reach him.
(Savage Sword of Conan#53/2) - As he slept, Kane felt something within the shadows watching him. He awakened to find nothing beyond a bird of prey's scent and a shadow high above, circling repeatedly like a vulture.
The next morning, Kane wandered out toward the hills by the slaughtered village, and as he heard the rush of wings, he turned and shot the creature in the chest, killing it. He then approached and inspected the creature, surmising that it had truly been watching him rather than his just dreaming earlier. As Kane was distracted with his considerations, another creature ambushed him, pulling him into the air before he could grab his pistol. The creature clawed into Kane's chest, but as it attempted to bite into his throat, he forced it back and -- realizing how high they were in the air and resolving to take the creature with him -- drew his dirk and stabbed the creature in the neck repeatedly. The Akaana then began to drop, and it and Kane fell into the forest below.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2
(fb) - BTS) - While the Akaana died, Solomon Kane was knocked
unconscious and presumably severely concussed and/or soon after
suffering from infection from the creature's claw rents, at least. Kane
was found by the villagers of Bogonda and brought to their village,
where he raved in delirium for many days. Impressed with Kull having
slain the Akaana and with his weapons and noting how the Akaana had
left them alone, the Bogonda implored Kane to stay with them and
protect them from the Akaana. They furthered noted that although it had
been more than a moon since Kane's arrival, the Akaana had avoided
their city. Kane agreed to stay and offer his protection, and for a
time the people of Bogonda lived in joy.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2) - As Kane slept one night, the Akaana attacked en masse, slaughtering the people of Bogonda.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 - BTS) - The mortally wounded Loga rushed into Kane's tent, alerting him to the assault.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2) - Grabbing his pistol and a torch, Kane rushed out to see the seen of the slaughter.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 - BTS) - In a mental flash, Kane realized (see comments) that the Akaana were the legendary harpies driven by the hero Jason, not only into the Strophades Isle...but into Africa as well.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2) -
Snapping out of his trance, Kane attacked the Akaana furiously with
pistol, dagger, rapier, and axe, futilely trying to save the Bogondi,
who mostly died like sheep. Although the Akaana ultimately fled his
furious assault, they carried with them the few survivors.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 - BTS) - The Akaana fed on their victims, whose blood fell down on Kane; as the victims screamed in agony, the Akaana laughed in demoniac triumph.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 -
BTS) - Vowing vengeance, Kane reinforced the hut of the witch doctor,
Goru, with thick layers of vine-bound bamboo. As lions moved into the
plateau, Kane regretfully slew the few pigs that escaped the lions.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2) - Fearful of Kane and deprived of the pigs as prey, the Akaana grew leaner as the weeks passed until they began flying the grasslands for antelope, at which point they fell prey to the lions. The desperate Akaana flew closer to Kane, watching him in the dark.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 -
BTS) - Kane slew a captured buffalo outside Goru's hut, slinging its
blood into the air so its scent would draw in the Akaana. He then cut
apart the buffalo and brought its parts into the hut, after which he
retired to a nearby wooden region and waited.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2) -
Apparently all of the starving Akaana soon arrived, drawn by the scent,
and they spoke in their strident, crackling, inhuman voices. Eventually
hunger overwhelmed their caution and, after they could not tear through
the hut's top, they entered the hut through its sole door to tear
ravenously on the meat. Kane then slammed the door shut, trapping the
Akaana within and then setting fire to the dead leaves he had piled
around the hut.
The hut soon burst into flames,
and the Akaana futilely slammed against the wall. Their horrid screams
were pleasurable to the vengeful Kane, although as the flames consumed
the hut, he appreciated that the scent was the same as that of burning
As the hut weakened from the
flames, a single Akaana tore through the room and took to the air, its
wings ablaze, but Kane fatally shot the creature, causing it to fall on
the hut, which collapsed.
(Savage Sword of Conan#54/2 - BTS) - Watching
to confirm no Akaana escaped, Kane felt as the severed head of Goru
smiled at him. Kane thanked his god for allowing him to overcome the
forces of evil.
(Savage Sword of Conan#20/2) - Solomon Kane recalled his encounters with the Akaana.
Comments: Created by Robert Ervin Howard.
Adapted to Marvel by Don Glut and David Wenzel...and then again by Ralph Macchio, John Ridgeway, and Al Williamson
Savage Sword of Conan#53/2-54/2 vs. (Sword of) Solomon Kane#6.
I prefer to consider the differences in the two adaptations to be artistic license. It's essentially the same story, with just some minor variation. the latter story just seeming to be a bit shorter and omitting some details.
The (Sword of) Solomon Kane#6 differs from the story in Savage Sword of Conan#53-54 (for whose story, you can see images in the comments section and below)
in the Night" occurred sometime after 1591, as it was after the death of
Sir Richard Grenville, according to The Trail of Solomon Kane and Kane... the
Avenger. Reference to "the year of our Lord 1559" (Solomon Kane #6,
1986) was probably erroneous.
The story and comic adaptations place the tribe of Old Bogonda leaving their home "a hundred and fifty years" before, so probably in the 1440s.
It seems like the numbers are somewhat questionable...perhaps a limitation of the adaptations.
Akaana vs. Harpies
I will do a profile on the various races of Harpies
in the Marvel Universe (for now, see the comments below and the
clarifications), but Kane came to
the realization in mid-battle that these were the Olympian harpies of
myth. This strikes me as Kane's assumption/conclusion, without any
actual confirmation. The "Kane...The Avenger, the Life and Times of
Solomon Kane" references the Akaana as the Harpies of classical legend,
noting that he had found them a bit different than the Greeks had
Even if they are descended from these harpies,
they are not the same creatures...especially since Harpies in their classic form still exist in the modern era.
The Harpies driven off by Jason were mystical beings, the spawn of minor gods, and so the fact that mystic staffs were of little protection against these creatures "of flesh and bone" argues against them being harpies.
I'll keep them separate for now. They could just as easily be descended from a number of winged races, such as the Man-Bats of Ur-Xanarrh.
Here's the quote from REH's original story, courtesy of Wolfram Bane:
"Among the swarm of native legends he had heard on his wanderings, one now stood out. Long, long ago, an old, old ju-ju man had told him, winged devils came flying out of the north and passed over his country, vanishing in the maze of the jungle-haunted south. And the ju-ju man related an old, old legend concerning these creatures—that once they had abode in myriad numbers far on a great lake of bitter water many moons to the north, and ages and ages ago a chieftain and his warriors fought them with bows and arrows and slew many, driving the rest into the south. The name of the chief was N'Yasunna and he owned a great war canoe with many oars driving it swiftly through the bitter water.
And now a cold wind blew suddenly on Solomon Kane, as if from a door opened suddenly on Outer gulfs of Time and Space. For now he realized the truth of that garbled myth, and the truth of an older, grimmer legend. For what was the great bitter lake but the Mediterranean Ocean and who was the chief N'Yasunna but the hero Jason, who conquered the harpies and drove them—not alone into the Strophades Isles but into Africa as well?
The old pagan tale was true then, Kane thought dizzily, shrinking aghast from the strange realm of grisly possibilities this opened up. For if this myth of the harpies were a reality, what of the other legends—the Hydra, the centaurs, the chimera, Medusa, Pan, and the satyrs?"
It was a realization Kane came to based upon tales he heard from Goru and "an old, old ju-ju man," but there was no concrete evidence other than the parallels in the two stories and the Africanification of the name Jason to N'Yasunna. I must wonder if "an old, old ju-ju man" was meant to be N'Longa.
Per the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#8: Appendix to the Olympian Gods: Harpies sub-profile (2009) : The harpies are a feminine race exhibiting human heads and avian bodies. Spawned from the minor sea god Thaumas and the sea nymph Electra, they were agents of death who stole food and snatched evil-doers, torturing them on their way to Hades or Tartarus. Champions #1 (1975)
Courtesy of www.ancient-origins.net:
The Harpies were mythical monsters in Greek mythology, having the form of a bird and a human face. They carried evildoers to be punished by the Erinyes.
Zeus had given the gift of prophecy to King Phineus of Thrace, who used it to uncover the secret plan of the god. Angry, Zeus blinded him and put him on an island, where there was a lot of food; however, Phineus could not eat anything, because the Harpies would steal his food before he could eat it. Years later, Jason and the Argonauts arrived at the island, managing to drive the Harpies away. The Harpies escaped to their cave in Crete, while Phineus helped the Argonauts by telling them how to pass the Symplegades rocks.
The Harpies were also seen as the personifications of the destructive winds. Initially, two harpies were mentioned; Aello (storm swift), and Ocypete (swift wing). Later, a third was added, named Celaeno (dark).
Kull the Conqueror I #2 (Ka-Nu tells
Kull men were not always ruled by men, but most of the demons, harpies,
wolf-people, serpent men are now mostly gone).
Marvel Tarot (mentions Chthon created Elderspawn known as N'Garai, Ape Men, Man-Bats of Ur-Kanarrh, Harpies, Goblins and possibly Nightgaunts)
The comic adaptations are almost perfect. Other than some minor details of the Akaana fleeing from Jason and the Argonauts, the comics were accurate adaptations.
According to what I see in superficial research, Wings in the Night was REH's last Solomon Kane story published during his lifetime.
This profile was completed 12/27/2020, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.
The Akaana should be distinguished from:
images: (without ads)
Savage Sword of Conan I#20, pg. 4, panel 2 (Akaana silhouetted against the moon);
#53/3, pg. 9, panel 4 (Akaana shot by Kane);
pg. 10, panel 2 (supine Akaana);
#54/4, pg. 1 (Kane fighting Akaana in the air);
story pg. 5, panel 4 (15th century, descending on Bogondi);
pg. (approaching hut/trap; walking/stance);
pg. (feasting, faces)
(Sword of) Solomon Kane#6, pg. 6, panel 6-7 (shadowed profile and close-up of face of Akaana attacking Kane);
pg. 12, panel (Akaana assaulting Bogonda);
pg. 13, panel 1-2 (Kane vs. Akaana);
pg. , panel 3-4 (Kane burning hut, and Akaana in flames)
Weird Tales Volume 20, Issue 1 (July, 1932): "Wings in the Night" - Robert Ervin Howard (writer)
Savage Sword of Conan#20/2 (July, 1977) - Roy Thomas (adaptation from original Robert E. Howard story; editor), Virgilio Redondo (penciler), Rudy Nebres (inker),
Savage Sword of Conan I#53/3 (June, 1980) - Don Glut (script), David Wenzel (art), Mark Gruenwald (associate editor), Lynn Graeme (consulting editor), Roy Thomas (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan I#54/4 (July, 1980) - Don Glut (script), David Wenzel (art), Mark Gruenwald (associate editor), Lynn Graeme (consulting editor), Roy Thomas (editor)
(Sword of) Solomon Kane#6 (July, 1986) - Ralph Macchio (script), John Ridgeway (penciler), Al Williamson (inker), Carl Potts (inker)
First posted: 09/01/2021
Last updated: 08/28/2021
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
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
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