ANANSI

Real Name: Kwaku Anansi

Occupation: God of wisdom and culture, vizier to Nyambe, former Chieftain to the Ashanti

Legal Status: Citizen of Ala

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence of Anansi except as a figure in African religion.

Other Aliases: Ananse (Ghana name), Ori (Yoruba name), Ikenga (Ibo name), Nambo-Nansi (Voodoo name), Bingo (Bantu name), Yi , Yiyi (Zambezi Name), Arebati (Bambara name), Spider-God, Trickster-God,

Place of Birth: Unrevealed, possibly somewhere in Dahomey (modern Benin)

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Nyambe (father), Mboya (mother, possibly deceased), Asase-Ya (step-mother), Otoyum (foster father, deceased), Mmoboro, Onini, Osebo (brothers), Mmoatia (sister/wife), Arom, Mukasa, Tana, Kibuka, Tilu, Orunmila (sons), Akonadi (daughter), Sagbata (son-in-law), Anaya (grand-daughter), Mbungwe (maternal grandfather, deceased), Sekume (maternal grandmother, deceased)

Group Affiliations: The Orishas (Gods of Africa)

Base of Operations: Ala (African Heaven)

First Appearance: (name only) Action Comics I #521, (unidentified) Thor I #398, (actual) Amazing Spider Man II #48

History: Kwaku Anansi is the son of Nyambe, the chieftain and sky-god of the Orishas, an extra-dimensional race of beings who were worshipped as gods by the Africans, and Mboya, a mortal woman. In ancient times until the present-day, the Orishas have been worshipped as gods by the people of Africa. From among the Orishas, a group of gods known as the Loa became the deities of Voodoo. Collectively, the Orishas and the Loa are sometimes referred to as the Vodu.

According to the myths of the Bantu tribes of Africa, Anansi had been tossed to Earth by his father during a quarrel with his wife, Asase-Ya, over his infidelity with Mboya, who might have been the daughter of a chief. On Earth, Anansi was raised by Otoyum, a Bantu shaman (medicine man), and eventually became a chieftain of the Dahomey tribes in the region that would become modern-day Ghana. He had powers above normal mortals such as the ability to swing through the trees as a human spider. One day, he decided to climb higher than any one else had ever climbed until he reached the sky and found he could climb the sky on a celestial web into heaven where he met Nyambe, ruler of the African Gods. Anansi wished to take back something from heaven to prove he had climbed so far and asked to take back the stories, wisdom and secret spells of heaven, but Nyambe asked for something in return for such a gift. Anansi pledged to serve the god for all of his life as Nyambe allowed him to take the secrets to Earth.

Anansi used the secrets to teach his people to be civilized and to farm the earth. He introduced day and night. On one of his adventures, a great serpent soon swallowed him and all his sons rushed to save him, but as soon as he was released, a great bird carried him off. His six sons again rescued him. Grateful, Anansi wished to reward his sons with a great gift, but he could not decide among whom showed the most courage. According to myths, Anansi, unable to decide, returned to Nyambe for advice, and Nyambe took the gift himself, which was said to be the sun, and hung it high in the sky for all mortals to see and share.

After accomplishing everything he could do on earth, Anansi eventually ascended to heaven for one last time. Before he left, he instructed his sons and his children to spread stories of his achievements across the land and even the world so that all would know he once existed. As a god, he served a useful role arbitrating his wishes to the other African Gods and as a representative to the other rulers of the other gods of mortals such as Zeus and Odin. He also served as his fatherís emissary to Earth. At some time in the past, he gave a totem of power to Tantu of the Ashanti tribes, to help protect mortals from evil. The amulet passed down through worthy members of Tantuís descendants. In recent years, Tantuís descendant, Mari Jiwe-McCabe, uses the amulet as Vixen, a member of the Justice League of America.

While in service to his father, Anansi was present with Nyambe as they both heard the primal scream of the Enchantress over the death of Heimdall, slain during the battle with Seth invading Asgard, the home of the Norse Gods.

Eventually, a young adventurer named Ezekiel Sims tracing the legends and lore of Anansi used his wealth and resources to research the legends of Anansi into locating a Spider-Temple in Peru which had possibly been at the center of Anansi's cult by his worshippers brought to South America as slaves. Rescuing it from demolition by developers, Ezekiel had it restored and demanded that its head priest, Miguel, to perform the rites and bestow the powers of the spider upon him. Miguel warned him that the true heir of the generation to receive the enchantments had yet to arrive, and furthermore, that the spirits of the temple would one day learn of the deception and would exact vengeance. Ezekiel insisted, always planning for more power to protect himself, and used his power to gain great wealth for himself. Realizing his time for atonement was coming, Ezekiel befriended Peter Parker (Spiderman) as a mentor, but was instead intending him to fight on his behalf. However, in befriending Peter, Ezekiel realized how much good he had performed as Spiderman in comparison to himself who had squandered his gifts. When Anansi's wrath reached out to Peter in Ezekiel's stead, Ezekiel jumped forth himself to sacrifice himself to save Peter.  

Anansi is still a prominent deity in both African religion and folklore, having been brought to the United States by Africans through the 16th to 18th Centuries. It is believed he rallied the African gods as Amatsu-Mikaboshi, the Japanese god of evil led a recent attack on the gods of Earth, but his activities as recent are unknown.

Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 354 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: None (Brown in his youth)

Strength Level: Anansi possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) 25 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Anansi possesses the conventional physical attributes of the African gods. Like all Orishas, he is exceptionally long-lived, but he is not immortal like the Olympian gods. He has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If he were somehow wounded, his godly life force would enable him to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Nyambe or for a number of African gods of equal power working together to revive him. Anansi also possesses superhuman strength and his Orishas metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Orishas flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the African gods.)

Anansi is also particularly more agile and limber than most of the Orishas, giving him great gymnastic and aerobic ability which he can use in overpowering almost any foe. He is incredibly quick and limber, enabling him to seemingly vanish and disappear at will into his surroundings. By inducing a brief trance in his witnesses and then slipping away, he can seem to teleport from view. He can bound and leap over incredible distances, possibly no more than a few city blocks, thus allowing him to cover great distances in a matter of minutes. With his godly senses, he can perceive his surroundings much quicker than normal to be aware of what is happening around him even at a subconscious level.

Anansi also has certain undefined abilities to tap into and manipulate mystical energies, but he is no where as powerful as such gods as Nyambe, Shango or Damballah. His powers seem to be almost entirely in the peripheral range, allowing him to perceive and ascertain  knowledge and clairvoyant visions. He can mentally send and command messages to control other individuals and creatures, such as a whole horde of spiders or even a god such as Sagbata. The full scale of his powers are unrevealed.

Comments: This bio describes Anansi as he has appeared in Marvel and DC Comics. The Marvel story of Anansi obviously employs the traditional story of Kwaku Anansi as a mortal who ascended to heaven. A few mythological texts, however, describe him as one of the gods themselves so this bio gives him characteristics as a demigod silimiar to Hercules, Asclepius or Helen of Troy. In Egyptian myth, Osiris was also described as a god-king.

According to Spidermanís mentor, Ezekiel, in the Marvel Universe, Anansi started the tradition of human totem-spirits prevalent through the African, Egyptian and North American Pantheons. Of these, Spiderman is just one in a long line of animal totems.

Anansi stories also occur in the tales of African-American legend where they are often referred to as ďAunt NancyĒ stories.

Curiously, Anansi's totem as a spider also occurs in that of Athena, in perspective to the story of Arachne; both Athena and Anansi are gods of wisdom.

Last updated: 01/13/13

 

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