CHARON

Real Name: Charon

Occupation: Ferryman

Legal Status: Citizen of Tartarus

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of the existence Charon except as a mythological character.

Other Aliases: Charun, Karun (Etruscan spellings) 

Place of Birth: Unknown

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Erebus (father), Nox (mother), Aether, Moros, Hypnos, Keres, Thanatos, Momus (brothers), Hemera, Nemesis, Ponos, Limos, Usmine, Mache, Phonos, Pseudea (sisters), Ophion (alleged grandfather, deceased), Eurynome (alleged grandmother), Ouranus (alleged great-grandfather, deceased), Gaea (alleged great-grandmother)

Group Affiliation: The Gods of Olympus

Base of Operations: Tartarus

First Appearance: Arak, Son of Thunder II #12

History: Charon is a member of an extra-dimensional race of beings who were worshipped as gods by the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Charon is the son of the ancient primeval gods Erebus, god of day, and Nyx, goddess of night. Predating Zeus overthrowing the Titans, he was probably serving as a ferryman delivering the souls of mortals to underworld for millennia before Hades began governing the underworld. In fact, he has observed in one account set in the Hyborian age escorting the Cimmerian warrior known as Conan into the underworld. Silent and penitent in his job, he has only been negligent in this position on a few occasions as when Theseus, the Athenian King, and his best friend, Peirithous, leader of the Lapiths, paid their way through on their way to attempt to abduct the daughter of Zeus, Persephone. On his way to retrieve his beloved Eurydice, the Argonaut Orpheus tempted Charonís heart with a song and on his last labor, Hercules was also allowed to pass in order to seize Cerberus and take him to the world of the living. Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, was also allowed to pass through to consult the dead seer Teiresias and Aeneas, the wandering prince of Dardania, was also permitted to the Underworld to consult with the souls that had passed over into the afterlife. The Phoenician princess Psyche paid him for both passages across and back over the Styx while under subservience to Aphrodite. In the Eighth Century, he allowed the Native American warrior Arak into the underworld in search of the Centaur Chiron. Although silently centered on his job, he has broken his millennia of silence only once as Hercules returned to the underworld on his modern labors. Charon was ferrying Hercules and his companions, a cameraman named Jimmy and a film-maker named Robert, across the River Styx when Robert compared him to an animatronic puppet from the TV series, "Tales From the Crypt." It was only then that Charon broke his thousands of years of silence to curse Robert out and throttle him.

Although he has not been seen or perceived by mortal for several hundred years, Charon has encountered several earthly heroes including Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Batman, Kid Eternity, Aquaman and Percy Jackson, a young demigod, among others. During the "War of the Gods" events, Charon was mystically overwhelmed and defeated by Klarion the Witch Boy working on behalf of the sorceress Circe (not to be confused with the goddess of the same name). Briefly replaced by a mystical clone of himself loyal to Circe, Charon later defeated this doppelganger and cast it upon the waters of the Styx where it vanished.

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 325 lbs.
Eyes: (normal) Gray
Hair: (normal) Black

Unusual Physical Features: Charon often appears as a living, eyeless skeleton to mortal or a cadaverous figure to other gods or demigods.

Strength Level: Charon possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) almost 10 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Charon possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian gods. Like all Olympians, he is immortal: 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 Zeus or for a number of Olympian gods of equal power working together to revive him. Charon also possesses superhuman strength and his Olympian metabolism provides him with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Olympians' superhuman strength and weight.)

Charon has very limited abilities to practice magic, but these abilities are limited to altering his appearance or form to others. It is known that he can shapeshift his appearance and can appear as a normal balding man on Earth; otherwise, in Tartarus, he assumes the form of a skeleton in dingy, tattered, black robes. In some accounts, he appears as a thin, gaunt and cadaverous specter. Among other forms he has taken are that of a man with a gas mask, the driver of a hearse and the pilot of a Fokker fighter plane.

Comments: This bio describes Charon as he has appeared in Marvel Comics, DC Comics and "The Legendary Journeys."

In Etruscan Myth, Charon is called the son of Mantus (Hades) and Mania (either Persephone or Hecate), but this may be apocryphal.

The ocean goddess Eurynome is also mother of the three Charities (Roman Graces) known as Pasithea (wife of Hypnos), Euphrosyne and Aglaea (Roman Charis, second wife of Hephaestus) by Zeus. If the account of Eurynome as Charonís grandmother were true, the Charities would be his aunts.

Other ferryman gods in other pantheons include Mahaf of the Egyptian gods, Ursanabi of the Mesopotamian gods (possibly an Eternal?) and possibly Tuoni of Finnish myth. Ursanabi appeared in Captain America Annual#11 .

Clarifications: Charon should not be confused with:

Last updated: 01/13/13

Back to Main Page