Real Name: Sagbata

Occupation: God of death, disease and pestilence

Legal Status: Exiled citizen of Ala

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

Other Aliases: Soponna, Sagpata, Shagpona, Shakpona, Baron Samedi, Baron Cimiere, Baron Cemetery,

Place of Birth: Unknown

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Lusa (father), Mahu (mother), Damballah, Eschu, Legba, Loco, Zaca, Gou, Maou, Ogun, Shango, (brothers); Ayaba, Faa, Erzulie, Avlekete (sisters); Akonadi (wife); Arom, Mukasa, Anaya, Kibuka, Tilu, Orinmila (brothers-in-law), Anansi (father-in-law), Nyambe (uncle); Asase-Ya (aunt), Obatala (grandfather), Odudua (grandmother),

Group Affiliations: The Loa (Gods of Africa)

Base of Operations: Iku, formerly Ala

First Appearance: Doctor Strange III #17

History: Sagbata is one of the twelve divine twins of Lusa and Mawu, members of an extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Orishas, who were worshipped as gods by the ancient tribes of Africa. Sagbata was worshipped as the god of death alongside his brother Damballah as god of the dead, possibly two of the darkest figures in the African pantheon of gods. Sagbata was constantly antagonized by and in personal competition with Shango, the African god of rain and thunder, who fought with Sagbata who frequently represented the personification of drought. 

In the Thirteenth to Fifteenth Centuries, Europeans began invading Africa and transporting members of the African tribes, particularly from the Yoruba, Fon, Ewe, Dahomey and Ibo tribes, to North America and abroad to use as slaves. Many Africans went willingly expecting life easier with their European masters providing them with food and shelter, but they quickly realized they were being treated solely as servants confined to a life of servitude and poverty. A few Africans were treated as free men with respect and courtesy from their masters, but several slaves were not treated that well. For solace, they turned to their ancient gods for guidance and combined elements from Roman Catholicism with their own pagan rituals to create the religion now known as Voodoo. Sagbata found more prominence in the religion of Voodoo than he had before in Africa. His worshippers carried tenets of his power through the Caribbean Islands, particularly Haiti, the southern rim of the United States and into much of Central and South America. As the Loa, or gods of voodoo, invaded parts of Eastern Mexico, the Coati, the Gods of Mexico, watched them with apprehension.

In 1642, an African free man named Alexandre who belonged to a young pirate named Captain Tyger was waylaid by Boute-Fe, an enemy of Captain Tyger. Boute-Fe took Alexandre’s body to an aged witch doctor named Schango (not to be confused with the African god Shango). Boute-Fe ordered him to create an army of invincible soldiers who would serve him only and follow his orders, and yet never rebel against him. Schango sacrificed Alexandre to Sagbata using spells that allowed the dead to walk but left them their own wills. Acting for Schango, Sagbata made a pact with the powerful Elder God named Chthon, who honored the pact for his own dark reasons, and gave Sagbata a spell to create a new race of slaves without free will. Sagbata then appeared on earth and added to Schango’s spells. Alexandre then rose from the altar as the first known zombie created from Voodoo.

From Sagbata’s spells, more zombies were created to serve Boute-Fe and he led his army of animated dead against Captain Tyger in Port-Margot in Haiti. The Loa lead by the god Legba tried to undo Sagbata’s spells, but were unable to because of the power of Chthon’s dark energies. Legba instead reached down to earth and gave Alexandre’s brother, Laurent, power from the Loa to confront Schango. Even endowed by power from the Loa, Laurent was not much of an adversary for Schango wielding Chthon’s power. Calling upon the spirit of his brother Alexandre, Laurent was infused with his brother’s spirit and with his added power and slew Schango. Schango’s death resulted in the destruction of all his zombies, and Boute-Fe soon fell to Captain Tyger’s sword.

Afterward, Legba petitioned with Nyambe, Chief of the Orishas, that Sagbata should be exiled to Iku, the African Underworld, for his complicity and pact with Chthon. Regardless of his exile, Sagbata’s spell still remained available to mortal hounguns (Voodoo witch doctors) and continued to endure on earth to be used by others. Modern hounguns and Voodoo priests call upon Sagbata under the name of Baron Samedi in order to conceal his presence from the other gods of Voodoo.

Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 450 lbs.
Eyes: Black
Hair: (Normal) Black, (Illusory) White 

Unusual Physical Features: When he appears on Earth or in other dimensions, Sagbata usually appears as a thin, gaunt figure with sullen facial features, but he has also been known to appear with a head stripped of flesh and no eyes with long deteriorating white hair.

Strength Level: Sagbata possesses the normal human strength of an African god of his size, height and build who engages in extensive regular exercises under optimal conditions; he can possibly lift (press) around 25 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Sagbata possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Loa or African Gods. Like all the Loa, he is extremely long-lived, but he is not immortal like the Olympian Gods. He has aged at a very slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any known conventional means. 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 godly molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god such as Nyambe, Ndriananadhary or Damballah or for a number of gods working together to revive him. Sagbata does have some form of superhuman strength and his own Loa metabolism gives him far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Loa flesh and blood is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the Loa’s superhuman strength and weight.)

Sagbata also has limited mystical powers to cast spells and alter his form. He has the ability to induce a physical death in anyone he touches and to take and imprison mortal energies (souls), and to animate the physical forms of his victims by verbal command, even if they are in a long dead or deteriorated state. If the soul of the person can return to his body within twenty-four hours, he can restore to life with little to no debilitating after effects. Sagbata can also create mystical dark energies that cause a condition identical to pestilence or a disease identical to small pox but far more virulent for normal mortal medicines. These effects can be cured by mystical means, such as from objects charged with positive mystical energies, or by calling upon deities with power over Sagbata, such as Nyambe, Shango or Legba. Sagbata can also create conditions in others similar to starvation and by repeating this spell push that victim closer and closer to their eventual death. If Sagbata is somehow incapacitated or rendered unconscious, his spells can be cancelled out or at least countered by spells of prosperity by gods such as Nyambe or even from other pantheons, such as Zeus or Odin.

Limitations: Sagbata is much more powerful in his own realm of Iku than he is on Earth or in other dimensions, such as Xibalba of the Meso-American Gods. In his own realm, he appears as a powerful young god, but on Earth and elsewhere, he appears as a frail old man with the desiccation of a deteriorating corpse. 

CLARIFICATIONS: Sagbata is not to be confused with:

·         Baron Samedi, AIM agent who created pseudo-vampires, @ Strange Tales I #171


UPDATED: 12/10/06