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10 Egyptian-Inspired Comic Book Characters

posted on: Sep 7, 2022

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By Kimothy Wong / Arab America Contributing Writer

The characters in comic books frequently borrow from mythology. You’d be astonished to learn how many superheroes, including Hawkman from DC and Apocalypse from Marvel, were influenced by Egyptian mythology and culture.

1. Hawkman

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Several DC Comics heroes go by the name Hawkman, and each of them has dealt with Egypt at some point. Carter Hall, the first Hawkman, was a reincarnation of the Egyptian prince Khufu. The prince was killed after falling out with the priest Hath-Set. He uses the occult Egyptian Nth metal as a boon as he pursues revenge in the current era.

Other interpretations of the figure paint him as an alien or a guy who has an eagle spirit residing inside of him. The fascinating thing is that DC struggled a bit to distinguish between these backstories. At some point, each of them was associated with the original Carter Hall rendition. Therefore, the most frequent element in every Hawkman’s background is simply reincarnating from Ancient Egypt.

2. Hawkgirl

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Her male counterpart Hawkman frequently receives preferential treatment over Hawkgirl. The superb Justice League cartoon on Cartoon Network is the only significant exception to this rule. She played an extraterrestrial from Thanagar in that program. Hawk people are associated with Egypt in the comics.

The original Hawkgirl from the Golden Age was a princess from ancient Egypt. She and Hawkman were lovers who would later reconcile after a long period of time. Even Justice League used this concept in a handful of its episodes. However, the extraterrestrial version of Hawkgirl continues to be the most widely used.

3. Doctor Fate

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Actually, the Mesopotamian god Nabu is where Doctor Fate gets his strength from. However, Khalid Nassour, his son, is much happier with the Egyptian Pantheon. He is a superhero who is half-Egyptian and half-white and is regarded as DC’s first Muslim hero. He has minimal interaction with Nabu and instead receives guidance directly from the Egyptian gods.

Nabu is far vaguer with Khalid than she was with the previous Fate, who she overtly influenced. He could instead use spells that invoked the Egyptian pantheon thanks to his Pharaoh ancestry. He can manipulate space and gain power thanks to Thoth and Anubis’ respective abilities. He can even see the fourth wall now that Hauhet has granted him a boon.

4. The Phoenix Force

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The Phoenix is typically only associated with the villainous side of X-Men hero Jean Grey. But this mental powerhouse is so much more than that. Its name refers to the Phoenix, an Egyptian bird that emerges from the ashes stronger than before. It’s conceivable the fabled bird was named after it because of its psychological power.

Following a connection to Jean Grey, it made its comic book debut. When she made a connection with the afterlife, it intervened to save her and brought her back to life with much greater strength. The well-known Dark Phoenix Saga would result from this resurrected Jean. All passion, including ambition, manifests as The Force, yet not all passion and ambition are positive.

5. Black Adam

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Black Adam is an ancient Egyptian conqueror who reappears in the present day, much like Apocalypse. He is from the Egypt-like Kahndaq civilization, but he is more of an anti-hero. His Egyptian heritage is still extremely apparent, though. He receives his strength from the Wizard, like Shazam, but all of the gods he invokes have an Ancient Egyptian motif.

He possesses the might of Shu and the speed of Horus. His wisdom derives from Thoth, while his power comes from Amon (wrote Zehuti). Finally, Aten gives him his strength, and Mehen gives him his courage. Fans are eager to discover how distinct Black Adam’s strength is from Shazam’s when the movie comes out this autumn.

6. Apocalypse

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However, one person immediately comes to mind when thinking of Marvel mutants which originated in ancient Egypt. One of the greatest X-Men antagonists, Apocalypse is a fearsome force. Despite having been born in modern-day Jordan, En Sabah Nur is not Egyptian and continued to reside there. Even the aforementioned Ozymandias served as one of his generals.

Apocalypse believes that he is the demise of the contemporary human. He is the sign that will make mutants more prominent. Despite having a devilish outlook, it is easy to root for him because of his transformation from Egyptian slave to victor. He is regarded as the best X-Men foe and is frequently referred to as the original mutant.

7. Sphinx

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In relation to Ramses II, the Marvel character Sphinx worked as a magician in his court. After losing combat with Moses, Anath-Na Mut was banished from Egypt. This Fantastic Four adversary combines Jewish folklore, Egyptian mythology, and machinations akin to those of the ancient aliens. The Ka Stone, an ancient alien rock, gives him his abilities.

He gains immortality and superpowers from this Ka Stone. He ultimately becomes tired of being immortal and spends his time formulating intricate stories and puzzles. A second person, Meryet Karim, would later assume the title of Sphinx. But unlike the mutant from ancient Egypt, this character didn’t show quite as frequently.

8. Ozymandias

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One of the most complicated villains in comic books is Ozymandias from Watchmen. He had an infatuation with well-known ancient people ever since he was a young lad. Ramses II and Alexander the Great in particular. His name, Ozymandias, is derived from Ramses in Greek.

Like the leaders he idolized, he dressed in golden robes. Adrian is a skilled tactician, just like his namesake. Ramses II is regarded as the most powerful Pharaoh of Egypt, although Ozymandias is implied to still be fleeting in the well-known poem. The impermanence of Ozymandias’ scheme in Watchmen is the subject of this meta-commentary.

9. King Tut

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One of the silliest villains, King Tut originally appears in Batman 66. The character has since been developed further in the comics. He was once a professor of Egyptology, but after suffering a head injury, he starts to think he is King Tut. He often dresses up as a Riddler with an Egyptian motif to set puzzles for Batman to solve.

King Tut has all the typical Egyptological aesthetic accouterments. After all, one of the most well-known Pharaohs is referenced in his name. Having said that, it also implies that his character has a meta component. Tut was among the least important kings, therefore the fact that a supervillain would choose his name suggests that they are subtly criticizing the fetishization of Egyptian culture.

10. Moon Knight

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Doug Moench initially envisioned Moon Knight as the antagonist in a Werewolf by Night scenario. Fans deemed the character to be popular, therefore a return was requested. Moench made the decision to give the character elements of his fascination with Egyptian culture. Marc Spector, the ferocious fist of Khonshu, was consequently born.

Khonsu, a moon god in Egyptian mythology, is a protector of travelers. Moon Knight is a dark vigilante like Batman despite his usual portrayal as a kind guy. He shares the same lack of traditional superpowers as Batman. His dissociative identity problem was reduced from four personas to three thanks to the show adaption, which also gave him healing abilities.

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