The Heliopolitans in Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica #1 (September 2009). Art by Kevin Sharpe
|First appearance||Marvel Tales #96 (June 1950)|
|Created by||Stan Lee (Writer)|
Werner Roth (Artist)
|Place of origin||Celestial Heliopolis|
|Notable members||See Members|
Characters based on ancient Egyptian deities were first mentioned in Captain America Comics #20 (November 1942), published by Marvel Comics' predecessor Timely Comics, in which Captain America and Bucky investigate the murder of Colonel Fitzpatrick, who was studying the Book of Thoth while stationed in Egypt. The Heliopolitans first full Golden Age appearance was in the story "The Terror That Creeps" by Stan Lee and Werner Roth, published in Marvel Tales #96 (June 1950), and involves a man that fails to convince the public that the Great Sphinx of Giza is slowly moving to the edge of the desert, where it will be empowered by Set and destroy mankind. The goddess Bast would later make her first appearance (as a totem) with the Black Panther in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966). Many of the other deities, including Horus, Isis and Osiris, were introduced in Thor #239 (September 1975). Khonshu, who became associated with Moon Knight, first appeared in Moon Knight #1 (November 1980). Joseph Muszynski argued in his book Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Marvel Comics that the introduction of Egyptian deities "excited our tendency to enjoy variety" as the pantheon contained multiple gods and personalities as opposed to the Judeo-Christian religions. Ed Strauss contended that Marvel was able to dive into ancient Egyptian religion because it "had long been retired into the realm of mythology" unlike Christianity.
The Heliopolitans were worshipped as deities by the inhabitants of the Nile River Valley from as early as 10,000 BC. According to Heliopolitan legend, the first of these were Gaea (as Neith), the Demiurge (as Nun), and Set. Neith and Nun sired Atum, the first of the Ogdoad — the old gods. As Neith went about creating mortal life, Set desired to destroy her creations. In turn, Neith called Atum for protection. Atum and Set fought for eons until Atum transformed into the Demogorge and drove Set off. After Set's defeat, Atum begot the Ennaed — the new gods, took the name Ra and settled in the sun.
The Ennead resided in the ancient city of Heliopolis until their king Osiris placed mortal pharaohs in charge so that the gods could become less involved with human affairs and relocated themselves to the extradimensional realm of Celestial Heliopolis. A few, including Bast, Sobek, and Sekhmet, choose to remain on Earth. Bast would eventually become the patron deity of Wakanda, while Sobek and Sekhmet became patrons of less influential African cults. The pantheon of Wakanda was later retconned as the Orishas, consisting of Thoth, Ptah, Mujaji, Kokou and Bast.
In Celestial Heliopolis, Seth murdered his brother Osiris in an attempted coup but Osiris' wife Isis, and his sons Horus and Anubis combined their powers to resurrect Osiris. Osiris then dispatched Horus to exact revenge on Seth in a battle that lasted for several hundred years, ending when Seth gained the upper hand and sealed the gods in a pyramid. The trapped gods remained in the pyramid for several millennia until they managed to reach out to the Asgardian god Odin. With help from Odin's son, Thor, they defeated Seth, severing his left hand as they battled, and freed the Heliopolitans.
The gods of Heliopolis, powerless and calling themselves "Lost Ones", joined Thor and Earth Force in fighting Seth and his forces again, and ultimately regained their powers after the apparent death of Seth.
- Anubis — The god of the afterlife
- Atum — The god of the sun
- Bast — The god of pleasure, poetry & dance
- Bes — The god of luck & probability
- Geb — The god of the Earth
- Horus — The god of the sun
- Isis — The goddess of fertility
- Khonshu — The god of the moon
- Neith — The goddess of the Earth
- Nun — The god of the watery abyss
- Nut — The goddess of the sky
- Osiris — The god of the dead
- Sekhmet — The god of war
- Set — The god of chaos and creation
- Seth — The god of evil
- Sobek - The god of rivers
- Thoth — The god of wisdom
In other media
The gods Bast and Sekhmet were both mentioned by T'Challa / Black Panther in the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Captain America: Civil War, with T'Challa explaining, "In my culture, death is not the end. It's more of a stepping-off point. You reach out with both hands, and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into the green veld where you can run forever." Bast is again mentioned in the prologue of the 2018 film Black Panther as having helped the first Black Panther become king of Wakanda.
Horus appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, voiced by Colin McFarlane. He is found in the Egypt area of Chronopolis and helps Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Thor fight an awakened N'Kantu, the Living Mummy while Captain Marvel works to free Hulk from the quicksand. After Loki is defeated, Horus sees to it that Loki puts right what he has wronged in Egypt.
- Captain America Comics #20 (November 1942)
- Marvel Tales #96 (June 1950)
- Panther God at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Anthony Flamini, Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente & Paul Cornell (w), Kevin Sharpe (p), Kevin Sharpe (i). Thor & Hercules: Encyclopaedia Mythologica 1 (July 2009), Marvel Comics
- Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966)
- Thor #239 (September 1975)
- Moon Knight #1 (November 1980)
- Muszynski, Joseph (May 7, 2017). Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Marvel Comics. Lulu. ISBN 978-1365686740.
- Strauss, Ed (March 1, 2017). The Superheroes Devotional: 60 Inspirational Readings. Shiloh Run Press. ISBN 978-1634099639.
- Orishas are deities from the Yoruba religion.
- "Black Panther's Sequel Could Bring a New Mythology Into the MCU". Archived from the original on 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
- "A Guide to the Myths, Legends, and Gods of Wakanda". Marvel Entertainment. Retrieved 2020-01-31.
- Thor #240-241 (October–November 1975)
- Thor #301 (November 1980)
- Thor #397-400 (November 1988-February 1989)
- Sum, Ed (May 27, 2016). "Identifying Bast and Sekhmet in Captain America: Civil War, The Black Panther Movie Lore". otakunoculture.com. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
- Armitage, Hugh (February 15, 2018). "Updated: 11 Black Panther Easter eggs and references to the wider Marvel world". Digital Spy. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
- "Characters". IGN Database. Retrieved 14 February 2018.