Source indicated by color scheme: Dagda, Daevanator, Snood, Thor2000, Darc_Light.

The Star of Bethlehem and the Three Wise Men

Related profiles: Wise Man,Yazdi Gem.

Real World suggested references: OCTR, Wikipedia, Urban Legends Reference Pages

The Star of Bethlehem was apparently first depicted in a Marvel Comic in Bible Tales For Young Folk#1. That came out in August 1953 in a story by Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott.

Other explanations for the Star of Bethlehem: The Yazdi Gem;

Thor I#293-294, which established the idea that a previous version of the Asgardian pantheon (an idea much refuted since, even though Gaea herself confirmed it in Thor I#301!) presented the idea that the Star of Bethlehem was in fact the brilliant explosion that resulted from the destruction of this earlier Asgard in this earlier Ragnarok.

The Star of Bethlehem was also seen in The Life of Christ: The Christmas Story#1. In this version of the story, the Wise Men were served by a young boy named Terah in Persia. They met with Herod, and then went to see the baby Jesus son of Mary. Terah gave Jesus son of Mary his flute.

You know, if the Wise Men had not told Herod about the Star of Bethlehem, then he would have never known about it-and would never have ordered the slaughter of all those innocent children! Big mistake, Wise Men.

Lest I forget to mention this, in the Marvel Universe, the Jews are descended from the Hyborian Era people of Shem, of whom Belit was the most famous representative (from Giant-Size Conan#1, Savage Sword of Conan#107, Conan the Savage#2-4, Conan the Barbarian I#58-100, and Marvel Feature Presents Red Sonja#6-7.

The Christian Cross

Related profiles: Dracula, Mitra, Serpent Men of Starkesboro, Serpent Men (Spawn of Set), Sligguth, Varnae, Varney.

Real World suggested references: OCTR, Wikipedia

Reading the profile on Varnae, I just wanted to add some info on the cross. The cross is actually a pre-Christian symbol, having it's earliest (known) roots in the ancient worship of the Babylonian (Chaldean) god Tammuz, often represented by the symbol T, later altered to t. It can be found in many ancient religions, the Egyptian ankh being the most obvious, with cross-like symbols also appearing for Bel, Bacchus, even Odin. (The Cross in Ritual, Architecture and Art, By G.S. Tyack, London, 1900 page #1) It did not find it's way into Christendom until the 3rd century A.D., long after the deaths of Jesus and his Apostles.

There is a great deal of debate among scholars as to the actual tool of Jesus' death, the Greek word used, Stauros, was properly used to signify an upright stake, or pole (The Imperial Bible Dictionary by P. Fairbairn, Page #376 London, 1874). Another word used in the account was Xy'lon, meaning " tree, post, stake, beam, firewood" and several other types of cut wood, none of them being a cross shape. (Greek-English Lexicon by Liddel and Scott) In all likelihood, he was impaled upon an upright, armless stake.

Of course, as the profile brought out, it's the person's belief in the item, not the item itself. What was that horror movie with Roddie McDowell, where the vampire told him the cross was useless if you didn't have faith? Fright Night?

Actually, the reverse is the case for Varnae. For most vampires, the wielder of the religious artifact has to have faith, but in Varnae's case, the god invoked by the artifact must also have existed (or have been worshipped on Earth; at the moment I am not sure exactly which) at a time before Varnae became a vampire. So, the Pre-Cataclysmic gods (Valka, Chthon, Erlik [per CTB I#120], Crom [per CTB I#260], Anu [per Kull III#3], Jhebbal Sag [per Kull III#8-10], the Great Scorpion, Honan, Hotath, etc.) are anathema to Varnae. However, gods who only existed after Varnae became a vampire (or were not worshipped on Earth until after Varnae became a vampire) will not work against Varnae; this applies to Thor (as proven by Marvel Comics Presents #63) and the Abrahamic God (as proven by futile uses of the cross).

Anyhow, I'm not trying to start a debate, or upset anyone, I just wanted to point out the origins of the cross.

And a couple of notes about Varnae, in the Marvel Universe, didn't he spawn an entire race of vampires, which overwhelmed the world, just before the great cataclysm? I haven't read that issue in years, so I don't clearly remember.

Varnae did indeed start the spread of vampirism in the Pre-Cataclysmic world, as seen in Conan the Barbarian I #245. However, nothing indicates that these vampires managed to conquer the world. In fact, if you check most of the comics that depict the history of Atlantis and the Great Cataclysm (see below for a guide), you will find that, at the time of the Great Cataclysm-500 years after Varnae became a vampire-Earth was ruled by the Deviants, not vampires.

Varnae was also the subject of a play in Victorian times, several years before Dracula was written, it's in the Readers Digest book: Strange Stories, Amazing Facts, written around 1990?

I believe that you are confusing Varnae (a Marvel creation) with Varney (a vampire created in XIX literary fiction). Both have profiles here in the Appendix.

Yes, I was referring to Varney, sorry for the confusion.

Ah, Mr. King, I actually stumbled across some of the same information in some of my comments for the Mitra, Serpent Men, and Serpent Men of Stakesboro profiles.

In the Marvel Universe, the earliest known use of the cross was during the Hyborian Age, in worship of the god Mitra. An image of a Mitran cross appears in Savage Sword of Conan#141. Other versions of the Mitran cross, as seen on the uniforms of soldiers in King Conan#30 and #34, exactly resembled most modern Christian crosses. One of the first recorded uses of a cross against a vampire takes place in Savage Sword of Conan#141 when the Mitran priest Vitellus used a Mitran cross against vampires that Ymir had imprisoned ages ago in Vanaheim. has an extensive discussion of the Mitran Cross.

They mentioned in the letters page of some of the issues of Conan that came out after Varnae showed up in CTB I#244-245 that they might be doing a story where Varnae would battle Kull; however, Savage Sword of Conan, where the Kull back-ups appeared, did not last long enough for them to get around to it (to my knowledge).

The other other odd thing is that The Official Handbook entries for Dracula and Vampires stated that Varnae was the last survivor of the vampires of Atlantis. However, since then, vampires such as Verdelet and the Nosferatu (from the Bloodstone mini) have shown claiming to predate the sinking of Atlantis.

A list I have made of comics depicting the sinking of Atlantis:

I just picked up Conan Saga#95 recently, and in an article it reveals some intended Atlantis themed stories that were planned then canceled once Savage Sword of Conan stopped publishing in 1995. I thought I'd reproduce the relevant information, along with a list of comics depicting the sinking of Atlantis.

"When Atlantis sank, priests of Xotli fled to Ptahuacan [an island west of Atlantis] in flying ships powered by "vril"....In Mayapan to the west, Atlantean and Antillian renegades founded Mayapan, Zothique, and related by the Atlantean priest Klarkash-Ton". This paragraph from Conan Saga#95 reveals that Thomas intended to do a series of stories for Savage Sword of Conan incorporating the fantasy writer Clark Ashton Smith's stories for Savage Sword. However, he only ended up doing one such story in Conan the Savage#10, which introduced Zothique (and was possibly the chronologically latest Conan story).

As for surviving outposts of Atlantis, we find:

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