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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #34

Black History Month continues with today’s piece, giving a look at a vastly underrated character. At first, I too thought he was a bit of a joke, but I’ve come to see the light. This character is so great, that he most definitely needs his own series, and I most definitely want to write it. If Shaft had superpowers…

2/3/07

34. Brother Voodoo

Brother Voodoo 1.jpg

Who is the man
That would risk his neck for his brother man?
Brother Voodoo!
Can ya dig it?
He’s one bad motherf–
(Shut your mouth!)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout Brother Voodoo.
(Then we can dig it.)

Brother Voodoo, real name Jericho Drumm (sigh), created by Len Wein and Gene Colan, is one bad mamma-jamma. His solo “series” consisted of a handful of issues of Strange Tales and some back-ups in Tales of the Zombie. He’s one of those obscure Marvel characters that people are afraid to admit they dig. But I dig. You dig?

(Okay, I’ll stop now.)

Brother Voodoo 2.jpg

Doc Samson may be Marvel’s psychiatrist superhero, but Brother Voodoo (or Brother Voo, as I like to call him) is Marvel’s psychologist superhero. Yeah, there’s a difference. If you want medicine prescribed, call Leonard Samson. If you want a zombie infestation taken care of, call Jericho Drumm.

I think Brother Voodoo is weird and kinda cool, in a funny sort of way, and I thought I’d give him the spotlight for a day, for kicks. Little did I know I would utterly convince myself of the need for a Brother Voodoo series. Hell, I want to write it.

Brother Voodoo is sorta the black Dr. Strange, though not quite. Originally Haitian, he got his degree in the States and never believed in all that voodoo mumbo-jumbo until his brother, a voodoo priest, got killed and he was charged with visiting Papa Jambo, the Voodoo equivalent of the Ancient One, I guess. Jericho’s spirit was joined with his dead brother’s, and now he’s the bad mofo he is today.

He’s immune to fire and can control it. He can create smoke at will. He can mystically hypnotize humans and animals. He can summon the spirit of his brother to double his physical strength or to possess others so that they do his bidding. He’s Brother Voodoo, dangit!

He doesn’t appear much anymore, his last substantial role being in the latest, cancelled Gambit series, in an adventure taking place in New Orleans:

Brother Voodoo 3.jpg

There lies the crux of your series. Post-Katrina New Orleans. Zombies. Back alley mysticism. Haitian voodoo rites. Psychology. Brotherhood. A lone man, charged with protecting the world, learning things about the world he never suspected were true, all because he was gifted with the power of voodoo. How that for a storytelling engine? It’s perfect fodder for an ongoing, or at least a mini-series. Whaddya say, Marvel? I’m totally available.

Hey, Brother Voo even had an internet campaign for the presidency. With Wong for VP. You can’t go wrong! (Thanks to Polite Dissent.)

Even Fred Hembeck loves Brother Voodoo!

Brother Voodoo, Hembeck.jpg

You know you love him, too. Dig it!

Links:
Brother Voodoo on Wikipedia
Bro’ Voo’ on Toonopedia
His profile on the online Marvel directory

12 Comments

He does seem quite cool, but I have to say the ability to create smoke must be the lamest superpower of all time.

I love the idea of Brother Voodoo working in post-Katrina New Orleans. Isolate him from the Marvel Universe, no guest stars, no nothing, just a guy helping people with problems; always standing at the collision point between the mystic and the mundane. A low-budget Dr. Strange working out of a FEMA trailer. That would be awesome.

Bill, you really should write this. Pitch it to Marvel or call it something else and do it on your own. But I think it could really RAWK. Or swing, rather, as they say in N’awlins.

He’s also appeared in Black Panther multiple times, though he was helping Blade fight vampires in post-Katrina NOLA.

He’s living in Wakanda right now, until the SHRA foolishness dies down.

“I love the idea of Brother Voodoo working in post-Katrina New Orleans. Isolate him from the Marvel Universe, no guest stars, no nothing, just a guy helping people with problems; always standing at the collision point between the mystic and the mundane. A low-budget Dr. Strange working out of a FEMA trailer. That would be awesome.”

Hmm, if it was me I would I would have him using his voodoo powers to fight aliens and giant robots, but I guess I’d be the only one who would buy that book.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 3, 2007 at 11:50 pm

If you’ve got the Essential Tales Of The Zombie, there’s a hilarious promo piece/making of for Brother Voodoo.
If I had it in front of me I’d quote from it here, but it’s a beautiful piece of the promo ignoring reality.
With comments like ‘with a voodoo and blaxploitation craze sweeping the country, who else but the house of ideas could come up with the concept of a book about a black magician?’
There’s also a great part about how they wanted to have a magician but get away from Doctor Strange, and they took the name from a Roy Thomas idea when he was a kid, but was basically Doctor Strange, so they really wanted to make significant changes. A paragraph later the concept has evolved to being the Doctor Strange of Voodoo.
They even mention how Len Wein had a lot of trouble actually figuring out how to make the character work, until they came up with the idea of giving him a brother, who could also be doctor voodoo.

It’s really, really funny.

First of all, if I had the power to create smoke I would rule this town…!

Secondly…holy crap, what awesomely fantastic covers! Sigh, and then, unfortunately, look at the last one.

I’ll believe the Marvel brain trust wants more kids as readers when I see covers capable of attracting the eye again. I mean just look at that ST #169 cover! Is that beautiful! Cripes!

I don’t judge a man by the color of his skin, I judge him by how well I can see him in the dark when he smiles on the cover of Gambit #9.

“First of all, if I had the power to create smoke I would rule this town…!”

Bonfire maybe?

Bonfire!

Thanks, Dan. You’ll sit at my right hand, when this is all over.

“Thanks, Dan. You’ll sit at my right hand, when this is all over.”

Who’s to say I wont usurp your power by starting my own, slightly larger, bonfire?

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Fred Hembeck got to you!
How can the first super-hero named in this column for the Black History month not be BLACK PANTHER?

Too obvious?
Did the Brother cast a spell on you?

Fred Hembeck even drew a Brother Voodoo story for Marvel Superheroes Spring Special #1 back in 1990. With serious non-cartoony art!!! It’s the only time I’ve ever seen Hembeck draw that way.
(I’m not wild about the story, though. It’s all about Jericho using voodoo to rape a girl, and then having to suffer for it.)
But hey!– Now he’s the new Sorceror Supreme! He’s got to get some attention now, huh?

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