Prince Khufu lives during the reign of Ramesses II in the 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt. Khufu believes that his ka, or soul, will not journey on to the land of the afterlife. Rather, his soul and that of his betrothed, Chay-Ara, are fated to remain in the mortal world.
As prophesied by the wizard Nabu, a space ship landed in Egypt. Prince Khufu, Nabu, and the champion Teth-Adam search the desert, finally coming across the remains of a Thanagarian ship styled with a hawk-like motif. Nabu casts a spell translating the strange language of the female space traveler. Just before dying, she whispers the words, "Nth Metal", the name of the substance that powered the downed ship.
Teth-Adam lifted the ship back to Khufu's palace, where it was studied inside the Temple of Horus at Erdu. The remaining Nth metal was examined, and its most obvious property proves to be its ability to negate gravity. The remaining sample from the ship is melted and used to create several remarkable devices, including a scarab which allows Khufu to fly, a deadly knife, and a battle glove referred to as the Claw of Horus. However, the metal also strengthens the souls of Khufu and Chay-Ara, binding them together in their love and imprinting them with the collective knowledge of Thanagar. Although the villainous priest Hath-Set murders the two with the knife of Nth metal, their souls live on in the mortal plane. They are reincarnated over many lifetimes, always finding true love in each other. However, they are cursed to be repeatedly killed at the hands of a reincarnated Hath-Set.
From Khufu to Carter Hall
After his death, Khufu's soul is reincarnated countless times in markedly different eras and locations. Some of his known reincarnated identities have included:
- c. 1260 B.C., Ancient Egypt, 19th Dynasty: Prince Khufu Maat Kha-Tar & Chay-Ara.
- 6th Century, England: Brian Kent (Silent Knight) love of Lady Celia Penbrook.
- 14th Century, Germany (1483-1514): Koenraad von Grimm, son of a blacksmith.
- 15th Century, Japan (son of the samurai Ashikaga Bafuku): Unnamed; he had no memories of his past during this life.;
- 16th Century, England (1519-1631): Captain John Smith.
- 18th Century, United States of America: an unnamed Afro-American slave.
- 19th Century, United States: Hannibal Hawkes and Katherine Manser (Nighthawk and Cinnamon).
- 20th Century, United States (??-1917): James Wright (a detective with the Pinkerton agency) and Sheila Carr; they had no memories of their past in this life.
Eventually, the soul of Prince Khufu is reborn as Carter Hall, an archaeologist active during the 1940s. After regaining the memories of his first life in Egypt, Hall uses the hawk motif of the Egyptian God Horus to inspire his role as the original Hawkman.
During the same period, his love Chay-Ara is reborn as archaeologist Shiera Saunders. After the two meet and marry, she becomes Hawkgirl, fighting at Carter's side. They become founding members of the Justice Society of America, and Hawkman takes the role of chairman. The pair reduce their activities in the early 1950s but became fully active again in the early 1980s when Hall briefly joins the Justice League of America as a mentor. The two have a son, Hector Hall, who later becomes an incarnation of Doctor Fate. Just following the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, Hawkman and the JSA become trapped in a battle in an ever-repeating Ragnarok. Odin tries unsuccessfully to give this repeating Ragnarok to Dream as a trade, knowing that Dream had by this time selected Carter's grandson, Daniel Hall, as his successor.
- This character is a fictional representation of Khufu, a real person. More information on this person can be found at Wikipedia.org.
- Various of the facts depicted here are retcons; see Flash Comics #1 and Hawkman Annual (Volume 3) #2 for prior facts.
- 31 Appearances of Khufu (New Earth)
- 4 Images featuring Khufu (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Khufu (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Khufu (New Earth)
- Flash Comics #1
- Hawkman (Volume 3)
- Hawkman (Volume 4) #18
- This is mentioned by the Atom in Hawkman (Volume 4) #46 that a Hawkman incarnation became a Ronin warrior after one of the Chay-Ara's incarnations was killed by Hath-Set's incarnation. Various speculations can be made about this incarnation. Once that a Ronin is a former samurai; and a samurai was supposed to commit seppuku (a form of ritual suicide) upon the loss of his master, and Khu-Fu's incarnation in this period became a Ronin (chose not honor seppuku tradition), probably Chay-Ara's incarnation in this period could be the wife of a daimyo served by Khufu, with who he could or couldn't have a secret affair, and conjecturaly both daimyo and wife were killed by Hath-Set, or Chay-Ara's incarnation could be a female daimyo, what was very rare in Feudal Japan, but not absent (see http://yabai.com/p/4138); Hath-Set's incarnation in this age could be a rival daimyo.
- Hawkman (Volume 4) #4
- Hawkman (Volume 4)
- Hawkman (Volume 4) #27