Real Name: King Jerald
Identity/Class: Extra-Dimensional (Earth-7511/Fragmented America) human mutate
Occupation: Ruler of Kingdom of Grand Rapids; former mentor to a group of disciples
Group Membership: Kingdom of Grand Rapids
Affiliations: Iron Man (Tony Stark) antagonist/associate; Raga, Cynthia Chong, and several others
unnamed (former pupils);
Death Squad (Man-Bull, Melter, Whiplash), Firebrand (Gilbert), Mad Thinker, Mandarin, MODOK, Yellow Claw (former pawns);
Enemies: Baron and Baroness Rockler, Lord Professor Teller (Earth-7511), Dr. Doom, Firebrand (Gilbert), Fu Manchu, Red Skull (Shmidt)
Known Relatives: Susan (daughter)
of Operations: Grand Rapids, Earth-7511;
formerly a meditation school in India;
the location of his later base was not specified
First Appearance: Iron Man I#53 (December, 1972)
Powers/Abilities: The Black Lama possessed a variety of abilities, including telepathy, teleportation, and the ability to either project images or become immaterial. His Golden Globe of Power was an interdimensional transporter, which he used to travel between Earths. He was insane, and given to erratic and inconsistent behavior. He suffered from delusions that could upset his concentration at crucial moments.
As King Jerald he retained his normal sanity, but lacked any superhuman powers. He is quite wealthy.
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 167 lbs.
History: (Iron Man I#80 (fb)) - Jerald is an alternate dimensional counterpart of former US President Gerald Ford. In his reality (that of Earth-7511), he was second-in-command of the Kingdom of Grand Rapids. When the King (...pssst...Richard Nixon...shhh, don't tell anyone) was forced to abdicate the throne and hide in shame for certain improprieties; Jerald assumed the crown. However, he was not prepared for the mantle of leadership, and the pressure proved too much for him. He sought to take a break and temporarily escape from his duties by using his interdimensional transporter to travel to Earth-616. However, once there, he was overcome by a madness that caused him to assume another identity, that of the Black Lama.
(Iron Man I#53(fb)/74(fb)) - The Black Lama, unwilling to return to Earth-7511, sought to train a replacement. To this end, he quietly organized a group of disciples to train in the occult arts, based out of a meditation school in India. Among these disciples were Cynthia Chong, agent J5-T8 of AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), and the man who would become Raga, Son of Fire. This period of training allegedly took years and was done under the auspices of creating an army which would act in unison and take over the world.
(Iron Man I#52 - BTS, 53) - Raga acted alone in attacking Iron Man, and disrupted the harmony of the group of disciples. The Black Lama first made his appearance known to the rest of the world, and observed Raga's struggle against Iron Man. Iron Man attacked the Lama, but his attacks passed harmlessly through him. After Raga's defeat, the Black Lama abandoned him and the rest of the disciples.
The Black Lama came upon the idea of pitting the super-villains of Earth-616 against each other, in order to choose the most powerful and/or ruthless replacement for himself on Earth-7511. He used the Globe as the prize for the victor, claiming it to be a source of great power and inner peace. By this time, his madness had progressed to the point that Jerald was a helpless prisoner within his own mind.
(Iron Man I#69 - BTS, 70-71) - The Black Lama's challenge began, and the Yellow Claw defeated the Mandarin. Iron Man attacked the Yellow Claw (and the Black Lama) again to no avail, as he escaped.
(Iron Man I#72) - The Black Lama directed the Death Squad (Man-Bull, Melter, Whiplash), who were robbing a comic book convention, to attack Iron Man, who was also present, posing as a collector wearing an Iron Man costume. The Lama also mentally directed the other costumed collectors to attack Iron Man as well. When Iron Man defeated his attackers, the Lama attempted to attack him with a scimitar. However, the Lama fled when his cloak caught on fire after being blasted by the Melter, who didn't want anyone else to take the honor of killing Iron Man.
(Iron Man I#74 (fb)) - The Black Lama's challenge was turned down by Dr. Doom, the Red Skull, and Fu Manchu, who saw it and him as beneath them.
(Iron Man I#74-75) - The Black Lama directed MODOK against the Mad Thinker. MODOK appeared victorious initially, but actually only defeated an android of the Mad Thinker. The Lama then sent MODOK after the Yellow Claw, who defeated him. Iron Man's armor was controlled by the Mad Thinker during these conflicts, but he broke free with the aid of Marianne Rodgers, who appeared in the form of the Black Lama's daughter, Susan.
(Iron Man I#77) - Iron Man defeated the Mad Thinker (a fact unknown to the Black Lama who sent the Yellow Claw against the Thinker). The Yellow Claw battled Iron Man instead, but soon fled from his superior physical power. Meanwhile, Firebrand, who had escaped from prison alongside the Mad Thinker, arrived at his base, seeking his aid against Iron Man. Firebrand found Iron Man in the Thinker's base and succeeded in defeating him, primarily because he was weak from his series of recent battles.
The Black Lama proclaimed Firebrand the winner of the struggle, of which he did not even realize he was a part. The Lama then used his Globe to open a portal back to his realm, and brought himself and Firebrand through it. Iron Man awakened in time and leapt through the portal before it could close.
(Iron Man I#80-81) - Upon returning to Earth-7511, the Black Lama regained his wits. They returned to his kingdom in Grand Rapids, but were ambushed by the soldiers of Baron Rockler (...Rockefeller...?), who had planned to take over his throne in his absence. King Gerald revealed himself and the true nature of the Black Lama to Firebrand and Iron Man, and sought their aid against Rockler. However, Firebrand decided he wanted to try his hand at ruling, and joined Rockler's rebellion against King Jerald.
Baron Rockler was poisoned by his own wife, the Baroness Rockler, who then took over the leadership of the rebellion and sent a squadron of Nulatrons after King Jerald. Iron Man, wishing only to return Firebrand (the sister of his girlfriend, Roxanne Gilbert) to Earth intact, assisted King Jerald, defending him and his daughter, Princess Susan, from the Nulatrons and Rockler's army. Firebrand joined forces with the Baroness Rockler and piloted a large dragon-like robot after Iron Man, Jerald and Susan. Iron Man succeeded in destroying the robot, but he and Firebrand were both then swept away by the same madness which had affected Jerald on Earth-616. Iron Man overcame the madness in time to stop himself from killing Firebrand. King Jerald used his Golden Globe to return the two to Earth-616.
Comments: Created by Mike Friedrich and George Tuska.
The Black Lama was the "mastermind" behind the War of the Super-Villains, the storyline which ran through Iron Man I#69-81 (off-and-on as it was interrupted by reprints and fill-ins). Firebrand turned out to be the winner.
These stories also featured the short-lived mask of Iron Man which had a nose.
The Black Lama's madness (and subsequently Firebrand's and Iron Man's madness) was supposedly caused by an upset of the exact material balance caused by a being from one dimension occupying space in another. Since this rarely causes a problem with other inter-dimensional travelers, I'd have to blame it on some inherent difference between the two Earths, or some other unexplained phenomenon.
Thanks to Al Sjoerdsma for explaining that the illusionary form of Susan that aided Iron Man on Earth was actually Marianne Rodgers. This was revealed in the last panel of Iron Man I#81. I had missed that.
Black Lama has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1970's Handbook.
Profile by Snood
Clarifications: The Death Squad has no known connection to:
Iron Man I#53 (December, 1972) - Mike Friedrich (writer), George Tuska & Jim Starlin (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Iron Man I#70-71 (September-November, 1974) - Mike Friedrich (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Iron Man I#72 (January, 1974) - Mike Friedrich & Barry Alfonso (writers), George Tuska (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Iron Man I#73 (March, 1974) - Tom Orzechowski & Mike Friedrich (writers), Arvell Jones & Keith Pollard (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Iron Man I#74-75 (May-June, 1975) - Mike Friedrich (writer), Arvell Jones & Keith Pollard (#74) (pencils), Dick Ayers (#74) & Chic Stone (#75) (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Iron Man I#77 (August, 1975) - Mike Friedrich (writer), Arvell Jones (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Iron Man I#80-81 (November-December, 1975) - Steve Englehart (#80) & Mike Friedrich (writers), Chic Stone (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Last Updated: 01/12/06
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