Type: Terrestrial hidden land/city

Environment: An isolated valley, deep within the Andes Mountains

Usual Means of Access: A series of caverns through the Andes Mountains

Dominant Life-Form: The people of El Dorado (Doradians), including Keeper of the Flame, Prince Rey, They Who Wield Power, Tulak

Unusual Characteristics: Much of the city was allegedly made of gold (see comments).

Level of Technology: The city's primary power-source/weapon was the Sacred Flame of Life, although the soldiers possessed various advanced weaponry, including energy rifles and handguns,  and time-fused "destructo-bombs" (grenades).

Aliases: Forbidden Land (see comments)

First Appearance: Avengers I#30 (July, 1966)

History:
(Incredible Hulk II#240 (fb) ) - In centuries past, when the conquistadors invaded South America, a large group of Incas fled deep into the Andes Mountains, where these refugees discovered a series of mammoth caverns. The caverns, designed by the Deviants who lived there in millennia past, led the Incas to an isolated valley, where they would find the peace and freedom to build a new life and city. At the mouth of the cavern that opened into the valley, they found the cobalt fire that would become known as the Sacred Flame of Life--this flame provided warmth and energy for the city, and power beyond reckoning.

(Avengers#31 (fb) ) - Lann, the Keeper of the Flame in the modern era, led his followers to continue to feed more and more cobalt into the Sacred Flame, causing it to continuously grow in power. Prince Rey, the ruler of El Dorado, attempted to rally the people against the Keeper to stop him. However, the Keeper struck preemptively, driving Rey from his throne and forcing him and his loyal followers to flee for their lives in the middle of the night.

(Avengers I#30-31) - The soldiers of El Dorado captured scientist Dr. Franz Anton, who had been investigating nearby when his instruments detected a source of great power (the Sacred Flame of Life); the soldiers took Anton to El Dorado, where the Keeper judged Anton to be an invading spy and sentenced him to death in the Sacred Flames. But Goliath (Henry Pym), who at the time was trapped at a height of ten feet, was seeking the aid of Anton, and he encountered soldiers of El Dorado at Anton's home; after battling them, Goliath forced one to take him to the hidden city.

   Upon reaching El Dorado, Goliath was attacked by the soldiers of the Keeper, but he escaped with the aid of Prince Rey. The two fled the soldiers and arrived at Rey's secret base, where they met with his loyal followers. Rey explained the events that led to his own downfall, but when he described his plans to retake the throne and claim the Sacred Flame for himself, Goliath realized that Rey was no better than the current Keeper.

   Goliath decided to destroy the Flame so neither could use it against the rest of humanity. The ensuing conflict caught up the Avengers, who had followed Goliath's trail to El Dorado. During the three-way struggle between the Avengers and the forces of Prince Rey and the Keeper, the machines which regulated the Flame were destroyed. This resulted in a series of explosions which ultimately snuffed out the Sacred Flame.

(Incredible Hulk II#240 (fb) ) - The aged Des came to El Dorado, and convinced Rey and the Keeper to put aside their differences and join him in an effort to restore the Sacred Flame. Des' wisdom and knowledge of science enabled them to rekindle the Sacred Flame, and stoke it towards its full, burning radiance. The three formed a group that came to be known as They Who Wield Power.

(Incredible Hulk II#240-243) - Ultimately the machinations of They brought the Hulk to El Dorado, where They attempted to drain his power to make the Sacred Flame invincible. However, Des suddenly betrayed his allies--Rey and the Keeper--and sacrificed them to the Flame as well. Des revealed himself as Tyrannus and claimed the power of the Flame for himself. However, the efforts of the Hulk and Goldbug, caused Tyrannus to push the power further and further, until he literally became one with the Sacred Flame. The Hulk destroyed the machinery that regulated the Flame, and it and Tyrannus were cast off into space. The people of El Dorado fled into the surrounding hills as their city was destroyed in the battle

(Namor Annual#1/2) - The people of El Dorado took a turn for the worse, and they (or at least some of them...the really nasty ones) took up residence in a subterranean cavern known as Eurasia--a new Keeper of the Flame also took over. During the events of the Subterranean Wars, this Keeper used the opportunity to capture a multitude of Moloid Subterraneans, and nearly committed genocide with them--the docile, subservient Moloids marched mindlessly into extermination chambers. Namor the Sub-Mariner learned of these events and, with the aid of Stingray, put a halt to them by destroying the underwater columns supporting Eurasia, causing it to collapse into the water--the remaining Moloids (only 100 or so) were caged on upper levels and were spared during the collapse. Many (if not all) of the Doradians were likely killed in the collapse.

Comments: Created/Adapted by Stan Lee and Don Heck.

In the Avengers issues, the city's name was never mentioned, and it was only referred to as "The Forbidden Land". There was also no mention of the city being made of gold--you'd think that Goliath and the Avengers would've noticed; only small sections of the city were depicted in the background, and the buildings appeared to be "normal".
But I have a theory--maybe the structures of the city were turned to gold after that Avengers storyline--maybe the Sacred Flame had some connection to the radiation from the subterranean Golden City, but when the Flame was snuffed, the radiation continued to leak out to the surface, and it eventually transmuted the structures of the Forbidden Land into the golden El Dorado.--Ron Fredricks 
 

I'd say the Keeper of the Flame was an in-joke for Marvel, as it was one of their honorary titles given to loyal readers who recruited new readers into Marvel's books. Fans would write letters and include their honorary titles--K.O.F. was a Keeper of the Flame.

    Rey spoke of how he himself would lead the conquest of Earth, Lann would serve as spiritual leader to the conquered people, and Des would be the supreme vizier of all technology. Obviously Des had other plans, but I'd suspect any one of the trio would have slain the other two and taken power for himself, given the chance.

    I'd like it if some more benevolent Doradians were found, and the nasties could be differentiated as the Eurasian Doradians. Scott Lobdell wrote their story as a reminder of the atrocities of the Nazis and the Holocaust. It was an ok story, but man, what a change for the Doradians. I guess having the object of your worship stolen and then ejected into space, your leaders slain, and your city destroyed could do it. Still, I'd like to find a peace-loving group somewhere else (guys like Tulak).

    Continuity--Ret-Con conflict, identified by John McDonagh: a mistake involving They Who Wield Power occurred in an issue of Classic X-Men: Classic X-Men would reprint X-Men stories after Giant-Size X-Men#1, sometimes with new artwork interspersed with the reprints, or new back-up stories   Well, a reprint of an X-Men story (see below) involving Moses Magnum took place. In the story, Magnum is revived by a mysterious benefactor and given power over earthquakes. The original X-Men story left this benefactor in the shadows.......
    However, the reprint put in extra artwork that strongly implied that it was Apocalypse! This makes no sense, as this was years before anyone had ever heard of Apocalypse, and Incredible Hulk II#240, showing Magnum as a chess piece, revealed that They Who Wield Power was behind it all!
    Perhaps They manipulated Apocalypse, or even vice-versa--Snood.

Background info courtesy of Kyle Smith:
    El Dorado (chief) (Spanish, "The Gilded One"), term applied in the Americas by the 16th-century Spanish explorers to the legendary chief of a Native American tribe said to inhabit a region in the northern part of South America. In Native American mythology, the chief was enormously wealthy. At yearly festivals, he would cover his entire body with gold dust. The term came to be applied also to his kingdom, supposedly abounding in gold and precious stones. His fabled golden city was sometimes referred to in the legend as Manoa or Omoa. The stories inspired the Spanish to expend vast sums in sending out exploring parties, most of which returned decimated by privation and disease. The most celebrated expedition was that of the Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, who went down the Amazon River to its mouth in 1540 and 1541 in an unsuccessful attempt to find the city. The German adventurer Philip von Hutten in 1541 led an exploring party from Coro, a German settlement on the Venezuelan coast, and searched as far as the Omagua region, near the Amazon River. In 1595, the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh took up the search and, upon his return to England, published a romantic account of his voyage, in which he described Manoa as being on an island in Parim Lake, in Guiana. For more than two centuries, until the existence of the lake was disproved, it was marked on maps. The name El Dorado has come to be applied to any place of fabulous wealth or of opportunities for acquiring sudden wealth. In literature, and especially in poetry, frequent references have been made to the legend.

Rumors of such chiefs with gold in large amounts spread throughout the Spanish Empire and were inflated so that more exploration could take place in the Americas, leading to legends of places "paved with gold."

"El Dorado (chief)," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 97 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Could the Sacred Flame of Life perhaps have some connection to the Flames of Faltine?
--John Kaminski

The people of El Dorado don't look Incan. The People of El Dorado have to be Atlantean survivors (see the Netherworlders) and since some of them relocated to Eurasia in a subterranean cavern, then they could be related to the people of Abysmia (USA Comics#1; Rockman's people).
--Gammatotem

El Dorado has as "Forbidden Land" an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook.

New and improved images by Ron Fredricks.

Profile by Snood.

Clarifications:
El Dorado, the City of Gold should be distinguished from:


Keeper of the Flame

The Keeper of the Flame was the hereditary title for the one chosen to guard the Sacred Flame of Life. The first Keeper was one of the original Incas who traveled to El Dorado, where he discovered the Sacred Flame. Since then, the title was handed down from father to son, and it served as the highest honor in all of El Dorado. The Keeper and the Flame developed a quasi-religious cult-like following. Only the Keeper could manipulate the Flame, directing its energies as needed by the city.

Lann was the Keeper of the Flame in the modern era. However, unlike previous Keepers, he sought to use the power of the Sacred Flame for himself. He led his followers to build the Flame to previously unseen power, planning to use it against the outside world.

After the Flame was virtually destroyed, Lann was convinced to join forces with Rey, along with Des, to form the alliance of They Who Wield Power; They sought to rebuild the Flame, but once Des achieved what he wanted, he slew Lann by feeding his life-energies to the Flame.

   Lann had access to the weapons and power of the Sacred Flame, which he could control to some extent.


--Avengers I#30 (31(fb), 30, 31, Incredible Hulk II#240(fb3), <appearances of They> 240, 241

 The next Keeper of the Flame was a genocidal maniac--he regarded the Moloid Subterraneans as "yellow-skinned freaks," and was determined to exterminate them. The Flame he kept was apparently the extermination chambers, presumably powered by subterranean magma. His warriors captured Namor, and the Keeper greatly enjoyed torturing him with bio-electric chains. During the collapse of Eurasia, he was apparently buried under a mountain of collapsing rocks.

His servants (including Mellar) were sadistic and brutal as well. One of them forced a youthful Moloid to polish his boots clean before preparing to incinerate him with a blaster stick. They had access to advanced weaponry, including a number of energy weapons, which they likely designed based on ancient Deviant weaponry they discovered in Eurasia 

--Namor Annual#1/2


Prince Rey

Prince Rey was the ruler of El Dorado until he was ousted by Lann, the Keeper of the Flame. After the near destruction of the Sacred Flame, he was convinced to join forces with Lann, alongside Des, to form the alliance of They Who Wield Power; They sought to rebuild the Flame . But once Des achieved what he wanted, he killed Rey by feeding his life-energies to the Flame.

Rey had some training in combat, and among his weapons was a Black Light Activator, which could blanket a large room in darkness.

--Avengers I#30 (31(fb), 30, 31, Incredible Hulk II#240(fb3), <appearances of They> 240, 241


Sacred Flame of Life

The Sacred Flame of Life was created in millennia past by the Deviants as a potential weapon against the Celestials. The Deviants were eventually forced out of their subterranean empire, leaving behind their equipment and weaponry, including what would become the Sacred Flame of Life.

Centuries ago, when a group of Incas were fleeing invading conquistadors, one of their number discovered the Sacred Flame, and he became the first of the hereditary Keepers of the Flame.

In the modern era, the Flame was snuffed out by the Avengers during a power-struggle between Prince Rey and the modern era Keeper (Lann). It was later reignited when Rey and Lann joined with Des (the aged Tyrannus) to form the alliance of They Who Wield Power.

But the Flame was eventually cast out into space, along with the essence of Tyrannus--Tyrannus later mingled with the atoms of the disintegrated Abomination (Emil Blonsky) and returned to Earth; however, the Flame appeared to be snuffed out as it reached the limits of Earth's atmosphere.

The Sacred Flame was actually powered by radioactive energy, generated by the burning of cobalt. It was protected by a number of weapons of Deviant design, including a power-draining ray, a Brain Mine projector, and metal tentacles. The power could be harnessed to create large and powerful animated metallic limbs, or cause powerful seismic tremors; it could release bursts of radioactive flame and/or force as well. It was also known as the Cobalt Flame, and the Flame of Life

--Avengers I#30 (Incredible Hulk II#240(fb1), Avengers I#31(fb), 30, 31, Incredible Hulk II#240(fb3), 240-243


Tulak

A resident of El Dorado, Tulak was the Elder of the High Acolytes to the Sacred Flame. He served They Who Wield Power, but likely had no concept of their true plans.

He was a peace-loving and spiritual man, and led Goldbug and the Hulk into the city. When Tyrannus usurped the power of the Sacred Flame, Tulak opposed him, telling Tyrannus it was not rightfully his. Tulak was killed when Tyrannus siphoned his life-force into the Sacred Flame.

--Incredible Hulk II#239 (Incredible Hulk II#239-242


Dr. Franz Anton

Dr. Franz Anton was Henry Pym's former college professor; he was in South America doing research on artificial growth of body cells. When his instruments detected a source of great power (the Sacred Flame of Life), he went to investigate. He got too close to El Dorado and was captured as an invading spy.

Goliath (Henry Pym) sought his aid for his size-changing problem, and he and the Avengers followed Anton's trail to El Dorado to save him.

After the Avengers freed him, Anton spoke with Goliath, but grimly informed him that there was nothing that he knew of that could restore the giant hero to his normal size again; however, Anton recommended Goliath consult someone who was the most brilliant bio-chemist in his field: Henry Pym

--Avengers I#30 (Avengers I#30-31


images: (without ads)
Incredible Hulk II#240, p1, pan1 (El Dorado)
Incredible Hulk II#240, p14, pan1 (Bruce Banner on balcony, looking upon El Dorado)
Incredible Hulk II#241, p4, pan1 (Goldbug looks upon El Dorado)
Avengers I#31, p15, pan6 (Bodyshot - Keeper of the Flame (Lann); Captain America, Hawkeye (foreground))
Incredible Hulk II#240, p10, pan1 (Headshot - Keeper of the Flame (Lann))
Namor Annual#1/2, p14, pan2 (Headshot - Eurasian Keeper of the Flame)
Namor Annual#1/2, p14, pan1 (Bodyshot - Eurasian Keeper of the Flame)
Namor Annual#1/2, p11, pan1 (Eurasian warriors)
Avengers I#31, p6, pan2 (Bodyshot - Prince Rey)
Incredible Hulk II#241, p5, pan1 (Headshot - Prince Rey)
Incredible Hulk II#240, p15, pan5 (centuries ago, first Keeper discovers Sacred Flame of Life)
Incredible Hulk II#241, p1, pan1 (Bruce Banner being sacrificed to Sacred Flame; Prince Rey, Des, Keeper of the Flame (Lann) (foreground))
Incredible Hulk II#240, p14, pan6  (Flame in idol's mouth)
Incredible Hulk II#239, p16, pan1 (Bodyshot - Tulak)
Incredible Hulk II#240, p4, pan1 (Headshot - Tulak)
Avengers I#30, p14, pan2 (Dr. Franz Anton captured)
Avengers I#31, p9, pan4 (Headshot - Dr. Franz Anton)


Appearances:
Avengers I#31 (August, 1966) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Don Heck (pencils), Frank Giacoia (inks)
Incredible Hulk II#239 (September, 1979) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (plot/pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#240 (October, 1979) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#241-242 (November-December, 1979) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Al Milgrom (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#243 (January, 1980) - Roger Stern (plot), Steven Grant (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Al Milgrom (editor)
Namor Annual#1/2 (1991) - Scott Lobdell (writer), James Fry (pencils), Erik Larsen (inks)


Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First Posted: 10/19/2001 (?)
Last Updated: 03/13/2021

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