Real Name: None
Identity/Class: Magical entity/demon
Occupation: Would-be destroyer of life
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Formed from the shadow of the Great Spirit (Manitou or Gitche Manitou)
Enemies: Life in general; Dr. Stephen Strange, Human Torch (Johnny Storm), the Keewazi tribe, Silent Fox, Thing (Ben Grimm, Will & Wyatt Wingfoot
Known Relatives: Manitou or Gitche Manitou (progenitor)
Aliases: KhLΘG, the Enemy; "figment," (the Szenics creature), Golden Gator, hoop snake, "Orrgo," Sage-Wolf
Base of Operations: Unidentified extradimensional realm
First Appearance: Strange Tales III#1 (1994)
Powers/Abilities: KhLΘG is a powerful demon, immune to virtually all forms of attack (even magic), and able to destroy virtually all forms of matter or energy. However, it is limited by its attachment to stories, and a story, if backed by true magic, especially that of the Native Americans, can bind it into a specific form, with set limitations, or even a set fate.
Under most situation, KhLΘG is unable to achieve his true form, but instead takes on the form of fictional beings. He requires the presence of Native Americans, specifically the Keewazi tribe, in order to re-enter the realm of Earth and take such a form.
(Strange Tales III#1 (fb)) - "When the Great Spirit was making the world, he made light, and thus cast a shadow. His shadow was dark where Great Spirit was light, and light where he was dark. So, while Great Spirit continued to make the world, his shadow tried to destroy it. Great Spirit discovered him and grew angry: He cast his shadow out of what is -- taking away its shape and its darkness and all that made him more than nothing. And so, Great Spirit's shadow became KhLΘG, the enemy, who continually sought a way back into the world, so he could destroy Great Spirit's work."
But the enemy had no shape of its own, so it had to borrow shapes from other sources. It could not borrow a shape that is being used -- so it borrowed the shapes that men believe but that do not exist. It fell to the Keewazi to protect Great Spirit's work from the enemy.
(Strange Tales III#1 (fb)) - In the pre-modern era, the era before the coming of the Fantastic Four and many other contemporary super beings, Silent Fox and his son were scouting the unpopulated sections of their reservation for lost sheep. Silent Fox told his son the story of Orrgo, from the comic book Strange Tales I#90. Just after he finished, the two of them were confronted by the spitting image of Orrgo, who attacked them. Silent Fox began working a spell to hold off Orrgo, and sent his son--an Olympic Decathlon competitor--to run the ten miles back to their hogan, to fetch his amulet, the Hand of the Creator. Silent Fox had nearly succumbed by the time his son returned, but with the Hand of the Creator, he banished his attacker.
(Strange Tales III#1 (fb)) <Possibly a few decades (see comments), ago> - Terry Szenics, a wealthy member of the Chilton Country Club in Mystic, Connecticut, started a rumor to prove how gullible the working class was. He told the story of a ghastly supernatural beast that was stalking the area and murdering the townspeople. Despite the lack of evidence, the people believed the rumor, which spread quickly. But then people started turning up dead, horribly mutilated, exactly as Szenics had described.
Szenics traveled to Manhattan and sought out Dr. Strange, who was very early in his mystical career at this point (see comments). After hearing the story, Strange followed him back to his mansion in Connecticut, where he sent out his astral self to search for the creature. He found nothing, but as he was out searching, he found that the creature had found its way to his physical form. The creature was about to kill Strange's body -- which would kill Strange's spirit as well -- when Szenics came in to check on him, screaming at the sight of the monster. His scream drew back Strange's astral self, and upon awakening, Strange used the Eye of Agamotto to banish the creature--which turned out to be just a figment of the town's imagination.
(Strange Tales III#1 (fb)) - While trapped in a
traffic jam, Johnny Storm overheard two women talking about the
alligators in the New York sewers. All of the sudden, alligators
started climbing out of the sewers, the toilets, and various pipes--a
number of which were far too small for them to pass through. Johnny flew into the sewers, where a group of alligators turned on a
valve and soaked him, knocking him out of action. As the gators
closed on Johnny, the Thing burst into the sewers, saving him.
They were then confronted by the Golden Gator, who led an army of gator men against them. Things looked grim for our heroes, as the gator men proved immune to Johnny's flames and Ben's strength, but then the struggle brought down the street above them. The pair escaped to the surface, but there were no further signs of the gator men.
(Strange Tales III#1 (fb)) - Years later, the Sage-Wolf appeared in the middle of the Keewazi reservation, planning to abduct young Russell. The boy's mother, Marjorie Running Bear, burst into the room, startling the Sage-Wolf, which dropped Russell and fled. Marjorie told Wyatt Wingfoot, who was now the Chief of the Keewazi tribe, with Silent Fox and his father having died some time before. Wyatt, in turn, contacted his old friends Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm.
(Strange Tales III#1 (fb)) - Ben and Johnny flew out to the Keewazi reservation, where they saw the Sage-Wolf in the distance, but it escaped. Wyatt told them that the Sage-Wolf was not even real, nor even a legitimate myth, but rather a story started by a mother who wanted to keep her kids in line. The odd nature of the disappearances reminded him that there were many weird things out there. Johnny related the story of the Golden Gator, after which the Golden Gator appeared again, more powerful than ever, and attacked the three of them. As they fought it, Dr. Strange arrived and assisted them, and the Golden Gator and its army of alligators vanished.
The vanishing mystic constructs reminded Dr. Strange of his old encounter with Szenics and the figment monster. When both of the recently related stories seemed familiar to Wyatt, they checked the Keewazi record hall, and learned that his grandfather, Silent Fox had been in New York on tribal business at the times of each of those occurrences. Wyatt then related the story of his father and grandfather, and their apparent encounter with Orrgo. No sooner had Wyatt finished his story when "Orrgo" appeared in the village square, attacking the Keewazi people. The combined power of Strange, the Thing, and the Human Torch was as naught against the power of Orrgo, who brushed off their attacks and immobilized them in a stone prison.
Strange recognized that after telling a story, the subjects of the story had appeared to attack them, except the figment creature, which was the only one that had been identified as fiction in the story. Strange correctly figured that all of the related accounts had represented encounters with the same creature, but knew not the significance beyond that. Strange led a séance where they called upon the spirit of Silent Fox, who related the story of KhLΘG. When Wyatt asked how to destroy the creature and Silent Fox did not answer, Strange realized that "Orrgo" had vanished, and that KhLΘG had taken the unused form of Silent Fox to tell them the story. Now that they had heard the story and believed it, KhLΘG managed to return to its original, virtually all powerful form.
The heroes were powerless to make a dent in harming KhLΘG,
but they did figure out that the creature was tied to and limited by
storytelling. Wyatt used the Hand of the Creator and wove the
story of the hoop snake:
One day, three brave explorers traveled the lands in search of challenge and adventure. They were not all of the same tribe, but on this day they rode together. There was a wise medicine man, an excitable young brave, and a mighty warrior. The three explorers rode the lands until they encountered the dreaded hoop snake -- which takes its tail in its mouth and rolls across the many lands, destroying all in its path. Now the hoop snake's greatest weapon was its blinding speed. No man or horse could hope to catch it.
But the explorers knew the trick of the beast, and as the hoop snake rolled its way through the many lands, the wise medicine and the eager young brave flanked it and drove the fearsome beast into the arms of the mighty warrior. Seizing the hoop snake, the mighty warrior pushed its tail deeper into its mouth, forcing the snake to swallow its own tail. And once it began to devour itself it was powerless to do anything but continue--until the great hoop grew smaller--and smaller--and smaller--until there was nothing left.
And as Wyatt told the story, KhLΘG was drawn into it, and it mirrored the actions of the hoop snake, with Strange as the medicine man, Johnny as the brave, and Ben as the warrior. In no time, KhLΘG was gone. The children stolen in its guise of the Sage-Wolf had been restored to the real world. Strange then cast a spell to reinforce Silent Fox's spells -- guaranteeing that the enemy would be unable to return for many years to come.
(Strange Tales III#1 - BTS) - Ben related the story of KhLΘG at a poker game which included Nick Fury, Johnny Storm, and Dr. Strange.
Comments: KhLΘG was created by Kurt Busiek (writer) and Ricardo Villagran (artist).
This story is a frickin' work of art. You must find it. No way can this profile begin to do it justice.
About eight years after writing this story, in which Orrgo is apparently revealed to be a fictional being on Earth-616, Kurt Busiek (along with Erik Larsen) wrote Orrgo into another story, @ Defenders II#9+10. While he is given a slightly different background (or perhaps his background is expanded upon), he is otherwise the same creature from Strange Tales I#90, which, as mentioned, is supposed to be a fictional tale as it is explained in Strange Tales III#1.
Kurt Busiek himself was kind enough to offer some
potential explanations for this seeming discrepancy.
If you want an explanation that solves the contradiction, here's three:
I sorta prefer#1 myself,
but I like 'em all.
Option number one is fairly common in the usage of old monster, golden age, and western stories. If a pre-Marvel story has not yet been adapted, then it can be thought to represent the version that was told in the comic on Earth-616, but not necessarily the in-continuity events -- though the two could be one and the same. In this case, Kurt is referring to the tabloid as read by Silent Fox, as opposed to the actual comic book story, which may or may not be true. Check out the Orrgo profile for that discussion.
On top of this, the real Golden Gator has since appeared on Earth-616, as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s supernatural Howling Commandos unit. He was among the squadron that assaulted Merlin's forces in Nick Fury's Howling Commandos#6. - I thought this was a generic lizard man at first, but artist Mike Norton confirmed it was the Golden Gator. - Madison
I think you're right about Hypothesis Number One. It's already been demonstrated that there ARE alligators in the sewers of New York City (or, at least, the one on Earth-616). Case in point? The classic Thor portion of the "Mutant Massacre" multi-crossover [Thor I # 374]! Specifically, the part where the Morlock known as Piper used his hypnosonic flute to sick those aforementioned gators on the Marauders. So, what attacked Johnny and Ben during that traffic jam? I think it was more like KhLΘG's manifestation of the verbally embellished aspects of these living urban legends. What a Tibetan Buddhist might call "tulpas." Those are sort of like...artificially solid psychic holograms. They're also referred to, in the SF novel MYTHAGO WOOD, as "myths imago" (idealized mental images of mythological figures). Take your pick.--Carycomix
Also, per Kurt: His name isn't actually "KhLΘG," though -- that's a Navajo word (I think it's Navajo) in the Navajo alphabet, and if I recall correctly, it means "Enemy." I have no idea how to pronounce it.
The Strange Tales III graphic album represents the very best of classic Marvel. It is a tribute to the various aspects of the original Strange Tales series, featuring short stories involving Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, and the Thing and Human Torch, as well as the classic super-hero poker game.
Strange Tales III#1 mentions the fact that on two occasions Keewazi delegations headed by Silent Fox were visiting New York City on tribal business at the same time as certain bizarre phenomena occurred. It was during their first visit that Doctor Strange had his encounter with the "Szenics creature" in the town of Mystic, Connecticut. The monster turned out to be the physical manifestation of a rumor started by Terry Szenics (to prove how gullible the working class was) which had been brought to life by the townspeople's imaginations. Strange described the encounter as occurring shortly after he had "first assumed the mantle of Master of the Mystic Arts" so it could have taken place decades earlier, possibly even before Will's encounter with "Orrgo.--Donald Campbell
The [sub]title "Master of the Mystic Arts" was first applied to Doctor Strange in Strange Tales #120 (1964; "The House of Shadows").
Prior to that, he was billed as "Doctor Strange, Master of Black Magic" or simply as "Doctor Strange" with no subtitle at all.
AFAIK there's never been any indication that "Master of the Mystic Arts" is anything but an impressive-sounding synonym for "talented sorcerer." If you're noticeably better at it than a novice (as in "Curse me for a novice!"), you're a Master (or Mistress) of Mystic Arts. AFAIK.
My guess (and that's all it is) would be that it wasn't until #120 that Lee and Ditko realized that "black magic" is itself usually a synonym for "evil magic" and, obviously, Doctor Strange is one of the GOOD guys (and, after all, in #120 he ended up on TV, where billing is everything), yet calling him just plain "Master of Magic" wouldn't have sounded quite as snazzy, so hey-presto the phrase "Mystic Arts" was created. Again, that's a guess. :-)
Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims
KhLΘG, the Enemy, has no known connection to:
ENEMY - see UNNAMEABLE--Defenders I#72
ENEMY - see KORVAC--Avengers I#167
The connection between KhLΘG and the "real"
Strange Tales I#90) is unclear (See Comments).
I would ASSume them to be separate characters, but one never knows.
The hoop snake has no known connection to:
Hoopsnake ( ) - Brute Force—Thunderbolts #31
The Hand of the Creator has no known connection to:
Hand of God - warrior apparently created in millennia past to stop Baal--Wolverine II#13
Hand of the Creator
A powerful magic item apparently passed down from the Great Creator to the medicine men of the Keewazi tribe, both Silent Fox and Wyatt Wingfoot used it to drive off KhLΘG.
--Strange Tales III#1
Strange Tales III#1, p54-55 (KhLΘG main image)
p43, pan1 (KhLΘG as Orrgo)
p32, pan2 (KhLΘG as figment)
p19, pan4 (KhLΘG as Golden Gator)
p10, pan5 (KhLΘG as Sage-Wolf)
p61, pan1 (KhLΘG as hoop snake)
p42, pan3 (Hand of the Creator)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Non-Marvel Copyright info
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