SLIGGUTH

Real Name: Sligguth

Identity/Class: Demon

Occupation: Agent of Set and Shuma-Gorath

Affiliations: Agent of Shuma-Gorath, involved with the original Serpent Men, created and worshipped by the Serpent Men of Starkesboro, served by Ebora; N'Gabthoth (the Shambler from the Sea, apparent ally)

Enemies: Ancient One, Demogorge, Dr. Strange, the Vishanti (Agamotto, Hoggoth, Oshtur)

Known Relatives: Demiurge (grandfather);
    Set (father);
     Chthon , Hyppus (uncles), Gaea, Isuus, Oshtur (aunts), other Elder Gods;
     Damballah, Dragon of the Moon, Phorcys, Siapep, Yamato-no-Orichi (brothers), Ishiti, Tartessus (sisters);
     Serpent Men (spawn and descendants);
     extended family via Set and other Elder Gods

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Currently unknown;
    formerly a desecrated church in Starkesboro, Massachusetts;
    formerly the extradimensional realm of Set

First Appearance: [Marvel Premiere#4], 5 (November, 1972)

Powers/Abilities: Sligguth has great superhuman strength and durability (difficult to quantify due to its mystic nature).  It could generate a magical fungus which grows rapidly over a body and drains its life force.  It could break through spells of force, such as the Rings of Raggadorr, although this required great effort.  

He was served by an army of Serpent Men, as well as his priestess, Ebora, who had some knowledge of magic.  Sligguth, the Serpent Men, and another demon, N'Gabtoth, together generated an aura of black magical power that weakened and suppressed the power of other sorcerers.

Limitation: Sligguth is amphibious, needing water to breathe.

History: (Silver Surfer III Annual#2/7) - Shortly after the formation of the Earth and the creation of the Elder Gods, one of these Gods, Set, spawned several offspring, including Sligguth and Damballah.

When the Demogorge came to destroy the Elder Gods, Set and his offspring abandoned their physical forms and escaped to another dimension.  Their physical forms were destroyed by the Demogorge.

Set, and possibly Sligguth as well, created a race of Serpent Men on Earth to act as their agents.  These were especially active in the era of Kull prior to the great Cataclysm that sank Atlantis.

(Marvel Premiere I#5 [fb]) - Centuries ago, a band of fisherfolk settled the New England town that would become Starkesboro.  Soon after, a group of them discovered a serpent-twined inverted cross. This cross was the totem of Sligguth, and he soon spread his power throughout the entire town.  The people grew to worship him, slaying those who opposed them, and desecrated the town church where they placed the totem, and built on altar on which to offer victims.  Sligguth made his home in the caverns below the church, coming up to claim victims.  The people of Starkesboro gradually developed into a slightly reptilian form, eventually becoming the second race of Serpent Men.

(Marvel Premiere#[4], 5, 6) - As Sligguth and the other servants of Shuma-Gorath prepared for its awakening, the Serpent Men engineered a plot that lured Dr. Strange to Starkesboro. They knew that Strange's knowledge and power made him a threat to Shuma-Gorath, so they brought him to their town, where his abilities were dramatically weakened.  The Serpent Men overpowered him and strapped him to their altar to sacrifice him to Sligguth.

As Sligguth's priestess, Ebora, related Sligguth's history and glory to Strange, he summoned the force of will to use his mystic cloak to escape his bonds.  With his powers stifled, Strange was unable to oppose Sligguth, but the Ancient One added his strength to Strange's enabling him to drive the serpent god back into the catacombs.  After the Ancient One's power faded, Strange requested assistance form the Vishanti, who removed the dampening effect of the town's dark aura.  Strange then struggled against Sligguth as an equal, and finally cracked him across the head with a large cross, and smothered his gill slits, causing him to apparently suffocate and die.

(Journey Into Mystery I#627 (fb)) - Sligguth attended the Devil's Advocacy to talk about the Serpent (Cul)'s actions on Earth.

Comments: Conceived by Archie Goodwin and Barry Windsor-Smith, actually seen under the hands of Gardner F. Fox and Irv Wesley.

The entire storyline carried the banner "Featuring Concepts Created by Robert E. Howard."  Jim Ambuehl tells me that a Kull story entitled "The Curse of the Golden Skull" references Shuma-Gorath and his allies. Sligguth was credited as the leader of the Serpent Men in Lin Carter's "The Horror in the Gallery" (under his patriotic deity Yig, another name for Set, or someone else altogether).

Omar Karindu
and Cyborg Caveman also add--The whole Starkesboro sequence owes much to Lovecraft's story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," about a New England coastal town that becomes a cult to ichthyomorphic monstrosities.  This cult worshipped Father Dagon and Mother Hydra.  References to the Cthulu Mythos can be found throughout Marvel's stuff.

Further observations from Cyborg Caveman are--In regard to the bit about Sligguth and the i[n]verted cross: [w]hatever the historical significance of the Mithraist cross - - great research by the way - - in the Marvel depiction of the Mitraist symbol (circa Savage Sword of Conan #141[?]--I think--it was the issue with the scaly, big nosed male vampires and the gorgeous humanoid female ones anyway) is a T shaped symbol surmounted by a semicircle with three lines radiating upward from it (kind of like a rising sun peaking up over the horizon on a stick).  Given that, the cross shaped MITHRA-ist symbol might be a later modified version of the earlier Hyborian Era MITRA-ist symbol.

In any case there are also other alternatives - - the "inverted cross" might not be inverted at all.  It could be a symbolic pictogram representing a sword held upright.  Also, the "inverted cross" first obtained it's paganistic and satanic associations when Germanic tribes such as the Visigoths and Ostrogoths as well as the Norsemen "converted" to Christianity largely to appease the aggressive Roman Empire or even their own converted jarls.  With a loop at each end of the "cross" worn about their neck it could be strung upright to represent Christianity, or hung "inverted" to represent the hammer of Thor!  That's right, Sligguth and Thor are in cahoots!  Seriously though, I personally prefer the sword symbol theory.  Of course, it could be meant in its simplest anti-Christian interpretation.  Dr. Strange himself invoked "Jehovah the Great Unmanifest!" (paraphrased)--to destroy Dracula.

In answer to Cyborg Caveman's objections, King Conan#30 and #34 depict soldiers wearing the Mitran cross in a form that exactly resembles the later Christian cross, without the loop.--Per Degaton

Sligguth went from speaking some primitive, pre-human dialect ("Hakk Fthnakop Thagn!") on one page, to "Must find sanctuary" a few pages later.

Let's see: the offspring of the Elder God Set dies the permanent death from being strangled--not buying it.  At most, the form of Sligguth that died was a mortal form inhabited and transformed by it.  No demon or other magical creature dies forever.

The Ancient One was so weakened by assisting Dr. Strange against Sligguth, that he was unable to stop the Shadow-Men of Kaa-U from carrying him off. T his was somehow analogous to dying for him, and he passed on not long after this.  (There's more to it than that, but his was the beginning of the end for him.)

Clarifications:

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims


Ebora, the Dark Priestess of Sligguth, may be a few centuries old.  After Sligguth worked its way into the town of Starkesboro, she was selected as his priestess to do his will, and she alone remained human (and not transformed into one of the second race of Serpent Men).  She led the people to desecrate the church of Starkesboro and transform it into Sligguth's sacrificial altar.  When Sligguth fought against Dr. Strange, Ebora actively opposed him, as well.  She used a large trident as a weapon.  She also possessed magical knowledge, and she called on the power of Shuma-Gorath and its allies to cause a powerful wave of the ocean to rush into Sligguth's cavern.  This allowed Sligguth to escape from Strange's mystical bonds, and nearly drowned Strange himself.  After Sligguth's deaths, Ebora called on N'Gabthoth to continue the struggle, and she directed the Serpent Men to capture Clea and Wong, who sought to come to Strange's aid. She prepared them for sacrifice to N'Gabthoth, but Strange arrived in time to free them.  Strange managed to slay N'Gabthoth, and Ebora and the Serpent Men apparently fled the city into the surrounding hills. 

--Marvel Premiere I#5, (5 [fb]), 6

 















Appearances:
Marvel Premiere#4 (September, 1972) - Archie Goodwin (writer), Roy Thomas (plot/editor), Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Frank Brunner (inks)
Marvel Premiere#5 (November, 1972) - Gardner F. Fox (writer), Irv Wesley (pencils), Don Perlin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Premiere#6 (January, 1973) - Gardner F. Fox (writer), Frank Brunner (pencils), Sal Buscema (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Silver Surfer III Annual#2 (1989) - Peter Sanderson (writer), Mark Bagley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)
Marvel Tarot#1 (2007) - David Sexton (writer/designer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Journey Into Mystery I#627 (November, 2011) - Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (art), Ralph Macchio (senior editor)


Last updated: 08/16/12

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