Real Name: Thulsa Doom
Identity/Class: Human sorcerer, deceased/resurrected
Occupation: Would be World Conqueror;
former King of Valusia
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Set (god); Serpent Men
(agents); Devourer of Souls (former ally), Xuthl (ally),
Varnae and other pre-cataclysmic wizards (contemporaries, possible allies);
Kuchum, Shiva (pawns); Garn-Nak, Karr-Lo-Zann, Norra (Torrannians, pawns);
Nakura (drew power from his talisman)
Enemies: Brule the Spear-Slayer, Conan, Devourer of Souls, Jandlinatjari, Kuchum, Kull, Li-Zya, Thoth Amon
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Ardyon, king Fenar (imposter), Ka-Nu (imposter), Kuthulos (imposter), Shapur (imposter)
Operations: currently unknown;
(Pre-Cataclysmic era) Grondor; the Serpent Temple in the Forbidden Swamp, the City of Wonders (both within Valusia); Torranna
(Hyborian era)-Arallu (The land of the evil dead)
First Appearance: Delacarde's Cat (1967
(Marvel Universe) Monsters on the Prowl#16 (April, 1972)
Powers: Thulsa Doom was an extremely powerful sorcerer, although his abilities did wax and wane under uncertain conditions. He has survived several "deaths" and cannot be killed by conventional means. He can form powerful energy shields, project his astral self, alter his own appearance, manipulate others, grant magical power to others...
History: Thulsa Doom's origins are unknown. He claims to have died "his first death" before the ancient continent of Atlantis first ROSE from the sea. That may make him closer to twenty five or even one hundred thousand years old.
(MotP#16)-After suffering attacks on his kingdom by the Serpent Men, Kull led his Red Slayer to the Forbidden Swamp to attack the Serpent Temple. Thulsa Doom (having taken human form) duped Kull into believing he was an enemy of the Serpent Men as well. After Thulsa learned that Kull possessed one of a pair of magical gems, the Eyes of the Serpent God, he accompanied Kull and his allies back to Valusia
(Kull the Conqueror#3)-Thulsa Doom ensorcelled one of Kull's servants, a girl named Shiva, and sent her to steal the other gem from Kull. Kull stopped her and confronted Thulsa Doom, who revealed his true nature before vanishing. Doom then plagued Kull with a series of nightmarish visions, and Kull gave the gem to his ally, Ka-Nu for safekeeping. However, Doom had fooled Kull again, and had taken Ka-Nu's form. Now in possession of the both gems, Doom bound Kull in chains and prepared to slay him in front of a crowd in a gladiator-like arena in Kull's kingdom of Valusia. The real Ka-Nu used a magical amulet to help Kull's ally Brule to free Kull from Thulsa Doom's chains. However, Thulsa Doom's defeat came at his own hands, as he joined the two Eyes of the Serpent God, and was overwhelmed and seemingly destroyed by the vast energies released.
(KtC#7)-The mystic Kuthulos used his magical powers to make it appear as if Saremes, the cat of the noblewoman Delcardes, was precognitive and could speak. Thulsa Doom then captured, imprisoned, and replaced Kuthulos. Using the trusted words of Saremes, Thulsa Doom sent Kull to the Forbidden Lake, where he hoped he would be slain. Kull survived and returned to Valusia, where his assistants revealed that it was Kuthulos who had been putting words into Saremes' mouth. Thulsa Doom revealed himself upon being confronted, and walked out of the castle, despite the soldiers futile attempts to stop him.
(KtC#11-reprinted in Conan Saga#66)-Posing as the nobleman Ardyon, Thulsa Doom gained the alliance of four rebels within Valusia: the dwarfish Ducalon, the soldier Enaros, Baron Kanuub, and the minstrel Ridondo. As Ardyon, he caused Kull's guards to sleep, allowing the four rebels and their allies to invade Kull's chambers with plans to assassinate him. Kull fought valiantly, and though he was sorely wounded, he fought off all of his attackers. Ardyon then arrived, revealed his true nature to Kull, and drained Kull's strength, causing him to collapse. Ardyon removed Kull's crown, took over the rule for himself, and threw Kull into the dungeons.
(KtC#12 <ConSaga#72>)-Thulsa Doom cast a
spell over Kull which prevented him from revealing Doom's true
nature. Thulsa set Kull up for a public beheading, but he was
rescued by his ally Brule, who gave Kull a magical amulet to save
his neck from the axe. Unable to harm Thulsa Doom, Kull and Brule
then escaped from Valusia.
(KtC#13 <CS#87>)-While Thulsa Doom tyrannized the Valusians, taxing and abusing them, Kull and Brule returned to the City of Wonders, and ambushed him. Thulsa Doom created a warrior out of flame to delay then, while he escaped, and then he sent the Black Legion, the soldiers of Valusia, against them. Kull and Brule managed to fight their way to safety, but were again forced to flee the city.
(KtC#14, 15 <CS#88>)-Thulsa Doom continued his rule with impunity.
(Kull and the Barbarians#2)-Thulsa Doom sent members of the Black Legion to ambush Kull and Brule, though they won the fight. Thulsa observed the battle through a magic crystal. Kull and Brule's ship was later attacked by a sea serpent, with which Thulsa may or may not have had anything to do.
(KatB#3)-Kull traveled to Atlantis, planning to take it over to fulfill a prophecy, and lead its forces to Valusia to help him retake his original throne. Along the journey, Thulsa Doom tormented him with demented visions.
(Kull the Destroyer#29(fb))-Thulsa Doom/Ardyon
learned of the curse of Torranna (essentially, if a scarred
man wore the crown and sat the throne, he'd be unable to ever
leave the throne), which he determined to bestow upon Kull.
To this end, he took on the aspect of the god of Torranna and
advised its inhabitants how best to bring this about.
(KtD#22-27-BTS)-Thulsa Doom manipulated Garn-Nak, Karr-Lo-Zann, and Norra of Torranna. They drew Kull into Torranna and had him undergo a series of trials to gain the crown of Torranna. Kull sought the crown because he believed he could use the army of Torranna to help him retake the crown of Valusia from Thulsa Doom.
(KtD#28)-Kull successfully completed the last of the trials, but before he could don the crown, Norra warned him of the curse of Torranna. Thulsa Doom allowed Norra's age to catch up with her, turning her into a shriveled corpse, and then revealed himself to Kull, challenging him to one final battle.
(KtD#29)-Thulsa Doom pulled Kull into a pocket dimension for their final battle. Kull managed to slash Thulsa Doom's face with his sword, but ultimately was overpowered by the necromancer. Thulsa Doom returned them both to Torranna, but Kull rallied long enough to push Thulsa Doom until the throne and place the crown on his head. His face scarred by Kull, Thulsa fulfilled the prophecy and fell victim to the curse himself. Thulsa's power drained by the curse, the city of Torranna collapsed, seemingly crushing him. Kull, of course, escaped, and then returned to Valusia to retake his own throne.
(Marvel Preview#19)-Thulsa Doom impersonated King Fenar of Zarhaana, and issued both a challenge and an insult to Kull. Kull pursued "Fenar" who led him to what was then the edge of the Earth, in the land beyond sunrise. When Kull finally caught up with him, Thulsa Doom revealed himself and challenged him to a swordfight. With each clash of the swords, Kull became weaker, until he managed to briefly disarm Thulsa and trade swords with him. Kull then used Thulsa's magical sword against him, and skewered him through the chest. Thulsa Doom crumbled to dust.
(Conan the Barbarian Annual#12(fb))-Thulsa Doom allied himself with the Squire Sedrick in a plot against Valusia. After several months of planning, Thulsa gave Sedrick the power to summon an army of demons into Kull's throne room. Kull, Brule, and members of the Black Legion fought off the demons, but in the process, Maxelle, Sedrick's master was slain. Thulsa Doom's involvement was exposed, and his plot foiled. However, as punishment, Thulsa transformed Sedrick into an immortal cat.
The immortal cat of Kull eventually attracted the attention of the Elder Gods, who imbued it with their power.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcover#7: MAGIC) - Thulsa Doom, summoned by Agamotto, attended the Assemblage of Avatars in Atlantis around 19,000 BC to find a solution for the current conflicts between the Elder Gods. Only little was accomplished during the meeting and Agamotto became frustated with humanity's limitations.
(CtB Annual#12)-Milennia later, in the Hyborian era, The Devourer of Souls came to Arallu, the Land of the Evil Dead, to learn the secret of the Child of the Elder Gods. He found Thulsa Doom chained to stone pillars, where he had been for a hundred centuries (10, 000 years). Thulsa explained to the Devourer the story of Sedrick, the Elder Gods, and the involvement of the daughter of Kaleb. In return, the Devourer freed Thulsa Doom from his millennia long imprisonment.
Conan also came to Arallu, seeking the same
answers the Devourer had sought. Wishing to prevent the
destruction of all reality (so he could rule it himself,
naturally), Thulsa told Conan of the Devourer's plans. The dead
souls within Arallu sought to prevent Conan and Thulsa's escape,
but Conan's allies arrived to help fight them off. The Devourer
unleashed a powerful fireball designed to slay them all, but
Thulsa Doom had them all link hands and used his powers to expel
the fireball into the atmosphere.
(CtB#200)-The Devourer of Souls succeeded in gaining the power from Sedrick and the Kaleb's daughter. Now immensely powerful and enormous in size, it confronted Conan and his allies, among whom was Thulsa Doom. The Devourer attempted to destroy them, but Conan possessed the Sword of the Elder Gods, which enabled them to resist his attacks. When the Devourer left to consider how he could destroy them, Thulsa Doom called upon the demon Xuthl, who then manipulated the Devourer into taking human form to repair an old debt. Conan and his allies rushed to destroy the Devourer, who managed to regain his power at the last second. Nonetheless, its experiences as a human weakened the hatred of the Devourer, and Conan, using the Sword of the Elder Gods, managed to destroy it. Actually, at the last second, Xuthl rewarded the Devourer by returning it to human form and allowing it to live out its life as a man.
(CtB#201)-Thulsa Doom regaled Conan's troops with Conan's life as a youth, causing the to lower their defenses. Thulsa slew his General, Shapur, and took over his form.
(CtB#202, 203)-Thulsa Doom, both in his own form and in the form of Shapur, accompanied Conan to Ophir. There Thulsa began performing sacrifices and manipulating the dreams of Conan and his troops, all in an effort to regain his full power, and a "seventh life." Conan confronted and assaulted Thulsa Doom, who knocked out with some pixie dust and transported him to the House of Shades. There Thulsa began to drain Conan's life, in preparation of taking over his body. Conan didn't care for this idea, and so he tackled Thulsa Doom into a crevice where they fell back towards Arallu. Upon approaching the realm, Conan was sent back to Earth, while Thulsa was returned to Arallu and his physical form on Earth disintegrated.
(SSoC#191 (fb)) - The Skull of Thulsa Doom somehow reformed and ended up within a cavern on an island off the coasts of Kush. There it was found by the former Khitan nobleman Kuchum, to whom it spoke and enthralled with tales of the pre-Cataclysmic era. Doom told Kuchum of a great treasure in the Western Sea.
(Savage Sword of
Conan#190-193) - Kuchum encountered Conan, who joined
his crew. Although Conan distrusted Thulsa, he obeyed Kuchum's
wishes to leave it alone. When their ship was assaulted by
Zingaran pirates, Thulsa Doom summoned an immense sea serpent to
destroy the other ship. The sea serpent grabbed Conan as well,
but Conan grabbed and hurled the skull at it, and it exploded on
impact. Meanwhile, Thulsa Doom's agents, the Serpent Men, had
recovered Doom's body, and transported it to the Forbidden Land,
where it would be reunited with his skull.
A Stygian aboard Kuchum's ship found the Skull of Thulsa Doom, took it and fled to Stygia, where he brought it to his lord, Thoth-Amon. Thulsa Doom proposed an alliance, but Thoth-Amon rightly suspected treachery and tried to destroy the skull. Conan and Kuchum followed the Stygian's trail back to Thoth-Amon where they retook the skull, although Thoth-Amon also went with them--he transferred his mind into Ee'Ching, a monkey-like pet of Kuchum.
Back on Kuchum's ship, Ee'Ching tried to hurl the skull overboard, but Thulsa Doom bit into its hand, pulling him with it. Conan retrieved them both, although the skull bit off Ee'Ching's hand. Upon arriving in the an island, they were greeted by what appeared to be shipwrecked Khitans (of the same race as Kuchum and his daughter Li-Zya), but were really Serpent Men. The Serpent Men captured Conan, Kuchum, and Li-Zya, and impersonated them to their crew.
Thulsa Doom and the Serpent Men directed the crew to the Forbidden/Unknown Land. Conan and his allies escaped while the Serpent Men reunited Thulsa's head with his body. Conan and Thoth-Amon (within Ee'Ching) were forced to unite against Thulsa's power. They enlisted Jandlinatjari, one of the Snakes of Many Colors, to transport them to Thulsa Doom and the Serpent Men, to prevent him from reclaiming his full power. The Serpent Men had enlisted another Snake of Many Colors, Yarralamundu, to oppose Jandlinatjari. Thulsa Doom's limited powers proved sufficient to hold off the combined powers of Conan and Thulsa Doom (who had taken over and transformed the body of one of the Serpent Men). However, Jandlinatjari managed to slay Yarralamundu, and then turned her powers against the would-be usurpers of her island. Jandlinatjari banished Thoth-Amon back to Stygia, and separated Thulsa Doom's skull and body anew. This time, she separated them not just by distance, but by time as well--over an epoch between them.
Comments: Created by Robert E. Howard. Adapted by Roy Thomas and Marie+John Severin.
I place the Great Cataclysm (the sinking of
Atlantis, Lemuria, etc.) @ 18, 000 BC. There is a Savage
Sword of Conan issue flashing forward 500 years after the age of Kull to see the Cataclysm. Kull's adventures should be
somewhere around 18, 500 B. C.
I place the Hyborian era @ 12, 000 BC-10, 000 BC.
For a truly excellent pre-modern era Chronology of the Marvel Universe, check out Robert Wicks' Unofficial Chronology of the Marvel Universe.
--these dates make Thulsa Doom having spent 10, 000 years in Arallu a little off. I'd say it was more along the lines of 8500 years.
After Thulsa Doom's death in the pre-cataclysmic era, the other wizards of that era joined together seeking revenge. They managed to obtain the parchments of Chthon, and they became the very first group of Darkholders. They used these parchments to unleash a spell such as the world had never seen. This spell transformed one of their own, Varnae, into the first vampire on Earth. This is revealed in Dr. Strange III#11/2 "The Book of the Vishanti."
Nakura, a "sorcerer of sunken Atlantis" used the Talisman of Thulsa Doom, @ Savage Sword of Conan#219, 220.
In the Hyborian era, Thulsa Doom claimed to have had six lives thus far. Can anyone name them all? Not I!
Further REH history courtesy of John McDonagh: Delacarde's Cat was the first actually published appearance of Thulsa Doom. You see, very few Kull stories were published during Robert E. Howard's lifetime. Delacardes' cat was one of those manuscripts that stayed in Howard's house after he committed suicide, and only saw the light of day in 1967. So, yes, the story was written by at least 1936, but not published until 1967.
Kull#11, "By this axe I rule," is the original version of the story that was later published as a Conan story, and retold in the Marvel Universe in Conan Annual#2, "The Phoenix on the Sword".
Please let me known what I've missed, and I'll add it. While I enjoy these stories immensely, the Swords and Sorcery eras are not my strong suit. Wayne Lenihan and John McDonagh/Per Degaton have been very helpful in supplying me with a bibliographies and chronologies, and other good stuff.
Further supplemental information by John McDonagh: "Actually, an odd connection exist between
Thoth-Amon and Thulsa Doom. You see, when Oliver Stone (yes, THAT
Oliver Stone) co-wrote the screenplay to the first Conan movie,
he was the one who made Thulsa Doom the villain of the movie
(although in Stone's original version it would have been set in
Why Stone did this is unclear; Thulsa Doom had by that point never appeared in any Conan stories, only in the Kull story Delacardes' Cat, the Kull comics (including an issue of Marvel Preview), and the pastiche story "Riders Beyond the Sunrise" (a completion of a fragment by Howard, completed by Lin Carter-which was adapted to Marvel Preview). Baen books reprints the original Kull stories.
The final movie version of Thulsa Doom actually seemed to resemble Thoth Amon more than the original version of Thulsa Doom, who was an undead skull-faced villain. (This version also appeared in the comic book adaptation of the film.) Sidebar: The toyline Masters of the Universe was supposed to have been a Conan toyline, but was changed at the last minute to a separate character. Interestingly, He-Man's main enemy, Skeletor was.......an undead skull-faced villain, just as the original Thulsa Doom had been. Hmmmm.....
Interestingly, video game adaptations of Conan have used Thoth Amon, not Thulsa Doom, reinstating him as the main villain. Maybe now we know why Thulsa Doom did not trust Thoth-Amon; maybe he knew Thoth-Amon was mad at having been snubbed for the chance to appear in the movie! (Although a character called Thoth-Amon appeared in the sequel, he had a very minor role.)
Using another character's villain for the movie adaptation is admittedly an odd occurrence (although animated series adaptations do this borrowing sometimes). "
The Conan movie was retold in Marvel Comics Super Special#21.
Per Degaton adds: It turns out that Thulsa Doom also appeared in the Conan newspaper comic strip. This probably would not be canonical, though some of the Conan newspaper strip was reprinted in Conan Saga, and the name "Greshan" for Conan's mother was taken from the comic strip.
Also courtesy of John McDonagh/Per Degaton, you can more info on Thulsa Doom at:
There is a rock band called Thulsa Doom! http://www.thulsadoom.com
House of Shades:
"What do you sell here?"
"How about a light bulb?"
"No, sorry, all we sell is shades. Perhaps if you want a light bulb you should go to House of Bulbs"
There is no reason, short of licensing rights, that Thulsa Doom should not make an appearance in the modern era.
Speaking of licensing rights, please let me know owns the rights to Thulsa Doom, and I'll credit him/her/them appropriately.
I'm told that Mark Gruenwald thought that Thulsa may have been a time-traveling von Doom...
There is no information either way regarding any potential connection between Thulsa Doom and Victor von Doom, or anyone else from the modern era.
Kuthulos, the mystic, an agent of Delcarde, @ Kull the Conqueror#7, has no known connection to:
Shiva, the servant of Kull ensorcelled by Thulsa Doom, @ Kull the Conqueror#3, has no known connection to:
For the most part, it's safe to assume that a character from the past ages is NOT the same as one from the modern era, unless specifically stated.
Monsters on the Prowl#16 (April, 1972) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Severin (pencils), Marie Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Kull the Conqueror#3 (July, 1972) - Roy Thomas (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Kull the Conqueror#7 (March, 1973) - Gerry Conway (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), John Severin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#11 (November, 1973) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Mike Ploog (artist)
Kull the Destroyer#12 (February, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Sal Buscema & John Romita (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#13 (April, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#14 (June, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#15 (August, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull and the Barbarian#2 (July, 1975) - Gerry Conway (writer), Jess Jodloman (artist), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull and the Barbarian#3 (September, 1975) - Doug Moench (writer), Vicente Alcazar (artist), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#22-23 (August-October, 1977) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Yong Montano (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#24 (December, 1977) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Dino Castrillo (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#25-26 (February-April, 1978) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Rudy Nebres (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#27 (June, 1978) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Kull the Destroyer#28-29 (August-October, 1978) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), George Roussos (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Preview#19 (Summer 1979) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Ralph Macchio & Mark Gruenwald (editors)
Conan the Barbarian Annual#12 (1987) - Jim Owsley & Val Semeiks (writers), Vince Giarrano (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Michael Higgins (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#200 (November, 1987) - Jim Owsley & Mark B. Bright (writers), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Michael Higgins (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#201 (December, 1987) - Jim Owsley (writer), Andy Kubert (artist), Michael Higgins (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#202 (January, 1988) - Jim Owsley (writer), Valdis Semeiks (writer/pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Michael Higgins (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#203 (February, 1988) - Jim Owsley (writer), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Michael Higgins (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#190 (October, 1991) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), John Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#191 (November, 1991) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), John Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga & Ernie Chan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#193 (December, 1991) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Conan Saga#72 (March, 1993) - Reprint of Kull the Destroyer#12
Conan Saga#87-88 (June-July, 1994) - Reprint of Kull the Destroyer#13-14
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcover#7: MAGIC (2009) - David Sexton (writer), Jeff Younquist & Jennifer Gruenwald (editors)
Last updated: 12/09/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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