VULTURE

Real Name: Mikhal Oglu

Identity/Class: Hyborian era human? (nature unknown), native of Turan?

Occupation: Assassin

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Prince Yezdigerd and the soldiers of Turan

Enemies: Conan, Red Sonja

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: none

Base of Operations: Makkalet, Turan;
    Hyborian era

First Appearance: "The Shadow of the Vulture," Oriental Stories, January 1934;
    Marvel Universe: (pictured) Conan the Barbarian I#22;
        (full appearance) Conan the Barbarian I#23 (February, 1973)

 

Powers/Abilities: Oglu is a master warrior, highly skilled with the sword and spear.
    He has a pair of small wings on his back, but there is no evidence that he can use them to fly.

 

History:
(Conan the Barbarian I#23 (fb) - BTS) - Mikhal Oglu earned a reputation as the most noted slayer on  both sides of the Vilayet sea. He had a long working relationship with Yezdigerd, the heir apparent of throne of Turan, who had become an enemy of the barbarian Conan.
    Oglu obtained a magic seeing stone from a shaman south of Aghrapur.

(Conan the Barbarian I#23) - Oglu arrived in the camp of Yezdigerd as his forces continued to beset the city-state Makkalet, bringing him fresh supplies. Yezdigerd commissioned Oglu to kill Conan, and Oglu showed him the seeing stone with which he would locate him. Oglu, certain that he would succeed, told Yezdigerd, "If I bring not his head, I give him leave to send you mine!" When Yezdigerd questioned Oglu's fighting prowess since he was relying on magic item, Oglu demanded that he face one of Yezdigerd's finest warriors. In a short struggle, Oglu disarmed and dropped Kalmus, allowing him to live and to tell his grandchildren that he had matched swords with the Vulture and retained his head.

    Oglu then led a contingent of Turanian soldiers south, where they spied Conan and slew his companion Ivga, but Conan escaped on a horse he took from one of the Turanian soldiers. Fleeing for days, Conan's horse fell dead just as he approached the city gate to Makkalet, but he was saved by the the warriors of Pah-Dishah, led by Red Sonja. Conan joined forces with them and they drove the Turanians back, after which Conan headed into the city.

    Later, Oglu used Turanian spies within the city to learn where he might find a poorly section of the city wall, and he and his warriors poured into the city. Oglu and two soldiers cornered Conan in a room, but Sonja shut the door from without and slew the two soldiers, leaving Oglu and Conan to face each other alone. Oglu bragged that he was the finest bladesman in all of Turan, but Conan reminded him that they were not in Turan. Explaining that he was born in Cimmeria, a land of darkness and deep night, Conan shattered the lantern and plunged the room into pitch darkness.

    The next day, Yezdigerd received a chest containing the head of Mikhal Oglu.

Comments: Created by Robert E. Howard.
    Adapted liberally by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith.

This is the story that introduced Conan and Red Sonja. However, the story only had the faintest similarities to the story by Robert E. Howard.

Son-Ya of Rogatino

Thanks to Per Degaton, Joe Littrell, and Michael Norwitz for significant supplemental info on the original story, etc.

Further information from Per Degaton:

Robert E. Howard only wrote one Sonya of Rogatino story, "Shadow of the Vulture". It was reprinted in the anthology Echoes of Valor III, edited by Karl Edward Wagner.
        In the original story, von Kalmbach, the German knight, was hated by the Turks because he had managed in an earlier to break through and wound (though not kill) Suleiman the Magnificent, Turkish sultan. (Suleiman the Magnificent was an actual Turkish sultan. His name is the Arabic version of Solomon, whom Muslim view as a prophet.) The main action of the story takes place in the seige of Vienna by the Turks in 1529.
       von Kalmbach encounters Sonya of Rogatino, and discovers that her sister is in the sultan's harem. Later, an attempt to assassinate von Kalmbach takes place, but Sonya saves him. They decide to set a trap for the Vulture (Oglu) and behead him. They send his head to the sultan. 
       Sonya of Rogatino was not raped by Turkish soldiers in the original story. The rape idea was original to the origin of Red Sonja in Kull and the Barbarians#3. The vow Red Sonja took to only love the man who beat her in swordplay came from a Cuchulain play by W.B. Yeats (as revealed by Roy Thomas in his introduction to the book The Ring of Ikribu).

In Savage Sword of Conan#23 Red Sonja saw her past, and then an allusion to (or a nod of recognition for) "Red Sonya of Rogatina" from Howard's "The Shadow of the Vulture", who you know was Roy Thomas' influence for his Red Sonja.

"Red Sonja does not hear. She sees. Herself... a slip of a girl... savagely raped by brigands... a goddess in a vision... promising her invincibility with a sword... so long as she makes love to no man who does not best her in battle. She sees herself... a young soldier of Hyrkania... fighting Prince Yezdigerd's Turanian hordes... before the gates of besieged Makkalet. Sees herself a few years later... free lance wanderer on the road of kings. Sees herself... or is it... someone else...? Fighting, slaying, swearing, in the shadow of the vultures."

More info about Robert E. Howard's "Shadow of the Vulture" can be found here. Thanks to D The for the link.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:


Appearances:
Conan the Barbarian I#22-23 (January-February, 1973) - Roy Thomas (writer), Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Dan Adkins, Sal Buscema (#23) & Stone (#23) (inks), Stan Lee (editor)


Last updated: 01/07/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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