WOLF-MEN OF VALUSIA

Membership: No members ever named, led by a Sorcerer of the Elder Race (the Demonolater) who masqueraded as Kull’s councilor Tu, Sareena (Lhok-Nor’s daughter, unwilling victim), an unnamed Atlantean imposter

Purpose: To usurp Kull’s rule of Valusia and man’s dominion of the Earth

Affiliations: Both the Pictish and the Atlantean armies served as pawns in the Wolf-Men’s plot to destroy Valusia

Enemies: King Kull, Lhok-Nor of Atlantis, Taku of the Picts

Base of Operations: The catacombs once used by the Serpent Men, beneath the City of Wonders in Valusia @ the Pre-Cataclysmic Era

Powers: The Wolf-Men of Valusia possessed the typical powers associated with werewolves: superhuman speed and strength (from enhanced to superhuman levels), invulnerability to ordinary weapons or injury including sword blows and broken necks.  In addition, it seems the Wolf-Men of Valusia were shapechangers capable of assuming any shape (I will perhaps incorrectly speculate this was limited to assuming the likeness of various humans).

The leader of the Wolf-Men of Valusia, who called himself a Sorcerer of the Elder Race and whom I will refer to as the Demonolater, made plain that he was far more than a mere werewolf but also a powerful mage - - "For I am wizard first, Kull - - and wolf only second!"  The Demonolater evidenced but few of his sorcerous powers, unleashing bolts of fire from his eyes while in wolf form, and both resurrecting/transforming Sareena  into a werewolf (who was slain by a dagger and not fangs).

Weaknesses: Like many if not the majority of magical creatures, the Wolf-Men of Valusia were only vulnerable to silver and to fire, both of which were effective in killing them.  King Kull had a heavy broadsword of silver especially forged for use against the Wolf-Men, allowing it to melt within the Demonolater remains within a blazing fire after impaling the sorcerer on the blade.

First Appearance: Kull the Conqueror I#2 (September, 1971)

History

(Kull the Conqueror I#2 [fb]-BTS) - In the dim ages of Valusia’s past, her people were kept strong and pure by constant hardship and battle with the monstrous and demonic races that ruled Earth before the rise of man.  These fearsome opponents included the Bird-Women, the Harpies, the Bat-Men, the Flying Fiends, the Demons, the Goblins, all of which became extinct save for the survivors amongst the Serpent Men and a few of the Wolf Men.  As the centuries passed the people of Valusia grew soft, losing their edge without the constant threat of inhuman attack to keep them sharp and battle ready.

(Savage Sword of Conan#230, third story) - In his days as a galley slave in Lemuria, Kull was put into a gladiator's pit to fight a wolfman.  However, he managed to defeat the wolfman without killing him, defying his masters in the process while asserting his spirit.

(Savage Sword of Conan#231, third story) - Lemuria's king Asphodel sent word that he wished to have the wizard Rotath of Lemuria slain.  Kull, the wolfman, and a handful of pirates under Captain Tokor were sent to dispose of Rotath.  Rotath, however, using the talisman the Moonstone, sunk their ship.

(Savage Sword of Conan#232, third story) - Kull, Tokor, and the wolfman survived. Tokor gives his life to save Kull's.

(Savage Sword of Conan#233, third story) - Kull and the wolfman fought their way to the top of Rotath's mountain fastness.  The wolfman perished saving Kull's life, but the young Atlantean managed to slay Rotath with an axe.

(Savage Sword of Conan#128, second story) - Kull, after a pitched battle with Commorian soldiers, was captured by a gang of rogues who decided to ransom him.  The rogues went to an inn and started man-handling the staff, with one of the gang members attempting to force a woman at the inn to sleep with him.  The woman revealed her true, lupine form, and the other members of the inn's staff also revealed their true forms as wolf-men.  They slew the gang of thugs but allowed Kull to leave unmolested.

(Kull the Conqueror I#8 [fb] <chronology uncertain>) - A man named Demontur slew a wolf-man, but due to injuries sustained during the battle, he was cursed so that he turned into a wolfman upon the full moon.

(Kull the Conqueror I#8) - Demontur stayed as a guest of the prince Dom Vinsala, whose castle was besieged by leopard-worshippers.  Kull encountered Demontur, saving Vinsala's daughter from Demontur during one of his transformations.  The leopard worshippers stormed the castle, and Demontur transformed into lupine form, slaying Vinsala.  Demontur himself was slain.

BTS - In time, Kull transformed from a mighty warrior into an even mightier king.

(Kull the Conqueror#2) - Wandering the slums and back alleys of the City of Wonders at the instigation of his councilor Tu, Kull confirmed for himself the corruption and the decadence at the heart of his empire.  Fighting for his life against cutpurses, Kull fled on a horse ironically stolen from a thief and rode out to a rocky headland to contemplate Valusia’s destiny.  Overtaken by a fit of dark humor, Kull laughed like a madman, his only answer the ominous howl of a wolf.

Returning to his throne room, Kull debated with Tu as to the cause of Valusia’s decadence.  Kull rejected Tu’s argument that Valusia needed such dread threats as the Serpent Men and the Wolf Men to survive and stay focused.  Tu proposed that such monsters were not necessary to revitalize the blood of Valusia, merely the intermingling of the older and nobler strains with a younger, more rugged race such as Kull’s own Atlanteans.  Tu proposed Kull wed Sareena, daughter of Lhok-Nar, chieftain of the Atlanteans.  Kull reacted with anger and disdain at such a proposal, but Tu seemed to think his king might change his opinion.

Five days later, the royal Atlantean barge passed the Pictish Isles on its way to Valusia, carrying Sareena to meet Kull.  Another day later, the barge arrived in the City of Wonder’s harbor.  Kull erupted into a fury upon learning that Tu sent ahead for Sareena to come meet him without his royal permission.  Even as he vowed that it would be a cold day in Hell when he wedded, Kull stalked off to greet the Atlantean princess lest some slight of protocol be inferred and war declared.

Sareena impressed Kull with her independence, her cool calm in the face of an unwelcoming mob, and her mercy towards a ruffian that hurled rotten fruit at her.  At the royal feast, she charmed the jaded nobles with her wit.  Tu seemed rather pleased with his matchmaking, but Brule the Spear Slayer, Kull's comrade- in-arms, was less happy; he realized that if a marriage by alliance was formed between Valusia and Atlantis, the Picts would attack in retaliation, and the Lemurians long held at bay with the Picts help would have a clear opening to attack, as well.

Later that night, Kull and Sareena walked in the royal gardens.  Hearing a scream, Kull left his bride-to-be’s side (yup, looks like Kull has a wedding feast of crow ahead of him).  Kull found one of the servants with his throat torn out.  Following a trail of blood in a circle back to the fountain where he left Sareena, the barbarian King found two of the Wolf-Men standing over the limp form of his betrothed.  Discovering the Wolf-Men were unaffected by the grievous wounds to arms and intestines he delivered with his sword, Kull snatched up a nearby brazier and, forcing the Wolf-Men up against some nearby shrubs, set both monsters and foliage alight.

 

 Sareena’s recovery from her wounds took at least a week, though she was not badly hurt but was mostly in shock from the experience itself.  In the meantime, Brule warned Kull that the Picts would rise in battle against Valusia if the king wedded, all due to their hatred of the Atlanteans.  In preparation for his upcoming wedding and in order to protect his new bride, Kull ordered his blacksmiths that a heavy sword of silver be made.

The wedding was to be officiated by Tu himself, who somewhat smirkingly remarked that the climate of Hell was about to moderate.  Kull told his councilor to get on with it and save the gloating for while he was away on honeymoon.  Just as Kull was about to place the ring upon Sareena’s finger, an Atlantean assassin dressed in Valusian robes thrust a dagger into Sareena’s heart.  Guards seized the assassin, and King Kull, in a coldly murderous fury, swiftly broke his neck with one hand.

As Kull silently mourned, Tu gave the orders to have the body buried.  The two Valusians decided that burying was too good for the assassin and opted to burn his remains instead.  As the crude pyre grew hotter, the body began to change and rise--a slavering Wolf-Man with his head lolling upon a broken neck cast his would-be destroyers into the fire.

Meanwhile in Atlantis, Lhok-Nor was informed that his daughter was both dead and that the story being put about was it happened at the hands of an Atlantean.  Lhok-Nor flew into a rage from these comments; if Valusia had confessed one of their own deranged citizens had done the deed, he might have suffered his loss in peace.  

The insult on top of the injury of his daughter’s death was too much.  Sareena’s death had to be avenged.  War upon Valusia was declared at once.

While on the central Pictish Isle, Taku was informed that Tu sought to salvage the alliance with the Picts by blaming the murder on an Atlantean.  Presumably disgusted by the Valusian duplicity, Taku ordered that the invasion plans remain intact.  The Pictish horde departed at dawn.

War erupted, and, without their barbaric king to lead them, it goes badly for the Valusians.  Brule sought to spur Kull into action, but his grief, and the malaise born from it, was too great.  The Atlanteans attacked one quarter of the City of Wonders, as the Picts attacked another, each seeking to first annihilate Valusia then contend with the other army of invaders.  Kull contemplated laying upon his divan and allowing the blood and chaos to escalate into a final Cataclysm that would wipe away all of the weak and evil people of the Thurian Age but is at last spurred to battle by Brule.  Distantly, a wolf howled. Taking to the streets, Kull rallied his Red Slayers and mounted a desperate last-ditch defense.

After causing the Atlantean forces to fall back, Kull once more heard the lone howl of a wolf that had so often haunted him of late.  Commanding Brule to take charge of the Red Slayers, Kull followed a lupine form slipping off into a shadowed doorway.  As Kull battled the Wolf-Man, he realized by the angle of its snapped neck that it was not an Atlantean but a shapechanger that denied him the love of his life.  Carried over the edge of a subterranean stair, Kull and the Wolf-Man landed in the catacombs beneath the palace once employed by the Serpent Men. Casting aside his axe, Kull took up his silver sword and ended the fray.  Further down the catacombs, another wolf-thing howled.

Carrying the decapitated head of the Wolf-Man, Kull single-handedly battled his way to the hill between the Picts and the Atlanteans positions.  Taku and Lhok-Nor each dispatched contingents of their elite warriors to slay Kull, and they all fell before the king’s axe.  Goaded by his ferocity, Lhok-Nor and Taku each went to engage Kull in single combat and deny the other the glory of killing their mutual enemy.  Once all three kings stand atop the hill, Kull presented his would-be conquerors with the Wolf-Man’s head and urged them to unite against a common foe.  

Fearing treachery from the others, Taku and Lhok-Nor each agreed to accompany Kull and no other to the catacombs beneath the city.  Taku was ambushed by a Wolf-Man, and Lhok-Nor saved him.  Later, Taku returned the favor.  Following the secret passages as the Serpent Men once did, Kull and his fellow kings emerged into the throne room, occupied by Tu and a host of Wolf-Men!  Battle erupted and fire and silver were the three king's only friends.  Whilst setting a tapestry on fire, Kull discovered the true Tu, bound and held prisoner.

Kull slayed the remaining five beasts, but before he could confront the Demonolater, shape-changing usurper of Tu’s flesh, he was confronted by his dead lover.  As she began to transform, Sareena urged the unresponsive Kull to save her from blaspheming against their brief but precious love.  The wounded Lhok-Nor urged Kull to save his daughter’s soul and slay her, but even then Kull could make no move.  At the last second, a glimmer of her former beauty showed in Sareena’s eyes, and, instead of attacking, she hurled herself upon Kull’s silver sword.

 

 

The false Tu turned upon the grieving Kull, admitting the "man-king" had destroyed his followers, his "children of the darkness," but that he had yet to slay the master himself.

Transforming into his wolfen form, the Demonolater struck at Kull with bolts of fire from his inhuman eyes. Seizing a shield that offered scant protection, Kull leapt to battle. Melting under the sorcerous onslaught, Kull cast the shield aside and blinded the wolf-wizard's eyes with a sword stroke.  Five punishing blows later the "father" of the Wolf-Men was slain, impaled on Kull’s silver sword, and given over to the fire.

With the threat of the Wolf-Men seemingly ended, Kull and the other kings made peace, uniting in the face of those that would threaten the common race of humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS: Created by Doug Moench and John Bolton

The second story from Savage Sword of Conan#128 sounds a lot like the plot for the 1996 Robert Rodriguez film "From Dusk Till Dawn."  Rodriguez and the film's screenwriter/co-producer Quentin Tarantino are comic fans.   Rodriguez even started a comic strip in the Daily Texan entitled "Los Hooligans" while in school, so one wonders if somebody remembered this comic story about wolfmen and transformed it into a film about vampires.  "From Dusk Till Dawn" was actually adapted into comic book format in 1996 by Big Entertainment.--Kyle

The Elder Race are apparently NOT naturally werewolves.  In various places, the Elder Race is mentioned in both Kull and Conan stories, but only in Kull the Conqueror#2 is a member of the Elder Race also a werewolf.  The Elder Race appear to be an ancient human or human-like race that ruled the Earth in the time between the fall of the demon races and the rise of man.  Other members of the Elder Race include Tuzun Thune and Kharon.

I place the Great Cataclysm (the sinking of Atlantis, Lemuria, etc.) @ 18, 000 BC.  Kull's adventures should be approximately 500 years before this, @ 18, 500 B. C.
For a truly excellent pre-modern era Chronology of the Marvel Universe, check out
Robert Wicks' Unofficial Chronology of the Marvel Universe.

Greg O's opinion:

WEREWOLVES: The Appendix policy/discussion

Snood: I'll give it a shot:
Three origins have been described for Werewolves in the Marvel Universe.

    OK, so the term "Elder Gods," as seen below, could mean any one of several groups of beings.  I propose the Wolf Demon would be a member of one of these groups, who was associated with Earth in the distant past.  The Caretakers did not actually "create" the Werewolves, but rather served as the tool on Earth to allow their creation.  They used a spell, accessing the power of the Wolf Demon (perhaps they were even manipulated by him into doing so), which resulted in the merging of the wolf's speed and strength with the intellect of man.

    A couple of other points:
The Caretakers have been described as arriving on Earth AFTER the sinking of Atlantis. Though descriptions have varied from @ 18, 000 to 8,000 BC, they have been definitively tied to coming to Earth after the Cataclysm, to which their trip to Earth was a response, so that does not appear to be "negotiable.".  For the Caretakers to have been involved in the creation of Werewolves would mean one or more of a few things:

    I personally prefer the first explanation.  The descriptions in the Kull comic date the Wolf-Men as way, way back in time, perhaps hundred of thousands to even millions of years.  That's a lot of ret-con to put the Caretakers back there.  I'd also propose that the Caretakers, who worked primarily through science, located a magical tome, perhaps the Darkhold, in which they learned of the Wolf-Demon, and used spells from the Darkhold in the creation of Werewolves.
    That, in fact, is the way I saw it when I wrote the BOV - didn't I say something about Earth being rich in "prana"? (magical energy) that the Caretakers used/tapped/relied on?--Jean-Marc Lofficier.
   The Spider-Man/Devil-Slayer MTU revealed that the pre-Cataclysmic Wolf-Men were the spawn of an Elder God, just as the Serpent-Men and the Spider-People and, I think, the N'Garai were.  That's what pre-Cataclysmic Harpies were, too.  I personally use the term "Elderspawn" to encompass the lot.  So pre-Cataclysmic Wolf-Men and Werewolves are two entirely different classes of being.  Only partially on the subject, IIRC the Doctor Strange Tales of the Vishanti Lord of the Loa story clarified that the first Zombies were specifically different from previous types of walking dead, so although Kull/Conan/etc. tales may have depicted Zombie-like beings, they weren't "really" Zombies.--Ronald Byrd

    The Russoff/Russell's connection to the Darkhold in no way contradicts the involvement of the Caretakers, regardless of how exactly they were involved.  Baron Grigori Russoff, the great-great-great grandfather of Jack Russell (name not anglicized, but instead gained when Laura Russoff re-married, to Phillip Russell), was turned into a werewolf in the 18th Century.  Gregor Russoff, his great-great grandson (who was also known as Grigori and was also a Baron), was affected by extended contact and reading of the Darkhold, which somehow drew the werewolf curse into him, from his ancestor.  This resulted in the hereditary curse, which affects Jack Russell, the werewolf of the modern era.  Magic can do lots of crazy things.  As I described above, it is entirely possible that the Caretakers actually used the Darkhold in the creation of Werewolves, which may have resulted in its connection to the Werewolf curse.

    Again, the creation by the "Elder Gods" info from MCP does not contradict the involvement of the Caretakers, as the Caretakers may have just been the vehicle for the spell.  Ret-con happens everywhere, but I wouldn't so quickly discount information listed in the "Book of the Vishanti," thought out and researched in great detail.  I think, as discussed, all three "origins" can be meshed together.

    Also, its entirely possible that the "Wolf Demon" (who wasn't actually named), was not always a demon, but was perhaps a more benevolent being in countless millennia past.  Thus the spell may have been intended as a "gift" to mankind. The "Wolf God" could have done the whole demon degeneration thing over tens of thousands of years, as we've seen with countless other gods of past eras.  His spawn, the Wolf-Men, could easily have degenerated as well.
    I would say that the Wolf God/Demon COULD have been one of the Elder Gods, but I'd prefer to think of him as one of the Elderspawn so that not so many beings escaped death at the hands of Demogorge (just 3). People use the term Elder God all of the time, and they could have been referring to this Wolf God,
who created the Wolf Men at least 20, 000 years ago, if not much more. Then the Caretakers came along, and they managed to tap into this magical
power to create the first werewolves, with the modern limitations, etc. My take, anyway.

    Alternatively, the "Wolf Demon" may not have been involved with the creation of Werewolves, but merely manipulated those afflicted with the curse (or at least it became a curse after the wolf demon stuck his snout into it).

    The Caretakers "creation" of Werewolves, as detailed in Dr. Strange III#26/2, involved the binding of the soul of a wolf (who was named Windracer) to a man.  In that issue, the story is related by a Werewolf named Greysire, who also reveals that Werewolves refer to themselves as "The Brethren."

    So, anyhoo, that's my take--Snood
    Additional info from Jean-Marc Lofficier, who actually wrote all of the BoV stories:

    Actually I think that was sort of my thinking... The Caretakers were shown (in the MORBIUS stories) as using a blend of science and sorcery, and that would make perfect sense....   

    What I do recall is the basic concepts of BoV were cleared in advance with/by Mark Gruenwald. The idea was to mail down once and for all stuff that had been haphazardly dealt with until then, so I'd been inclined to give BoV greater credence that other sources.

    You might also simply consider that werewolves are a very specific subset of "wolf-men".   The Jack Russell terriers, er, werewolves are more evolved that the earlier type of Atlantean beast-men, who would be proto-werewolves, purely supernatural accidents of nature, a dead-end hybrid. Then the Caretakers came and improved or reengineered the lot. The proto-types may still exist and hate their more evolved brethren for that matter.

Other stuff

Connections between the Demonolater (who described himself as father of the Wolf-Men) and the "Wolf Demon"? I don't know.  My take, and I believe Greg's as well, was that he led them, and referred to himself as father in a less literal sense.

Sareena was indeed clawed by the Wolf-Men, it just wasn't that attack which killed her.  She appeared to have been dead when the Demonolater revived/transformed her, but she did have the magic in her blood, so she may not have been killed by the steel blade which skewered her.

We could be P.C. and call them Wolf People...but that doesn't sound as good. I'm pretty sure being PC wasn't such a big deal 18, 000 years ago.

In Marvel Tales I#131 (February, 1955) the story "Farewell-Moon" features a group of werewolves living on Earth's moon who were originally exiled from Earth in the past--perhaps some connection to Wolf-Men of Valusia?
--John Kaminski

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Wolf-Men of Valusia might or might not be connected to, but should not be confused with...

The Elder Race should not be confused with:
The
Elder Gods

Profile by: Greg O’Driscoll

Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims with info provided by Per Degaton

 


Appearances:
Kull the Conqueror I#2 (September, 1971) - Roy Thomas (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Kull the Conqueror I#8 (May, 1973) - Len Wein (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), John Severin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#128 (August, 1986) - Charles Dixon (writer), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Larry Hama (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#230-233 (February-May, 1995) - Roy Thomas (writer), E.R. Cruz (artist), Richard Ashford (#230), Tim Tuohy (#231) & Mike Lackey (#232-233) (editor)


Last updated: 04/20/11

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