Real Name: Karthon
Identity/Class: Sub-species of humanity (Homo mermani, Lemurian) mutate?,
Pre-Modern to modern era
Occupation: King; former warrior
Group Membership: Lemurians (Homo mermani);
former leader of the Questers
Affiliations: Atlanteans, Namor;
formerly Naga, (indirectly) Set
Enemies: Attuma and his barbarians hordes,
Llyra, Naga, Set
Known Relatives: Llyna (sister, deceased)
Base of Operations: Lemuria
First Appearance: (hand only, unnamed) Sub-Mariner I#9
(named and fully seen) Sub-Mariner I#10 (February, 1969)
Powers/Abilities: Karthon is large (8' tall) and
powerful (Class 75-100 strength and durability) and is an experienced warrior.
He has the standard Homo mermani abilities to breathe in, sea, and survive the
cold and pressure at the ocean depths, though he can only survive for short
periods out of water.
He has been known to ride atop some sort of manta ray, armed with a laser cannon.
History: Karthon's origins are largely unrevealed. It is unknown whether his exceptional size and strength are natural or artificially derived.
(Sub-Mariner I#12 (fb) - BTS) - Karthon was chosen as foremost among Naga's Questers, who were sent to locate the Serpent Crown, stolen some years before by those later known as the Ancients.
(Sub-Mariner I#10 (fb) - BTS) - For long decades Karthon and the Questers searched the ocean depths for evidence of the Serpent Crown.
(Sub-Mariner I#9) - As Namor approached the Serpent Crown, which had just recently cracked out of the former casing that held it as the Helmet of Power, Karthon reached out to claim it.
(Sub-Mariner I#10) - Karthon struggled with Namor for the Serpent Crown, telling him that with the Crown the Lemurians would conquer the world. Namor eventually got the better of Karthon, who revealed what he knew of the Crown's origins, but then both were captured by an electrified net dropped from the craft of Captain Barracuda. The two remained helpless prisoners until Namor goaded Barracuda's assistant, Starkey, into hurling a bucket of water on him. Namor broke free and fought Barracuda's forces, while Karthon took the Serpent Crown and fled back towards Lemuria.
(New Mutants Annual#5/3 - BTS) - Llyra and Naga monitored Karthon's progress.
(Sub-Mariner I#12) - Karthon continued his trek, feeling the telepathic call of Naga, and passing through the Panama Canal. Namor managed to catch up to him and snare the Serpent Crown from his grasps, but Namor was then dropped by artillery fire from one of the ships. Karthon reclaimed the Crown, bound Namor in the metal straps from his costume, and took him back into the sea where he used some sub-sea pods to enslave Namor's will. The two traveled to Lemuria, where Karthon returned the Serpent Crown to Naga, though the Quester was most puzzled by Naga's inaccurate claims to have regained his youthful vigor from the Crown. When Namor decried Naga, the Lemurian king ordered his death, and when Karthon refused to murder the unarmed Namor, Naga struck him down with the Crown and sent the other Questers to attack Namor. Namor overpowered them, and Karthon tried to prevent Namor from throwing his life away against Naga. Namor collapsed the royal chamber over Naga's throne, at which point Naga cast an illusion that made it appear Dorma had appeared in the throne and was crushed by the falling debris.
(Sub-Mariner I#13) - Karthon tried in vain to hold back the
vengeful Namor, who tossed both he and the other Questers aside, only to be
blasted away by Naga himself. Karthon asked Naga, in the name of the loyal and
faithful Questers, to stay his hand against Namor, and Naga responded by using
the Serpent Crown to obliterate the other Questers. Devastated, Karthon asked
Naga to slay him as well, but Naga refused, wishing to keep Karthon as his
enforcer. Too late realizing that he had been responsible for returning great
power to a madman, Karthon stood back and watched as Naga summoned the
Weapons-Men from the Abyss against Namor, and when they failed, Naga summoned
the monstrous Gargantos, who was blinded in battle with Namor and preceded to
virtually demolish the city of Lemuria. Namor then challenged Naga himself, but
when the king had stunned him with a powerful blast, he showed Namor that the
woman he had thought was Dorma was actually a Lemurian woman, Llyna, Karthon's
sister. Enraged by this final betrayal, Karthon grabbed his sword and slew Naga
from behind before he could kill Namor. Karthon was nearly overcome by the evil
call of the Serpent Crown, but Namor helped him resist it, and he placed the
Crown on Naga's corpse, which was then pulled into a great fissure which opened
in the ocean floor.
The Lemurian people proclaimed Karthon their new king, and he accepted, vowing to end Lemuria's history of despotic rulers.
(X-Factor Annual#4/4) - Llyra, High Priestess of Set, plotted to dispose of Karthon to take the throne of Lemuria for herself.
(Sub-Mariner I#32 (fb) - BTS) - The evil Llyra managed to somehow subdue Karthon and usurp leadership of Lemuria for herself.
(Sub-Mariner I#32) - Namor traveled to Lemuria to recruit Karthon and his nation as allies of Atlantis to prevent further attacks by the surface world, only to find Llyra ruling the city. She taunted him with the scene of the unconscious Karthon chained in the midst of a school of sharks.
(Sub-Mariner I#32 - BTS) - Namor defeated Llyra and presumably rescued Karthon, returning him to the throne.
(Sub-Mariner I#36) - Karthon and his men traveled to Atlantis
to attend the wedding of Namor and Dorma, arriving in time to assist Namor and
the Atlanteans against Attuma and his barbarians. The Lemurians and Atlanteans
began to succumb to one of Attuma's weapons which was destroying the oxygen in
the water, but Karthon pointed the weapon out, and Namor destroyed it.
Karthon presumably attended the subsequent wedding, though it turned out that Llyra had replaced and impersonated Dorma.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#7: Lemuria) - Under Karthon's wise and just rule, the Lemurians became allies of the Atlanteans and developed a peaceful civilization.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Gene Colan, and Dan Adkins.
Karthon was the first Lemurian seen and/or named, and represented the first mention of the modern existence of Lemuria.
I had thought for sure Llyra had killed Karthon, but then I couldn't find any evidence of it. Thanks to Sean McQuaid who pointed out that the 1985 OHotMU referenced him as still being the king of Lemuria. Don't think we've seen him since, though...
Karthon's Serpent Crown related adventures are retold in the Saga of the Serpent Crown, in New Mutants Annual#5/3 and X-Factor Annual#4/4. In that issue, Karthon's sister's name is misspelled Liyna.
Profile by Snood.
No known connection to:
not so much
The Questers have no known connection to:
A Lemurian, she was the sister of Karthon, but was used in a plot of Naga's where she was made to appear to be Dorma, so her death would cause Namor great distress. When Naga revealed the truth, that he had allowed Llyna to be killed, Karthon rose up and killed Naga.
--Sub-Mariner I#12, (true form, named) #13
Their exact origins unknown, they were Lemurians and possibly giants in stature, who, led by Karthon, spent long decades searching the ocean depths for the Serpent Crown under Naga. After Naga regained the Crown via Karthon's efforts, they battled Namor for Naga and were then rewarded for their loyalty by being slain by the mad Naga.
--(Karthon's hand) Sub-Mariner I#9, (Karthon fully seen) #10, (other Questers) (12(fb) - BTS, 10(fb) - BTS, 12, 13
Sub-Mariner I#10, p3, panel 2 (fighting Namor)
#13, p16, panel 2 (face)
p17, panel 3 (with sword)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#7
Sub-Mariner I#12-13 (April-May, 1969) - Roy Thomas & Marie Severin (#13) (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), Marie Severin & Joe Sinnott (#13) (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#32 (December, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Sub-Mariner I#36 (April, 1976) - Roy Thomas (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Bernie Wrightson (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Last updated: 11/11/11
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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