Identity/Class: Demon, class 3 (Extradimensional); Distant Past, Pre-Cataclysmic, Hyborian , and modern eras
Occupation: Lord of Chaos, Master of the Old Ones, Ruler of a hundred dimensions
Group Membership: Leader of the Old Ones
Affiliations: Served by Arioch,
Kulan Gath, Living
possibly Shagreen the Sorcerer (see comments)
Made Hob his unwitting pawn
Enemies: Ancient One, Conan,
Diablo, Dr. Strange, Fantastic Four (Human Torch, Invisible Woman,
Mister Fantastic, Thing), Hob, Kaluu, Rann
Njalsdatter, Salem's Seven (Brutacus, Gazelle, Hydron, Reptilla,
Thornn, Vakume, Vertigo), unnamed shaman, Shon of the Snowhawk tribe,
village of the Snow Bear;
Turned on Kulan Gath and Vammatar when they tried to control him;
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Dr. Strange", possibly Cthuma-Gurath
He Who Sleeps, but Shall Awake
Base of Operations: His own native dimension;
Formerly Prehistoric earth, Mt. Crom;
the Ancient One's mind
First Appearance: (Mentioned) Marvel Premiere#5 (November, 1972), (depicted) Marvel Premiere#10 (September, 1973)
Powers: Shuma-Gorath is a extradimensional demon and is therefore immune to disease and aging. In his native dimension he is virtually omnipotent. He generates his own mystical power, but is also able to draw energy, mystical or otherwise, from others. Shuma-Gorath can release destructive magical energy blasts and can manipulate magical energy on a planetary scale. He is able to communicate telepathically and compel others to do his will, even across dimensions. His skin is rubbery and armored, preventing physical damage. He has between 6 and 8 appendages, depending on his form. These are used to grasp/crush his prey and to project his energy blasts. It also may be impossible to permanently destroy him.
History: Shuma-Gorath's origins are unknown
(Marvel Premiere#14 (fb) - BTS) - Over 1,000,000 years ago, Shuma Gorath traveled from his native dimension to prehistoric earth, ruling over it and feasting on the ancestors of mankind.
(Marvel Premiere#14)- Shuma-Gorath confronted the time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg and was defeated by the godlike being. He was banished from the earth dimension. This was witnessed by the time-traveling Dr. Strange, who lamented the fact that he could not change the Ancient One's death by destroying Shuma-Gorath in the past.
(Conan the Barbarian I#260 (fb) - BTS) - At least 1000 years before the sinking of Atlantis, Shuma-Gorath found his way back to Earth and set himself up as a god again, this time on what would become Mount Crom in Cimmeria. He was fed by blood-sacrifice, from both tribal warfare and ritual slaughter on his altar. Shuma-Gorath did not seek priests or intermediaries between him and his food; he destroyed any shaman who sought to curry his favor. For an age it ruled over the humans until they cried out to a newly arisen god: Crom. Crom sent a great storm which a shaman of the Northmen entered. He returned with three iron-bound books, locked by a key. (This is millennia before books existed.) The Shaman read the books to his tribe and then went off to confront the demon.
The shaman arrived at a lower peak and read from the books. As he finished the 3rd volume, Shuma-Gorath sent down a magical blast which appeared to incinerate the human. However, from the books rose a flame-headed cloud, which rose to the top of the mountain and enveloped it. Shuma-Gorath was imprisoned within the mountain, which was then named Mount Crom, in honor of the god who defeated Shuma-Gorath.
(Conan the Barbarian I#258 (fb) - BTS) - Kulan Gath and Vammatar, newly wed, arrived at Mount Crom with the Iron-Bound books of Shuma-Gorath, seeking to release and enslave the demon. Vammatar betrayed Kulan Gath and they both cursed Crom, who buried caused an avalanche, which buried the books. Both Kulan Gath and Vammatar believed the other had perished,
(Conan the Barbarian I#252 (fb) - BTS) - Over 100 years later, Shuma-Gorath influenced Vammatar to destroy the village of the Snow Bear, in Cimmeria, where Conan was raised, in order to clear the path for her to come and free him. While the village was consumed by fire, the words "Shuma-Gorath" were chanted repeatedly. This is seen in a dream by Conan,
(Conan the Barbarian I#259) - Conan, Hob, Kulan Gath, and Vammatar all arrived at Mount Crom. Shuma-Gorath mentally compelled Hob, who was separated from the others, to take the Iron-Bound books of Shuma-Gorath and open them, reading them aloud. This freed Shuma-Gorath from his imprisonment, and he exploded out the side of the mountain.
(Conan the Barbarian I#260) - Shuma-Gorath appeared frozen in place by the spells of Kulan Gath and Vammatar, who then attacked Conan and his allies. The two sorcerers celebrated, only to discover that Shuma-Gorath was not under their control. The demon related how he was trapped to his audience, before obliterating Kulan Gath and Vammatar. Conan took the Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath up the mountain and resisted first the demon's energy blasts and then his offers of power if Conan would stop. Instead Conan threw the books up into the storm above, giving them to Crom. An enormous explosion ensued and when the dust cleared, Shuma-Gorath was no more.
(BTS) - Crom banished Shuma-Gorath back to his home dimension.
(Marvel Premiere#3-8 - BTS) - Shuma-Gorath was behind a series of attacks on Dr. Strange and the Ancient One, preparing for his rebirth on earth with the aid of his servants Nightmare, Sligguth, Ebora, N'Gabthoth, Dagoth, Kathulos, and the Living Buddha.
(Marvel Premiere#9) - Returning from Kaluthos, Dr. Strange encountered an energy trail. In it was a black hole, which spoke to him with Shuma-Gorath's voice. It taunted him with its power and warned him its return was nigh. Upon arriving at the side of his mentor, the Ancient One, Strange learned that Shuma-Gorath was going to come to earth through the mind of the Ancient One.
(Marvel Premiere#10) - Shuma-Gorath had begun to enter the earth-plane, through the Ancient One's mind. Appearing as a negative image of the Ancient One's mind, Shuma-Gorath taunted Dr. Strange with visions the Lord of Chaos' victory. Overcoming them, Strange entered the Ancient One's mind and was treated to hallucinations before finally confronting Shuma-Gorath himself. While fighting a losing battle with the demon, a battle felt by mystics the world over, Strange realized he must destroy the Ancient One's ego in order to prevent Shuma-Gorath's victory. Strange reluctantly did so, banishing Shuma-Gorath back to where he came from. This also enabled the Ancient One to finally become "one" with the universe.
(Dr. Strange II#81 -BTS) - To save his friends from the alien sorcerer Urthona, Dr. Strange was forced to destroy virtually all of his talismans and scrolls. (In reality Agamatto took them for safe-keeping.) This act collapsed the barriers which kept the Old Ones imprisoned in their dimensions, allowing them free reign on Earth, thus granting Shuma-Gorath a foothold on the earthly plane.
(Strange Tales II#1/2-#12/2 - BTS) - Shuma-Gorath was behind the Old Ones' assault on Earth, aiding/directing the actions of the Water Elemental, Erlik Khan, Ghaszaszh Nyirh, Nightmare, and others.
(Strange Tales II#13/2) - After traveling through many dimensions and defeating/merging with Arioch, Dr. Strange finally arrived at Shuma-Gorath's home dimension. Shuma-Gorath was so large here that Dr. Strange initially mistook him for a mountain.
(Strange Tales II#14/2) - Dr. Strange confronted Shuma-Gorath, enfusing himself with Arioch's energy and Black Magic, growing to match Shuma-Gorath in size. As they battled Shuma-Gorath boasted that Dr. Strange cannot, as a mortal, defeat him. The Lord of Chaos said "If you gain enough power to best me, you become me." Shuma-Gorath hit Strange, turning part of the sorcerer's skin to resemble Shuma-Gorath's own leathery green hide. Shuma-Gorath pointed out that Strange was already becoming him and prophesied that the power would corrupt him.
He then created a replica of Earth, which he proceeded to use as a "voodoo doll" ravaging the real Earth, turning the sky to fire. Dr. Strange attemptd to create a mystic shield to protect the Earth replica, but this merely caused pain and damage to Earth's mystics, including Dr. Druid and Talisman of Alpha Flight. Shuma-Gorath told Strange that he could not beat him by being both "the preserver and the destroyer in one aspect." Strange responded by becoming a destroyer, using the Earth replica to destroy Shuma-Gorath. This causes death, destruction, and pain across the globe and shattered Shuma-Gorath's body, causing Strange to merge with Shuma-Gorath.
Dr. Strange /Shuma-Gorath then impaled himself on one of Shuma-Gorath's tentacles.
(Fantastic Four I#314) - In the domain of the Cat People, Dr. Strange's confrontation with Shuma-Gorath appeared in a vision of flame to Belasco and the Fantastic Four .
(Strange Tales II#15/2) - In actuality Dr. Strange/Shuma-Gorath only destroyed his own ego, in a bid to destroy Shuma-Gorath. Led by Kaluu, he travels through many planes, burning off the excess energy of Shuma-Gorath on the way back to the Earth dimension.
(Fantastic Four Annual#27/3) - Shuma-Gorath was one of the entities glimpsed by Kosmos and Kubik on a tour of the varying levels of reality.
(Avengers III#29 - BTS) - Kulan Gath invoked Shuma-Gorath (along with the N'Garai and other dark gods) in his bid to attain godhood.
(Marvel Knights 4#26) - Nicholas Scratch tricked the Fantastic Four into reading a spell to liberate Shuma-Gorath, bringing him to Earth.
(Marvel Knights 4#27) - Shuma-Gorath assaulted the Fantastic Four and Salem's Seven, whom Scratch presented as sacrifices. Shuma announced his intentions of consuming Earth, but Dr. Strange then arrived and transported Shuma to Stonehenge, from where he managed to banish Shuma beyond time and space.
(Journey Into Mystery I#627 (fb)) - Shuma-Gorath was present at the Devil's Advocacy meeting where various demons (including Mephisto, Blackheart, Cyttorak, Dormammu and Marduk Kurios) railed loudly against the power of the Asgardian fear god, the Serpent.
Comments: Name created by Robert E. Howard;
Character created/adapted by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner
The name Shuma-Gorath first appears in Robert E. Howard's "Curse of the Golden Skull." In it a dying Lemurian mage, Rotath, swears by "the iron-bound books of Shuma-Gorath." Rotath also swears by Jaggta-Noga, a demon who appears in a Kull story in Savage Sword of Conan#197.
Uncanny X-Men Annual 13/4 establishes that Shuma-Gorath's banishment by Sise-Neg took place prior to the First Host of the Celestials' arrival on Earth. This means that Shuma-Gorath's 1st arrival and conquest of earth occurred over 1,000,000 years ago.
Shuma-Gorath's appearance is rather different in the Hyperborian era, but this is the same being that encountered Sise-Neg. Since demons are generally known to be able to change shape, presumably Shuma-Gorath wished to try a different form during his second voyage to earth.
The banishing of the Old Ones must have occurred after the second coming of Shuma Gorath, around 12, 000 BC-10, 000 BC. The Hyborian mages used black magic to bind the demons, but also may have been aided by some of the Hyborian gods.
Dr. Strange merged with Shuma-Gorath by destroying him. Strange then destroyed his ego, so as to destroy the Lord of Chaos. Later, with the excess energy of Shuma-Gorath burned-off, only Dr. Strange remained when Kaluu and his pupil arrived on the Earth plane. I would surmise that Shuma-Gorath's energy reassembled itself in his home dimension where he now is plotting another conquest of Earth.
I'm pretty sure Shagreen the Sorcerer was trying to reference Shuma-Gorath when he invoked "CTHUMA-GURATH" as the god he worshipped in Nightcrawler I#2, but it's not definite, so I'll leave it in the comments for now.
In the fb in Conan Ravagers Out of Time, Rotath's invocation of Shuma-Gorath is repeated verbatim.--John McDonagh
Shuma-Gorath: Video Game Star
Most people know of Shuma-Gorath from his appearance in the Capcom Marvel Super Heroes fighting game. This side-view fighting game featured characters such as Spider- Man, Wolverine, Juggernaut, Iron Man, Blackheart, and others competing for the Infinity Gems, in a very loose adaptation of the Inifinity Gauntlet story line. Shuma-Gorath proved popular enough to appear in the Marvel vs. Capcom fighting game sequel.
This is probably one of the most high profile appearances of such an obscure character in Marvel's history. A character with less than a half-dozen physical appearances in almost 3 decades was chosen to be in an arcade game!! Most people have no idea who Shuma-Gorath is, leading to a number of web sites (mostly from video game fans) that describe him erroneously, ranging from his being an evil version of the Ancient One, to another dimension's sorcerer supreme, who consumed his reality and hungers for ours!!! Hopefully this profile will enable fans to learn the truth!!
Frank Perry provided the voice for Shuma-Gorath in the game.
Shuma-Gorath has an entry in OHotMU Horror 2005.
Profile by The Squid
This character, Shuma-Gorath, has no known connections to
Marvel Premiere#14, pg. 18, panel 4
Conan the Barbarian I#260, pg. 12, panel 4
Marvel Premiere#10, pg.1, panel 1
Marvel Premiere#10, pg. 17, panel 1
Strange Tales II#14/2, pg. 17, panel 2
Strange Tales II#14/2, pg. 24, panel 4
Marvel Premiere#3 (July, 1972 - May, 1973) - Stan Lee & Barry Windsor-Smith (writers), Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Dan Adkins (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Premiere#4 (September, 1972) - Archie Goodwin & Roy Thomas (writers), Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Frank Burner (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
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)
Marvel Premiere#7 (March, 1973) - Gardner F. Fox (writer), Craig Russell (pencils), Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia & David Hunt (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Premiere#8 (May, 1973) - Gardner F. Fox (writer), Jim Starlin (pencils), Frank Giacoia & David Hunt (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Premiere#9 (July, 1973) - Steve Englehart & Frank Brunner (writers), Frank Brunner (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Marvel Premiere#14 (March, 1974) - Steve Englehart & Frank Brunner (writers), Frank Brunner (pencils), Dick Giordano (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Dr. Strange II#81 (February, 1987) - Peter Gillis (writer), Chris Warner (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Strange Tales II#1-4 (April-July, 1987) - Peter Gillis (writer), Chris Warner (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Strange Tales II#5 (August, 1987) - Peter Gillis (writer), Larry Alexander (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Strange Tales II#6-9 (September-December, 1987) - Peter Gillis (writer), Terry Shoemaker (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Strange Tales II#10-11 (January-February, 1988) - Peter Gillis (writer), Richard Case (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Strange Tales II#12 (March, 1988) - Peter Gillis (writer), Dan Lawlis (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Strange Tales II#13-15 (April-June, 1988) - Peter Gillis (writer), Richard Case (pencils), Randy Emberlin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Fantastic Four I#314 (May, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Keith Pollard (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#252 (January, 1992) - Roy Thomas (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#258 (July, 1992) - Roy Thomas (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Ricardo Villagran (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#259-260 (August-September, 1992) - Roy Thomas (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Ricardo Villagran (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Fantastic Four Annual#27 (1994) - Len Kaminski (writer), Mike Gustovich (pencils), Don Hudson (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Avengers III#29 (June, 2000) - Kurt Busiek (writer), George Perez (pencils), Al Vey & Dick Giordano (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Knights 4#26-27 (March-April, 2006) - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Valentino DeLandro (pencils), Batt (inks), Warren Simons (editor)
Journey Into Mystery I#627 (November, 2011) - Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (art), Ralph Macchio (senior editor)
Last updated: 03/20/12
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