Zukala rides the dream!ZUKALA

Real Name: Zukala

Identity/Class: God (pre-Cataclysmic and Hyborian Eras)

Occupation: God, sorcerer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Jaggta-Noga, Arkyn Lord of Law, Conan the Barbarian, King Sumuabi of Akkharia

Enemies: Arioch (Duke of Chaos), Conan, Karanthes, Kulan Gath, Razal Gulath, Red Sonja, Terhali, the Queen Xiombarg

Known Relatives: Zephra (daughter), El-Ron (son)

Aliases: Zukala the God

Base of Operations: Ghaza (Koth)
    formerly his house in Koth,
    formerly
Zukala Castle (Zamora);
    formerly Akkharia, Shem;
    formerly Zingara;
    Pre-Cataclysmic and Hyborian Eras

First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#5 (May, 1971)
{Edizione Italiana: Gli Albi dei Super-Eroi#17 Editoriale Corno}

Powers/Abilities: Originally Zukala was probably very powerful, having the power of a God. In his human form he was immortal, and could grant immortality to his daughter, too. But his powers were reduced over time, so he used a magical mask to focus his powers. He could blast flashes and green flames, teleport, and his magical powers grant him a certain degree of invulnerability. He also can summon demons from other dimensions.
    Without his mask he was not immortal anymore, and Zephra's power were almost nullified. Zukala could still summon enchanted White Eagles, observe events appearing very far and in other dimensions, enchant weapons, request other god's help (Serusha) and speak to an extradimensional god (Arkyn). He also could project his own image at a certain distance (at least two days of horse riding) and could raise a cadaver giving it his original shape but without giving it life.
    In his spirit form he could posses a human body, probably the body of whoever summons him, and use his host to speak and cast spells.

Zukala at the bottom of his powersHistory:
(
Conan the Barbarian I#243 (fb) - BTS) - Zukala was a God. Before Acheron and before Atlantis.

(Conan the Barbarian I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Zukala the God took human form and became Zukala the Sorcerer. His powers decreased in his human form, but he still seemed immortal. He generated a daughter: Zephra. Zukala and Zephra lived for eons till the Hyborian Era.

(Conan the Barbarian I#5 (fb) - BTS) - Once in Zamora, Zukala took possession of a Castle. He started to ask annual payments from the people living in the land around his Castle. It is uncertain when he started to use a magical mask to increase his magical powers. 

(Conan the Barbarian I#242 (fb) - BTS) - Zukala and Zephra lived for a while in Zingara. While there, Zukala generated a son: El-Ron.

(Conan the Barbarian I#242 (fb) - BTS) - Zukala abandoned El-Ron's mother before his son was born. Zukala took Zephra with him.

(Conan the Barbarian I#115 (fb)) - For an unspecified period of time Zukala lived in Koth. Zukala became the wizard of King Sumuabi, the State-Town of Akkharia's lord.

(Conan the Barbarian I#115 (fb)) -  When Karanthes, priest of Ibis, arrived in Akkharia, he ousted Zukala from his power and King Sumuabi banished Zukala from the town.

(Conan the Barbarian I#5 (fb) - BTS) - For a long time nobody challenged the sorcerer, and Zukala became the lord of a large territory around Zukala castle.

(Conan the Barbarian I#5) - For tens of years the people paid Zukala's tax till to one year they delayed the payment. Zukala sent his daughter Zephra to a village to punish them. Just that day, Conan passed in the village, and protected the people from Zephra in her Tigress form. Conan also accepted to kill Zukala in change of a reward. Meanwhile Zephra went back without money and fainted in Zukala's arms.
    Zukala evoked the demon Jaggta-Noga from his Lost Land and sent him to the village to take the tax. After few minutes, thanks to his magic powers he discovered that Conan the Barbarian and his daughter Zephra were together. Enraged, he materialized near them and tried to kill Conan with a sizzling flash. But Conan dodged the charge and struck Zukala on his mask. Half of the mask was crushed, and Zukala fled from the battle with helped from Zephra who held on to Conan. But Conan pursued Zukala, so Zukala transformed Conan's sword into a venomous snake. Conan grabbed an axe from the wall and knocked Zukala down (the axe was enchanted) crushing  his mask. Zukala ordered Zephra to transform into her feline form and so she did, but she didn't attack Conan because she had fallen in love with him. Jaggta-Noga arrived in the room, and Zukala sent him against Conan. Zephra attacked Jaggta-Noga who overpowered her, so Conan slammed Zukala to convince him to stop the demon. Only when Jaggta.Noga wounded Zephra did Zukala banish him to the Lost Land. Then, he picked Zephra up and teleported away.

(Conan the Barbarian I#14 (fb) - BTS) - Having lost part of their power, Zukala and Zephra started aging, and Zukala soon became old and weak. He also lost his left eye, probably from being hit by Conan's axe. Zukala and his daughter became disciples of Arkyn, the Lord of Law, and enemies of Queen Xiombarg, disciple of Arioch, Lord of Chaos. Xiombarg forced Kulan Gath to find the sunken citadel of Yagala to revive the Green Empress Terhali, and Zukala set a plan up to stop Kulan Gath and Xiombarg.

(Conan the Barbarian I#14) - Zukala sent Zephra to find Conan to use him against Kulan Gath. She found Conan, and Zukala sent some enchanted White Eagles to save her daughter from the Hooded Ones, servants of Chaos. Conan and Zephra safely reached Zukala's house.
   
Zukala is oldZukala welcomed Conan and, with a little enchantment on a pool fountain showed Conan an image of Kulan Gath and the story of Terhali. Conan agreed to help him. Zukala enchanted Conan's sword.
    When Conan and Zephra left for Yagala, Zukala talked to Arkyn, then used his magic, blood, and the pool to spy on Xiombarg and Gaynor the Damned, but the evil Queen sensed him and he had to break the spell.
    That night Zephra invoked his name for help in obtaining Serusha's help. Although she was far from Koth, a strong rain fell on the enemies that were attacking Zephra and she, Conan, and Elric of Melnibonť defeated the Pack of Chaos.

(Conan the Barbarian I#15) - When the three arrived near Yagala, Zephra admitted that his father's powers could not reach her anymore. But Zukala was observing them, in the waters of the fountain, asking himself if he had sent his daughter to die. He saw Gaynor and his forces distracting Conan and Elric, Kulan Gath awakening Terhali ,and Terhali slaying Kulan Gath and defeating Conan and Elric. When he saw and heard Arkyn offer Zephra to become the instrument of the Lords of Law, Zukala immediately understood that the power offered to Zephra would have killed her, and he shouted to Arkyn and fainted. Zephra accepted, and after a savage fight she destroyed Terhali and died.
    Conan brought Zephra's body back to Zukala. Zukala offered to him his friendship, but Conan refused, leaving Zukala to think about the sacrifice he had her daughter undergo.

(Savage Sword of Conan#189) - Conan awakened in a slave ship. He recalled being with a woman in a  Kothian bar before magic overcame him. He escapes the slave ship. In town, Conan bought a sword, and saw an oddly familiar looking helmet, similar to one he used to wear, at the blacksmith's shop. He bought the  helmet--an act which Zukala observed in a scrying pool. Later Conan encountered two thugs sent by Zukala. Zukala later appeared in a vision to Conan, explaining that Elric's cloak (which Conan wrapped Zephra's corpse in) had kept him alive due to its magical power. Zukala stated that the dimensional balance was weakening. A jewel owned by Kulan Gath's apprentice (Razal Gulath) was draining Zukala's power. Conan rode to Razal Gulath's castle, patrolled by Hooded Riders. Conan killed a rider and took his cloak. He entered Razal Gulath's castle. However, Razal Gulath detected Conan's thoughts and caused him to sink to a pit where Prince Gaynor awaited. Conan defeated Gaynor and an octopoid creature. He then killed a winged monster. Conan found Razal-Gulath's treasure room. Gulath blasted Conan, but via a vision, Zukala revealed that he enchanted Conan's helmet (Zukala engineered the events that caused Conan to end up on the slaveship, and put the helmet in the blacksmith's shop knowing Conan would have the overpowering urge  to get it).
    Razal-Gulath exclaimed "All I need do is call upon the Dark Lords.....and you will be defeated, Zukala, helpless to stop me as chaos spreads over the face of the Earth. Even now I feel their spirits enter my body!" But Razal Gulath had called upon power too great to contain and pain inflamed his body. Conan pointed the jewel at Razal Gulath, banishing him from this reality. Zukala now controlled all the power Razal-Gulath represented. Combined with Zukala's own power, and that of Elric's cloak, it became the energy holding together the fabric of reality, realigning the balance of chaos and order.

(Conan the Barbarian I#115) - About 8 years later, Zukala lived near Ghaza, and he meditated revenge against Karanthes. He discovered that Karanthed had cast spells that protected him from Zukala's enchantments. Zukala then used his powers and found Conan riding to Akkharia. He showed Conan an illusion of his face half-covered by his old magical mask, and offered to Conan gold and women in exchange of his help. Conan refused.
    Two days later, Zukala contacted Conan again. This time he offered Conan the resurrection of BÍlit in exchange for the capture of Karanthes. Zukala knew that he could rise BÍlit's body but that she would never be alive, though hr hid this fact from Conan. Conan accepted and went back to Akkharia, to the Temple of Ibis where Karanthes was located.
    Karanthes, who knew about Zukala and believed him to be a minor wizard, voluntarily let Conan capture him, and he also stunned Red Sonja with a sleeping powder. After two days of riding, Conan, Karanthes, and a still sleeping Red Sonja reached Zukala's lair near Ghaza. Once there Zukala ordered Conan to leave Red Sonja there. Zukala said that he needed to sacrifice another woman to resurrect BÍlit, but he secretly felt love for the Hyrkanian She-Devil. Conan refused so Zukala summoned Jaggta-Noga to threaten him. Then Conan left Sonja and stood watching the rite. When Sonja began to awaken Conan changed his mind, and Karanthes used his Staff  of Ibis against Jaggta-Noga and banished the demon back in his abyss. Zukala was forced to confront Conan. First he used a green fire, but the Barbarian continued to advance. Then the sorcerer showed to Conan an illusion of his happy future with BÍlit, but Conan could not barter his felicity with Sonja's life, so he slashed his sword and beheaded Zukala. Zukala didn't die, but only lost his human body and waited in his spirit form.
    Karanthes cast a spell that destroyed the Zukala's lair that crumbled over his body. 

Zukala the God(Conan the Barbarian I#242 (fb) - BTS) - El-Ron, Zukala's son, contacted his father's spirit and they set up a plan to take a vengeance against Karanthes, to force Red Sonja to marry El-Ron, and to generate a son who was to become the new human host for Zukala the God.

(Conan the Barbarian I#241-242 (fb)) - El-Ron convinced Red Sonja to go to Castle Zukala and to marry him. He probably also knew that Red Sonja would bring Karanthes with her to officiate the ceremony. Both El-Ron and Zukala knew that Karanthes and Red Sonja wanted to sabotage Zukala's return, so they prepared their countermeasures.

Zukala in his son's dead body(Conan the Barbarian I#242) - About two years after his "death", the night before the wedding, Zukala was evoked by his son, appearing with his face hidden by his magical mask. On El-Ron's request he revealed his true aspect: Zukala the God. Conan and Karanthes were surprised. Zukala assisted how Jaggta-Noga captured Conan and brought the Cimmerian away in the Lost Land.

(Conan the Barbarian I#243) - The morning after, Karanthes started to celebrate the wedding and Zukala was present in his evoked form. But Conan fled from Jaggta-Noga's Land and interrupted the rite. Also Red Sonja rebelled and the two warriors fought against the guards and El-Ron. Conan killed El-Ron, so Zukala used his dead body to evoke his servant demons. Zukala-El-Ron confessed his love to Red Sonja (while trying to kill her). After a brief struggle, Conan succeeded in beheaded El-Ron, breaking Zukala's control. Zukala left the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Barry Smith and Frank Giacoia.

    Why did Zukala lose his powers? He declared himself to be the last of his race. A race of Gods before Atlantis? Probably he was a God left without worshippers, and voluntarily choose to incarnate in a human body? Did he want a daughter or a son?

    It is difficult to place where Zukala exactly was before he knew Conan. It is a fact that Zephra (and probably Zukala also) was seen in Zamora near the Castle 50-60 years before she met Conan. But Zukala also was in Koth, at Akkharia before he met Conan, and Karanthes was mature, yet. Moreover, El-Ron came from Zingara, and he claimed that Zukala abandoned his mother, taking Zephra with him. El-Ron seemed to be about 20-30 years old, so Zukala was in Zingara, about 10-20 years before his first meeting with Conan, in Zamora. My supposition is that Zukala met Karanthes after he abandoned El-Ron because there is not a so big difference of age between Karathes of the wedding and the Karanthes of the Akkharia's flashback.
    Then again, maybe they all used magic to retard their aging...

Comments from Per Degaton

    I have no idea what Master Order and Lord Chaos had to say about this.

    Razal-Gulath may serve as the only associate of Kulan Gath who did not at some point betray him.

    Also, note that Robert E. Howard created Zukala for a series of poems. Roy Thomas admitted to have only skimmed the poems, thus not initially picking up on the full import of Zukala's identity as a deity.

Profile by Spidermay and Per Degaton.

Clarifications:
Zukala has no known connections to


Images:
Conan the Barbarian I#5, p9, pan5 (Zukala wearing his mask)
Conan the Barbarian I#14, p5, pan7 (Zukala, head shot)
Conan the Barbarian I#14, p5, pan5 (Zukala in Koth)
Conan the Barbarian I#242, p22, pan1 (Zukala the God)
Conan the Barbarian I#243, p17, pan2 (Zukala drives El-Ron)


Other appearances 
Conan the Barbarian I#14 (March, 1972) - Roy Thomas (writer), Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Sal Buscema (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#15 (May, 1972) - Michael Moorcock, James Cawthorn & Roy Thomas (writers), Barry Smith (pencils), Sal Buscema & Barry Smith (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#115 (October, 1980) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks)
Conan the Barbarian I#242-243 (March-April, 1991) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gary Hartle (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#189 (September, 1991) - Michael Higgins (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Ricardo Villagran (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)


Last updated: 09/17/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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