Real Name: Utu

Identity/Class: Unrevealed; magic being or human mutated by magic; citizen of Mashu (Hyborian Era)

Occupation: Guardian of the City of Shadows

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Ninaxakuddu

Enemies: Conan, the crypt lizard, all strangers

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: City of Shadows, site of the tombs of the ancient people of the Uduggak, Vilayet Sea (Hyborian Era)

First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#217 (April, 1989)

Powers/Abilities: Utu was a humanoid standing about 3 meters tall and stronger than any normal person but did not walk erect. He had only three fingers per hand plus an opposable thumb. His feet seemed to be two-toed claws, and his mask (or his face) had two horns reminiscent of elephant's tusks. His armor did not protect him from the blows of a strong sword and was probably an external shell. Utu could shoot beams of destructive energy from his eyes, although their intensity depended on his energy store. He could replenish his energy and health and prolong his life by using the Jewels of Abu Dhaak. His intelligence was below average, and his speech often mixed words of his ancient dialect with words understood by Conan.


(Conan the Barbarian I#217 (fb) - BTS) - Utu had been the guardian of the City of Shadows since Ninaxakuddu had brought him there from Mashu. Utu protected the tombs of the Uduggak elders and the Jewels of Abu Dhaak.

(Conan the Barbarian I#217) - One day, Utu spotted a barbarian fighting the giant birds among the tombs of the City, and immediately tried to kill him. The barbarian, Conan, evaded his destructive beams and managed to harm Utu with his blade. Utu lost him when Conan fell into a chasm in the ground. Searching the catacombs, Utu found the barbarian in the hall of the royal tombs, but attacked a crypt lizard. Utu's energy was too low, and his beams did not destroy the crypt lizard as he had wanted. Conan broke Utu's helmet, the ceiling collapsed and the three fighters were separated.

    A short time later, Utu reached the barbarian near the Jewels of Abu Dhaak and used the restorative power of the twin jewels to regain his full power. Transformed and renewed in the strength of limbs and in his purpose, Utu easily slew the great lizard. He then tried to annihilate Conan with his destructive beams but was tricked by the barbarian, who hurled him again on the energizing pedestal. The jewels imbued their sorcerous force again in Utu's form, who could not bear such a tremendous flow of power. Screaming, he exploded, shattering the jewels and the cliff side of the mountain. Shards of the giant jewels, rocks, Utu, debris fell into the Vilayet Sea along with Conan, who had survived the blast.

Comments: Created by Charles Santino & Val Semeiks (writer/plot/penciler) and Alfredo Alcala (inks).

Mashu was probably Utu's birthplace or the place where he lived before being brought to the City of Shadows by Ninaxakuddu. Ninaxakuddu was probably an Uduggak, or one of the same people of Utu. Utu worshiped Marduk and Kinguk. Interestingly, there were a lot of crosses in the City of Shadows, despite it being placed about 10,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The main part of the tombs were high, slim obelisks, but tombstones and crosses were also present.

    Utu was probably a normal human, but after years of exposure to the eldritch energy of the Jewels of Abu Dhaak, his form changed to the one seen in the story.

    Although giant spiders were common in the Hyborian Era, they weren't all related to Omm.

    An ancient city of a long dead civilization, a great treasure to find, and some dangerous guardians defending it: this is a job for a D&D player!

The crypt lizard was likely related to the so-called "Sea-God", a giant crocodilian that Conan fought and which was likewise a denizen of the Vilayet Sea.---Grendel Prime

Utu's connection to Mashu is that Mount Mashu was the mountain in Turkey from where he departed the underworld to travel to heaven. He and his brother shared immortality and had to split the times they could depart the underworld.
  The significance of a cross goes back to Ancient Greece. Two lines intersecting from my understanding meant the horizon and the sun's rays. Crossroads were sacred to Hecate. Lines crossing appear in Viking runes. Celtic sites predating Christ often have dozens of "x's" on them. Today, when we think of the cross, we always think of the crucifix. In fact, many idealisms from the Bible were based on pagan beliefs. The Jews stole the Flood myth from Sumeria and Christmas was worshipped on the day of the winter solstice. Some Jewish legends are even thinly veiled Sumerian stories (Lilith).
--Will U

Dim I Nticoudis discusses the similarities between the Sumerian deity and the Hyborian being of the same name:

A. I think there are some similarities, in depiction at least.

  1. Utu, whose name means "Sun" was " the god of the Sun and of Justice". The namesake character is a guardian and protector against grave robbers like Conan.
  2. Utu "is usually depicted as wearing a horned helmet and carrying a saw-edged weapon not unlike a pruning saw, which it is thought he used to cut through the side of a mountain from which he emerges, symbolising the dawn. He may also carry a mace and stand with one foot on the mountain." The namesake character has two prominent horns in his armored mask and his main source of energy comes from the side of mountain. Though he carries no weaponry.
  3. "Marduk is spelled AMAR.UTU in Sumerian, literally, "the calf of Utu" or "the young bull of the Sun". " The namesake character is identified as a Hyborian-era worshipper of Marduk.

B. The character has a further connection to Mesopotamian mythology, through his identification as coming from Mashu. "Mashu, as described in the Epic of Gilgamesh of Mesopotamian mythology, is a great mountain through which the hero-king Gilgamesh passes via a tunnel on his journey after leaving the Cedar Forest, a forest of ten thousand leagues span. The corresponding location in reality has been the topic of speculation, as no confirming evidence has been found. One theory is that the only location suitable for being called a "cedar land" was the great forest covering Lebanon and western parts of Syria and, in consequence, "Mashu" is the whole of the parallel Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges, with the narrow gap between these mountains constituting the tunnel. The word "Mashu" itself may translate as "two mountains", from Babylonian twins."

C. Ninaxakuddu, the unseen character who brought Utu to the City of Shadows, does not seem to have a basis in actual mythology. Searching for the name I could only find references to the so-called Simon Necronomicon, a grimoire dating to at least 1977. "The book is largely based on Sumerian mythology and its introduction attempts to identify the Great Old Ones and other creatures from Lovecraft's Mythos with gods and demons from the Sumerian myths. The myths presented in the book are a blend of Mesopotamian myths (not only Sumerian, but Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian as well), and a storyline of unknown authenticity about a man known as the "Mad Arab."

  In page 70 of the text you can find the verse "This is the book of Ninaxakuddu, The Queen, Mistress of the Incantations". The book already has a minor influence in the Marvel Universe. Page 104 identifies one "Marduk Kurios" as "Brightest Star among the Stars, Strongest God among the Gods, Son of Magick and the Sword, Child of Wisdom and the Word, Knower of the Secret Name, Knower of the Secret Number, Knower of the Secret Shape". Where Marduk Kurios is another name for Marduk, not an individual demon.

D. Utu the deity is a son of Nanna, the Moon God (whose name literally means "illuminator") and Ningal, Goddess of Reeds (whose name means Great Lady). They are also identified as parents of Inanna/Ishtar and Ishkur/Adad who already have profiles at the Appendix.

Profile by Spidermay.

Utu has no known connections to

  • Uatu, a Watcher, Fantastic Four ally @ Fantastic Four I#13
  • Ute, a Watcher from Proctor's alternate dimension, used as power source by Proctor @ Avengers I#363
  • Utand, a Frost Giant @ Thor I#419/2
  • Uthar, Asgardian god, leader of group drawn into conflict with Jolena's warriors @Thor I#322
  • Utu, Sumerian god son of Nanna (not yet seen in the Marvel Universe)
  • or any other "Ut-" character.

The pedestal between the twin jewelsThe Jewels of Abu Dhaak

The Jewels of Abu Dhaak

The Jewels of Abu Dhaak were two titanic crystal-like stones that had been carved into the cliff side of a mountain on the Vilayet Sea. Their height could be measured in tens of meters, and great was their weight and value. They were stores of eldritch energy which could be accessed using a circular pedestal, a golden platform built between the two massive jewels and which triggered the transfer of sorcerous power from the jewels into the being on the platform. The monolithic jewels were well-known in all the Hyborian regions to be in the City of Shadows, an ancient necropolis, although nobody alive had truly seen them.

    When Conan the Barbarian found them, he understood that he couldn't take them all for himself. He was not able to carve out a single piece using his sword. After the destruction provoked by Utu's explosion, nothing of them remained on the cliff side.





--Conan the Barbarian I#217

The crypt lizard

Crypt lizard

The crypt lizard was a huge crocodile-like reptile, so big that its head was as great as a Cimmerian. The great crypt lizard lived in the subterranean river flowing in the great royal hall of the City of Shadows. It felt the presence of Conan and assaulted him. A spear stabbed in its skin didn't weaken it, and only Utu's arrival distracted the reptile from his tough prey. Although their fight was interrupted by the ceiling collapsing, the big saurian kept pursuing Utu. It found the Guardian after he had regained his full power and was killed by one of his energy beams.


--Conan the Barbarian I#217

The giant birds

Giant "chickens"

The giant carnivorous birds found in the ancient city were remnants of another era, probably when the City of Shadows was a real city and not just a necropolis. They did not fly but ran. They were twice as tall as a man, and seemed hungry and dangerous, capable of killing a normal man using their beaks or claws.



--Conan the Barbarian I#217

The giant spider

Giant spider

The giant spider was as big as a man and capable of capturing a small member of the giant birds in a matter of seconds. It would poison its victims and shoot a sticky web to entangle them. It lurked in the catacombs beneath the City of Shadows. After having poisoned and wrapped a bird, it tried to kill Conan. It continued to fight even after Conan cut two of its legs off, but died when the barbarian hit it with a good slash from his sword.



--Conan the Barbarian I#217

images: (without ads)
Conan the Barbarian I#217, p3, pan2 (Utu, main image)

p22, pan4 (Utu, head shot)
p19, pan4 (Jewels of Abu Dhaak)
p20, pan2 (pedestal)
p12, pan4 (crypt lizard)
p2, pan3 (giant birds)
p6, pan4 (giant spider)

Conan the Barbarian I#217 (April, 1989) - Charles Santino & Val Semeiks (writer/plot/penciler), Alfredo Alcala (inks), Don Daley (editor)

Last updated: 05/22/08

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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