Real Name: Karanthes
Identity/Class: Human, Stygian (Hyborian Era); magic user
Occupation: First Priest of Ibis
Group Membership: Priesthood of Ibis
Affiliations: Conan, Ibis (Thoth), Red Sonja, King Sumuabi
Enemies: El-Ron,, Jaggta-Noga, Set, Thoth-Amon and all the Black Ring, Zukala
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations:
formerly the Nest of Ibis, plains of Argos at north of Messantia;
formerly Hanumar, Nemedia;
formerly Akkharia, Koth;
formerly Hanumar, Nemedia;
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#7 (July, 1971)
Powers/Abilities: Karanthes had great magical powers, some of them granted to him by his god, Ibis. Using magic, he could destroy buildings, project dreams in the minds of others, give increased speed and stamina, banish demons, conjure objects from afar, project invisibility upon objects, kill with the touch of the Staff of Ibis and defend himself and others from magic attacks. Karanthes knew how to make magic potions, and he was also able to communicate with his god and to borrow pieces of his all-seeing knowledge. He was an exceptional schemer and manipulator.
(Marvel Feature Presents#6 (fb) - BTS) - Karanthes became the first priest of Ibis, the sworn enemy of Set. In Stygia, the two factions of priests were at war just as their gods were, but a lost battle forced Karanthes to leave Stygia and find shelter at Hanumar, in Nemedia.
(Conan the Barbarian I#115 (fb) ) - During the kingdom of Sumuabi in the state-town of Akkharia, Karanthes, already Priest of Ibis, reached the town. In those days, King Sumuabi had a personal sorcerer, Zukala, who was exiled by the King when Karanthes took over the position.
(Conan the Barbarian I#7) - The rivalry between Karanthes and Thoth-Amon was so great that it also continued outside Stygia. The priest of Set anonymously sent a deadly gift to Karanthes. Karanthes was in Hanumar but the gift, one of the sons of Set, never reached him; instead it was killed by Conan.
(Marvel Feature Presents#6 (fb) - BTS) - In search of the Book of Skelos, Karanthes received a message from his god: hire Red Sonja in Argos on the road from Zingara to Venzia. Karanthes traveled to the predicted place and ensured that Red Sonja would stop there by having a bridge crumble with his magic.
(Marvel Feature Presents#6 / Conan the Barbarian I#67 (fb)) - Red Sonja arrived at the bridge after having been assaulted by two jackal-men, sons of Set, and Karanthes found her there. She accepted his request to steal a page of the iron-bound Book of Skelos; this page was kept in a house of relics, the Temple of a Thousand Gods in Messantia. Red Sonja soon after slew several crocodile-men that had been conjured by a sorcerer of the Black Ring, an emissary of Thoth-Amon, and reached the page of the Book of Skelos, but also found that Conan the Cimmerian and Bêlit wanted the page.
(Marvel Feature Presents#7) - Sonja succeeded in stealing the page, riding out of Messantia and, with the help of a landslide magically caused by Karanthes, reached the Nest of Ibis. There, in the most southern temple of Ibis, Karanthes already knew that she was arriving. Sonja gave him the page, but, suddenly, Conan made his appearance, asking for the page. Karanthes ordered to Sonja not to surrender the page and the two fought harshly and for long time until the emissary of Set, mutated into a giant bat-like being, attacked Karanthes.
(Conan the Barbarian I#68) - The bat-man stole the page and flew away. Karanthes convinced the two warriors to give chase, but he first prayed to his god and conjured a red gem which he gave to Conan. He also made an enchantment that enabled the pursuers to match the bat-man's speed.
Conan, Red Sonja and Bêlit met King Kull in his town, incredibly, in the plain of Argos, and succeeded in breaking the illusion of the sorcerer who had transported the City of Wonders into the Hyborian Era, thanks to the red gem, the Fire-Jewel of Kull's crown. The emissary of Thoth-Amon was killed by Conan but the page was destroyed. Upon their return to the Nest of Ibis, Karanthes proposed to the adventurers to steal the rest of the Book from Thoth-Amon's fortress, but they refused.
(Conan the Barbarian I#73 - BTS / Conan the Barbarian I#115 (fb) - BTS) - Still needing Conan to find for him the Book of Skelos, Karanthes sent a dream to the Cimmerian in the hope of driving him to abandon Bêlit and his adventures with her, but Conan did not leave Bêlit.
(Conan the Barbarian I#115) - Established in Akkharia, sensing that Zukala was plotting against him, even after years from their affair with King Sumuabi, Karanthes took some countermeasures against the one whom he believed was just a minor wizard. First, he cast some protective spells on his Temple. Second, he hired Red Sonja as his bodyguard, but also because he knew that Zukala would use her. Third, when Conan the Cimmerian went to kidnap him, he drugged Sonja with a crimson powder, but drove Conan to lead Sonja and himself to Zukala's lair near Ghaza.
After two days of travel, during which Conan still ruminated about his role of kidnapper, and during which Sonja was still sleeping, the group reached Zukala's temple. Karanthes always showed submissive behavior, but acted when it was the right moment. Conan, who had decided that he could not exchange Sonja's life for the life of Bêlit, rebelled against Zukala. Zukala's demon, Jaggta-Noga, attacked the Cimmerian but Karanthes intervened and banished the demon. Conan decapitated Zukala but was seriously harmed by his sorceries, and Karanthes gave Sonja a potion to help him recover. Zukala then cast a destructive spell and they had to run outside; Zukala's temple shook and crumbled after a few minutes. Amidst the dust, the blurred shape of the god Ibis stood above the debris.
(Conan the Barbarian I#242 (fb) - BTS) - Three winters after, Karanthes learnt that Zukala was not a simple minor wizard, but that he was actually a minor god, and that he sought to return to the physical world, incarnating in the body of the son of his son and Red Sonja, with whom Zukala had fallen in love.
Trying to sabotage Zukala's plans, Karanthes hired Red Sonja to kill El-Ron in his nuptial bed. He had her meet El-Ron and pretend to be defeated in a duel, setting the basis for their marriage which he was called to celebrate.
(Conan the Barbarian I#241) - Karanthes also needed Conan's help, so, after having foreseen where he would be, he intercepted Conan at Arenjun. There, the priest killed a brawler with the mere touch of his Staff of Ibis, thereby saving Conan. Karanthes also manipulated the Cimmerian to accompany him along a stretch of road. Under the Bridge of the Troll, Conan met Red Sonja and learnt that she had to marry El-Ron.
(Conan the Barbarian I#242) - In this way, Karanthes gained a further ally. The first night in Zukala's castle, Conan discovered how Zukala wanted to reincarnate using a hypnotized Sonja. Conan was captured by Jaggta-Noga and Karanthes chose not to help him directly.
(Conan the Barbarian I#243 (fb) - BTS) - Instead, Karanthes had enchanted Conan's knife blade so that the barbarian could wound the otherwise invulnerable Jaggta-Noga.
(Conan the Barbarian I#243) - With Conan a prisoner in Jaggta-Noga's Lost Land, Karanthes delayed the wedding just in time for Conan to escape and interrupt the ceremony. Conan killed El-Ron and again had to decapitate his body, which was possessed by Zukala's spirit. Karanthes confessed to his allies all his plans.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas (writer), Barry Smith (pencils) and Dan Adkins & Sal Buscema (inks).
Karanthes spoke about the Nemedian exile as something that had happened a few years before, or at least few decades, and which concerned the factions of Karanthes and Thoth-Amon. However, the banishment of the Ibis Cult seems to have happened many years before and involved the two religions in a much bigger way.
It is difficult to chronologically place Karanthes' first visit to Akkharia and the foundation of that Temple. His visit could have occurred before the Cult settled in Nemedia between 5 and 20 years before Zukala tried to take his revenge. Of course, both of them could use sorcery to retard their aging (see comments in Zukala's profile).
Profile by Spidermay.
Karanthes has no known connections to
Staff of Ibis / Ibis Staff
The Staff of Ibis, also called the Ibis Staff, was a powerful item wielded by Karanthes. It primarily channeled Ibis' energies into various enchantments, including banishing demons, destroying objects and killing with a simple touch of the staff. Its ibis-head always shined, usually hitting the observer with its light, no matter what the staff's actual angle was.
--Conan the Barbarian I#7 (Marvel Feature I#6, Conan the Barbarian I#67 (fb), Marvel Feature I#7, Conan the Barbarian I#68, 115, 241-243
Conan the Barbarian I#7, p7, pan4 (Karanthes, full body)
Conan the Barbarian I#68, p4, pan5 (Karanthes, head shot)
Marvel Feature I#6, p5, pan4 (holding raised staff)
Marvel Feature I#6, p5, pan6 (close-up)
Conan the Barbarian I#7 (July, 1971) - Roy Thomas (writer), Barry Smith (pencils), Dan Adkins and Sal Buscema (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Feature Presents#6 (September, 1976) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Thorne (artist)
Conan the Barbarian I#67 (October, 1976) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (pencils), The Tribe (inks)
Marvel Feature Presents#7 (November, 1976) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Thorne (artist)
Conan the Barbarian I#68 (November, 1976) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), John Buscema (artist)
Conan the Barbarian I#115 (October, 1980) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#241 (February, 1991) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gary Hartle (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#242 (March, 1991) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gary Hartle (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#243 (April, 1991) - Roy Thomas (writer), Gary Hartle (pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Last updated: 09/06/09
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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