Real Name: Zukura
Identity/Class: Possibly the
Elder race or an
earlier age of man);
presumably pre-Cataclysmic era, but possibly distant past
Occupation: Sorcerer, guardian of the gate to the Shadow-Lands;
former king and warlock
Group Membership: Formerly an unidentified ancient society
Affiliations: Formerly the people of his unidentified ancient society;
formerly Jugarta, That Which Must Obey
Enemies: Chane, Jugarta, Lord of the Realm of Shadows (possibly Jugarta, see comments), That Which Must Obey
Known Relatives: Seela (daughter, deceased)
Base of Operations: Unrevealed (presumably some netherworld of the dead);
formerly the ruins of a former empire on an unidentified island in unspecified region and unspecified era on Earth (see comments)
First Appearance: Savage Sword of Conan#67/3 (August, 1981)
Powers/Abilities: Zukura had mystic abilities, only a few of which have been glimpsed. He was experienced with scrying (observing distant events via a mystic crystal; this is also referred to as crystallomancy by some sources). He, perhaps only via invoking the name, and presumably the power, of Jugarta, summon or banish That Which Must Obey (and possibly other demons) from its Hellish netherworld (and perhaps other realms). Via apparently sacrificing his own life force, forever seal the pit/portal from which That Which Must Obey emerged.
As "guardian of the gate" to the Shadow-Lands, he may well have had other abilities...or not.
He may have been hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands (or more) years old. If his lifespan was enhanced, we don't know if that was "normal" for his race, or whether he was mystically enhanced by some means (see comments)
Height: Unrevealed; I'd guesstimate him to be like 5'11" (we never see him standing up in reference to anyone, even Seela, who we do see in reference to Chane)
Weight: Unrevealed; I'd guesstimate him to be like 230 lbs. (he looks pretty thick in the middle in the images of him standing...but maybe it's his belt-thing)
Eyes: Unrevealed; I'd guess brown or green
Hair: Black (or DARK brown)
(Savage Sword of Conan#67/3 (fb) - BTS) - Zukura was once Warlock and king of an empire that eventually fell into ruins. They were apparently forced into "their accursed vigilance by the lord of the realm of shadows."
They were apparently cursed to guard the gate to the shadow-lands.
(Savage Sword of Conan#67/3 (fb) - BTS) - Zukura's daughter, Seela, had a vision/omen via their magic crystal of the future where a golden-haired god would deliver them from their "accursed vigilance."
(Savage Sword of Conan#67/3 - BTS) - After surviving a ship mutiny and arriving on the shore of the island on which Zukura and Seela lived, Chane clambered up a mountaintop for a better vantage point, and he found the ruins of a domed building, figuring it to be the scene of some ancient disaster.
(Savage Sword of Conan#67/3) - Via a mystic crystal, Zukura observed Chane's approach, telling Seela "he" had finally come; while Seela felt he came to deliver them, Zukura feared he had come to destroy them. Seela insisted it to be the former, but Zukura told her they would see.
When Chane finally entered the ruins, he exclaimed "by the gods..." upon seeing Zukura and Seela, and Zukura responded, "Yes, only by the gods do we now meet!" Zukura then introduced himself -- noting his former role in the previous empire -- and Seela. After Seela told Chane of her omen and told him, "You, my king, are our deliverer!", Chane also introduced himself, but told them that he was neither god nor yet a king, and that they awaited another. Seela then moved forward into close proximity with Chane, insisting he was the one the crystal had prophesied, and further telling him he would be heir to this kingdom and the one she would love for all eternity. When she urged Chane to take her, Chane stopped her, telling her he knew nothing of this place and intended to leave as he had arrived: Alone. Enraged that Chane would turn from her and thus betray her dream, Seela transformed into a snarling wolf. However, after locking stares with him in a moment of rigid intensity, the wolf softened her gaze, padded over to him, and began to rub against his leg, as if he was her master.Zukura cursed Seela as a fool, telling her that Chane's presence would damn and destroy them forever. Calling on Jugarta, the demon of the shadow-lands, Zukura asked the demon to send them "That Which Must Obey" to rid them of Chane, to enable them to endure their eternal watch, and to spare his daughter her calamitous fate. However, following the emergence of the monstrous "That Which Must Obey" from a pit, as the demon reached for Chane, Seela the wolf protectively leapt at the creature. Zukura could only futilely yell, "Seela, No!", as That Which Must Obey swatted the wolf aside, smashing it to a pulp against the far wall. Lamenting that Jugarta had slain his (or her?) loyal servant...destroyed him (Zukura), Zukura vowed vengeance for Jugarta's treachery, and then banished That Which Must Obey back through the portal: "Monstrous offspring of Hell! Return to the molten slime which spawned you. Back to your beginnings! Back...!"
He then used his own life force to forever seal the portal, shattering the entire chamber onto them: "All that I descend from...all that I am...all that I command of night's dark forces...Hear me! Close this accursed gate--this blemish of the world! Seal this ugly passage!" I give my blood as mortar to bond the stone. Die, vermin of the underworld! Seela, your father joins you!"
The chamber then collapsed, sending a shower of stones to plug the dark passage from the netherworld and presumably crush Zukura; the entire dome shattered, and the collapsing masonry sent up leprous clouds that all but masked the ruins from site.
Narrowly escaping the collapsing ruins, Chane did not fully comprehend the events his arrival had set into motion, but he was nonetheless grateful to be alive. With a last lingering look about him, Chane turned and headed back to the beach, which no longer seemed so hostile. He hoped that in death, Seela, at least, had found her deliverance.
Comments: Created by Gil Kane.
I don't know what the Elder Earth is
exactly, but I'd tend to think it was the time before the age of Atlantis
(mostly 20,000 - 18,000 BC, but as far back as 30,000 BC by some counts).
Maybe it was the same era as Thongor (which may have been as early as 500,000 or even 1 million BC according to a few references). Pre-Atlantean civilizations were discussed at length in the comments of Thongor's profile.
Zukura and Seela were from an even earlier era. It is unrevealed just how long they endured their "cursed vigilance" as guardians of the gate to the Shadow-Lands.
Seela refers to Chane as "mortal" in a tone that implies that she is something else. That would fit with being part of the Elder Race, or perhaps descended from some gods or extradimensional entities...or perhaps having been granted immortality by the Lord of the realm of shadows in order to serve as eternal guardians of the gate to the shadow-lands. Or something else?
This statement struck me as particularly vague. After That Which Must Obey slew Seela, Zakura lamented that Jugarta had "slain his loyal
servant...you have destroyed me!"
Is he just being poetic/redundant, twice saying Jugarta had slain him, or was the first reference to Seela, meaning Seela was the loyal servant? Was there meant to be a difference between one being slain and one being destroyed?
Further, Zukura then vowed vengeance.
Presumably he blamed Jugarta as it was his power that summoned That Which Must Obey. Zukura then sacrificed his life sealing the portal to the underworld from which That Which Must Obey, possibly slaying that demon in the process.
It is uncertain whether the "Hell" or "underworld" from which That Which Must Obey emerged was the same as the Shadow-Lands that were Jugarta's home.
That would make sense, as otherwise I'm not sure how Zukura thought he was getting vengeance on Jugarta.
When Chane referenced, "By the gods, " upon seeeing Zukura and Seela, Zukura affirmed that it was only "by the gods" that they had met. Especially given his ancient nature, it would seem Zukura was polytheistic.
Zukura and Seela reminded me a bit of Zukala and Zephra.
Lord of the Realm of Shadows? The Shadow Lord? or Kaa or someone else from a Shadow Realm? Jugarta was called the demon of the shadow-lands, and I'm not sure he was the same as the Lord of the Realm of Shadows. Seems likely that if they weren't the same being, that they would be enemies. Or not.
Basically, Chane walked into the room, was surprised by their presence, Seela tried to make him her lover, he refused, and then Seela and Zukura did their own crazy from there. Chane tried to warn Seela from attacking That Which Must Obey, it killed her, and then Zukura banished the demon and sacrificed his life to seal the portal to its realm...and then Chane wandered off, thinking WTF was that all about?
I would like to see Zukura and Seela's back-story fleshed out someday, but as Marvel sold away their rights to Conan, Sonja, and everything of the like, I'm guessing not. Then again, you never know.
"Seela. Your father joins you!" always reminds me of Fred Sanford's "Elizabeth! I'm coming to join you!" from Sanford and Son.
I wasn't happy with the main image choice, but it was the largest and had the most detail. A smaller full body front view image can be seen in the Jugarta image.
Profile by Snood.
Zukura should be distinguished from:
Zukura was once king of an unidentified empire, which eventually sank into ruins, leaving only Zukura and Seela remaining, cursed to guard the gates to the Shadow-Lands.
Comments: Next to nothing is known of the empire and its people....were they human, or part of the elder race, or some other offshoot of humanity?
When were they active, when did the others perish? And why?
There was a pteranadon creature on the island...why? Did one survive since the death of the dinosaurs? Was it genetically engineered or magically summoned? Or?
--Savage Sword of Conan#67/3
A realm that is home to the demon Jugarta and the Lord of the Realm of Shadows, who may or may not be the same being (and, if they are not, I wonder if they are allies are enemies; I'd guess the latter). Under unrevealed circumstances, the Lord forced Zukura into Seela into serving as guardians of the gate to the Shadow-Lands.
Zukura invoked the name and presumably the power of Jugarta to summon
That Which Must Obey through a pit from a Hellish underworld to slay
Chane, with whom Seela had fallen in love and whom Zukura felt would
damn and destroy them both. After That Which Must Obey slew Seela when
she tried to protect Chane, the devastated Zukura banished That Which Must Obey
back into the portal to the Hellish underworld, and Zukura sacrificed
his life to collapse his dome into the portal, sealing it, and
presumably crushing That Which Must Obey.
Comments: It is uncertain whether the "Hell" or "underworld" from which That Which Must Obey emerged was the same as the Shadow-Lands that were Jugarta's home.
--Savage Sword of Conan#67/3
images: (without ads)
Savage Sword of Conan#67/3, pg. 2, panel 6 (ruins);
pg. 3, panel 2 (Zukura face);
panel 5 (pteranadon creature)
pg. 4, panel 6 (on throne);
pg. 7, panel 2 (Jugarta);
pg. 8, panel 1 (That Which Must Obey);
pg. 10, panel 1 (full)
Savage Sword of Conan#67/3 (August, 1981) - Gil Kane (writer, artist), Danny Fingeroth (associate editor), Lynn Graeme (consulting editor), Louise Jones (later Simonson; editor)
Last updated: 02/26/15
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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