myth-realm-splashpageMYTH-REALM
Note: This story is from a Marvel magazine and includes occasional minor nudity

Type: Alien world (perhaps associated with the Dream Dimension)...Swords and Sorcery type/magic-ish

Environment: Essentially Earth-like

Usual means of access: Magic and/or dream

Dominant Life Form: Cats, centaurs, demons, dinosaur-like creature(s), dragons, gnomes, griffins, harpies, minotaurs, ogres, sorcerers, trolls, winged horses, yeti-like creature(s), and more...

Significant Inhabitants: Darkshorn, Princess Morgaina, Nimbli, Saraband

Significant locations: Dark/Haunted Wood, floating new land of Saraband, high tower;

Significant artifacts: Magic mirrors, Morgaina statue,

Visitors: Hulk (Bruce Banner)

First Appearance: HULK#21 (June, 1980)

History:

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - Per Saraband, "For ages, we, in the Myth-Realm, have borrowed your lore and legends through means magical...and created a living, breathing world around them in the forms of fever-dreams, illusions, and so on. "

(HULK#21) - Per Saraband, "the Myth-Realm is precisely what it claims to be -- a parallel reality in which the events and setting of legends and myths are literally in force."

(HULK#21 (fb)) - The evil sorcerer Darkshorn seized the benevolent sorcerer Saraband's high tower (at the very heart of Myth-Realm), which was also the home of his ward, Princess Morgaina.

(HULK#21 (fb)) - Caught unaware, Saraband was forced to flee; riding atop a pair of flying (but not-winged) centaurs, Saraband fled with Nimbli, but he was forced to leave Morgaina behind.

    Darkshorn put Morgaina in a sleep spell of death, to be completed in seven days.

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - Thereafter, Darkshorn seized the surrounding lands, binding them in a spell of darkness. The taint spread outward from the high tower, and with each passing moment, more and more of the realm was engulfed by the widening evil.

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - Darkshorn's spell prevented men from entering the high tower, allowing only Darkshorn and his monsters to safely walk its halls and grounds.

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - As Morgaina was the guardian of Myth-Realm's very essence, and all of legend and heroism drew upon the inspiration of her beauty and innocence, without her, Myth-Realm could not exist.

(HULK#21 (fb)) - Fleeing to a distant sea, Saraband constructed a large ship with a castle on top from which to direct the final struggle for Morgaina's life; as the abode was mobile, he could flee the spread of evil if it reached that far.

    Via a hollow glass statue of Morgaina and smoke rising to fill its form, Saraband followed the progress of the sleep spell.

(HULK#21 (fb)) - Saraband sent Nimbli to the mirror gateway farthest from the high tower to secure the aid of a hero. However, he barely had time to do so before the encroaching pall consumed even that gateway, leaving it in the dark/haunted wood, and a fire-breathing dragon menaced Nimbli.

(HULK#21) - While under the influence of a hypnotherapist, Bruce Banner emerged through the mirror into Myth-Realm where he observed Nimbli under attack from the dragon.

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - The mirror was consumed by evil.

(HULK#21) - Nimbli swiftly tossed his sword to Banner, who initially protested and was skeptical of the reality of the situation (believing he was dreaming), but as the dragon attacked, Banner flung some sand into its eyes and then hurled his sword into the dragon's open mouth, where it continued through the top of its skull, apparently killing it.

(HULK#21) - As a number of winged, hooved, and horned demon-creatures descended on them, Nimbli led Banner to climb atop the backs of a pair of waiting centaurs, who raced out of the woods. At the woods' edge, their pursuers halted, and Nimbli explained that they were unable to cross out of the spellbound realm, at least until the spell spread farther across the land.myth-realm-tower-darkness

    After some further journey, they reached Saraband's floating castle. When they met Saraband, he asked Nimbli why he hadn't taken the mirror back, and Nimbli explained that they had had to flee the demons.

    Saraband then told Banner of the Myth-Realm's nature and origins, assured Banner he was not dreaming, and that he had been brought there to save Myth-Realm for destruction: He continued that if Myth-Realm fell, Earth would lose a precious repository of fantasy and magic, and it would be all the poorer for their loss. Still unsure whether this was real or not, Banner resolved to play along, and Saraband told him of Darkshorn and his spreading darkness spell; he clarified that the mirror and the pathway back to Earth were inaccessible until Banner could defeat Darkshorn and set the Myth-Realm free. Additionally, Saraband explained that as only a monster could enter and survive the dark tower, and that only a man could rescue Morgaina, they needed a man who was both man and monster. He also told Banner that in Myth-Realm, any man could be a hero if his heart was right, and he could slay dragons without fear or anxiety, which is why Banner didn't turn into the Hulk during the previous conflicts.

    Saraband then related his plan: Nimbli was given a potion that would permit Banner to change into the Hulk at the proper moment. Accompanied by Nimbli, Banner would rescue Morgaina. As it was already the 7th day of the sleep spell, Saraband urged haste, as Morgaina's death and thus the destruction of Myth-Realm was imminent.

    Although Banner was uncertain, Saraband threatened him to undertake the quest or he would strike Banner down himself, but Nimbli then tackled Banner through the mirror, forcing his compliance. Armed with a sword, Banner had a persistent feeling of an almost mystical honor that must be upheld, and he fought his way through trolls, harpies, ogres, dragons, and more.

    As they reached the high tower, one of Darkshorn's demons grabbed Nimbli and began flying away, but Nimbli hurled the vial containing the potion to Banner. Drinking it, Banner became the Hulk, and he leapt and punched out the demon, recovering Nimbli and then continuing on to the tower. The Hulk swiftly subdued the monsters there (a dinosaur-creature, a minotaur, a yeti-like creature, and another demon), after which Darkshorn arrived in a griffin-drawn carriage, irate that Saraband had sent a man-monster against him. Vowing to win nonetheless, Darkshorn resolved that even if the man-monster freed Morgaina from her spell of sleep, they would both remain trapped in the tower for all time.

    The Hulk tore off the dark material covering Morgaina and touched her cheek, reviving her. Initially startled, Morgaina saw the beauty in the Hulk's heart and she proclaimed him to be her hero and to be beautiful. When Darkshorn warned that though she had regained control of the high tower, if she would leave it, she would die instantly.

    Proclaiming her gratitude, Morgaina suspended time in her hourglass, and for "a time called forever" she and the Hulk ("two mismatched lovers") shared everything good: feasts, music, art, and love. Eventually, however, the Hulk decided that she could not love him, despite her insistence (although she did admit she loved his essence but not his rough form), and he shattered the hourglass, breaking the spell and allowing time to move forward anew.darkshorn-myth-realm-destruction

    Wishing vengeance on Saraband, Darkshorn offered that if the Hulk surrendered his life to him, Morgaina could go free, but Morgaina warned that Darkshorn could not be trusted, and he would slay her anyway.

    Considering that Morgaina could not leave the tower, the Hulk tore the tower free from the castle and carried it to the seaside town beyond the spread of evil where Saraband's ship resided. Outside the region of darkness, Morgaina was able to exit the tower, and she was reunited with Saraband seconds before Darkshorn arrived atop the spreading dark clouds, announcing that he was willing to risk his own life to achieve victory by defeating the man-monster who had humiliated him. The Hulk confronted Darkshorn, tearing free the griffins and the chariot, but Darkshorn remained aloft under his own power while the Hulk fell back to the ground.

    Exclaiming his own power, Darkshorn grew to to perhaps 75-100' tall and unleashed sorcerous withering death-energies at the Hulk. However, the Hulk shrugged off these assaults, and he leapt to the attack nonetheless. Darkshorn shouted in denial of the Hulk's assault, but the Hulk reached Darkshorn's face and punched him out, causing him to vanish in a burst of light.

    The dark clouds then faded away, replaced by sunlight and singing birds, and the Hulk was hailed as Myth-Realm's savior. Morgaina told the "sweet beast" that she did love him, and when she planted a kiss on his lips, he reverted back to Banner. As she told him she knew her hero was beautiful and noble inside, Banner began to believe this was all real, and he considered that maybe he could stay there forever...

    At which point he he then faded away, after which he fell through darkness and awakened on the couch of his hypno-therapist who explained that she had used the trance to take him to the heart of his anxiety (the Hulk) and made him face it and realize that it wasn't evil of a demon. After she concluded their session, Banner considered that while the Hulk was his dark side, he was still part of him, and he was not evil. Meanwhile, the therapist (described as a servant of "Hypnos" and who was then shown to look just like Morgaina) considered Banners fantasies, ultimately noting that for a guardian of the mind and imagination, it was all in a day's work.

    And the omniscient narrative noted, "Let us hope she will live happily...forever after."

Comments: Created by Doug Moench and Bob McLeod.

    The whole journey to Myth-Realm was apparently part of a trance by Banner's hypno-therapist who wanted him to confront the source of his anxiety, which he did, accepting that the Hulk was an aspect of him and was not evil. However, the final panel shows the hypno-therapist to be identical or Morgaina, and she is described as a "mistress of Hypnos." It leaves the question of whether it was truly all imagination or not...and, of course, in the Marvel Multiverse, even dreams are real in the Dream dimension, etc. So, Myth-Realm exists on some level, hence this profile...

    It seems likely that following Darkshorn's defeat and the liberation of Myth-Realm from that dark spell that Saraband would have re-established his castle/base instead of continuing to use the castle on the ship, but that's obviously unconfirmed.

    This profile was completed 3/12/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to


centaurs

myth-realm-centaurs    Two centaurs were shown, a brown-haired male and a brown-haired female, both of whom served as steeds to Saraband and his associates, such as Nimbi and Bruce Banner.

     Although they lacked wings, they could fly, even carrying an adult human(oid?).

     They have pointed ears, and they can apparently twist at the waist sufficiently to grasp and let down a rider.

     They wore neither clothing nor horseshoes, although they would wear a saddle to help secure a rider.

(HULK#21 (fb)) - When Darkshorn assaulted Saraband's high tower, Saraband was forced to flee; riding atop a pair of flying centaurs, Saraband fled with Nimbli, but he was forced to leave Morgaina behind. myth-realm-centaurs-full

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - Saraband sent Nimbli to the Dark/Haunted Wood so he could use the mirror gateway to secure the aid of a hero. Nimbli apparently brought a pair of centaurs on his trip, one to carry him and one for the hero whom he would summon.

(HULK#21) - After Bruce Banner arrived in Myth-Realm and as a number of demon-creatures descended on them, Nimbli led Banner to climb atop the backs of a pair of waiting centaurs, who raced out of the woods.

     En route, the female centaur explained to Banner how Nimbli had been cursed to always speak in rhyme.

    After some further journey, they reached the "floating new land of great keeper Saraband," and the riders got off and went into Saraband's castle; the male helped down Nimbli, "Down you go."

--HULK#21

Note: The centaurs are also shown in the main image of this profile, and the High Tower sub-profile for Saraband.

     Are they brother and sister? Husband and wife? They seemed about the same age, so parental relationships seems less likely.







dark/haunted woods

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - The evil sorcerer Darkshorn seized the benevolent sorcerer Saraband's high tower (at the very heart of Myth-Realm).myth-realm-darkwood

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - Thereafter, Darkshorn seized the surrounding lands, binding them in a spell of darkness. The taint spread outward from the high tower, and with each passing moment, more and more of the realm was engulfed by the widening evil.

(HULK#21 (fb)) - Saraband sent Nimbli to the mirror gateway farthest from the high tower to secure the aid of a hero. However, Nimbli barely had time to do so before the encroaching pall consumed even that gateway, leaving it in the dark/haunted wood, and a fire-breathing dragon menaced Nimbli.

myth-realm-darkwood-flee-demons

(HULK#21) - After Bruce Banner arrived in the Dark Wood via the mirror, he hurled Nimbli's sword into the dragon's open mouth, where it continued through the top of its skull, apparently killing it.

As a number of winged, hooved, and horned demon-creatures descended on them, Nimbli led Banner to climb atop the backs of a pair of waiting centaurs, who raced out of the woods. At the woods' edge, their pursuers halted, and Nimbli explained that they were unable to cross out of the spellbound realm, at least until the spell spread farther across the land.

--HULK#21





demons



myth-realm-gargoyles-rear

     The demons were pink semi-humanoids with brown wings enabling flight (even while carrying at least 80-100 lbs.) and brown-hair covered legs ending cloven hooves. The also had tails that appeared to be brown.

     A number of the demons served Darkshorn.

(
HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - Saraband apparently conjured some sort of demon-creature at some point in the past.

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - After seizing Saraband's high tower, Darkshorn seized the surrounding lands, binding them in a spell of darkness. The taint spread outward from the high tower, and with each passing moment, more and more of the realm was engulfed by the widening evil.

(HULK#21) - After Nimbli apparently summoned Banner to Myth-Realm's Dark/Haunted Wood, a number of winged, hooved, and horned demon-creatures descended on them, Nimbli led Banner to flee atop the backs of a pair of waiting centaurs. At the woods' edge, their pursuers halted, and Nimbli explained that they were unable to cross out of the spellbound realm, at least until the spell spread farther across the land.

    As Banner and Nimbli reached the high tower, one of Darkshorn's demons grabbed Nimbli and began flying away, but Nimbli hurled the vial containing Saraband's potion to Banner. Drinking it, Banner became the Hulk, and he leapt and punched out the demon, recovering Nimbli and then continuing on to the tower. The Hulk swiftly subdued the monsters there (a dinosaur-creature, a minotaur, a yeti-like creature, and another demon), after which Darkshorn arrived.

--HULK#21

Note: In Saraband's profile (second image down on the right) you can see an image of the demon he conjured, who appeared to be different than these demons. Perhaps that demon was the father...
myth-realm-gargoyle-nimbli


dinosaur-ish



myth-realm-dino





Unlike the quadruped fire-breathing dragons shown several times, this bipedal creature seemed more dinosaur-like, couldn't breathe fire, and generally seemed more like a  carnivorous dinosaur-type (different enough to get its own sub-profile).  It was one of a number of creatures serving Darkshorn.

(HULK#21) - Sent to his high tower by Saraband to recover Darkshorn's prisoner, Morgaina, the Hulk swiftly subdued the monsters there (a dinosaur-creature, a minotaur, a yeti-like creature, and another demon), after which Darkshorn arrived.


--HULK#21
myth-realm-dino-punched




dragons

myth-realm-troll-dragon-knight


     Fire-breathing and otherwise, often with wings (sometimes including wings on the tail) and sometimes with horns (paired on the head -- on either side of the head or in a row on the nose, like a rhinoceros), multiple dragons lived in Myth-Realm.


(
HULK#21 (fb)) - A dragon battled a knight on horseback (it is unclear whether this took place on Earth or in Myth-Realm.

--HULK#21

Note: Who is the bald guy watching the knight battle the dragon?




myth-realm-dragon

(HULK#21 (fb)) - Saraband gave Nimbli the necessary magic dust to a mirror gateway to secure the aid of a hero from Earth to help save Myth-Realm from Darkshorn's plot. However, Nimbli barely had time to do so before the encroaching pall consumed even that gateway, leaving it in the dark/haunted wood, and a fire-breathing dragon menaced Nimbli.

(HULK#21) - After Banner arrived, Nimbli swiftly tossed his sword to Banner, who initially protested and was skeptical of the reality of the situation (believing he was dreaming), but as the dragon attacked, Banner flung some sand into its eyes and then hurled his sword into the dragon's open mouth, where it continued through the top of its skull, apparently killing it.

Another dragon was among the creatures Banner defeated en route to the High Tower in which Darkshorn held Morgaina

 --HULK#21









myth-realm-dragon-fire




myth-realm-dragon-death



myth-realm-hulkmagazine-dragon-other


(
HULK#21) - Another (presumably fire-breathing) dragon was among the creatures Banner defeated en route to the High Tower in which Darkshorn held Morgaina.



 --HULK#21





gnomes


nimbli-myth-realm-splashpage



The only gnomes mentioned were Nimbli and his mother, and only Nimbli was shown.

Gnomes are short (perhaps just 2.5 feet tall) with overly large ears and noses. Nimbli, at least, is somewhat stout.

--HULK#21

 





griffins


darkshorn-myth-realm-griffins


Possessing the back half of a lion and the head, wings, and forelimbs (the griffin's forelimbs are the eagles' taloned legs) of an eagle, they can fly and possess sharp beaks, talons, and claws.

Darkshorn traveled via a chariot pulled by a pair of griffins.

(HULK#21 (fb) - BTS) - The evil sorcerer Darkshorn seized the benevolent sorcerer Saraband's high tower (at the very heart of Myth-Realm), which was also the home of his ward, Princess Morgaina.

(HULK#21) - As the Hulk entered the High Tower and defeated Darkshorn's minions, Darkshorn  arrived in a griffin-drawn carriage, irate that Saraband had sent a man-monster against him.

    Considering that Morgaina could not leave the tower, the Hulk tore the tower free from the castle and carried it to the seaside town beyond the spread of evil where Saraband's ship resided. Darkshorn arrived soon after and challenged the Hulk who leapt to the attack, tearing free the griffins and the chariot. However, Darkshorn remained aloft under his own power while the Hulk fell back to the ground.

--HULK#21



harpies

Half-bird, half-woman, the harpies have wings instead of arms, bird-like legs (with clawed talons), and a woman's head and torso.

(
HULK#21) - A pair of harpies were among the creatures Banner defeated en route to the High Tower in which Darkshorn held Morgaina. At least one of them made the mistake of flying too close to Banner, enabling him to skewer it in the belly. The fate of the other harpy is unrevealed, but it presumably perished or fled.



 --HULK#21


myth-realm-hulkmagazine-harpies

minotaur(s)

myth-realm-minotaur-oblique


A little taller than the 7' tall Hulk, the only minotaur seen had the standard human body with the head of  bull.

This one, at least, was apparently buck naked. It may not have mattered.

(HULK#21) - Sent to his high tower by Saraband to recover Darkshorn's prisoner, Morgaina, the Hulk swiftly subdued the monsters there (a dinosaur-creature, a minotaur, a yeti-like creature, and another demon), after which Darkshorn arrived.


--HULK#21

Note: There may or may not have been other minotaurs in Myth-Realm, but this is the only one we saw.



myth-realm-minotaur-punched





ogre

myth-realm-hulkmagazine-ogre







A cyclopean ogre with caprine (goat-like) lower body, including cloven hooves, was seen. It appeared to be 25' tall. It is unrevealed whether there are other ogres, cyclopean or not.

(HULK#21) - A cyclopean Ogre was among the creatures Banner defeated en route to the High Tower in which Darkshorn held Morgaina. 

--HULK#21




sorcerers

The three sorcerers seen -- Darkshorn, Princess Morgaina, and Saraband -- were all essentially human in appearance with varying abilities. 

Saraband and Morgaina seemed to be benevolent, while Darkshorn wished to conquer and destroy the realm.

It is unrevealed if any other sorcerers exist in Myth-Realm.

--HULK#21



trolls




myth-realm-troll-bridge

     The trolls of Myth-Realm are large (perhaps 20' tall), with paired horns, enlarged and pointed ears, enlarged mandibular canine teeth, and three fingers and a thumb on each hand (with each digit ending in a claw). They appeared to have splotchy skin.


(
HULK#21 (fb)) - A troll in a river or stream under a bridge threatened a man in a horse-drawn carriage (it is unclear whether this took place on Earth or in Myth-Realm.


(HULK#21) - A troll was among the creatures Banner encountered (and presumably defeated) en route to the High Tower in which Darkshorn held Morgaina.


--HULK#21


Note: The trolls either are look very similarly to each other, or perhaps it is the same troll in both panels.



myth-realm-hulkmagazine-troll





winged horses

myth-realm-pegasus
     While reviewing how the Myth-Realm had for ages borrowed from Earth's lore and legends through means mystical, Saraband showed an image of a winged horse in one of his magic mirrors.

--HULK#21


Note: Technically, I suppose it is only implied that there are winged horses in Myth-Realm, but that's good enough for the purpose of this sub-profile.

     People frequently call winged horses Pegasuses, but Pegasus was one specific winged horse...that's like calling all vampires Draculas, which Deadpool sometimes does.



yeti-like creature(s)



myth-realm-yeti
     A little taller than the 7' tall Hulk, the only yeti-like creature seen was semi-humanoid to ape-like and covered in thick white fur.

     The one creature seen was an agent of Darkshorn.

(HULK#21) - Sent to his high tower by Saraband to recover Darkshorn's prisoner, Morgaina, the Hulk swiftly subdued the monsters there (a dinosaur-creature, a minotaur, a yeti-like creature, and another demon), after which Darkshorn arrived.

--HULK#21

Note: There may or may not have been other yetoids in Myth-Realm, but this is the only one we saw.


myth-realm-yeti-punched





images: (without ads)
HULK#21, splash page (main image);
    pg. 4, panel 1 (Banner arriving via mirror and dragon fighting Nimbli);
       panel 2 (dragon, flame breath);
    pg. 5, panel 5 (dragon slain by Banner);
    pg. 7, panel 1 (back of approaching demons);
       panel 3 (centaurs, close view);
    pg. 8, panel 6 (centaurs, full);
    pg. 10, panel 4 (winged horse);
    pg. 11, panel 1 (troll confronting person on bridge);
       panel 3 (knight spearing dragon);
    pg. 12, panel 4 (Darkshorn's spell of darkness);
    pg. 17, panel 1 (troll vs. Banner);
       panel 2 (harpies vs. Banner);
       panel 3 (cyclopean ogre);
       panel 4 (other dragon vs. Banner);
    pg. 18, panel 4 (demon grabbing Nimbli);
    pg. 20, panel 4 (dinosauroid, demons, minotaur, and yeti as Hulk breaks into the castle);
    pg. 21, panel 1 (
dinosauroid, demons, minotaur, and yeti each beat down by Hulk);
    pg. 27, panel 4 (griffin chariot of Darkshorn);


Appearances:
HULK#21 (June, 1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Bob McLeod (penciler/inker/colorer/letterer), Roger Stern (consulting editor), Ralph Macchio (associate editor), Lynn Graeme (editor)


Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First posted: 09/18/2021
Last updated: 09/17/2021

Non-Marvel Copyright info
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