|Kull of Atlantis character|
|First appearance||The Cat and the Skull (1928)|
|Created by||Robert E. Howard|
Thulsa Doom is a fictional character created by American author Robert E. Howard, as an antagonist for the character Kull of Atlantis. Thulsa Doom debuted in the story "Delcardes' Cat". He has since appeared in comic books and film as the nemesis of Kull and, later, one of Howard's other creations, Conan the Barbarian.
Thulsa Doom is the prototype for many of the future undead evil wizards in Howard's stories, such as Tsotha-Lanti (in the Conan saga) and Kathulos (in the Skull Face novelette); other living or revenant Howardian practitioners of magic such as Thoth Amon, Thugra Khotan, Kathulos, and Xaltotun bear some psychological similarities to Thulsa Doom even if their actual appearance is vastly different.
Thulsa Doom first appeared (as Thulses Doom) at the end of the short story "Delcardes' Cat" by Robert E. Howard, which featured the character Kull as the protagonist. Howard later edited the text to include foreshadowing/references to Thulsa Doom (as he had been rechristened) throughout the story and changed the title to The Cat and the Skull to reflect this. Editor Patrice Louinet speculated that this change was because Howard had originally intended Kuthulos (whom Doom impersonated in this story) to be the actual villain before coming up with Thulsa Doom near the story's completion.This version was submitted to Weird Tales in 1928, but it was not accepted. The story did not see print until 1967 in the paperback King Kull published by Lancer Books.
Thulsa Doom is described by Howard in "The Cat and the Skull" as having a face "like a bare white skull, in whose eye sockets flamed livid fire". He is seemingly invulnerable, boasting after being trampled by one of Kull's comrades that he feels "only a slight coldness" when being injured and will only "pass to some other sphere when [his] time comes".
As Thulsa Doom's original story was not published in Howard's lifetime he reused the character as "Kathulos of Atlantis" in his 1929 story Skull-Face.
A powerful necromancer, Thulsa Doom is a primary foe of Kull. His first appearance was in Monsters on the Prowl #16.He was often a featured foe in the Marvel Kull comics (for instance, Kull the Conqueror #3 and #7). Thulsa Doom returns in Kull the Conqueror #11, "By This Axe I Rule", based on an original story by Robert E. Howard. Posing as the nobleman Ardyon, he forms an alliance with four rebels within Valusia: the dwarfish Ducalon, the soldier Enaros, Baron Kanuub, and the minstrel Ridondo, who actually dethroned the hero, and set him on a quest to regain his lost kingdom, in the pages of his own comic, until it was cancelled. Kull resumes his quest in the pages of Kull and the Barbarians, a black-and-white Marvel magazine format (published under the Curtis Magazines imprint). Thulsa Doom sent members of his Black Legion to ambush Kull and Brule, though they won the fight. Thulsa observed the battle through a magic crystal. Kull and Brule's ship was later attacked by a sea serpent, with which Thulsa may or may not have had anything to do.
Kull and the Barbarians lasted for three issues until it was cancelled. In the return of Kull the Destroyer,Thulsa Doom/Ardyon learned of the curse of Torranna (essentially, if a scarred man wore the crown and sat on the throne, he would be unable to ever leave the throne), which he determined to bestow upon Kull. To this end, he took on the aspect of the god of Torranna and advised its inhabitants how best to bring this about. Thulsa Doom manipulated Garn-Nak, Karr-Lo-Zann, and Norra of Torranna. They drew Kull into Torranna and had him undergo a series of trials to gain the crown of Torranna. Kull sought the crown because he believed he could use the army of Torranna to help him retake the crown of Valusia from Thulsa Doom.
In Kull the Destroyer #28, Kull successfully completed the last of the trials, but before he could don the crown, Norra warned him of the curse of Torranna. Thulsa Doom allowed Norra's age to catch up with her, turning her into a shriveled corpse, and then revealed himself to Kull, challenging him to one final battle. In the next issue (also the final issue of the Kull the Destroyer title), Thulsa Doom pulled Kull into a pocket dimension for their final battle. Kull managed to slash Thulsa Doom's face with his sword, but was ultimately overpowered by the necromancer. Thulsa Doom returned them both to Torranna, but Kull rallied long enough to push Thulsa Doom onto the throne and place the crown on his head. His face scarred by Kull, Thulsa fulfilled the prophecy and fell victim to the curse himself. Thulsa's power were drained by his curse as the city of Torranna collapsed, seemingly crushing him. Kull, luckily, escaped, and then returned to Valusia to retake his own throne.
Kull would face Thulsa Doom at least one more time, in the pages of Marvel Preview #19 (summer 1979 issue). The script for that issue was an adaptation of the prose tale "Riders beyond the Sunrise", itself the completion by writer Lin Carter of an untitled fragment written by R. E. Howard. Thulsa Doom appears to finally perish at the climax of this story, but he would eventually return as a Conan villain in the pages of Conan and a few issues of Conan's black-and-white magazine, Savage Sword of Conan (issues #190–193). He's apparently immortal and is visualized as a skull-headed sorcerer, or as an albino when taking on the illusory appearance of a living man. A similar concept of an undead sorcerer can also be found in the lich from Dungeons and Dragons and other works of fantasy fiction, such as The Sword and the Sorcerer .
American company Dynamite Entertainment published a Thulsa Doom mini-series written by Arvid Nelson, with art by Lui Antonio, for a total of four issues in 2009.
Thulsa Doom later becomes an enemy of the Celtic hero Cormac Mac Art, another Howard character further expanded by Andrew J. Offutt.
Set in the time of King Arthur (though Arthur himself doesn't appear onstage) Thulsa Doom comes back to life after 18,000 years on a sinister deserted island. Recognizing Cormac Mac Art – an Irish adventurer who joined a band of Danish vikings – as a reincarnation of his old enemy King Kull, Thulsa Doom immediately resumes his ancient vendetta and relentlessly seeks to kill Mac Art.
As depicted by Offutt, Thulsa Doom possess remarkable shape-changing powers, being able to take not only the form but also the precise mannerisms of Cormac mac Art's close friends. This includes also a perfect sex change ability. On one occasion, Thulsa Doom is able to perfectly imitate Cormac mac Art's girlfriend, speak convincing words of love to a man who knows her well and is in love with her, and engage in full-fledged sex – with the intention of taking Mac Art by surprise and suddenly drawing steel. However, at the moment of his attack, Thulsa Doom shows his true skull face, enabling Mac Art to realize the deception and save himself at the last moment.
Thulsa Doom is also seen as controlling the elements and being able to call up a storm out of a calm sea.
While Thulsa Doom cannot be killed – even when pierced by a sword or thrown from a great height – he's vulnerable to steel being driven through his body, such steel acting to imprison him and prevent Doom from getting away.
Howard's 1929 novella Skull-Face features a resuscitated Atlantean necromancer appearing in the present-day world and seeking to take it over. This villain is very similar to Thulsa Doom, but is named "Kathulos of Atlantis".
A character of the same name is the main antagonist in the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian . Played by James Earl Jones, the cinematic Thulsa Doom is considerably different from the literary one, who is described as having a skull-like face. Pre-production drawings showed this version of Thulsa Doom with the skull-like face, but as filmed, he is essentially the classic Conan villain Thoth-Amon, servant of the serpent-god Set.As such, he appears as an ordinary human in the film, though one said to have lived for a thousand years and with the power to transform into an enormous snake. Thulsa Doom received praise for the power and conviction that Jones brought in his portrayal, and he reminded critics of Jim Jones, a cult leader whose hold on his followers was such that hundreds of them obeyed his orders to commit suicide.
In July 2008, Dynamite Entertainment announced that Djimon Hounsou signed to co-produce and star as Thulsa Doom in a film version based on the comic books, rather than Robert E. Howard's original incarnation,although the film has not yet been made.
Conan the Barbarian is a fictional sword and sorcery hero who originated in pulp magazines and has since been adapted to books, comics, films, television programs, video games, and role-playing games. Robert E. Howard created the character in 1932 for a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales magazine.
Red Sonja is a fictional sword and sorcery comic-book superheroine created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith for Marvel Comics in 1973, partially inspired by Robert E. Howard's character Red Sonya of Rogatino.
Conan the Destroyer is a 1984 American epic sword and sorcery film directed by Richard Fleischer from a screenplay by Stanley Mann and a story by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway. Based on the character Conan the Barbarian created by Robert E. Howard, it is the sequel to Conan the Barbarian (1982). The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mako reprising their roles as Conan and Akiro, the Wizard of the Mounds, respectively. The cast also includes Grace Jones, Wilt Chamberlain, Tracey Walter, and Olivia d'Abo.
Shuma-Gorath is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
Kull of Atlantis or Kull the Conqueror is a fictional character created by writer Robert E. Howard. The character was more introspective than Howard's subsequent creation, Conan the Barbarian, whose first appearance was in a re-write of a rejected Kull story.
Kull the Conqueror is a 1997 fantasy film about the Robert E. Howard character Kull starring Kevin Sorbo. It is a film adaptation of Howard's Conan novel The Hour of the Dragon, with the protagonist changed to the author's other barbarian hero Kull. The storyline also bears similarities to two other Howard stories, the Kull story "By This Axe I Rule!" and the Conan story "The Phoenix on the Sword", which was a rewritten version of "By This Axe I Rule!"
Thulsa Doom may refer to:
Bran Mak Morn is a hero of five pulp fiction short stories by Robert E. Howard. In the stories, most of which were first published in Weird Tales, Bran is the last king of Howard's romanticized version of the tribal race of Picts.
Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 American epic sword and sorcery film directed by John Milius and written by Milius and Oliver Stone. Based on Robert E. Howard's Conan, the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Earl Jones and tells the story of a barbarian warrior named Conan (Schwarzenegger) who seeks vengeance for the death of his parents at the hands of Thulsa Doom (Jones), the leader of a snake cult.
Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 fantasy novel written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter and Catherine Crook de Camp featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian, a novelization of the feature film of the same name. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in May 1982. The first hardcover edition was issued by Robert Hale in 1983, and the first British edition by Sphere Books in April 1988. A later novel with the same title by Michael A. Stackpole was issued by Berkley Books in 2011 as a tie-in with the 2011 remake of the 1982 film.
"The Shadow Kingdom" is a fantasy short story by American writer Robert E. Howard, the first of his Kull stories, set in his fictional Thurian Age. It was first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in August 1929.
The Earth of Marvel Comics' main continuity has contained a number of fictional hidden native humanoid races.
Conan, the sword-and-sorcery character created by Robert E. Howard, is the protagonist of seven major comic series published by Dark Horse Comics. The first series, titled simply Conan, ran for 50 issues from 2004 to 2008; the second, titled Conan the Cimmerian, began publication in 2008 and lasted 25 issues until 2010; the third series, titled Conan: Road of Kings, started publishing in December 2010 and ended in January 2012 after 12 issues; a fourth series, titled Conan the Barbarian, continuing from Road of Kings, lasted 25 issues from February 2012 to March 2014; a fifth series, titled Conan the Avenger, started publishing in April 2014 and ended in April 2016 after 25 issues; a sixth and final series, titled Conan the Slayer lasted 12 issues from July 2016 to August 2017.
Solomon Kane is a fictional character featured in several comics published by Marvel Comics in the 1970s and 1980s. He was originally created by the pulp-era writer Robert E. Howard. Dark Horse Comics began publishing a new series of Kane stories in 2008, and also published collections of the 1970s Marvel stories in 2009.
Kull is a collection of Fantasy short stories by Robert E. Howard. It was first published in 1967 by Lancer Books under the title King Kull. This edition included three stories completed by Lin Carter from unfinished fragments and drafts by Howard. Later editions, retitled as Kull, replaced the stories with the uncompleted fragments. Two of the stories, and the poem, "The King and the Oak", originally appeared in the magazine Weird Tales.
"Exile of Atlantis" is a short story by Robert E. Howard and is the first story written by Howard to feature his creation Kull, set in his fictional Thurian Age.
"The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune" is a fantasy short story by American author Robert E. Howard, one of his original short stories about Kull of Atlantis, first published in Weird Tales magazine c. 1929. It is one of only three Kull stories to be published in Howard's lifetime.
Skull-Face is a fantasy novella by American writer Robert E. Howard, which appeared as a serial in Weird Tales magazine, beginning in October 1929, and ending in December, 1929. The story stars a character called Stephen Costigan but this is not Howard's recurring character, Sailor Steve Costigan. The story is clearly influenced by Sax Rohmer's opus Fu Manchu but substitutes the main Asian villain with a resuscitated Atlantean necromancer sitting at the center of a web of crime and intrigue meant to end White/Western world domination with the help of Asian/semite/African peoples and to re-instate surviving Atlanteans as the new ruling elite.
Arvid Nelson is an American comic book writer, best known for Rex Mundi.
Serpent Men are a fictional race created by Robert E. Howard for his King Kull tales. They first appeared in "The Shadow Kingdom", published in Weird Tales in August 1929.