Real Name: Thulsa Doom-not relation to Doctor Doom-we hope

Behold the true face of Thulsa Doom.


Identity/Class: Human sorcerer, deceased/resurrected

Occupation: Would be World Conqueror, former King of Valusia

Affiliations: Set (god); Serpent Men (agents); Devourer of Souls (former ally), Xuthl (ally),Yarralamundu (ally) Varnae and other pre-cataclysmic wizards (contemporaries, possible allies) Kuchum, Shiva (pawns); Garn-Nak, Karr-Lo-Zann, Norra (Torrannians, pawns); Nakura (drew power from his talisman)

Enemies:Brule the Spear-Slayer, Conan, Devourer of Souls, Jandlinatjari, Kuchum, Kull, Li-Zya, Thoth Amon

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Ardyon,according to the Marvel Comic version king Fenar (imposter), Ka-Nu (imposter), Kuthulos (imposter), Shapur (imposter)

Base of Operations: currently unknown; (Pre-Cataclysmic era) Grondor; the Serpent Temple in the Forbidden Swamp, the City of Wonders (both within Valusia); Torranna (Hyborian era)-Arallu (The land of the evil dead)

Powers: Thulsa Doom was an extremely powerful sorcerer, although his abilities did wax and wane under uncertain conditions. He has survived several "deaths" and cannot be killed by conventional means. He can form powerful energy shields, project his astral self, alter his own appearance, manipulate others, grant magical power to others...

History: Thulsa Doom's origins are unknown. He claims to have died "his first death" before the ancient continent of Atlantis first rose from the sea. That may make him closer to twenty five or even one hundred thousand years old.


Real Name: Thulsa Doom

Identity/Class: Human sorcerer, deceased/resurrected

Occupation: Would be World Conqueror; former King of Valusia

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Set (god); Serpent Men (agents); Devourer of Souls (former ally), Xuthl (ally), Yarralamundu (ally) Varnae and other pre-cataclysmic wizards (contemporaries, possible allies); Kuchum, Shiva (pawns); Garn-Nak, Karr-Lo-Zann, Norra (Torrannians, pawns); Nakura (drew power from his talisman)

Thoth Amon

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Ardyon, king Fenar (imposter), Ka-Nu (imposter), Kuthulos (imposter), Shapur (imposter)

Base of Operations: currently unknown; (Pre-Cataclysmic era) Grondor; the Serpent Temple in the Forbidden Swamp, the City of Wonders (both within Valusia); Torranna (Hyborian era)-Arallu (The land of the evil dead)

First Appearance: Delacarde's Cat (1967 (see comments)); (Marvel Universe) Monsters on the Prowl#16 (April, 1972)

Powers: Thulsa Doom was an extremely powerful sorcerer, although his abilities did wax and wane under uncertain conditions. He has survived several "deaths" and cannot be killed by conventional means. He can form powerful energy shields, project his astral self, alter his own appearance, manipulate others, grant magical power to others...


Thulsa Doom's origins are unknown. He claims to have died "his first death" before the ancient continent of Atlantis first ROSE from the sea. That may make him closer to twenty five or even one hundred thousand years old.

(MotP#16)-After suffering attacks on his kingdom by the Serpent Men, Kull led his Red Slayer to the Forbidden Swamp to attack the Serpent Temple. Thulsa Doom (having taken human form) duped Kull into believing he was an enemy of the Serpent Men as well. After Thulsa learned that Kull possessed one of a pair of magical gems, the Eyes of the Serpent God, he accompanied Kull and his allies back to Valusia

(Kull the Conqueror#3)-Thulsa Doom ensorcelled one of Kull's servants, a girl named Shiva, and sent her to steal the other gem from Kull. Kull stopped her and confronted Thulsa Doom, who revealed his true nature before vanishing. Doom then plagued Kull with a series of nightmarish visions, and Kull gave the gem to his ally, Ka-Nu for safekeeping. However, Doom had fooled Kull again, and had taken Ka-Nu's form. Now in possession of the both gems, Doom bound Kull in chains and prepared to slay him in front of a crowd in a gladiator-like arena in Kull's kingdom of Valusia. The real Ka-Nu used a magical amulet to help Kull's ally Brule to free Kull from Thulsa Doom's chains. However, Thulsa Doom's defeat came at his own hands, as he joined the two Eyes of the Serpent God, and was overwhelmed and seemingly destroyed by the vast energies released.


(KtC#11-reprinted in Conan Saga#66)-Posing as the nobleman Ardyon, Thulsa Doom gained the alliance of four rebels within Valusia: the dwarfish Ducalon, the soldier Enaros, Baron Kanuub, and the minstrel Ridondo. As Ardyon, he caused Kull's guards to sleep, allowing the four rebels and their allies to invade Kull's chambers with plans to assassinate him. Kull fought valiantly, and though he was sorely wounded, he fought off all of his attackers. Ardyon then arrived, revealed his true nature to Kull, and drained Kull's strength, causing him to collapse. Ardyon removed Kull's crown, took over the rule for himself, and threw Kull into the dungeons.

Sales of Kul the Conqueror were falling off a bit and with Roy Thomas and Marvel's attempts to booste sales by making more of wandering hero like Conan. 


Kull the DestroyerEdit

(Kull the Destroyer#29(fb))-Thulsa Doom/Ardyon learned of the curse of Torranna (essentially, if a scarred man wore the crown and sat the throne, he'd 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.

(KtD#22-27-BTS)-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.

(KtD#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.

(KtD#29)-Thulsa Doom pulled Kull into a pocket dimension for their final battle. Kull managed to slash Thulsa Doom's face with his sword, but ultimately was overpowered by the necromancer. Thulsa Doom returned them both to Torranna, but Kull rallied long enough to push Thulsa Doom until 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 drained by the curse, the city of Torranna collapsed, seemingly crushing him. Kull, of course, escaped, and then returned to Valusia to retake his own throne.


Marvel Preview- Edit


(Marvel Preview#19)-Thulsa Doom impersonated King Fenar of Zarhaana, and issued both a challenge and an insult to Kull. Kull pursued "Fenar" who led him to what was then the edge of the Earth, in the land beyond sunrise. When Kull finally caught up with him, Thulsa Doom revealed himself and challenged him to a swordfight. With each clash of the swords, Kull became weaker, until he managed to briefly disarm Thulsa and trade swords with him. Kull then used Thulsa's magical sword against him, and skewered him through the chest. Thulsa Doom crumbled to dust.




(Conan the Barbarian Annual#12(fb)) Edit

-Thulsa Doom allied himself with the Squire Sedrick in a plot against Valusia. After several months of planning, Thulsa gave Sedrick the power to summon an army of demons into Kull's throne room. Kull, Brule, and members of the Black Legion fought off the demons, but in the process, Maxelle, Sedrick's master was slain. Thulsa Doom's involvement was exposed, and his plot foiled. However, as punishment, Thulsa transformed Sedrick into an immortal cat.

The immortal cat of Kull eventually attracted the attention of the Elder Gods, who imbued it with their power.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcover#7: MAGIC) - Thulsa Doom, summoned by Agamotto, attended the Assemblage of Avatars in Atlantis around 19,000 BC to find a solution for the current conflicts between the Elder Gods. Only little was accomplished during the meeting and Agamotto became frustated with humanity's limitations.





(CtB Annual#12)- Edit

Milennia later, in the Hyborian era, The Devourer of Souls came to Arallu, the Land of the Evil Dead, to learn the secret of the Child of the Elder Gods. He found Thulsa Doom chained to stone pillars, where he had been for a hundred centuries (10, 000 years). Thulsa explained to the Devourer the story of Sedrick, the Elder Gods, and the involvement of the daughter of Kaleb. In return, the Devourer freed Thulsa Doom from his millennia long imprisonment.

Conan also came to Arallu, seeking the same answers the Devourer had sought. Wishing to prevent the destruction of all reality (so he could rule it himself, naturally), Thulsa told Conan of the Devourer's plans. The dead souls within Arallu sought to prevent Conan and Thulsa's escape, but Conan's allies arrived to help fight them off. The Devourer unleashed a powerful fireball designed to slay them all, but Thulsa Doom had them all link hands and used his powers to expel the fireball into the atmosphere. (CtB#200)-The Devourer of Souls succeeded in gaining the power from Sedrick and the Kaleb's daughter. Now immensely powerful and enormous in size, it confronted Conan and his allies, among whom was Thulsa Doom. The Devourer attempted to destroy them, but Conan possessed the Sword of the Elder Gods, which enabled them to resist his attacks. When the Devourer left to consider how he could destroy them, Thulsa Doom called upon the demon Xuthl, who then manipulated the Devourer into taking human form to repair an old debt. Conan and his allies rushed to destroy the Devourer, who managed to regain his power at the last second. Nonetheless, its experiences as a human weakened the hatred of the Devourer, and Conan, using the Sword of the Elder Gods, managed to destroy it. Actually, at the last second, Xuthl rewarded the Devourer by returning it to human form and allowing it to live out its life as a man. (CtB#201)-Thulsa Doom regaled Conan's troops with Conan's life as a youth, causing the to lower their defenses. Thulsa slew his General, Shapur, and took over his form. (CtB#202, 203)-Thulsa Doom, both in his own form and in the form of Shapur, accompanied Conan to Ophir. There Thulsa began performing sacrifices and manipulating the dreams of Conan and his troops, all in an effort to regain his full power, and a "seventh life." Conan confronted and assaulted Thulsa Doom, who knocked out with some pixie dust and transported him to the House of Shades. There Thulsa began to drain Conan's life, in preparation of taking over his body. Conan didn't care for this idea, and so he tackled Thulsa Doom into a crevice where they fell back towards Arallu. Upon approaching the realm, Conan was sent back to Earth, while Thulsa was returned to Arallu and his physical form on Earth disintegrated.

(Savage Sword of Conan #191 (fb)) Edit

- The Skull of Thulsa Doom somehow reformed and ended up within a cavern on an island off the coasts of Kush. There it was found by the former Khitan nobleman Kuchum, to whom it spoke and enthralled with tales of the pre-Cataclysmic era. Doom told Kuchum of a great treasure in the Western Sea.


Comments: Created by Robert E. Howard. Adapted by Roy Thomas and Marie+John Severin.

Robert Wicks' Unofficial Chronology of the Marvel Universe

After Thulsa Doom's death in the pre-cataclysmic era, the other wizards of that era joined together seeking revenge. They managed to obtain the parchments of Chthon, and they became the very first group of Darkholders. They used these parchments to unleash a spell such as the world had never seen. This spell transformed one of their own, Varnae, into the first vampire on Earth. This is revealed in Dr. Strange III#11/2 "The Book of the Vishanti."

Nakura, a "sorcerer of sunken Atlantis" used the Talisman of Thulsa Doom, @ Savage Sword of Conan#219, 220.

In the Hyborian era, Thulsa Doom claimed to have had six lives thus far. Can anyone name them all? Not I!

Further REH history courtesy of John McDonagh: Delacarde's Cat was the first actually published appearance of Thulsa Doom. You see, very few Kull stories were published during Robert E. Howard's lifetime. Delacardes' cat was one of those manuscripts that stayed in Howard's house after he committed suicide, and only saw the light of day in 1967. So, yes, the story was written by at least 1936, but not published until 1967.

Kull#11, "By this axe I rule," is the original version of the story that was later published as a Conan story, and retold in the Marvel Universe in Conan Annual#2, "The Phoenix on the Sword".

Please let me known what I've missed, and I'll add it. While I enjoy these stories immensely, the Swords and Sorcery eras are not my strong suit. Wayne Lenihan and John McDonagh/Per Degaton have been very helpful in supplying me with a bibliographies and chronologies, and other good stuff.

Per Degaton adds: It turns out that Thulsa Doom also appeared in the Conan newspaper comic strip. This probably would not be canonical, though some of the Conan newspaper strip was reprinted in Conan Saga, and the name "Greshan" for Conan's mother was taken from the comic strip.


House of Shades: "What do you sell here?" "Just shades." "How about a light bulb?" "No, sorry, all we sell is shades. Perhaps if you want a light bulb you should go to House of Bulbs"

There is no reason, short of licensing rights, that Thulsa Doom should not make an appearance in the modern era.

Speaking of licensing rights, please let me know owns the rights to Thulsa Doom, and I'll credit him/her/them appropriately.

Clarifications: I'm told that Mark Gruenwald thought that Thulsa may have been a time-traveling von Doom... There is no information either way regarding any potential connection between Thulsa Doom and Victor von Doom, or anyone else from the modern era.

Serpent Men

Kuthulos, the mystic, an agent of Delcarde, @ Kull the Conqueror#7, has no known connection to:

  • Kathulos
  • I do have to comment that in a personal communication with Kurt Busiek, he specifically stated that he did not wipe the Avengers of the 1950s from existence. One alternate timeline containing them was wiped out. The group may well have existed in the mainstream past, but they just weren't called the Avengers. He suggested the name: "The G-Men"
  • Kathulos the Slave-Seer, a Hyborian era sorcerer/god/demon, presumably the creator of the Iron Bound Books of Kathulos, mentioned @ Savage Sword of Conan#8 Who may or may not be the above Atlantean sorcerer...
  • Kutholos, a pre-Cataclysmic era scholar in Kull's court, @ Kull the Conqueror III#4

Shiva, the servant of Kull ensorcelled by Thulsa Doom, @ Kull the Conqueror#3, has no known connection to:

  • Shiva
  • or any other Shivas.

For the most part, it's safe to assume that a character from the past ages is NOT the same as one from the modern era, unless specifically stated. ----

Appearances: Monsters on the Prowl#16 (April, 1972) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Severin (pencils), Marie Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor) Kull the Conqueror#3 (July, 1972) - Roy Thomas (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), John Severin (inks), Stan Lee (editor) Kull the Conqueror#7 (March, 1973) - Gerry Conway (writer), Marie Severin (pencils), John Severin (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#11 (November, 1973) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Mike Ploog (artist) Kull the Destroyer#12 (February, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Sal Buscema & John Romita (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#13 (April, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#14 (June, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#15 (August, 1974) - Steve Englehart (writer), Mike Ploog (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull and the Barbarian#2 (July, 1975) - Gerry Conway (writer), Jess Jodloman (artist), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull and the Barbarian#3 (September, 1975) - Doug Moench (writer), Vicente Alcazar (artist), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#22-23 (August-October, 1977) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Yong Montano (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#24 (December, 1977) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Dino Castrillo (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#25-26 (February-April, 1978) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Rudy Nebres (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#27 (June, 1978) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Kull the Destroyer#28-29 (August-October, 1978) - Don Glut (writer), Ernie Chan (pencils), George Roussos (inks), Roy Thomas (editor) Marvel Preview#19 (Summer 1979) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Ralph Macchio & Mark Gruenwald (editors) Conan the Barbarian Annual#12 (1987) - Jim Owsley & Val Semeiks (writers), Vince Giarrano (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Michael Higgins (editor) Conan the Barbarian I#200 (November, 1987) - Jim Owsley & Mark B. Bright (writers), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Michael Higgins (editor) Conan the Barbarian I#201 (December, 1987) - Jim Owsley (writer), Andy Kubert (artist), Michael Higgins (editor) Conan the Barbarian I#202 (January, 1988) - Jim Owsley (writer), Valdis Semeiks (writer/pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Michael Higgins (editor) Conan the Barbarian I#203 (February, 1988) - Jim Owsley (writer), Valdis Semeiks (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks), Michael Higgins (editor) Savage Sword of Conan#190 (October, 1991) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), John Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor) Savage Sword of Conan#191 (November, 1991) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), John Buscema (pencils), Tony DeZuniga & Ernie Chan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor) Savage Sword of Conan#193 (December, 1991) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor) Conan Saga#72 (March, 1993) - Reprint of Kull the Destroyer#12 Conan Saga#87-88 (June-July, 1994) - Reprint of Kull the Destroyer#13-14 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Hardcover#7: MAGIC (2009) - David Sexton (writer), Jeff Younquist & Jennifer Gruenwald (editors) ----

Last updated: 12/09/04

let me know

Non-Marvel Copyright info


== Film Projects ==

OK, You may not recognize the name, but he made his fist appearance in Kull short story written by Robert E. Howard published in 1967. Still not ringing a bell he was the antagonist in Conan the Movie and was played by James Earl Jones. Thulsa Doom is apparently hot for reason. He has a new comic and has a film in development starring Djimon Hounson. Here’s some excerpts from a interview with the writer of the new Thulsa Doom comic by Dynamite Entertainment. (That Alex Ross cover makes him look like a real bad ass.otherwise utter crap,as Edmund Blackadder would say.

  • Last July we brought you word that twice-Nominated for an Oscar actor Djimon Hounsou would be producing (along with Dynamite Entertainment’s Nick Barrucci and Arthur and Luke Lieberman) and starring in a film based on Thulsa Doom, the Hyperborian villain who has plagued both Conan and Red Sonja.Obvisously the morons are Dynamie Entertainment-slock merchants,do want real Conan or Robert E.Howard fan,but nuckleheads who saw two bad Conan movies and one bad Kull .The character has most recently seen life in Dynamite’s comic book series, where he is something of a transplant from Robert E. Howard’s Conan “universe” in which originated in the ‘30s. Doom has been one of Red Sonja’s primary antagonists in the ongoing Dynamite series, and co-starred with Sonja in 2006's miniseries.
  • As the film version of Thulsa Doom’s life moves along towards Hollywood, Dynamite has announced an August start of the ongoing series, written by Arvid () Nelson, with art by Lui Antonio. And while #1 hits comic shops in July, Dynamite has provided Newsarama with an at the Alex Ross-painted and very Hounsou-inspired cover to September’s issue #2.
  • The solicitation for the first issue reads:
  • Written by ARVID NELSON
  • Art by LUI ANTONIO
  • Cover by ALEX ROSS
  • Virgin art retailer incentive cover by ALEX ROSS
  • Negative art incentive cover by ALEX ROSS
  • Rare spot color cover by ALEX ROSS
  • From the pages of writer Robert E. Howard comes the debut of Dynamite’s Thulsa Doom!
  • Written by Kull writer Arvid Nelson and illustrated by Lui (Red Sonja) Antonio, the opening story arc also features cover artist Alex Ross! Featuring the origins of the ultimate anti-hero, Thulsa Doom #1 opens after the destruction of Atlantis, when the world was in chaos and Thulsa sought his own path to ultimate power!
SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Interview with Arvid Nelson on ‘Thulsa Doom’", url: "" });ShareThis


Thulsa Doom was fitted into Hyborean Age world of Conan,even we assume either he long dead by Kull's hands,as depicted one Marvel Comic story or he hidden some forgotten tomb.In the movie,Thulsa Doom,is a black man,played James Earl Jones,only casted not is fine acting talent,but because he was voice of Darth Vader

A remake of the cult classic “Red Sonja” has been announced at Comic Con 2008, it is currently in pre-production as very little has been announced so far. It is scheduled for a 2009 release and will be produced by Robert Rodriguez, directed by Douglas Aarniokoski, and actress Rose McGowan will portray Red Sonja. Djimon Hounsou will play the role of Thulsa Doom. Kulan Gath will also play a vital role in the upcoming movie. '; htmlstr += ; htmlstr += ; htmlstr += ; function show_print(){ var print_article = new showPrint(); }

A remake of the cult classic “Red Sonja” has been announced at Comic Con 2008, it is currently in pre-production as very little has been announced so far. It is scheduled for a 2009 release and will be produced by Robert Rodriguez, directed by Douglas Aarniokoski, and actress Rose McGowan will portray Red Sonja. Djimon Hounsou will play the role of Thulsa Doom. Kulan Gath will also play a vital role in the upcoming movie.
Despite Rose McGowan sounds utter crap.I'm not going to leave-gee I hope it's good posting as above seeing most Tarzan movies and tv series stink,the Conan with the except of some idiot in the pages of the Comic Buyer's Guide wants Arnold to play King Conan just his ego,as wanted Luke Skywalker to team with Avengers,many fans hated those Conan movies-except muscle gay boys

True Robert E.Howard Fans reactions. Edit

Frank frazetta devils generation
What shall a man say when a friend has vanished behind the doors of Death? A mere tangle of barren words, only words.

–Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith, ca. May 1928–

Sometimes it’s easy for my generation to forget how good we Howard fans have it. With Del Rey, Bison and Wildside volumes easily available, access to the internet and like-minded fans, and a CPI which is most vocal and active in its support of REH, I can’t really imagine what it was like for prior generations. Unfortunately, despite the veritable golden age we are blessed to experience, the stifling mist of ignorance and wilfull misrepresentation is not long gone. Even with the writings of Robert E. Howard a click away on Project Gutenberg and Wikisource, the persistent mistakes of past years yet rear their faces of nightmare and lunacy.

Paradox has been doing a spectacular job, with many different Howard stories in print, and many volumes of tales. CPI has also done Howard proud, practically falling over themselves in promoting Howard as the creator of their lucrative property. However, though Howard and his works are represented by Paradox and CPI, they are not the only companies to be involved in the writer and his creations. Enter Dynamite Entertainment, who despite festooning Robert E. Howard’s name around their products, seem less interested in maintaining the integrity of Howard’s creation than hijacking it for its own ends. Rather than celebrate the author largely responsible for one of their major sources of revenue, they are merely using his name for some literary credibility, to give a semblance of legitimacy and faithfulness to the source material that simply doesn’t exist.

Dynamite Entertainment are largely known as the heirs of Red Sonja, the pathetic shadow of Robert E. Howard’s irrepressible Russian heroine, who gained a title of her own during the Bronze Age of Comic Books’ attempt to address the timely feminism controversies. Unfortunately, the pro-feminist elements of female empowerment and desire for equality are somewhat obscured by the titillating artwork and humiliating backstory. While I have plenty to say on Red Sonja, it is best left for another time. Dynamite’s latest comic has gained my attention–as well as their choice of writer.

Crom’s Devils, where to begin?

First of all, it’s obvious that this Thulsa Doom is nowhere to be found in the pages of Robert E. Howard. This isn’t even the dulcet-toned demagogue concocted by John Milius for , rather it is a sort of merging of Doom and Conan himself–doesn’t that pose look rather familiar? The facial similarity to future Thulsa Doom actor Djimon Honsou is uncanny. Regardless, this is a character interpretation entirely alien to the villain of “The Cat and the Skull.” Saying that Jim Earl Jones is “from the pages of Robert E. Howard” is as incorrect and dishonest as claiming Kevin Sorbo’s Kull to be a fairly accurate depiction of Howard’s Atlantean, or that Red Sonja was Robert E. Howard’s creation–which, incidentally, Dynamite is also doing. This is not the first time the character has appeared in : a miniseries with the fairly succinct title Red Sonja vs Thulsa Doom. There, too, he is portrayed in Milius as opposed to Howard form, though at least they had the sense to have no explicit connections betwixt the two characters. Perhaps I’m being too hasty: it’s possible that this is not meant to be the original Thulsa Doom. Perhaps he is a man inspired by the Valusian necromancer, taking his name as a mark of reverence, before developing some major ophidiophilia and a preoccupation with conundrums of iron alloys.

Unfortunately, the man chosen to write this is Arvid Nelson.

Before I begin on Thulsa Doom, I must discuss the previous sins of the author. Arvid Nelson is, alas, not a newcomer to Robert E. Howard. His previous foray into the Thurian Age managed to contradict something Howard wrote in nearly every single issue. For example, despite Howard stating that Kull was not only unmarried and celibate, but a virgin, Nelson feels it necessary to marry him off! Not only that, but his wife-to-be is named “The Lady Igraine.” Even if this was the Hyborian Age, where names taken from mythology and legend are an important aspect of the setting, “The Lady Igraine” is so steeped in Arthurian legend that it cannot be extricated. It would be like having Conan meet a Brythunian king called Uther Pendragon, or an Iranistani sailor named Sinbad the Sailor. He also includes a demon called Etrigor, the name obviously very similar to Etrigan–another link to Arthurian mythology given the character’s origin. I’m almost expecting to see the Green Knight and Fisher King pop up in the next series.

Another bizarre change is the re-imagining of the Serpent Men as green-skinned Count Orlocks. Howard very specifically noted that the Serpent Men were of mostly human shape, but with the head of a snake where a man’s head should be: this in keeping with similar beings Howard described which have the bodies of humans, and the heads of animals. Wolf-headed De Montour and elephant-headed Yogah/Yag-Kosha, for instance, or the reverse–the human-headed God in the Bowl, for that matter. Yet even though this is supposed to be an adaptation of “The Shadow Kingdom,” Nelson and Conrad seemed to think that Howard’s depiction just wasn’t enough, so they concocted a race of Max Schrek clones. Later on, Serpent Men more similar to Howard’s appear… although this time they’re eight foot tall giants with cobra-heads.

Perhaps most egregious is the depiction of the Picts. Much like Tolkien’s Elves, the Picts are one of the most important, lasting elements of Howard’s fiction. They figure in nearly all his fantasy works, much of his horror, and many historical stories. Yet somehow, Arvid Nelson, in supporting Will Conrad’s artistic direction, has allowed even the Picts to be altered. Contrary to every single description of Howard’s Picts, not to mention the Thurian-era incarnation, Will Conrad has chosen to depict the Picts as unambiguously Sub-Saharan African in appearance, using the rather thin justification that the Picts are described as “dark-skinned,” and that other peoples change over time. Despite the fact that Brule is described as practically the spitting image of Bran Mak Morn–one wonders if in Nelson and Conrad’s adaptation of “Kings of the Night,” Bran and the Picts would also be black, dreadlocked warriors–and the many references Howard makes to Picts being “the same as they’ve always been,” Conrad has chosen to make a very major change to a race in Howard’s canon. This change puts all the ironic racial tension in “The Black Stranger” and “Beyond the Black River” in a completely different light, and one that makes it far more racist by implication than Howard ever did.

So what can we expect from Thulsa Doom? Let’s look at a quotation

from the writer Arvid Nelson:

It cannot be done. Despite the best attempts of De Camp and Roy Thomas, the story, characters and events of Conan the Barbarian and Howard’s stories are, not to put too fine a point on it, incompatible. Regardless of one’s opinion of on its own merits, even the most fervent defenders would agree that the film and stories occupy separate universes.

What’s most baffling is that, even if we somehow accept that the gaunt, dessicated, skull-headed sorcerer becomes a muscular, human, death-obsessed warrior in a skull mask–not to mention becoming a pudgy, snake-obsessed cult leader–this leads to a rather large point of confusion in the timeline. Nelson describes Thulsa Doom as being neither a hero nor villain in the chaotic period just after the cataclysm. Does this mean that Thulsa Doom starts off evil and undead, then ambiguous and alive, then evil again? Or was the frightening figure of “The Cat and the Skull” not evil, thus completely changing the tone of the story?

It’s at this point one must ask: what is the point of such umbrage? Red Sonja is not a Robert E. Howard character, and Howard did not write these comics, so there is no reason to be concerned with whatever Dynamite does with her. The idea of not concerning ourselves with derivative material is one Cimmerian alumnus Mark Finn appears to uphold, and it’s a perfectly reasonable position: since this is clearly not Robert E. Howard’s Thulsa Doom, why worry about how he’s presented? The answer, really, is that this still has everything to do with Robert E. Howard. Howard’s name is being used in promotional material for the Thulsa Doom comic. Arvid Nelson talks about Howard in interviews, and the comparison between the two iterations of Thulsa Doom. Most crucially, Robert E. Howard as a writer and man is being distorted. By presenting this version of Thulsa Doom as Howard’s creation, then those unaware of the truth will treat it as Howard’s creation. It doesn’t matter if the things being said are good or bad: misinformation is misinformation.

This is an unacceptable state of affairs. At best, it merely dupes people into thinking Howard created something he didn’t. At worst, any criticisms leveled at the series may well be leveled at Howard. Surely I can’t be the only one who sees the unfortunate implications of a black barbarian warrior, torn between good and evil, who succumbs to his dark side, especially considering it takes place in the same universe of a white barbarian warrior who time and again resists the power of evil? This is not the first time such a comparison has been made: in addition to a number of bizarre factual errors and and the usual tiresome dismissal of the source material, Roger Ebert found the imagery of a white proto-Germanic warrior striking down a black man somewhat suspect. Given the perennial controversy of the race issue, and the precedent of blaming Howard for the wrongs of a pastiche, this and other criticisms are possibilities.

Howard fans are already fighting to gain our favourite author’s acceptance in literary circles, and we’ve practically won in that regard

pastiches which present their content in such a way as to obfuscate what is “Howard” and what isn’t are not on the same side. It’s often said that if someone likes the pastiches or films, they will naturally gravitate to the original stories: that is true, but so is the reverse–if someone doesn’t like the pastiches or films, they will from the original stories, even if they would probably enjoy them. What of the people who were turned off by the right-wing politics and heavy Nietschean atmosphere of ? Why would they seek out the original source material of a film they didn’t like? By the same token, how many people–women especially–were turned off Robert E. Howard by the adolescent cheesecake of Red Sonja, assuming all of Howard’s heroines were as puerile and one-dimensional as Red?

Another possible counterpoint is that while cinematic Thulsa Doom is quite well-explored and developed within the film, literary Thulsa Doom is more of an enigma. Surely it would be better to use the more established, complete version of a character than the villain of one short story? I believe in the opposite: because there is more mystery about literary Doom, there is more allowance for creativity and exploration. The answer is obvious to me: Dynamite, and Nelson himself, just don’t seem interested in Howard’s Doom. In fact, Howard’s Doom seems almost an afterthought to Milius’ Doom: why else would they focus on Doom as a virile, powerful black man with a snake fixation than as Howard intended him? Nelson’s pride in memorizing the film–no mean feat, I mean, it has literally of lines–suggests the likelihood that this is fan fiction.

Overall, the depiction of Thulsa Doom as a semi-heroic black man is but one of many such changes in the current crop of Howard pastiches. There are more than a few cases of “race-lifts” given to major characters in Howard’s canon for seemingly no defensible reason. Kalanthes, the last priest of Ibis, is depicted as black–despite also being depicted as a native Stygian priest. How could a black man become a priest in the caste-obsessed nation of Stygia, where only pure Stygians are admitted into the priesthood and army, any other stock–be it black, brown or white–consumed by the vast, mongrel peasant caste? Combined with Brule, there is almost the sense of an agenda at Dark Horse.

While I celebrate worthy attempts to boost African presence in Sword and Sorcery–Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro and Dossouye being the greatest examples–I do not believe it should come by willfully re-writing another author’s characters and creations. Why not do what De Camp did with Juma, and create a new companion for the early comics: an Amazon warrior-woman, a renegade prince of Keshan, a wandering Kushite adventurer. Even beyond original creations, there are plenty of existing black characters who would benefit from an “upgrade” from one-time characters to part-time sidekicks in future Dark Horse volumes. What of Sakumbe, the adventurer Conan knew of old in the Tombalku fragment? What of Ajonga, Yasunga and Laranga, three corsairs who Conan remembered from his time as a black corsair twenty years before ? What of N’Gora and N’Yaga, the corsair sub-chief and shaman whom Conan would surely have become acquainted to during his time on the ? Why restrict it to those of “Kusho-Hyborian” descent: what of the Hyborian equivalents of Asians, Native Americans, or other ethnic minorities? Likewise, if the writers wanted a “black friend” for Kull, why not introduce one of the Black Atlanteans alluded to in “Black Canaan” and the Am-Ra stories, instead of turning the Picts into Pictafarians and completely messing up Howard’s mythos? I’m almost surprised John Silent wasn’t turned into a Morgan Freeman-esque “Moor” for the Solomon Kane miniseries.

Considering Nelson is the writer of both series, I’m rather concerned as to how this depiction of Thulsa Doom will relate to the series. Will Hounsou Doom turn up in , perhaps with a skull-mask in a limp attempt to “reconcile” the two, crossing companies in the process and infecting Dark Horse with Dynamite’s nonsense? Is the mysterious golden-masked spokesman of the Great Serpent in the early series, in fact, Doom? Thus we get the peculiar oddity that not only Conan, but Kull have a charismatic black man–the charismatic black man–as their lifelong nemesis. For all Howard’s faults, he certainly did not write Conan or Kull diametrically opposed to a black man for their whole lives in a racial , unlike the implications of Milius and, now, Nelson.

Nelson, Dynamite, it’s one thing to continue the misrepresentation of Red Sonja and Thulsa Doom as characters. It’s quite another to drag Howard into it as an unwilling accomplice. Don’t even to hijack Howard for literary cred, and present your own half-baked ideas and inventions as “reasonable extrapolation,” much less an honest portrayal of Howard’s character. Your depiction of Doom as a “dark antihero” is completely at odds with everything we know about REH’s character. Your own timeline doesn’t even make sense, with Doom acting like a complete monster in “The Cat and the Skull,” then an antihero in your comic, then falling to darkness again for . Either ignore Howard completely and do your own thing, or actually stick to his descriptions. You can’t have it both ways.


Editors Note;Obviousely Arvid Nelson is an idiot,trying put black were the original creators never intended them to be.If he wants a heroic black-create a new one as L.Spreage De Camp and Roy Thomas did with new characters introduced into their versions of the Conan Saga.Don't an already existing and shoe your liberal guilt feeling into,guy like Thulsa Doom-who obviously Howards version characters like the Mummy and Dracula-an undead creature rebord,trying assert his will over the new he has woken in.Two Gun Bob did again other similar evil wizards {{Thungra Kothan]],{[Xoltuton]] and so on .Or hello,create your own Conan and you do whatever the frak you want with him.Don't show the world that your nothing a hack,writting garbage for money like a whore sells sex.If your an artist be an artist-if not move aside for those are.

Doc Thompson

== Red Faced Sonja?This entry was posted on Septe

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