He was an enemy of Conan, and the immortal mutant Selene, as well as Modern Age heroes, such as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men, and (alongside a timeflung Conan) Wolverine, Doctor Voodoo, the Punisher, Elektra, the Venom symbiote, and another unnamed symbiote, and the combined forces of Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom.
Kulan Gath was a sorcerer whose slave one day poisoned him and assumed his identity, eventually consuming Mekri Ra, and becoming one of the most powerful magic users of his time when he claimed the title of the Sorcerer Supreme.
At some point, he married the witch Vammatar in an alliance to obtain the power of the demon Shuma-Gorath. He had an apprentice named Razal-Gulath, and was an enemy of the immortal, vampiric mutant named Selene.
As the (unknowing) protégé of Xiombarg, he sought the power of the Melnibonéan sorceress Terhali, who had been exiled to Hyboria and placed in suspended animation. When Terhali awoke, she disintegrated Kulan Gath with a magical bolt of energy.
This proved to be only a setback for Kulan Gath as he had achieved effective immortality by placing his life energy into a magical amulet. He eventually regained his body, allied with Vammatar, and fought Conan and Red Sonja. Kulan Gath and his bride were apparently destroyed when they attempted to control the demon Shuma-Gorath.
Kulan Gath returned again, thanks to the efforts of his new wife, Armati, but he was decapitated by Conan. At some point, his body was restored, but his heart was cut out by Red Sonja; possibly with the assistance of Conan.
Millennia later, Kulan Gath returned to life in the modern world when the necklace that housed his essence turned up at a museum display in New York City. The necklace was donned by a night watchman; the sorcerer transformed the guard's body into a duplicate of his own, which he then possessed. He was defeated by Red Sonja, who had been temporarily reincarnated in the present day in the body of Mary Jane Watson, and her newfound ally Spider-Man.
Spider-Man later tossed the necklace off of a ferry bound for Staten Island, but it was found not long afterwards by a fisherman named Jaime Rodriguez; although Jaime resisted Kulan Gath, a mugger who subsequently killed him was considerably weaker in willpower, and when the mugger donned the necklace, he was possessed instantly and transformed by the wizard.
Kulan Gath, now returned to the height of his power, transformed Manhattan into a likeness of his native time. Everyone trapped on the island believed that the transformed world was the true world, with the exceptions of his enemy Spider-Man and the modern-day Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange. Kulan Gath mystically bound Strange, and transformed Professor X and Caliban into a hybrid creature under his control. He also took control of the minds of the Avengers, the X-Men, the New Mutants, and the Morlocks, who hunted down Spider-Man.
In the end, Spider-Man and several other heroes were killed by Kulan Gath, his enemy Selene, or the mind-controlled agents of one of the two. Strange and the New Mutant Magik used their powers to change time so that the mugger who had originally killed Jaime Rodriguez and had been Kulan Gath's host had instead been slain by the time-travelling android Nimrod, creating a new divergent timeline in which all the changes and deaths caused by Gath never occurred.
Yet another fisherman later found the amulet and was transformed into Kulan Gath's new host. Kulan Gath traveled to the Latin American nation of Costa Verde, and transformed the region inhabited by the Kamekeri Native Americans as he had previously transformed Manhattan. The Avengers, accompanied by their ally Silverclaw, traveled to Costa Verde to stop him.
He attempted to sacrifice Silverclaw's mother, the Kamekeri goddess Pelali, to his demonic gods, but Silverclaw was able to free her (though Pelali died from the effects of the ritual later). The gods, having been partially summoned, still required a sacrifice, and when no other victim was offered, they took the unwilling Kulan Gath to their native dimension.
Gath was able to return to Earth when the amulet came into contact with a corrupt U.S. senator, providing him with a new body that he subsequently used to transform New York once again. Knowing that Red Sonja would return to fight him, Gath attempted to negate that threat by enchanting Sonja's blade so that she saw Spider-Man as an enemy, but Sonja was eventually able to overcome the spell and fought alongside the wall-crawler, encouraged to trust him by Mary Jane's residual memories. Seeking to enhance his power, Gath lured Venom to him, subsequently stealing his symbiote and bonding with it to become 'Kulan Venom', intending to then sacrifice Red Sonja and use her holy blood, blessed by a goddess, to complete his dominion over this plane and then expand to all others.
Despite his attempts to delay his adversaries by pitting them against altered versions of Vermin, Lizard, Scorpion, and Hobgoblin, the symbiote's attempts to rejoin with Brock distracted Gath long enough for Sonja to destroy the amulet and break Gath's spell, thus restoring the world to normal.
City of Sickles
Displaced through time to the early 20th century, Kulan Gath travelled to the Savage Land and became the master of the City of Sickles, seeking to summon the eldritch god Jhoatun Lau to Earth. During World War II a Luftwaffe fighter pilot named Johan Richter was shot down over the Savage Land and came across him. Gath deemed the Nazi sufficiently evil to become his apprentice and indoctrinated him into the cult of the Marrow God. At some point, Kulan Gath captured a symbiote, intending to use it to lure Venom to the Savage Land, and his cult allied with wicked Egyptian priests and the Hand ninja to procure exemplary humans and powerful warriors to sacrifice to Jhoatun Lau. This backfired when the virtually-immortal mutant Logan was among those lured to the City of Sickles, and the also time-displaced Conan stole the Third Eye of Agamotto, which was needed to summon the Marrow God. Kulan Gath managed to retrieve the amulet and summon Jhoatun Lau, sending the eldritch god to rampage through Shanghai. Afterwards, he revealed that he knew Jhoatun Lau would ultimately be defeated and had summoned it as a test of Earth's "immune system" to determine where it was weakest. When confronted by the victorious Savage Avengers after Jhoatun Lau had been slain, he informed them they had been afflicted by a curse by it before departing to observe the effects from afar.
Powers and Abilities
Sorcery: Kulan Gath was an incredibly powerful sorcerer, and could cast spells, including illusions, mental enslavement, and much more. He gained additional magical power by consuming the hearts of other magic users.
- Body Possession
- Reality Warping
- Mind Control
- Time Manipulation
- Kulan Gath was created and introduced in "A Sword Called Stormbringer!" (Conan the Barbarian #14; March, 1972), an original story plotted by Michael Moorcock and James Cawthorn, written by Roy Thomas, and penciled by Barry Smith.
- When Marvel lost the rights to use Conan, Red Sonja and related characters, the rights to Kulan Gath reverted as well. The character was then used in Dynamite Entertainment's Red Sonja series as the main antagonist. He appeared in the Spider-Man / Red Sonja crossover miniseries.
- Since 2019, after Marvel Comics recovered the rights to Conan, Kulan Gath has appeared in Savage Avengers.
- Both of Kulan Gath's wives were named after deities: the Hyperborean queen-witch Vammatar (who could be the Jumala/Finish goddess), and the shamaness Armati (presumably named in relation with Armaiti, the Persian name for Gaea).
- 40 appearance(s) of Kulan Gath (Impostor) (Earth-616)
- 8 minor appearance(s) of Kulan Gath (Impostor) (Earth-616)
- 12 mentions of Kulan Gath (Impostor) (Earth-616)
- 26 image(s) of Kulan Gath (Impostor) (Earth-616)
- 5 quotation(s) by or about Kulan Gath (Impostor) (Earth-616)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by Kulan Gath (Impostor) (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Kulan Gath (Impostor) (Earth-616) on Wikipedia.org
- Kulan Gath (Earth-616) at the Dynamite Entertainment Wiki
- Kulan Gath (Earth-616) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe