King Kull (DC Comics)
|Publisher||Fawcett Comics (1951–1953) |
DC Comics (1976–present)
|First appearance||Captain Marvel Adventures #125 (October 1951)|
|Created by||Otto Binder |
C. C. Beck
|Species||Subman (AKA Beast-Man)|
|Team affiliations||Monster Society of Evil|
|Abilities||Enhanced strength, speed, and staminia|
Expert at hand-to-hand combat
Created by writer Otto Binder and artist C. C. Beck, King Kull's first appearance was in Captain Marvel Adventures #125 (cover-dated Oct. 1951). King Kull appeared in adventures of Captain Marvel during the 1950s and the period in which DC Comics revived the hero during the 1970s.
Fictional character biography
In prehistoric times (according to one account around 28,000 BC), King Kull is ruler of the Submen (also called Beast-Men), a brutish but technologically advanced race that ruled humanity until they were overthrown in a revolt thousands of years ago, as the humans vastly outnumbered them and killed all the other Beast-Men. Kull fakes his death with a bomb and survives until the 20th century in suspended animation in a cavern, then awakens due to an earthquake and repeatedly threatens the human-dominated modern world with his immense strength, durability, and bizarre technology, which is in Captain Marvel's region. However, other versions claim he emerged throughout human history and attempted to stop the spread of democracy, and is apparently the basis for the Bogeyman and other mythical monsters.
He is usually thwarted by Captain Marvel or the Marvel Family. On one occasion, he collaborated with Doctor Sivana. On another occasion, he released the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man and using Sin bombs to try destroying the world. King Kull once tried to turn Billy to stone instead on one occasion.
One particularly well-planned escapade requires the efforts of the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America (in one of their dimension-crossing team-ups, which DC produced annually from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s), as well as a group of heroes of Captain Marvel and King Kull's home universe of Earth-S, referred to unofficially as Shazam's Squadron of Justice. All of these are required because Kull has captured both the wizard Shazam who grants the Marvel Family's powers and the ancient gods and goddesses the powers are drawn from after gaining access to the Rock of Eternity with a faster-than-light ship, paralyzing them with a device that slowed down their impulses, except for the swift Mercury who was able to get away in time; after Shazam makes telepathic communication with him he warns other heroes from the Three Earths about King Kull. Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt helps the Marvels get their powers back in the final issue and transports them to the Rock of Eternity. Kull recruits the aid of villains from the three earths: Penguin of Earth-One, Queen Clea of Earth-Two, Blockbuster of Earth-One, and Ibac of Earth-S for his Earth-Two attack, where he tries to wreck Atlantis and use a cloud to sink islands. For Earth-S, he recruits Joker of Earth-Two, Weeper II of Earth-S, Doctor Light of Earth-One, and Shade of Earth-One, who trap one side of the world in light and another in darkness, and try to transform people into different materials. For Earth-1, he recruits Mister Atom of Earth-S and Brainiac, who attack the city of Tomorrow, and increase the Earth's rotation to send people into the air. He is trying to wipe out humanity on all three Earths so his people can rule once again. They are all defeated, and the heroes then head to the Rock of Eternity, with Superman leading the attack. Despite turning Superman against the other super heroes using a Red Kryptonite chunk which fills Superman's mind with rage and makes him invulnerable to green kryptonite he is eventually defeated after Captain Marvel knocks him out, Jr. destroys the Red Kryptonite, Mary frees the Elders, and Cap uses his lightning to restore Superman's mind. King Kull was imprisoned with magic chains that supposedly even Hercules could not break, and the heroes returned to their own worlds.
King Kull has occasionally appeared as a member of the final Monster Society of Evil, and assisted in their assault on the Rock of Eternity with an army from 247 planets. The character has not appeared since Captain Marvel's history was rebooted by Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985. He is sometimes confused with Kull, a barbarian hero and king created by Robert E. Howard, but Howard's Kull was an ancient human in a sword-and-sorcery setting rather than a protohuman with science-fiction technology.
King Kull made his first appearance in over 20 years in the fifth issue of the limited series Justice League: Cry For Justice. Here, he was shown battling Stargirl and Cyclone as part of a massive plot by Prometheus to distract Earth's superheroes so that he could plant massive teleportation devices in various cities.
In "DC Rebirth," King Kull came from the Earthlands and is a member of the Monster Society of Evil. He was among its members imprisoned in the Dungeon of Eternity within the Monsterlands until Mister Mind instructed Doctor Sivana on how to free them.
Powers and abilities
King Kull has super-strength, enhanced durability, and enhanced stamina. He also possesses genius-level intellect and is an expert at hand-to-hand combat.
Prior to King Kull, there have been some characters that had his traits:
A similar-looking villain called the Beast-Ruler appears. He was created by the mad scientist Sivana with a humanoid body and animal qualities like a gorilla's strength, a serpent's speed, a tiger's fighting skills, a fox's cunning, a lion's bravery, and an elephant's memory after imbuing it with the lifeforce that was drawn from 1,000 animals. He turns against Sivana and tries to attack humanity with an animal army, hating man despite his similar appearance and planning to make animals rule. Captain Marvel leads an army of animals against his. He is finally thrown over a waterfall in a fight with Captain Marvel.
A race of prehistoric men who have been frozen for thousands of years at the North Pole make their only appearance. They are apparently strong enough to survive a bazooka shell, super-intelligent, and explorer Rodney Stark has devised a method of bringing them back to life, planning to use them to build an air force, using copies of stolen U.S planes, allowing him to take over the world. They are all destroyed in an explosion along with Stark when Captain Marvel makes their planes crash.
In other media
In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Menace from the Conquering Caveman!", there is a villain called Kru'll the Eternal (voiced by Michael Dorn) who is visually based on Kull and is also inspired by Vandal Savage due to sporting immortality. Kru'll later appears in the episode "The Malicious Mr. Mind" as a member of the Monster Society of Evil.
- Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 344. ISBN 0-8160-1899-5.
- Thomas, Roy (2004). The All-Star Companion: Vol 1. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 189. ISBN 9781893905054.
- Captain Marvel Adventures #149. Fawcett Comics.
- Captain Marvel Adventures #125. Fawcett Comics.
- Captain Marvel Adventures #130. Fawcett Comics.
- Captain Marvel Adventures #137. DC Comics.
- Justice League of America #135. DC Comics.
- Justice League of America #136. DC Comics.
- Justice League of America #137. DC Comics.
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #5. DC Comics.
- Shazam! Vol. 3 #11. DC Comics.
- Captain Marvel Adventures #3. Fawcett Comics.
- Whiz Comics #7. Fawcett Comics.