King Kull (DC Comics)
|Publisher||Fawcett Comics (1951–1953)
DC Comics (1976–1985)
|First appearance||Captain Marvel Adventures #125 (October 1951)|
|Created by||Otto Binder
C. C. Beck
|Team affiliations||Monster Society of Evil|
King Kull (sometimes called the Beastman or the Beast Man) is a comic book supervillain originally published by Fawcett Comics and now owned by DC Comics and appearing as a foe of Captain Marvel. Created by writer Otto Binder and artist C. C. Beck, Kull's first appearance was in Captain Marvel Adventures #125 (cover-dated Oct. 1951). 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, a brutish but technologically advanced race which ruled humanity until 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, despite releasing the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man and using Sin bombs to try destroying the world, and trying to turn Billy to stone instead on one occasion, but 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 and after Shazam made telepathic communication with him he warns other heroes from the Three Earths about King Kull. Johny 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, Queen Clea, Blockbuster, and Ibac for his Earth-2 attack, where he tries to wreck Atlantis and use a cloud to sink islands. For Earth-S he recruits the Earth-2 Joker, the Weeper II, Doctor Light and the Shade, 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 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 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 couldn’t 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.
In Captain Marvel Adventures #3 a similar looking villain, the Beast-ruler appears, created by the mad scientist Sivana with a humanoid body and animal qualities like a gorilla's strength and a fox's cunning. 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. In Whiz comics #7 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, 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. King Kull is possibly a combination of these creatures and the Beast-ruler.
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 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. Kru'll later appears in the episode "The Malicious Mr. Mind" as a member of the Monster Society of Evil.
- Justice League: Cry for Justice #5