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Real Name
He Who Sleeps But Shall Soon Awake; Chtma-Gorath; Cthuma-Gurath; The Great Old One, The Withering Devourer, The Unclosing Eye



Old Ones; Many-Angled Ones; Served by many demons, summoned by Karnilla


Base Of Operations
His own dimension








Marital Status

Lord of Chaos, Master of the Old Ones, 'ruler of hundreds of dimensions'




First appearance


Quote1 Before all was, I was. Before time was, I waited. I fed on the screaming souls of the Universes. I drank the spoiled milk of dead stars. I am the emptiness outside all understanding. I am Shuma-Gorath. Quote2
-- Shuma-Gorath

Ruler of hundreds of dimensions, Shuma-Gorath came to the Earth-Realm over 1,000,000 years ago, along with the other Old Ones. There he ruled the ancient Earth and commanded numerous human sacrifices from ancient civilizations. He and the other Old Ones were banished from the Earth-Realm by the time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg. This was all observed by another time-traveling sorcerer, Doctor Strange, who had hoped to defeat Shuma-Gorath in the past so that his master, the Ancient One, would not need to die in a future conflict with the demon.

Shuma-Gorath somehow managed to return during the Hyborean Age (which spans from about 14,000 to 10,000 BC) about 1,000 years before the sinking of Atlantis, and again set himself up as a god. The Old One fed himself on blood sacrifice and tribal war, but any priest or cultist who sought his favor was also killed. After an age of Shuma-Gorath's torturous rule, some sent out a cry to a new god, Crom. Crom sent a storm of the Northlands, and with it three iron-bound books and a key to unlock them. Armed with the books, a shaman went to confront Shuma-Gorath. He read aloud from the books atop a mountain, and just before he finished the third volume, a vengeful Shuma-Gorath incinerated the mortal with a blast of energy. A flame-headed cloud rose from the ashes, however, sealing Crom's spell, and imprisoning Shuma-Gorath within the mountain. The mountain was later named Mount Crom in the avenging god's honor. The three books became known as the Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath. The Vishanti and Shuma-Gorath were eventually known to each other some time after the formation of the mystic trinity and became bitter foes to this day, neither succeeding in destroying the other.

Later in the Hyborean Age, the sorcerer Kulan Gath and the sorceress Vammatar fought with their two armies to a standstill. Negotiating, Vammatar revealed that she had the Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath, while Kulan Gath had the key to open them. Vammatar proposed an alliance sealed by marriage, which would allow them to work together to release Shuma-Gorath and command his power for their own. At the base of Mount Crom, Vammatar turned on Gath, and while they fought Crom sent down a bolt of lightning that created an avalanche. The books were buried, and the newlywed sorcerers were separated, each believing the other to be dead for many years to come.

A century later, Vammatar came into conflict with the young warrior Conan of Cimmeria. At one point, the sorceress set fire to the Village of the Snow Bear where Conan was raised in order to clear a path to Mount Crom. Conan received a dream of its destruction (possibly a vision from his deity, Crom) in which the name "Shuma-Gorath" was chanted repeatedly. With his traveling campanion Hobb, Conan headed north to confront the sorceress and her Witch-Men. Once he arrived at Mount Crom, however, Shuma-Gorath took control of Hobb's mind and compelled him to read from the Iron-Bound Books, freeing him from his mountain prison. By this time Vammatar had been joined by Kulan Gath, and for a time the pair seemed to hold the demon with their spells. He was not under their control, however, and the pair were obliterated as Shuma-Gorath finished relating the tale of his imprisonment. Conan took up the books, and used their power to resist the demon's attacks. Shuma-Gorath offered Conan immense power if he would stop, but Conan refused. Instead, Conan threw the books from the mountaintop to the storm above, returning them to Crom. Crom's power then once again sealed Shuma-Gorath in one of his home dimensions.

In modern times, Doctor Strange and his mentor, the Ancient One came under a series of attacks by beings such as Nightmare, Sligguth, Ebora, N'Gabthoth, Dagoth, Kathulos, and the Living Buddha. At one point, Strange detected a peculiar energy trail, which he followed to a black hole that spoke with the voice of Shuma-Gorath, and taunted him with promises of the demon's return. Arriving at his master's side, Strange learned that Shuma-Gorath meant to return through the mind of the Ancient One. Strange fought a losing battle against the demon within the Ancient One's mind, one felt by mystics across the world. Unable to stop the demon, Strange was forced to kill his mentor.

Powers and Abilities


Shuma-Gorath is a powerful and ancient demon that possesses vast supernatural powers, and is stated to be the "archetypal Class Three demon". In his native dimension he is virtually unstoppable. Given his past reformations, it is unknown if he can ever truly be killed.

Among his many mystical powers is the ability to communicate with and control others both within his vicinity and across dimensional barriers. He can create and direct powerful blasts of mystical energy, and affect transmutations on a planetary scale.

His skin is rubbery and armored, making him difficult to damage except by the most powerful magics. Though he often appears as a scaly being with six to eight tentacles and a great, central eye, during the Hyborean Age he was also seen to have numerous pincers, claws, and insectoid limbs, in addition to a large, fanged maw. Similarly, he has been depicted as either greenish or purple in color. Presumably, he can alter his form to his will.

His size seems to be related to his power, as he is truly gigantic in his home dimension. On Earth he has always appeared substantially smaller, though it is confirmed that only the smallest part of Shuma-Gorath's essence manifests on Earth when he is invoked, thus he has only been seen at full power within his home dimension.

Shuma-Gorath's name is often invoked across many dimensions by beings seeking dark power.


None known.

Strength level

Superhuman with an unknown upper limit.


None known.


Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.


  • Name created by Robert E. Howard; Character created/adapted by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner


  • Shuma-Gorath, along with his followers, bear a striking resemblance to the Old Ones described in H.P. Lovecraft's works of weird fiction, notably Cthulhu, Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth.
  • Shuma-Gorath was mentioned first as the name of a deity in Robert E. Howard's short story "The Curse of the Golden Skull"

See Also

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Links and References

  • None.

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