A recent leak of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness merchandise has revealed just who the one-eyed monster is that Doctor Strange is fighting in the first teaser trailer for the film.
Many suspected the character was Shuma-Gorath given the monster’s likeness to the Marvel villain. However, this merchandise leak reveals the character – arguably one of, if not the only, things which has sparked interest in the film amongst even the most cynical of audiences – is an entirely unrelated Marvel character.
Featuring designs for several graphic t-shirts, the promotional images in question were brought to widespread attention on January 3rd, courtesy of the appropriately named Doctor Strange Updates fan news account.
According to two of the six shared designs, the fan-favorite Devourer-God of the Eternal Ever-Was will not be referred to as Shuma-Gorath in the MCU, instead bearing the name Gargantos.
— Doctor Strange 2 Updates (@DrStrangeUpdate) January 3, 2022
The green-tentacled demon was further labeled as Gargantos on another shirt shared by the @BRMavelNews fan account, this one seeing the villain underneath a slightly-psychedelic rendition of his new name.
— Marvel News (@BRMarvelNews) January 3, 2022
Though Marvel has not officially announced the character’s identity, the possible reason for it to be Gargantos instead of Shuma-Gorath may have been done to avoid legal issues relating to the character’s namesake.
The All-Killer of the Dawn’s physical appearance is itself an original Marvel creation, with the character appearing for the first time – albeit in a grey color rather than his signature green – in Marvel Premiere Vol. 1 #10 (1973) as an adversary of Doctor Strange.
However, his name was taken from a 1967 short story written by Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E. Howard, The Curse of the Golden Skull, wherein a deity of the same name is one of the many gods decried by the magician Rotath for allowing him to die.
“Rotath cursed the limitations of the flesh,” wrote Howard. “He felt his brain crumbling and he cursed all the men of all the worlds. He cursed them by Hotath and Helgor, by Ra and Ka and Valka.”
He continued, “He cursed all men living and dead, and all the generations unborn for a million centuries to come, naming Vramma and Jaggta-noga and Kamma and Kulthas. He cursed humanity by the fane of the Black Gods, the tracks of the Serpent Ones, the talons of the Ape Lords, and the iron bound books of Shuma Gorath.”
Interestingly, Marvel’s Shuma-Gorath would eventually find itself intertwined with Howard’s Hyborian adventures when the publisher held the rights to the classic sword-and-sorcery series.
In Conan the Barbarian Vol. 1 #259, following Kulan Gath and Vammatar’s own quest to summon the Evil One Who Sleeps in the vain hopes of taking his power for himself, Shuma-Gorath appears before Conan, Njalsdatter, Shon, and the villains, revealing himself to be an ancient enemy of the series’ central deity, Crom.
Eventually, after Kulan Gath and Vammatar are obliterated thanks to their own foolish belief that they could control him, Shuma-Gorath is banished back to his home dimension by Conan through the use of the iron books.
So, where did the name Gargantos come from?
Appearing for the first time in Sub-Mariner Vol. 1 #13, the name Gargantos originally belonged to a one-eyed, tentacled sea-monster summoned by the villain Naga to protect him from the wrath of Namor.
Though it at first takes the Prince of Atlantis by surprise, Namor quickly gains the upper-hand, besting the creature by stabbing it in the eye.
Disappointed in its failure, an enraged Naga proceeds to annihilate the creature, leaving its corpse at Namor’s feet.
Gargantos makes one more, single-panel appearance in the tenth chapter of The Saga of The Serpent Crown story featured in X-Factor Annual Vol. 1 #4, but this is merely as part of a recap of the aforementioned story.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to hit theaters on May 6, 2022.
What do you make of Marvel apparently describing what looks very much like Shuma-Gorath as Gargantos? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!