Created By: Roy Thomas & Barry Windsor-Smith
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian #14 (Feb. 1972)
Role: Evil Wizard
PL 12 (182)
STRENGTH 1 STAMINA 3 AGILITY 0
FIGHTING 5 DEXTERITY 3
INTELLIGENCE 4 AWARENESS 3 PRESENCE 2
Deception 4 (+6)
Expertise (Magic) 12 (+16)
Expertise (History) 2 (+6)
Intimidation 3 (+5)
Perception 1 (+4)
Ranged Combat (Magic) 6 (+11)
Artificer, Improved Critical (Magic), Ranged Attack 2, Ritualist
"Phylactery" Immortality 2 
"... F*ck It. I'm Just Using Doctor Strange's Powers Again"
Immunity 2 (Aging, Disease) 
Senses 4 (Detect Magic- Acute, Analytical & Ranged) 
Teleport 12 (Feats: Increased Mass 6, Change Direction & Velocity) (Extras: Accurate, Extended, Portal +2) (Flaws: Standard Action) (69) -- 
- Dynamic AE: "Telepathy" Mind Reading 10 (20) & Mental Communication 5 (20) (Feats: Dynamic) -- (41)
- Dynamic AE: "Eldritch Bolts" Blast 13 (Feats: Penetrating 6) (32)
- Dynamic AE: "Eldritch Wave" Damage 12 (Feats: Penetrating 4) (Extras: Area- 60ft. Cone) (28)
- Dynamic AE: Movement 3 (Dimensional Travel) (Feats: Increased Mass 6) (Extras: Portal +2) (19)
- Dynamic AE: Create 10 (Feats: Precise, Innate) (Extras: Movable, Selective, Stationary +0) (43)
- Dynamic AE: Force Field 10 (Feats: Increased Mass 5) (Extras: Affects Others, Impervious) (36)
- Dynamic AE: "The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak" Snare 14 (Feats: Reversible) (44)
- Dynamic AE: Mind Control 12 (49)
- Dynamic AE: Illusion 12 (Visual & Audio) (37)
- Dynamic AE: "Transmutation" Transform Anything to Anything Else 12 (71)
- Dynamic AE: Move Object 12 (Extras: Perception Range) (37)
- Dynamic AE: Concealment (All Senses) 10 (21)
- Dynamic AE: Flight 4 (30 mph) (9)
- Dynamic AE: Immunity 10 (Life Support) (Extras: Affects Others) (Flaws: Sustained +0) (21)
Unarmed +5 (+1 Damage, DC 16)
Telepathy +10-12 (DC 20-22)
Eldritch Bolt +11 (+13 Ranged Damage, DC 31)
Eldritch Wave +12 Area (+12 Damage, DC 29)
Mind Control +12 Perception (+12 Perception Affliction, DC 22)
Disintegration +11 (+14 Ranged Damage & +10 Ranged Weaken, DC 29 & 20)
Nullify +11 (DC 22)
Dodge +8 (DC 18), Parry +6 (DC 16), Toughness +3 (+13 Force Field), Fortitude +4, Will +7
Enemy (Conan the Barbarian, Spider-Man, Red Sonja)
Total: Abilities: 42 / Skills: 28--14 / Advantages: 5 / Powers: 107 / Defenses: 14 (182)
Kulan Gath- Conan the Barbarian's Arch-Nemesis:
-Kulan Gath was a recurring foe in Conan the Barbarian- a comic book creation by Roy Thomas & Barry Windsor-Smith who just kept on coming back after multiple decapitations, disembowelings, etc., until he all of a sudden appeared in the modern era, facing Spider-Man and a Red Sonja-possessed Mary Jane. At which point he becomes a mainstream Marvel character, in a very memorable story-arc that actually barely uses Spider-Man himself... because it turns out that's an X-MEN story and Claremont wanted to focus on his own guys. Comics are weird.
-Kulan Gath was initially a sorcerer in Earth's "Hyborian Age" (the time of Conan), attemping to summon Shuma-Gorath as a way to gain personal power. However, he is disintegrated in his debut by an alien sorceress he sought to steal power from. However, Gath reveals that he has a phylactery that contains his mortal soul, allowing him immortality so long as it exists. He becomes a recurring enemy of Conan & Red Sonja- he and his wife, the witch Vammatar, were killed trying to control Shuma-Gorath's power, and when he returned, he was killed by Conan. Later, Red Sonja cuts his heart out. Then, surprisingly, he leaves the Conan-verse and ends up in mainstream Marvel!
Kulan Gath Transforms Manhattan:
-In Marvel Team-Up, a phylactery containing Gath's soul is found in a museum display in modern New York City, and when a night watchman donned the necklace containing it, he was immediately transformed into Kulan Gath himself! He attempts to gain power, but Spider-Man teams up with RED SONJA, reincarnated temporarily in the body of Mary-Jane Watson, and they beat him. Spidey tosses the phylactery into the New York harbor, lacking any means to destroy it.
-Kulan Gath naturally returns (a fisherman finds the necklace and is able to resist its power, but a mugger kills him and steals it for himself, immediately failing the same test), and here we get the big story in Chris Claremont's Uncanny X-Men in 1985- he casts a master spell that transforms the entire island of Manhattan into a likeness of the Hyborian Age! Interestingly, Gath mind-controls various superhumans with a spell that altered their minds and turned them into barbaric minions, awakening dark parts of their souls. What was curious about it to me was that despite Gath being a Spidey villain (sorta) by this point, and Spidey being central to the plot (he was one of the few who remembered "the old Manhattan"), it was an X-MEN story, and focused almost entirely on them.
-In fact, Spider-Man was casually KILLED in a random panel, basically never having really mattered to the overall plot once it had started! He is captured and brought before Kulan Gath, who casually murders him with no issue! Doctor Strange, who also remembers the old ways, is imprisoned, and Selene, who remembers Gath from ancient times, opposes him. In the end, Captain America leads the "Avengers" (Starfox, Wasp, Storm, Colossus, Rogue, Callisto, Rachel Summers, Warlock, et.c), into Gath's stronghold, where many die. Storm is killed, and turned into a Transmode creature by Warlock, then does the same to Selene, which frees her from Gath's transformative spells and breaks Dr. Strange free. Dr. Strange & Magik changed time and ensured Gath's demise before he ever took power (stopping the mugger from killing the fisherman), undoing everything. So yes, they literally "Time Travelled" their way out of the story.
-This story is very well-remembered despite the cheap ending, being a multi-part, "Everything's Against The Heroes" last-ditch assault, for numerous twists at turns (multiple characters die; Warlock transforms one of his closest friends with the Transmode Virus in order to stop Gath), and for being one of the early comics to basically show you a complete "Alternate Universe" full of strange versions of established characters (drawn by John Romita Jr. in classic tunics for men and metal circlets over the boobs for all the ladies). Plus, as one website pointed out, it was all about Storm & Callisto fighting in metal bikinis on the mast of a pirate ship with swords. This was YEARS before Exiles, Mutant X and other things would replicate that kind of thing again and again. And, because this was Prime Claremont we're talking about here, the climax of that story immediately leads to the next big arc: Dr. Strange & Magik re-write time so that Gath's phylactery is lost, and the mugger who stole it and resurrected the villain is instead killed by Nimrod, who arrives from the future to start the next big thing.
Kulan Gath Returns:
-Despite the story's popularity, Kulan Gath remains dead for more than a decade (he was never the popular part of the story, anyways- just a means to an end, most likely)- he reappeared to fight The Avengers in the Kurt Busiek run, taking over part of Costa Verde- the Avengers who investigate are encountered by Silverclaw, who debuts in this story and becomes a somewhat-unpopular Avenger as a result. When his plan for a ritual sacrifice failed (he was going to sacrifice Silverclaw's mother, a Goddess), some dark Gods killed HIM instead.
-A later Spider-Man/Red Sonja Crossover/Limited Series (now that they're in different companies, it's a rarity and likely out of continuity) brought him back for the same old "change Manhattan" story (MJ was once again turned into Sonja), and even became "Kulan Venom" after attaching himself to the symbiote (REALLY?). He attempts to use Red Sonja's holy blood to perform a sacrifice, but Eddie Brock distracts Gath long enough for Red Sonja to break an amulet and the spell- the world is returned to normal.
-A popular Exiles story did the same thing, with Kulan Gath turning "jokes" (their term) like Morbius & Werewolf By Night into elite warriors because Gath could "unleash the darkness" inside of them using a magic spell. This was working great for him... until he tried the spell on GHOST RIDER. And since Ghost Rider was possessed by Zarathos, an ultra high-end demon from hell, this kind of made a mess of things, as now ZARATHOS was in control of Manhattan. Here, the Exiles can only win by huge means- Sasquatch transforms herself into the Great Beast Tanaraq, who slaughters Gath, and Selene (a disruptive agent of Gath's) undoes everything, largely because she LIKES modern times and thinks Gath's Hyborean age was way more boring by contrast. In 2021, Gath returns again for a Savage Avengers storyline- as Marvel now had access to Conan again, this was a natural fit- Gath again kills off most of Marvel's superheroes before things are set right.
Kulan Gath Overall:
-Kulan Gath is a weird one- he's as generic a "Dark Wizard" as they come, with nothing unique about him, and yet... he persists. Mostly because while he's an utterly plain character, he actually DOES STUFF and has the means and successes to back up his bragging. Challenging Conan repeatedly and being undying, then transforming all of Manhattan... this is BIG NEWS and actually makes him a credible, dangerous threat. Like, most generic Dark Wizards pop up and it's a fine one-off story- KULAN GATH appears, and you know the world is in grave danger. Like none of these issues are easily blown-off nonsense stories- even the temporary deaths of major heroes are a big deal (at least they were back then, before Marvel established that "Alternate Universes make everyone way easier to kill". Like, next to him dudes like Baron Mordo and Xandu just look like incompetent assholes, you know?
Kulan Gath's Might:
-UGH. Mages are all basically the same at a high enough level. I can't find squad about the specifics, so he's a PL 12 Dr. Strange with Immortality and more old on him. He never really seemed THAT powerful to me- especially since Conan just kept killing him over the years.