Back Issues: Gargantos Makes Live-Action Debut Amidst Bizarre Rights Issues

When it comes to something like Doctor Strange's rogue's gallery, Shuma-Gorath has always found itself at the top of the list. In fact, the character has appeared in the Marvel Comics mythos nearly just as often as the likes of Nightmare, Kaecilius, or any of the sorcerer's other villains. Now one movie into the Doctor Strange franchise, Shuma-Gorathis finally getting an introduction — albeit with an entirely different name and identity. Instead, when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness finally hits theaters later this week, the one-eyed, tentacled beast will don the name Gargantos.

Under the sea

Gargantos isn't a household name by any stretch of the imagination. Before the character's arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even the staunchest of Marvel fans would have been lucky to know about the character. In total, the character has appeared in just two comics throughout Marvel's extended history.

The character's first appearance came during Sub-Mariner #13 in May 1969, before returning over 20 years later for a cameo in X-Factor Annual #4. That cameo appearance, again, had nothing to do with Doctor Strange or even Marvel's mystic characters. Both appearances aligned the character with Namor and his supporting ensemble.

That aside, the character's live-action design is a clear indication Marvel is basing the character on Shuma-Gorath. The Many-Angled One debuted in the Marvel mythos after Gargantos, but has a much larger connection to all things mystical. Drawing inspiration from Lovecraftian lore, Shuma-Gorath has one thing on its mind — complete domination over every reality in existence.

Essentially immortal, Shuma-Gorath already rules over plenty of realities within the Marvel Universe and has various energy-based and mystical powers.

So what's up with the name?

Marvel apparently can't use the name Shuma-Gorath. That name itself first appeared in a short story by Robert E. Howard and as such, the rights to it belong to Heroic Signatures, a licensor owned by Funcom. When we spoke with Heroic Signatures president Fred Malmberg earlier this year, he said the entity had never been contacted by Marvel Studios in regards to using the name.

If the opportunity arises, however, Malmberg says Heroic Signatures is all-in on a collaboration. "We have a great relationship with Marvel and have worked together to solve many snags over the years, but who can answer this hypothetical?" Malmberg says.

How's Gargantos fit in?

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Given that Shuma-Gorath is known for traversing the multiverse, it would seem the live-action version of character — now named Gargantos — will have ties to Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez. That character is, after all, the only one who has the power to portal across realities on a whim.

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