Inspired by He-Man.org’s Roast Gooble Dinner podcast, welcome to PGPoA’s latest MOTUC Bio Discussion!
Real Name: Karak Nulâ„¢
In life, Nul was a shifty bounty hunter who spent years attempting to break into Castle GrayskullÂ®, obsessed with the countless legends that it contained the power to be Master of the Universe. In death, he was cursed and banished into the dimension of Infinita, forever chained to his past crimes. He was brought back to EterniaÂ® by a magical spell of light cast by SkeletorÂ® to locate the most evil warriors in the five dimensions. Provided with a Scythe of Doom, Nul agreed to join forces with SkeletorÂ® and quickly became known as Scareglowâ„¢, thanks to his ability to burst forth and freeze his enemies with fright.
Portrait Art Source: “The Search for Keldor” minicomic
In my review of Scareglow, I referred to him as the Boba Fett of the MOTU universe–the fan favorite character who has hardly any characterization or lines, and became a legend based solely on his cool look and the freedom young fans had to imagine his character however they wanted to. Therefore it’s interesting, if perhaps not surprising, that the Bio Writer (BW) had Scareglow share Boba Fett’s profession: bounty hunter.*
First off, Scareglow gets one of the better “real names”: Karak Nul. I’ve been pronouncing Nul as “Nule” in my head–probably a habit from reading a lot of Tolkien–but “null” might make more sense, what with null=zero=nothingness=ghost, and so forth. And Karak, aside from being a palindrome, also has a certain fantasy-bad-guy sound to it.
In his single minicomic appearance, “The Search for Keldor,” Skeletor cast a spell to draw “the most evil beings of time and space to Eternia.” Most fans have interpreted this to mean Scareglow was pulled from some other dimension. The MOTUC bio posits that Scareglow apparently spent at least some time on Eternia, trying to break into Castle Grayskull, before he somehow died. Which, if you think about it, is rather dark for these bios–yes, King Grayskull and He-Ro died heroically in battle, but that was ages ago and has practically passed into legend; it’s easy to imagine Scareglow’s death having been much more nasty and brutish.
So after death, his spirit is cursed and banished to Infinita, and a chain with a reliquary in the shape of Grayskull with a key inside, is attached to his arm. Lots of questions here: who banished him? Why Infinita? Why the reliquary, and what is it a key to…Grayskull? If it is a key to Grayskull, and if the reliquary can be opened as easily as the figure’s is, why wouldn’t Skeletor just nab the key and open Grayskull himself? (I suppose Scareglow could have just not explained that the key was in there, but I find it hard to believe Skeletor would be satisfied with such an explanation when faced with a mystical object shaped like Grayskull.)
Unfortunately, I doubt any future bios will answer the questions raised here. We can speculate–I suppose either the Sorceress or the mysterious “Spirit of Grayskull” could have banished him, but waiting until he was dead seems like a particularly morbid bit (unless, well, the one who cursed him was also the one who killed him). Perhaps he was cursed beforehand and it took effect after he was dead.
Despite the unanswered questions, I like this bio. It doesn’t interfere with any of the major aspects of the MOTU universe (unlike, say, Demo-Man), and it gives a mysterious character a background that still manages to retain an air of mystery.
* How many geeks would even be familiar with the concept of a “bounty hunter” without Boba Fett and his colleagues? I know when I hear those words, my first thought is of Boba, a lizard-man or a fat guy with a head bandaged like Jacob Marley, not, say, Dog-Boy or whatever his name is.
I think it's a paradoxical curse as well. The object he most desired; the key to grayskull chained to him forever. I also like to think whoever holds the reliquary controls Scareglow. That's my own thought. Like He-Man could grab it and command Scareglow to frighten the evil warriors. Kinda like a Genie thing I guess. Maybe he even lives in the tiny little Grayskull castle. His mini prison like in Aladdin.
My interpretations/explanations of the nonsensicals are as follows:
re: the curse – I don't read this as any actual being cursed him, but that in his attempt to break into grayskull, he died and was cursed the way opening the King Tut's tomb supposedly cursed the archaeologists who entered. Like, say that there was some kind of protection that no evil soul could enter Grayskull and Nul, trying to be clever, used a spell to remove his own soul to enter. Instead, he screwed it up, or some hero intervened at a critical point and Nul was killed AND cursed by his own f-up.
re: why doesn't Skeletor use the reliquary to enter Grayskull – Scareglow is a ghost, suggesting that he, and likely his implements, are non-corporeal. So, yeah, Skeletor has the key, but no one can actually touch it to use it. It's the ultimate middle finger to the evil horde.
Just riffing here.
I'm fine with the bio, he doesn't have all the baggage of multiple continuities.
I didn't know a bounty hunter was a real thing until a decade after knowing what Boba's job was. It come with being born into the craze and having an older brother who was way into it. It's got to be so common. Even if I wasn't a geek, something like the shape of a TIE Fighter left such an impression that it's always been just as real and familiar as that of an airplane.
Yep, first thing I think of when I hear bounty hunter is the Star Wars version. It's so much cooler that way, though Jackie Brown had a cool bounty hunter character too.
Throw me in the camp of "I don't like this bio". I don't hate it like I do Teela's bio, but I don't like it. Most of my very specific complaints have actually been addressed by some of you guys above.
Dead Man Walking wrote:
That's actually one of my main complaints with the bio. The word "shifty" is what does it. So instead of Boba Fett, he's like a seedy version of Dog the Bounty Hunter? It doesn't do anything to build up the character in my opinion. That bothers me.
Seriously. That bugs me too. So he dies somehow, probably untimely, gets cursed and comes back as a bigger threat? Instead of just letting the shifty bounty hunter die, you create a bigger threat to deal with? Huh?
Snarf! Snarf! wrote:
That's plausible, but whoever banished him there (probably a Sorceress of Grayskull) should have known that. So that explanation still bugs me too.
The second biggest thing that bothers me about this bio is that the way it's worded seems like despite failing to ever break into Grayskull, he dies and then the good guys go out of their way to curse him in death.
Now that could be just my interpretation, but it seems to be plausible. I don't like that. The Sorceress of Grayskull (whoever it was at the time) successfully guarded the castle from Karak Nul and then goes out the her way to curse him? That doesn't sit right with me.
I also don't care for the reliquary idea. I love the accessory and I'm glad we got it. There is also a nice Christmas Carol irony of being chained to what you most desire, but never being able to get to it. But I'm not crazy about their explanation for it. I think I'll just use it as a potion container, or a holder for some ancient parchment or something give it to Skeletor, the Goddess, or eventually the Sorceress.
My first real introduction to the character was through the MVC 2003 Halloween special comic. I love that version of Scareglow. He's basically this evil wizard Overlord from another dimension that Skeletor summons to kill He-Man. The exchanges he has with Skeletor are awesome and don't diminish either character. That is the version of Scareglow I like and see when I look at the character.
While it doesn't tell anything regarding Eternia; it does tell a lot about him.
I see Karak Nul as an Odiphus type of villain. Now, I presume his "change" happened in Infinita, post-mortem magical X-Gene kicking in. (Infinita is known for warping people… Look at Biff, Dr. Scope and Evelyn)
Him being chained to the "key" of Grayskull seems like a nice touch of Irony. Also having the Key banished to another dimension is a nice way to protect CG (Cause I'm sure that not everyone can open doors to other dimensions that easily…)
On the Reliquary, maybe it's protected by a buttload of magic so difficult to perform that only three 11 year old wizards in training can open it. (Wanting to get the key inside but not use it sort of thing…) Scareglow even has a "Lightning bolt shaped scar" on his forehead. Freaky…
(I know MOTUC isn't copying HP… Vintage SG had the "scar" too)
@bobshumway: You're right. Fixed. I was setting up a bunch of these and got in the habit of looking for the cardback art.
The portrait art source isn't the original card back, it's from the mini comic.
The original card back art is pretty hilarious though. Just look at the expression on Snout Spout's face.
Dead Man Walking
I actually really dislike this bio. The "shifty bounty hunter who spent years attempting to break into Castle Grayskull®" bit makes him seem like some petty criminal trying to commit a simple act of burglary on CG. It hardly seems like a good set up for one of the "most evil warriors of the five dimensions" let alone one of the scariest.
Furthermore, as you mentioned, the reliquary raises way too many questions and I think it's silly to have him always schlepping that thing around, especially when Skeletor would be so eager to relieve him of it. And how irresponsible of the person who gave it to him? Even if he couldn't open it, they should have know the type of people/creatures Scare Glow would consort with.
Oh, and was his banisher the person responsible for his new powers, and making him a bigger threat in death than he ever was in life? 'Cause if so, that's fucked up too.
When I first found out about Mr. Glow some ten or so years ago, I was convinced that he was some cool version of Skeletor that I missed out on as a kid. Eventually, I willingly moved away from that belief since it seemed more advantageous to have a new character rather than another Skeletor rehash. Now, after this less than satisfying bio, I find myself gravitating back to the notion that SG is some future version of Skeletor.
The funny thing in the bio is that it suggests that Skeletor provided the Scythe of Doom to Scareglow.