Kalthar is a Golden Age comic book character who first appeared in Zip Comics #1, published in February 1940 by MLJ Magazines (later known as Archie Comics). The character was created by writer Harry Shorten and artist Lin Streeter.
Kalthar is a jungle hero and the last surviving member of a lost race who lived in the underground city of Subterranea. After his people are wiped out by a volcanic eruption, Kalthar takes refuge in the African jungle, where he learns to communicate with and command animals. In addition to his ability to control animals, Kalthar possesses superhuman strength and the power to grow to giant size.
Zip Comics was an anthology series that featured a variety of adventure, mystery, and superhero stories. Kalthar was one of the many characters that appeared in the series, sharing the pages with other heroes like Steel Sterling, The Scarlet Avenger, and The Black Jack.
Kalthar’s adventures continued in several issues of Zip Comics throughout the early 1940s.
In a small village in rural India, a young boy named Kalthar was born with extraordinary abilities. As a baby, just learning to walk, he wandered away from his family and found himself in a den of local lions. They had cast out an albino lion from the pride, but Kalthar seemed to beg them to take him back and hugged the albino. His family discovered where he was and grabbed him from what they perceived as danger. As he was being carried away, he watched as the pride welcomed the albino lion back.
As Kalthar grew older, he started to notice his unique connection to all living things. When he was a young child, he had a severe fever that doctors said he would not survive. That night, on death’s door, Kalthar had a dream that he could speak to the very illness that was hurting him, and he asked them to leave his body. The next day he was back to normal, but he felt like something had changed within himself. He could feel something.
Soon after, he was tending his family’s garden in the middle of a terrible drought. He felt the pain of the plants dying. He lent the garden’s inhabitants his strength and spoke with them, asking them to grow. On command, the entire garden flourished and bloomed into peak form.
The community saw him as a demon and started pushing him and yelling at him. Soon an entire mob had formed. He was scared, separated from his family, and didn’t know what to do. He called out with his mind, and suddenly the white lion from his childhood showed up and jumped to his defense. He climbed aboard the lion, and it darted away. That night he had a deep conversation with the lion, who vowed to become his protector. Kalthar understood that he was able to do things no other person could do.
But with great power comes great responsibility and danger. Word spread about Kalthar’s abilities, and it wasn’t long before nefarious people from his home country and community began hunting him. They wanted to exploit his powers for their own selfish gains.
Kalthar’s mother, fearing for her son’s safety, decided it was best to send him to America to hide. There, he would continue to develop his powers, learning to communicate with all living things and create deep connections with the world around him. He knew that he was destined for something greater, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that his past would catch up with him eventually.
Nature Manipulation – Ability to communicate with and influence all living things.
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