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Official Name
Shiatra, The Book of the Damned, The Book of Sins


First appearance




The evil Elder God known as Chthon put into writing all his evil works and spells. It remained as the Darkhold after most of the Elder Gods were slain by the Demogorge. (Chthon and Set both managed to escape, but each were later banished to other dimensions.) Originally a collection of parchments, often refered to as the Cthon Scrolls, the pages were later bound together into a tome as "the Darkhold." Also called the Shiatra Book of the Damned, or The Book of Sins, the Darkhold has served as the source for other spellbooks, such as the Necronomicon. The pages of the Darkhold are enchanted to be indestructible, so that may always serve as a conduit to the Earth-Realm for Cthon's influence and power.

Humans first found the Darkhold during the Pre-Cataclysmic Era , when the lands of Atlantis and Lemuria were still above the waves. When the warrior Kull slew the dark sorcerer Thulsa Doom, Doom's followers, the Darkholders, utilized the Darkhold to create the first vampire, Varnae. Varnae had been mortally wounded in battle with Kull. Varnae consumed one of the Darkholders who attempted to command him, and began creating other vampires. Some surviving Darkholders managed to make off with the Darkhold before Atlantis sank. Sources place the rise of Kull and the fall of Thulsa Doom some time circa 18,500 BC.

When Atlantis sank, Varnae went into hibernation and did not revive until circa 10,000 BC. He found that some parchments of the Darkhold had been left behind in the Flaming Mountains of Khorasha and attempted to recover them. In an altercation with Conan, Red Sonja, and the sorcerer Zula, Varnae controlled the bat-like humanoids the Afterlings. Zula used the Darkhold against Varnae casting an incomplete incantation that shocked him. Zula apologized, explaining the spell as written was incomplete: "I'm sorry the incantation ended where it did-and only hurt Lord Varnae, rather than destroying him." The spell appeared to Zula in Stygian -- Shemek Iref Wenek Tjhen Inek It-Ek Chthon Djedeni Emm-Maat Wenen Taeei Hemet Ankh-Ek Isheset Antioo Djedte Nes Sep Iree NEn Renek Anhkhu Wi-Im Valka! -- it should be noted that Chthon's spell assure that the Darkhold is intelligible in any language. In any event, Zula fled.

Zula also used the Darkhold against the Set-worshipping sorcerer Thugra Khothan. Later Red Sonja and Zula travelled to Zamboula, which served as the western part of the Turanian empire. Totrasmek, a priest of the deity Hanuman (not to be confused with the simian Hindu deity called Hanuman), who had been searching for the scrolls for years came into possession of the Darkhold. Zula recovered the Darkhold and used the scrolls, however, and use it to transport himself and Sonja away. Zula noted that the scroll disappeared as a result of using the spell.

Later historians in the Vatican would note that at some point scrolls of the Darkhold were taken East during the Hyborian Age. After the Hyborian Age, Egyptians, Bablyonians, and Hebrews came to possess the Darkhold scrolls. Morgan Le Fey bound the scrolls into book form for the first time circa the 600's. Saint Brendan later divided them. In the 1100's, a heretical monk named Aelfric had recollect the pages of the Darkhold. The monk was burnt at the stake, the Darkhold with him. However, the Darkhold reformed itself, and was purchased by a trader, who was then murdered.

By the 1600's, the Vatican came to possess the Darkhold. Dracula sent a thief to acquire it for him, but Cagliostro slew the thief and took it for himself. At some point the vampire Lord Ruthven may have possessed the Darkhold. Taboo, the sorcerer, claims to have found the Darkhold in an old Balkan castle. He apparently did so no later than 1958.

Before late 1930, Gregor Russoff came to possess the Darkhold. He would later copy much of its content into the journal of his ancestor, and used it as a journal for himself. Accounts vary as to how he came to possess it. Two accounts say he purchased the tome, but others say that he took it from the sorcerer Taboo. In any event, when he read of the origin of lyncanthropy in the Darkhold, Gregor Russoff himself contracted lycanthropy. Gregor, whose ancestor Grigori had also been a werewolf, would later pass the curse on to others in his family: his son Jack Russell, and his granddaughter, Nina Price. During this time, Dracula shadowed Russoff.

Possibly circa 1958 (contemporaneously with the birth of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch), Gregor Russoff attempted to raise Chthon hoping he could cure him of lycanthropy. Chthon struck out at Russoff dead seeming to strike him dead. The High Evolutionary and Magnus then managed to defeat Chthon. Russoff evidently survived somehow. Presumably, the revived Gregor Russoff recovered the Darkhold and somehow managed to hide his activities from the High Evolutionary and Magnus for some time. He was later slain by villagers no earlier than approximately 20 years ago.

Later, Russoff's son Jack also became a werewolf. Recovering the Darkhold from Miles Blackgar, he gave it to a Father Joquez to translate. Aelfric's ghost possessed Jacquez. At the end of this struggle, Russell erroneously thought that the Darkhold was destroyed. Later, Russoff travelled to Transylvanian with the Indian woman Topaz to visit Russoff Manor. There they found Gregor Russoff's diary. Dracula came to possess the diary and left it behind in a blizzard in the Alps (since the diary contained a copy of the Montesi Formula to destroy vampires). However, Morgan Le Fey later recovered the diary.

At some point Doctor Doom found a part of the Darkhold that allowed him to cast a spell to access Belasco's Limbo. Also at some point, Mephisto imprisoned a demon called Darklove into a page of the Darkhold.

During the Rise of the Midnight Sons -- when Lilith and her offspring, the Lilin were released into the world once more -- the Darkhold went missing from the Vatican. At that time, the Darkhold Dwarf began appearing to people around the world, giving them small black envelopes containing pages from the Darkhold and enticing them to use its forbidden spells to fulfill their wishes for power, immortality, riches, and revenge. Victoria Montesi -- reluctant heir to to the Montesi responsibility of safeguarding the Darkhold, as well as the prophesied Montesi "incorruptibity" -- began having visions as the pages were used. When she herself was attacked by the Darkholders, she resolved to hunt down the pages of the book with the help of interpol agent Sam Buchanan and occultist Dr. Louise Hastings. These Darkhold Redeemers (as Lilith once called them) managed to collect a number of the pages before they eventually disbanded.


PowersThe Darkhold's page contains a number of powerful black magic spells. However, its corrupting influence is so strong that few can use it without losing their souls and becoming possessed by Chthon. In a sense, it is the anti-thesis of the Book of the Vishanti. The Darkhold Dwarf and the Other are known to appear either to challenge those who attempt to use it, or to entice a person to use a page or spell.


  • No special notes.


  • No trivia.

See Also

Links and References

  • None.


  • Marvel Chillers Vol. 1, No. 1 October 1975; Featuring: Modred the Mystic
  • Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1, No. 76 December 1978; Featuring: Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Ms. Marvel (AKA Warbird), Silver Dagger, Marie Laveau
  • The Avengers Vol. 1, No. 185-187 July-September 1979; Featuring: Modred the Mystic
  • Doctor Strange Vol. 1, No. 59-62 June-December 1983; Featuring: Dracula, The DarkHolders, Hannibal King, The Avengers, Blade, Frank Drake
  • Avengers Vol. 1, No. 240-241 February-March 1984; Featuring: Spider-Woman (aka Jessica Drew), Doctor Strange, Tigra, The Shoud, Morgan le Fey, Magnus
  • Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme Vol. 1, No. 9-15 November 1989-March 1990; The Book of the Vishanti, The Curse of the Darkhold
  • Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme Vol. 1, No. 18 June 1990; Featuring: Varnae
  • Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme Vol. 1, No. 27 March 1991; Book Of The Vishanti, Legacy Of The Wolf Part II

Rise Of The Midnight Sons

  • DarkHold: Pages From The Book Of Sins Vol. 1, No. 1 October 1992; Rise Of The Midnight Sons (part 4of6)
  • Nightstalkers Vol. 1, No. 10 August 1993; Midnight Massacre(part 1); Featuring: The Nine (aka Midnight Sons)
  • Ghost Rider Vol. 2, No. 40 August 1993; Midnight Massacre(part 2); Featuring: The Nine (aka Midnight Sons), Demogoblin
  • DarkHold Vol. 1, No. 11 August 1993; Midnight Massacre(part 3); Featuring: The Nine (aka Midnight Sons)
  • Morbius: The Living Vampire Vol. 1, No. 12 August 1993; Midnight Massacre(part 4); Featuring: The Nine (aka Midnight Sons), Werewolf (Jack Russell)
  • Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits Of Vengeance Vol. 1, No. 13 August 1993; Midnight Massacre(part 5); Featuring: The Nine (aka Midnight Sons), Modred
  • DarkHold: Pages From The Book Of Sins Vol. 1, No. 16 January 1994 (final issue); Siege Of Darkness (part 12 of 17)

This article uses material from the "Darkhold" article on the Marvel Database wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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