The following is research that was done for my post titled “The K’un-Lun of Netflix’s Iron Fist [Within the Larger Context]”, as a means of supporting one of my points. Due to its length I decided to dedicate another short post to it to avoid adding to what was already too lengthy an article.
I would encourage you to read that one in full, though this should certainly be interesting enough on its own.
For the vast majority of my blog posts about Marvel comic books I refer to the Marvel Database, an unofficial wiki updated by fans. While that format can and does lend itself to the occasional error, the citations at the bottom of the page referring to specific runs and issue numbers allow for fact-checking if needed. At this point in time there are no direct mentions to K’un-Lun being anything other than one of the Capital Cities of Heaven, besides a heading for the alien race the H’ylthri with no text underneath it.
However a number of other sources have slightly differing origins. Comic Vine, another well-regarded comic book wiki, mentions on its entry for the city that:
“K’un-Lun is the stronghold of a colony of humanoid aliens, place of origin unknown, whose spaceship crash-landed upon a small, extradimensional world, approximately a million years ago.”
Unfortunately there are no citations listed anywhere. This tidbit of information is also listed on Marvel Directory, a largely defunct site that appears to have been last updated in 2015. Their entry categorizes K’un-Lun as an “Alien world” and only refers to the issue where the location first appeared, Marvel Premiere #15. As far as anything from Marvel themselves, the page on the publisher’s own wiki currently does not exist.
An explanation for these unsubstantiated claims can be found on The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe which has been compiled by one Jeff Christiansen, which exists to “stimulate interest and supply information about the vast universe Marvel has created (and to have fun).” It should be clear that this is a passion project of his, and not an official source.
On the page for Yu-Ti, one of K’un-Lun’s rulers, he reveals:
“The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#6: K’un-Lun entry revealed(?) that the natives of K’un-Lun were actually aliens who had crash-landed upon a small extradimensional world a million years ago. I don’t THINK that information was mentioned elsewhere prior to that, but I thought the H’ylthri had described them as aliens at some point…meaning only that they weren’t native to K’un-Lun (meaning possibly from Earth).”
Down below that are comments from another contributor, Daniel Campbell, who searched for further clues in the text in support of the place being founded by aliens:
“…the idea that the people of K’un-Lun are the descendants of extraterrestrials has not been substantiated and in fact has been contradicted somewhat. Chris Claremont first introduced the idea that the people of K’un-Lun were “alien” to the H’ylthri-dominated planet in Iron Fist #2 and I have no doubt that the back-story which he had planned for them would have been somewhat that they were extraterrestrials who had been trapped in K’un-Lun since their spaceship crashed there long ago. Unfortunately, as with so many of his storylines, Claremont never got around to developing that back-story and so it appeared only in the pages of the OHotMU [Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe]. Eventually, John Byrne decided to resurrect Iron First and, in the course of the storyline which did so, he consistently referred to the people of K’un-Lun as “human” (as in Doctor Strange’s statement that “The H’ylthri had gained dominance on that world long before the human settler came.”). In Namor I#24 the Plantman stated: “The H’ylthri were seeking a means to attack the world from which their greatest enemies originated.” I take this to mean that the people of K’un-Lun came from Earth. Sure, these statements could be explaiend away (like, maybe the H’ylthri lied to the Plantman) but until it is, it remains something that contradicts OHotMU material.”
On one hand we have a few sources which point towards the extraterrestrial origin of this mystic city, although none of them have any citations whatsoever. Debunking that are two Marvel superfans with references to several issues and sources. While once again neither side are definitive authorities on the matter, I’m far more likely to side with the latter than the former.