The software from gitlab is likely the source since supergfxctl is from
Success! Uninstalling asusctl, asus-linux, and superfxctl and rebooting worked. Nvidia shows as loaded and my HDMI port now work as expected.
Thank you VERY much for all the time you spent the past couple days helping me troubleshoot this.
Does not sound like weird action. Sounds instead like the software was doing what it was intended for, but was not what the user wanted. Sometimes we have to experiment to understand what software actually does. In this case it presented a problem.