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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #349

Yesterday’s post is down below. Today’s featured Kirby series is one hell of a good time. (Archive!)


349. The Demon

Demon 1.jpg

“Gone, gone, the form of man! Rise the Demon… Etrigan!” The Demon was a series Jack Kirby launched among his second wave of DC titles, after the demise of the Fourth World. This one outlived some of its fellows and made it to 16 Kirbyrrific issues!

The Demon was the story of Etrigan, a demon summoned by Merlin to aid Camelot in the fight against Morgaine le Fey, and transformed into a human named Jason Blood to wait out the years until he was summoned again. In the present day, Jason Blood teamed up with pals Harry Matthews, Glenda Mark, and Randu Singh, the psychic (yes!) to battle mystical threats and the like. When summoned, the Demon does the same, in his own inimitable fashion.

Demon 2.JPGDemon 3.JPG

There were some outstanding menaces, as well. The most popular of all is probably Klarion the Witch Boy, but let’s not forget the stand-in for the Phantom of the Opera, or the world’s best-named villain– Baron von Evilstein!

Befitting Kirby, it was a big, crazy comic, a sweeping adventure with tinges of Arthurian fantasy, gothic horror, and old monster movies. While it’s not one of my favorite Kirby series, it was still a relentlessly exciting book.

Demon 4.JPGDemon 5.JPGDemon 6.JPG

(I love how the word balloon tilts along with the “camera” in the third panel of that last page there. Great shot.)

The Demon would not die to cancellation, however, and reappeared in various places over the years, as well as gaining the usual characteristic of rhyming speech. Even Alan Moore used him in his famed Swamp Thing run. Later, the Demon received his own series once more: first a mini by Matt Wagner, and then an ongoing, this one lasting five years and including runs by Alan Grant and Garth Ennis. The most recent revival has been under the pen of John Byrne– it lasted one issue longer than Kirby’s original.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Demon undergoes some kind of Omnibus treatment in the future. At the very least, it deserves a couple trades! Bring us the full crackling fury of the mighty Jack Kirby, DC!

At least two more days of Kirby greatness await us, my friends! Yeah!


Who came up with the rhyming speech pattern?

I think Alan Moore did, when he re-introduced the Demon Entrigan in the pages of Saga of the Swamp Thing # 25-27.

Etrigan is one of those characters where Kirby’s take on him was not really the best. The Ennis version of the Demon is far, far superior in just about every respect.

Kirby didn’t create the Gargoyle that was in the Defenders, did he? Because I always thought he looked suspiciously like The Demon.

Baron Von Evilstein.

Alan Moore definitely came up with the rhyming thing. Didn’t like it at first, but it grew on me.

mightygodking, I don’t agree at all.

jazzbo: Nope. That was J.M. DeMatteis and Don Perlin. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did create a character named “Gargoyle”, back in the early issues of the original Hulk comic, but he’s not the same guy.

I think it was Len Wein that started the Demons rhyming in Dc comics presents (drawn by Joe Kubert) But i could be wrong

Yeah, as far as I know, Len Wein created the rhyming. Moore was just a lot better at it.

I think Wein was the first to have Etrigan rhyming constantly, but even Kirby’s version did it on occasion. Here’s a bit from issue #3:

“Trick for trick! Kill for kill! Drink bitter wine and demon swill! Dead you were — dead you shall be — and all because you fought with me!”

I agree that Moore did Etrigan’s rhymes best, but I have a soft spot for Mishkin & Cohn’s treatement of him in the old Blue Devil series:

“A hash-slinging honey named Belle,
Cooked breakfasts uncommonly well.
But she scrambled in sins,
And now each day begins,
Frying eggs on the sidewalks of Hell!”

Moore was the guy that established rhyming demons as a rank in the hierarchy of Hell, I think in his first Swamp Thing Annual. That’s why people keep trying to give him credit. But Kirby did it first, and it was Len Wein that made it a standard thing.

The Kirby version is, honestly, just another supernatural hero. It’s kind of bland. Look, I know Kirby is the King and everything, but get ready for some heresy: not everything he did was brilliant on its own merits.

The Ennis Demon is a bad guy – really, I can’t think of anybody else other than Ennis who writes ongoing series about people who are either villains or practically villains (see Punisher, The) so well. And Etrigan as a bastard is just a lot more entertaining and natural than Etrigan as demonic superhero. Witness the dreadful Byrne back-to-basic series a while back, which was so faithful to the original Kirby version it was almost like fellatio.

How about Matt Wagner’s Demon?
Was his rhyming any good?
I read the series, but can’t remember if there was any rhyming.

This was after the first MAGE series.

I was never that into the Demon until his appearances in Batman:TAS and Justice League. The episode “Kid’s Stuff”, featuring a baby Etrigan is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen…

“How about Matt Wagner’s Demon?
Was his rhyming any good?
I read the series, but can’t remember if there was any rhyming.”

Yes, there was; I thought it was well-done, if more written for the page rather than to be spoken.

“… was so faithful to the original Kirby version it was almost like fellatio.”

Is fellatio the logical extreme of faithfulness?

Note to self: Be careful in future relationships with canines and other companion-type pets.

Oops! Forgot about that Len Wein DC Comics Presents thing. Damn, getting old is an awful thing.

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