This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog marks the start of Halloween Month with a retrospective on Marvel Comics’ 1970s horror figures like Ghost Rider, Satana the Devil’s Daughter, Werewolf by Night, Blade the Vampire Slayer, Son of Satan, Golem, the Living Mummy and the Simon Garth Zombie.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT – Since Marvel has a Werewolf by Night production coming out soon, we’ll start with this character. Moon Knight made his very first appearance in Werewolf by Night #32 (August 1975) but beat the werewolf to the screen this year.
Picture the 1960s and 1970s Paul Naschy werewolf movies from Spain in comic book form and you’ve got Werewolf by Night. Just as Naschy’s tormented lycanthrope Waldemar Daninsky sought a cure for his condition while clashing with assorted monsters, Marvel’s Jack Russell aka Jack Russoff did the same.
Jack and his love interests, mostly the female mystic Topaz, also battled the Committee, a secretive organization of ruthless businessmen who sought to capture the werewolf and use him to kill off select enemies, preserving plausible deniability for the Committee’s members. Moon Knight, mercenary Marc Spector, was one of the agents that the Committee sent after Jack.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Marvel Spotlight Vol 1 #2 (February 1972)
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: Jack Russell, Topaz and Jack’s sister Lissa, who also had the Russoff Family Curse of Lycanthropy hanging over her head, had plenty of horror-tinged adventures.
They took on werewolf hunters, a nightmarish traveling carnival full of supernatural menaces, the sorcerer Taboo, Krogg the Demonspawn, other werewolves, plus vampires.
You can add the Frankenstein Monster, the new Hunchback of Notre Dame, Doctor Glitternight and the hellish haunted mansion of the late Belaric Marcosa.
FOR MORE DETAILED LOOKS AT THOSE STORIES CLICK HERE.
THE SIMON GARTH ZOMBIE – This Marvel Comics horror character was a brutal coffee plantation owner who was killed and then brought back to life as a zombie by his Haitian workers.
Garth was not your typical mindless zombie wanting to feed on human beings all the time. His stories provided insight into the still-functioning mind of the man trapped in this horrific fate as he battled assorted supernatural menaces, some drawn from Voodoo lore, others created by Marvel.
Simon Garth could be used against his will at times by people in possession of the Amulet of Damballah which controlled him.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Menace Vol 1 #5 (July 1953)
The Simon Garth zombie was another example of Marvel Comics incorporating into their present-day continuity one of their monster characters from the 1950s, when they were called Atlas Comics.
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: Simon Garth and the beautiful Mambo Layla found themselves going up against other zombies, Voodoo cults, a giant spider, a New Orleans Voodoo master called Mister Six plus the monstrous bayou mutant Simon Masterson and his evil parents.
Another complication for the Zombie was when homicide detectives began investigating why the fingerprints of the long-dead Simon Garth were being found at the scene of assorted slaughters and mass murders in recent months.
FOR MORE DETAILS ON THOSE STORIES CLICK HERE.
SATANA THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER – Satana should have had multiple R-rated horror movies by now, beginning right after the success of the first Deadpool movie years ago, since it broke the R barrier for Marvel characters.
Satana Hellstrom was the half-sister of Daimon Hellstrom, Marvel’s Son of Satan character. Like Daimon she was the offspring of Satan and a mortal woman. Unlike Daimon, who went goody-goody to spite his infernal father, Satana was a loyal Daddy’s Girl who was happy to try to spread her father’s ways in the human world.
When she wasn’t battling her half-brother or serving as the Earthly object of worship for a Satanic Cult or facing down covens of demons conspiring to overthrow her father’s rule of Hell Satana was a very successful succubus, and as drawn it’s easy to see why.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Vampire Tales Vol 1 #2 (October 1973). This was one of Marvel’s “adult” black & white horror magazines of the 1970s, with the lack of color allowing for more graphic violence and even some rare toplessness.
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: Satana did battle with Kthara the Mother of Demons, with the Dansker, with a basilisk that she carried within her soul, and even with the X-Men’s old foes, the Lovecraftian race of monsters called the N’Garai.
After seeming to die in Marvel Team-Up #81 (May 1979), Satana was revived years later and presented in various villainous and heroic roles ever since then. She even started to plot a coup against her father and took to using the sobriquet Satana the Queen of Hell instead of the Devil’s Daughter. You go, girl … ?
FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.
GHOST RIDER – Daredevil biker Johnny Blaze makes a deal with the devil: Johnny’s soul in exchange for Satan curing the cancer in the body of Blaze’s mentor “Crash” Simpson. We all know how deals with the devil go, and not only does Crash die anyway, but Johnny Blaze is cursed to periodically transform into the flame-headed monster called Ghost Rider.
This horror figure outlasted all of the other 1970s Marvel horror characters, lasting until June of 1983 in his initial run. Along the way he and Roxanne faced Satan himself, a long line of demons, a Native American witch-woman, the eyeball-helmeted biker called the Orb and even other Marvel figures like Son of Satan, Hulk, Black Widow and Dr. Druid.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Marvel Spotlight Vol 1 #5 (August 1972)
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: The earliest revelations about the Ghost Rider’s connections to Zarathos, the Spirit of Vengeance were covered in this initial run of the character. Johnny Blaze also took on the Sin Eater, the ghostly Bounty Hunter, Deathryder and the soulless sorcerer Centurious.
Satan sometimes tried tempting Johnny into even worse deals, tempted Roxanne, too, and sent demons to Earth against Ghost Rider like Roulette, Inferno and others.
FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.
BLADE THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – Blade’s mother had been a prostitute in the whorehouse run by Lady Vanity, a London madam. His mother got pregnant and for unknown reasons carried the baby to full term. On the night she was in labor a shady doctor was summoned.
That shady doctor was really Deacon Frost, an old, white-haired German vampire. Rather than deliver the baby he began feeding on Blade’s mother while he was still umbilically connected to her. Some of Frost’s ichor (vampire blood) thus umbilically infected the infant Blade, a circumstance which would have far-reaching consequences like making him a partial dhampir (human with a degree of vampiric strength and speed).
Lady Vanity and her prostitutes drove off Deacon Frost with crucifixes and delivered the baby Eric Brooks, but his mother died giving birth due to the vampire’s attack. Eric grew up in the brothel, and in his teens began protecting Lady Vanity’s stable of hookers from vampire attacks. Over the years he became a proficient vampire slayer in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe while always looking for leads to Deacon Frost’s whereabouts.
Idris Elba should have replaced Wesley Snipes as Blade long ago.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Tomb of Dracula Vol 1 #10 (July 1973)
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: Blade’s clashes with Dracula himself during the run of Tomb of Dracula were many and varied. He also faced Marvel’s Morbius the Living Vampire, Countess Marguerite D’Alescio and her coven of vampires called the Legion of the Damned.
He actually stood side by side with Dracula against the non-vampiric yet blood-drinking Chinese mad scientist Doctor Sun and with vampire detective Hannibal King against their mutual foe Deacon Frost, who had turned King into one of the undead.
Ultimately, Blade helped Dr. Strange obtain and recite the Montessi Formula, a spell from the book the Darkhold, which destroyed all vampires on Earth. For a few years, anyway.
FOR MORE DETAILS ON BLADE CLICK HERE.
THE LIVING MUMMY – This title monster was originally N’Kantu, a captive slave of the Egyptians who led his fellow slaves in a revolt against the Egyptians when he and his comrades were about to be left to die in the monument their labor had built.
The evil Egyptian priest Nephrus used an alchemical paralyzing drug to render N’Kantu motionless and then replaced his blood with another of his mystical chemicals. He then wrapped the still-living body in mummy wrappings and left him to suffer in the tomb for thousands of years, alive and aware but unable to move.
In 1973 N’Kantu’s mobility was restored when the tomb was excavated and Nephrus’ chemicals at last wore off on exposure to fresh air. N’Kantu was half-crazed from thousands of years of inert captivity and went into a berserker rage through Cairo, lashing out at everyone in his path.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Supernatural Thrillers Vol 1 #7 (June 1973)
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: At one point N’Kantu the Living Mummy did battle with the X-Men’s old foe, the Egyptian mutant supervillain called the Living Pharaoh. He also faced the relic hunter called the Asp as well as other-dimensional demonic humanoids called the Elementals aka Magnum (Earth), the female Zephyr (Air), their leader Hellfire (Fire) and Hydron (Water).
The Elementals contended with the Living Mummy for the Marvel Comics relic called the Scarlet Scarab, making its very first appearance years before it became the source of power for various Marvel superheroes and superheroines – including the young lady in the recent Moon Knight streaming series.
FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.
SON OF SATAN – Daimon Hellstrom and his half-sister Satana were both born of human mothers but with Satan as their father. Satana followed their father’s evil path but Daimon rebelled, fighting against their father and his minions and even trying to become a priest at one time.
In his secret identity Daimon was a professor of parapsychology and religion plus he served as an exorcist. When he held up both hands with three fingers up on each hand (the sign of the trident) he mystically transformed into his Son of Satan regalia complete with a pitchfork.
That pitchfork was made of nether-metal and through it the Son of Satan generated Soulfire and Hellfire. In addition to fighting his vile father, Daimon took on Ikthalon the Ice Demon, Baphomet, the Legion of Nihilists, Adam Kadmon, Kthara the Mother of Demons, Father Darklyte, and the Tarot-powered villainess Madame Swabada.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Marvel Spotlight Vol 1 #12 (October 1973)
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: The Son of Satan eventually clashed with a Cenobite-type human/ demon hybrid called the Possessor, with the Native American sorcerer Nightfire, and with the Egyptian god Anubis & his operative Mindstar.
During his adventures Daimon Hellstrom also met the Human Torch and the Thing, joined the Defenders and clashed with the Kabalistic entity Proffit the Celestial Fool.
FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.
THE GOLEM – For those unfamilar with the typical Golem storyline here’s a quick recap: the Golem was a clay monster created by a Rabbi to aid the Jewish people against their oppressors. From there the story has many variations and depicts the Golem fighting various oppressors his creator’s people faced.
This short-lived Marvel series presented the title monster being unearthed by an archaeologist and some of his more accomplished students. The Golem formed an attachment to his saviors and would come to life to battle the supernatural menaces they found themselves in conflict with while trying to preserve their find and get him to a museum or university for study.
The Golem did battle with Water, Earth, Air and Fire Elementals that answered to the evil sorcerer named Kaballa, who wanted to escape his interdimensional exile by possessing the Golem’s indestructible body.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Strange Tales Vol 1 #176 (October 1974)
OTHER STANDOUT STORYLINES: Eventually the Golem and his human allies met the Thing from the Fantastic Four, who helped the Golem in his final encounter with Kaballa. This story was set in Saint Petersburg, Florida.
Later, Kaballa clashed with the Marvel Comics hero Bloodstone.
FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.
FOR FAUST, THE PRE-SPAWN VERSION OF SPAWN CLICK HERE.
FOR THE HORROR-THEMED HERO CALLED THE COFFIN CLICK HERE.
FOR JON MALIN’S HORROR-THEMED SUPERHERO TEAM CALLED GRAVEYARD SHIFT CLICK HERE.
39 responses to “8 MARVEL HORROR HEROES FOR HALLOWEEN MONTH”
A great read! Very entertaining and I just love the name Satana Hellstrom! 😉
Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed it!
I did and you are most welcome! 🙂
So interestine. Thank you
Thank you for the kind words!
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