Hello again fiends! It’s time once again to part the thick fog that is slowly creeping in from the moors of memory and examine another frightful subject from Daniel Th1rte3n’s formative years! This time we focus our attention on Marvel Comic’s supernatural stunner, Satana!
Satana’s origins run parallel with that of her brother, Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan (whose story I examined previously right here on The Retroist!). Born of a union of demon (at first referred to as Lucifer, and changed in later tales to a lesser demon named Marduk Kurios) and a mortal woman (Victoria Wingate, who was unaware of her husband’s true nature), Satana and Daimon were trained in secret by their father in the ways of the Dark Arts. Daimon quickly rejected his father’s evil ways, while Satana embraced them with reckless abandon. Victoria, upon discovering her husband’s true nature, was driven into the depths of insanity. The siblings were separated with Daimon being raised in a Jesuit run orphanage and Satana returning to Hell with her father.
Satana’s tutelage in the arcane continued as she matured under the watchful eye of her father and the demon Dansker. Like many practitioners of the Dark Arts, Satana was given a familiar, a black cat named Exiter. Finally her soul was bonded with a spirit known as the Basilisk, which further enhanced her mystic abilities. Satana eventually fell victim to the ire of a cabal of demons known as The Four, and was banished back to the mortal realm as a succubus. Her destiny became to steal the souls of men, which in and of itself seems like “typical” demon behavior, until you witness the truly baffling way Marvel’s writers chose to depict the act. Satana transforms the soul into a butterfly which she then proceeds to eat. I really have no idea what was in the water in the 1970’s.
Over the course of her many appearances in the pages of Vampire Tales (where she made her debut in October of 1973 courtesy of writer Roy Thomas and artist John Romita Sr.), Haunt of Horror, Marvel Spotlight and a myriad of other titles (yet never in a series of her own), Satana encountered a demon summoning Monsignor, battled The Four, tangled with her brother, and befriended, and eventually avenged the death of, a Satanist named Ruby Cummins (yes dear reader, in 1970’s Marvel titles Satanists were normal, friendly citizens…this would never fly in today’s comic market). Satana met her end when she unleashed the Basilisk to save Doctor Strange, who had been transformed into a werewolf.
But, you just can’t keep a bad girl down for long. Satana was resurrected and made appearances in various series since the 70’s including Witches, The Supernaturals, and most recently in the pages of Thunderbolts. She also has a brief cameo in the recent video game Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a patron in a demonic bar. There was also a rumor of a long overdue Satana solo series from artist Jae Lee, yet sadly it wasn’t to be.
If you would like to experience the truly surreal outré adventures of Satana, I urge you to pick up a copy of Essential Marvel Horror Vol. 1, which is worth the price for the gorgeous artwork of Esteban Maroto alone! Although there is no direct antecedent to Satana in my debut novella The House of Thirteen Doors, please consider giving it a try as well (who knows, maybe there will be sequel featuring a beautiful, demonic vixen…). Also, special thanks go to Sensational Sean Hartter for providing a movie poster for the Satana movie that never was (but man do I wish it was)!! Until next time, stay creepy kids!