The three entities known as Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast – that are collectively known as The Demons Three are the second entry in the well regarded Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, which was originally published back in 1985. Over 26 issues were produced and thanks to the likes of Marv Wolfman, Robert Greenberger, and Len Wein – many of us comic book fans became aficionados of the vast history of the then current DC Universe. The sometimes exhaustive Who’s Who were quick to shine the spotlight on the big names such as Batman and Superman but were willingly to give the likes of lesser known characters such as Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast a chance in the light too.
Abenegazar, Rath and Ghast were created by none other than Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky for Justice League of America #10 – which saw publication in March of 1962. Gardner Fox in particular had a hand in the creation of not just the Justice League of America but before that in 1940 he managed to create another legendary team of super heroes – the first gathering of heroes in comic books in fact – The Justice Society of America. In addition it is believed that Fox might have worked under many different pseudonyms and had a hand in the co-creation of The Sandman, The Flash (Jay Garrick), as well as Hawkman (Carter Hall).
Mike Sekowsky might best be known for being the artist and co-creator of the Justice League of America beginning with their appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28 with a cover date of March 1960. Mike would pencil 63 issues of the Justice League of America – in addition to acting as an writer, artist and even editor on Wonder Woman beginning in September of 1968. Fox and Sekowsky didn’t just create the Demons Three in that issue of Justice League – they also came up with the magically maniacal Felix Faust…but we will talk about him more in his own entry.
For the second entry in the Who’s Who it was both Craig Hamilton as well as Dick Giordano who handled the art chores for Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast. Interestingly enough it appears that it was around this time that Hamilton got his start at DC – you might know his work from the extremely popular and quite fantastic Fables series. Giordano is an absolute icon in the sequential arts scene – having worked as an artist and editor for DC among others and he had a hand in creating the likes of Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt, Peacemaker, The Human Target, and Batman’s underworld identity of Matches Malone to name a few.
Back to the Demons Three however as the entry for Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast states in the first volume of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe:
Alter Ego: Inapplicable
Occupation: Inapplicable (Although I would have listed troublemakers as their occupation)
Marital Status: Inapplicable
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: 20th Century Earth
First Appearance: Justice League of America #10
Eyes: All Black
Hair: Black (Ghast), none (Abnegazar, Rath)
The Demons Three existed over a billion years ago, lording it over the pre-human species with their magical powers. An intergalactic group of wanderers known as the Timeless Ones, whose job it is to keep cosmic balance, became aware of Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast running rampant – so they imprisoned the trio. But the Demons Three while not as powerful as these Timeless Ones were at the very least more clever as they crafted three mystical talismans that anchored their physical beings to the Earth. Even the power of the cosmic Timeless Ones were unable to destroy said artifacts or even remove them from the Earth… so they hid them… Ghast was imprisoned beneath the waves in the South Atlantic, Abnegazar is hidden under the desert sands of Sin-Kiang in Western China, and Rath is locked under the ice of the Arctic.
It was Felix Faust in his lighthouse that was able to summon forth the Three Demons in an attempt to have their vast powers bestowed upon him. To the dismay of the sorcerer he was informed that he had merely brought forth their spirits – which to be fair is pretty impressive spell-slinging – but he needed to obtain those three mystical talisman’s if he wanted their vast power. An easy task for one of Faust’s abilities perhaps but the truth of the matter is that the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath, the Green Bell of Uthool, and Red Jar of Calythos were guarded and he wouldn’t be able to pull it off on his own.
That is how Faust came up with the idea of enlisting the unwilling aid of the Justice League – courtesy of Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast. The Demons Three aren’t exactly happy about how long they’ve been imprisoned so they agree to aid Faust after he collects the necessary spell ingriedents – transforming his fingertips intro representations of the Justice League. Placing the heroes under his control he is able to force them into obtaining the talismans, as they return the items to him he commands them to remain motionless as he performs the spell to release Abnegazer, Rath and Ghast. Five minutes is all it will take for the Demons Three to be freed and Felix Faust to receive the nearly limitless power of the demons as his own… but he didn’t count on Aquaman being awesome – while forced to remain motionless he can still summon and command the creatures of the sea and disrupts the sorcerer’s spell. The League are able to regain control of their own bodies and quickly apprehend Faust – but unbeknownst to our heroes, while they stopped Felix from receiving the demons dark powers… the Demons Three will be freed in 100 years!
It probably goes without saying that the League do in fact manage to stop the evil of the Demons Three in the next issue of the Justice League of America.
Abnegazar and his two demonic brethren possess the same magical abilities as detailed by their entry in the Who’s Who. The trio are able to fly through space and even time travel if need be, they can conjure destructive force bolts, craft various matter, and even bring to life standing objects. Shortly after this issue was published it appears that Abnegazar got a little too mouthy with Dr. Fate who slew the demon for his insolence – granted he has apparently managed to cheat death and rejoin his brothers.
Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast show up in the 1985 The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians animated series in an episode entitled The Case of the Stolen Super Powers – which is just a retelling of their and Faust’s first appearance. The trio also made an appearance in the Justice League Unlimited series in an episode called The Balance – in which Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl take Abnegazar hostage, forcing him to reveal the location of Felix Faust. And last but not least the Demons Three managed to be featured in two episodes of Justice League Action animated series on Cartoon Network.