July 20, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #240: Blue Devil

A hero originally played for laughs gets a lot more serious over time.

Some superheroes start off silly.  Some are played completely straight.  Others can go either way.  But it’s the rare few that start off as silly and get serious or vice versa.  Even a fundamentally goofy hero like Plastic Man may appear in a story as a serious character, but the story around him is usually silly in some way.  About the closest I can think of of someone going from one to the other is Ambush Bug.  He was an insane assassin in his first appearance before going gradually sillier and more surreal over time.

But then there’s Blue Devil.  He went in the opposite direction.

Blue Devil was one Daniel Cassidy.  A stunt man and special effects wizard, he got into a fight with a demon on a movie set while in a blue devil costume.  He won the fight, but the suit bonded to his body in the process.  With the help of a special trident, Dan decided to, well, take advantage of his new appearance to both be a movie star and a superhero.

Essentially, Dan became the opposite of Ben Grimm.  Whereas the Thing wanted nothing more than to become human again, Dan found his new appearance and abilities fun.

See? He sure is a jolly-looking fellow.

From there, Dan became a self-proclaimed “weirdness magnet” and even picked up a fanboy sidekick in the form of Eddie Bloomberg, AKA Kid Devil.

Does Kid Devil deserve his own article in this feature?  Oh yeah.  I’ll see about writing him up next week.

Anyway, that was Dan’s new life.  Eventually, he joined the Justice League.  Not because they asked him to join.  No, he just showed up one day and insisted upon it.

But the funny thing is Blue Devil didn’t stay a silly character.  During the Underworld Unleashed storyline, he made a deal with the demon Neron to gain some fame.  All he had to do was destroy an out-of-the-way power relay station in the middle of nowhere.  Seeing no harm in doing so, he did.  But then the resulting damage ended up bringing down a helicopter.  On board was Dan’s agent and friend (and Eddie’s aunt) Marla Bloom.

From here, Dan takes a really dark turn.  Neron’s deal eventually turns Dan, a devout Catholic, into a real demon.  He dies at one point in a trap where a sprinkler system rained down holy water.  Then he came back when someone took his bones to Hell or something (it was weird).  From there, he joined the magical team Shadowpact.

Now there’s some stuff from that run involving a brother of Dan’s, another human-turned-demon called Jack of Fire.  Jack claimed Dan’s selling his soul to Neron actually condemned the whole family to Hell, but that turned out to be a lie.  Evil brothers are the worst.

Most recently, Dan took over as protector of another dimensional realm for his late Shadowpact teammate Nightmaster.  He seemed to be a lot more demonic over there.

Also recently, Dan appeared in the DC Universe live action Swamp Thing series as a supporting character because why not?

I don’t know if I would have pictured Ian Ziering as Blue Devil, but here we are.

So, here’s a guy who started off as supremely silly, and now he’s tossing hellfire and gloom.  That’s kinda weird.

Then again, he is a magnet for weird.