Monday, January 19, 2015

Comics - Marvel Horror Essentials Vol 1

This collected volume is daring stuff for the 1970s. These are straight up occult stories of good vs. evil, dealing with the Son of Satan and Satanna, the Devil's Daughter. No kidding, they’re actually the offspring not of a minor demon, but Satan himself. Steve Gerber does a lot of the storytelling heavy lifting on Damon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan stories. Hellstrom is torn between his natures as a decent man trying to do good and his darker demon half. Satanna is the opposite, embracing her dark half and rejecting goodness, hugs and apple pie. 

Surprisingly, Satan himself appears as the antagonist in many stories, something Disney/Marvel wouldn't do on a bet now. The Son of Satan stuff has some wild ideas and is a first-rate read until the character graduates from the Marvel Spotlight book into his own series, Son of Satan. Writer John Warner takes over (not a writer I've ever heard of--a pseudonym?) and turns the book from occult based into a superhero series. Villains go from demons and hood-wearing cultists to goats in spandex and capes. It's too weird even for this concept and the series suffers for it. These stories go some uncomfortable places for a comic, especially the Satanna tales. It's intriguing to see what the drugs of the mid-70s did to comic book authors. 

This 650-page tome collects Ghost Rider #1-2; Marvel Spotlight #12-24; Son of Satan #1-8; Marvel Two In One #14; Marvel Team Up #32, 80-81; Vampire Tales #2-3; Haunt of Horror #2, 4-5, Marvel Premiere #27 and Marvel Preview #7. 

Rating: **** out of 5 stars


  1. The Son of Satan was one of the first jaw-dropping characters for this young reader.

  2. Wild costume, dual nature and being the actual son of SATAN made the character irresistable to me. If my parents knew what I was reading back then, those books certainly would have wound up in the fireplace. But the good guys still won most of the time!