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Demon, The:

Dark 1980s Revival (1986)

After a few appearances from 1977-1981, the Demon appeared in Alan Moore’s classic Swamp Thing in 1984 and again in 1986. There, Moore treated him as a more serious supernatural character, aligning the somewhat goofy character with a Hell that felt very real.

In late 1986, the Demon got his own mini-series, helmed by Matt Wagner. It expanded upon the weighty supernatural tone set by Alan Moore. In fact, its tone is closer to the later series Hellblazer than to Jack Kirby’s original issues. Sadly, this mini-series has not been collected, nor has it received its critical due in the history of supernatural comics.

This more serious depiction of the Demon also appeared in Swamp Thing after Moore’s departure, in the fourth issue of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and in Gaiman’s Books of Magic Vol. 1.

During this time, however, the Demon also appeared in more mainstream super-hero titles, where he was treated a bit more conventionally. This version of the Demon offered a blend of the more serious magical elements, introduced by Moore and Wagner, with an ability to embrace the fun and even the silliness of the character. Writer Alan Grant codified this effort, first in a six-issue serial in Action Comics Weekly, in early 1989, and then in a new ongoing series for the character, begun in 1990.

Continuity

Appearances by the more serious Demon overlap somewhat with early Alan Grant work. Those more serious appearances are kept here, in order to better separate the two depictions of the Demon (and keep Grant’s work more integral). Doing so creates no continuity problems for the larger DC Universe’s continuity.

The Demon Vol. 2 #1

“Direction from the Darkness” -- 23 pages

  • written by Matt Wagner; pencils by Matt Wagner; inks by Art Nichols

first issue; cover by Matt Wagner and Art Nichols; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Jan 1987

The Demon Vol. 2 #2

“Descension from Below” -- 23 pages

  • written by Matt Wagner; pencils by Matt Wagner; inks by Art Nichols

cover blurb erroneously says “Book 4 of 4″; cover by Matt Wagner; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Feb 1987
The Demon Vol. 2 #3

“So He Made Me in His Likeness” -- 23 pages

  • written by Matt Wagner; pencils by Matt Wagner; inks by Art Nichols

cover by Matt Wagner; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Mar 1987
The Demon Vol. 2 #4

“Begins Our Tale of Woe” -- 23 pages

  • written by Matt Wagner; pencils by Matt Wagner; inks by Art Nichols
  • Jason Blood traps Merlin and separates from the Demon (they are reunited in Cosmic Odyssey #2)

final issue; cover by Matt Wagner; published by DC Comics; $0.75; cover-dated Apr 1987