Mr. Satan. Artist: Edd Ashe.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: MLJ Comics
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Abner Sundell (writer) and Edd Ashe (artist)
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Comic books of the early 1940s were crawling with superheroes. Comics of the '60s were …

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… crawling with them again. In fact, in a great many cases, they were crawling with the same superheroes, as the publishers active during both decades had a tendency to bring back the old ones for new adventures. Archie Comics, for example, not only revived The Black Hood, The Shield and The Comet as members of The Mighty Crusaders — in the fourth issue of that series, they dredged up virtually all of their costumed characters from the '40s, in a story very aptly titled "Too Many Superheroes".

A glaring exception was Mr. Satan, whose name (like that of The Gay Ghost) seems to have been against him. Following the success of the character that gave the company its name (it was formerly called MLJ Comics), the publisher had adopted a pure, wholesome, entirely clean image, and it wouldn't do to remind readers that it had once named a protagonist after the most evil being in all Creation. This guy didn't have the actual stench of brimstone about him, like Madam Satan, another '40s character of theirs who isn't likely to show up again, but still, there was no point, they apparently figured, in calling attention to him.

In everyday life, Mr. Satan was Dudley Bradshaw, one of those millionaire wastrels who liked to put on a mask and combat evil, like Firebrand, Green Arrow and Zorro. How and why he started doing it was never fully explained, but he'd travel the world righting wrongs and performing daring rescues. His dark purple costume seemed designed to blend into the night, except for its bright yellow cape. He paid homage to his namesake by including tiny horn-like protrusions on his cowl, which looked, if anything, even less Satan-like than Daredevil's.

Mr. Satan first appeared toward the rear of MLJ's Zip Comics #1 (February, 1940), where the main feature was Steel Sterling. His six pages were written by Abner Sundell and drawn by Edd Ashe, both of whom worked on a number of MLJ's characters. Ashe was co-creator of The Wizard, one of MLJ's most successful superheroes, and Sundell probably co-created Sgt. Boyle, the most successful of the company's many World War II military characters. Sundell and Ashe also wrote and drew a majority of Mr. Satan's subsequent stories.

He wasn't one of the company's more prominent characters — in fact, he never was seen on a cover; and after a mere nine adventures, disappeared without a trace. His main distinction lies in being one of the very, very few MLJ superheroes who was never seen again.


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Text ©2004-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Archie Comics.