Satana greets her adoring public. Artists: Gil Kane and Mike Esposito.

SATANA

Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1973
Creators: Roy Thomas (writer) and John Romita (artist)
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Marvel Comics introduced Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan with a cover date of October, 1973. But as long as they were …

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… giving the old guy a family, what the heck, might as well throw in a daughter as well. Satana debuted during the same month.

Her first appearance was in the second issue of Vampire Tales, a large, black and white comic book produced in the format of Mad magazine, where the main star was Morbius the Living Vampire. Her introduction in that issue was written by Roy Thomas (Ghost Rider) and drawn by John Romita (The Punisher). It was the opening shot of a series — but a very brief one, as the only other issue she appeared in was #3. She also had a few stories in Haunt of Horror, another Marvel anthology done in that format.

The brief introductory story was reprinted in Marvel Premiere (one of several titles in which Marvel tested reader reaction prior to launching new comics — Iron Fist, for example, had started there) #27, dated December, 1975. Most of that issue was devoted to setting Satana up for a comic book of her own, but she doesn't seem to have excited enough reader interest, and sank after that one issue. She was also tried out for her own comic in the large, black and white format, in Marvel Preview #7 (Summer, 1976), but that, too, went nowhere.

But Marvel tends not to turn loose of characters just because readers don't seem particularly interested in them. She made a few guest appearances with other Marvel characters, and occasionally turned up in a story of her own, over the next few years. Some of them gave her additional background, which made things rather confusing for anyone trying to fit it all into a consistent back-story. The fact that her father was later alleged not to have been the Satan of traditional Judeo-Christian teachings, but merely some other demon using the same name and motif, was only a small part of the jumble that had to be fitted together.

Victoria Wingate Hellstrom, the human woman upon whom Satan (or whoever) had begotten his brood, caught Satana (six years old at the time) performing a profane ritual with Dad in the basement. Finding out who he really was drove her insane, which led to the children being sent away to be raised separately. But Satana, unlike Daimon, disappeared en route to her new home. She spent some years with Dad in Hell (or wherever) before returning to Earth under unspecified circumstances. She also spent a great many of her relatively few years marrying and raising a family, under the spell of old enemies she'd scarcely had time to accumulate, completely unaware of her demonic connecions. Restored, she resumed her regular occupation as a succubus (a species of supernatural bad guy whose sustenance comes from kissing men and sucking out their souls), her evil nature indicated by flaming red hair, a birthmark on her throat in the shape of a devil's head, and extremely lengthy eyebrows that arched over her head in an apparent attempt to simulate a devil's horns.

It was hard to fit all this into one young lifetime (Daimon was the older sibling, and he couldn't have been 30), and this didn't help Satana find an audience. She kicked around the Marvel Universe for a little while longer before being killed off in a 1979 crossover with Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

Of course, being killed off is no more than an inconvenience even to Marvel characters who don't have an immortal parent. Satana has made a few sporadic appearances since her demise, and will probably be seen again.

— DDM

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Text ©2004 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.