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Monday, July 14, 2008

Spotlight Mail: Daimon's Dad

If anyone was born to be a Defender, it was Daimon Hellstrom. With mystical powers and an infernal upbringing, the heroic demonologist was a natural fit for the group. Readers responded favorably to Hellstrom's recurring appearances in the Defenders, based on the "Defenders Dialogue" letters pages.

During his solo stories in Marvel Spotlight, however, some readers were unsure what to make of this provocative character billed as the Son of Satan. In the "Spotlight Mail" page from #21 (April 1975), Marvel Comics writer Steve Gerber replied to the concern of one letter.

Regarding your comic Son of Satan, you are obviously trying to undermine the moral and religious fiber of our young people. At a young and impressionable age you subject them to "heroes" who wear on their chests, of all things, the symbol of the Devil!

Sure, in your comics he's only half-devil and half-"man of God." But how long before you'll invent a a new "hero' who has none of the latter.

Sir, whether you know it or not, I am certain you are being used as a tool of Satan. I realize what I'm doing is like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun, but I felt the need to bring this matter to your attention.

If you are being used as I suspect, I'm sure you'll have not trouble writing me off as another one of the fanatics from whom you must receive letters. However, if you see the light, I hope to have this type of comic discontinued. In its place, may I suggest something that would bring glory to the most high God our Lord.

John Kubrock

Steve G. replies:

Sadly, we're receiving a lot of letters like this on SOS, and though I don't wish to discuss my religious beliefs in detail here, I feel obliged to say something in my defense and that of Marvel Comics.

First of all, John—(and all others who wrote to express similar sentiments), I am not a tool of anybody. Not the Kremlin. Not even Irving Forbush, for crying out loud!! "I am not a number, I am a free man," as someone once put it.

Second, I really do not see at all how a comic in which Satan is consistently defeated every time he so much as tries to poke a pinky into our world can "undermine the moral and religious fiber of our young people." Reality should only be so encouraging!

Want to know who I think is doing Satan's work on earth, folks?

Anyone who asks us to close our minds to any possibility concerning anything in the universe!

God is alive. God is dead. God is in hibernation until spring. God is vacationing in Andromeda. God is within us all—even the Devil's own son! I can't tell you which of those to believe. You've got to make up your own minds. And that you deserve the right to shape your own beliefs is my own strongest belief!

That's why I don't write you off, John, even though I do think you're being fanatical. No one who is concerned with the welfare of other human beings ever, ever writes off anybody.

Better, though, to panic at air we can't breathe, populations that won't stop growing, desert wars that could trigger nuclear holocausts, and onrushing crises in food and energy that nobody wants to admit … than at a comic book.

End of debate, please?

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