Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Importance of Being Gargoyle

Introduced as a reluctant opponent in Defenders #94, Gargoyle nevertheless became the first hero to originally appear in the series. All previous members of the team, and heroic guest stars, had appeared first in other series—or took over the reigns for someone else.

This was only one of several ways that Gargoyle stood out.

Comic books are filled with relatively young heroes, as well as the magically immortal. But a hero who gains superhuman powers later in life is rare indeed.

To save his hometown from economic ruin, Isaac Christians had made a pact with a demon. According to the deal, the town of Christiansboro, Virginia, would financially thrive if the elderly man would agree to temporarily serve the forces of evil as a gargoyle, furthering a larger plot to destroy the Defenders.

But this Gargoyle didn't have the heart of a villain. Instead of leading the Defenders to defeat, he tried to warn them. And because he did not keep up his side of the bargain, Isaac Christians would stay trapped in his demonic form indefinitely.

For all his regrets, the hero with bat-wings and orange hide kept a mild disposition much of the time. Through lineup changes and the formation of the New Defenders, Gargoyle remained a steady reminder of the mystical and often cryptic history of the team.

This image of Gargoyle first appeared in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.

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