Friday, October 03, 2014
I know I read Blue Devil #1 around the time it came out--some kids I was babysitting had a copy, and I read it after putting them to bed--and I know I've read it in the years (decades) since; but I'm not positive I ever owned a copy of it until this week. This one, fished out of the quarter (dollar) bins, has a library card taped into it, checked out from a local library in 1984 and possibly never returned...
Blue Devil starts as a special effect, albeit a practical one: an exoskeleton with horns and gimmicks, created by Dan Cassidy for a B-horror movie shoot. In typical comic book fashion, Cassidy's invention should probably change the course of industries and make him billions, but that's willfully ignored. When the movie set is invaded by a real demon, Nebiros; Cassidy has to suit up and throw down with the monster to save his friends (and his love interest!) but after saving the day, he realizes the demon's magic has trapped him in the suit! Cassidy finds himself now a honest-to-goodness Blue Devil!
(It makes me a little sad that reading this now, both the exoskeleton and an actual demon are more believable than a movie using practical special effects. The Blue Devil would be computer-generated now, and probably look it. Incidentally, I hate with the power of a thousand suns when cheap horror movies use computer-generated blood effects, rather than just throwing around some more realistic fake blood!)
There's a few rough patches in the art, and a somewhat sprawling supporting cast that in typical DC form would never be seen again when the book was cancelled. And cancelled it was, although I think it was a hit for its first year, and I can see why: there's so much potential there! I'm still positive you could get a decent TV show out of Blue Devil, if you ignore just about everything done with the character after 1986. Strike that, in 1988 there was an awesome issue of Secret Origins retelling most of this first issue, with Ty Templeton art! Guest-starring Cain of House of Mystery fame...because BD was apparently crashing there? Not the direction I would've gone, but whatever. He later had a pretty ignoble death in Starman and I never read Shadowpact, but I'm OK with that, too.
Still, from the original series, you could stand to read #5, which guest-stars Zatanna for a rematch with Nebiros; and #8, which features Flash villain the Trickster and Keith Giffen art! Both are awesome, and were reprinted in Best of DC digests--although, I wonder if subplot pages were cut from the reprints? Which may not have hurt at all, yeah.