Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It Was Either This Or Try To Have A Baby

meet the hellstroms
Nothing says "I'm trying to save our marriage" quite like Daimon Hellstrom's superhero costume.

For whatever reason, Marvel Comics has been the runaway leader in the category of ill-advised, bad idea, "what the fucking hell" marriages. Its like their comics are being edited by Britney Spears and Liza Minelli. Or maybe Marvel pairs up its characters using a LOTTO tumbler. I dunno. At any rate, comics fans may wax nostalgic about Ralph and Sue Dibny or even Ray Palmer and Jean Loring, but I don't recall any tears being shed over the convoluted breakup of Patsy Walker and the Son of Satan.

Daimon Hellstrom is the son of a mortal woman and a demon named "Marduk Kurios." (I think I shopped for knick-knacks there once!) He was introduced as a horror comic character in the 70's, and he typically goes about shirtless, the better to show off his sculpted, pentagram-decorated chest. He has pointy Vulcan ears and carries a huge, pitchfork-sized trident made of "Netheranium." He likes to wear his hair with two Quicksilver-style "horns" in the front but he can also rock a heavy metal-sized mane, as he did in his solo series, "Hellstorm: Prince of Lies." He has occult powers that come and go, along with a "Darksoul" that makes him even more demon-y and scream a lot and break things, so much so that you'd think he'd just watched A-Rod half-ass his way through yet another Yankees game. What he was doing with the morbidly perky Patsy Walker is utterly beyond me. He looks like an idiot in that costume. And there is absolutely no way you can convince me he designed it himself. No, I'm guessing things really shook down like this:

Patsy: Daimon! There you are! Got that cute nose of yours stuck in some ol' book again, huh?

Daimon: It's not just "some ol' book," Patsy, it's Der Vermis Mysterius and it's a very dangerous and powerful tome of--

Patsy (knocks the book out of his hand): Well, forget that because I have a surprise for you! Tah-dah! (holds up his new superhero costume)

Daimon: What in the name of all that's unholy is that?

Patsy: It's your new costume, silly! Now we can go out superheroing together and we'll totally match! See? My costume has a sash, your costume has a cummerbund! It's like we're twins!

Daimon: Darling, I--

Patsy (her smile trembling and her eyes glistening with tears): Yes?

Daimon: It's great. It's just great.

Patsy: I suppose it's not really your style, exactly, but I tried to add some touches that might appeal to you. See the little clasps for your cape? They're shaped like skulls! Isn't that positively wicked? (forced, barking laugh) Oh, and let me show you the trident!

Daimon: I already have a trident.

Patsy: But this one is so much better! I took your original trident and I shrunk it!

Daimon (under his breath): After practicing on my manhood first...

Patsy: What was that?

Daimon: Nothing. I think the costume is great. Just great. And you're great for designing it for me! What a wonderful gift! But I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable wearing this is public! Say, maybe I could just wear it at home... (strokes her hair with a long-nailed hand) on special occasions...

Patsy (shakes his hand off): But it's not just for you! It's for us! You know how my family felt when I married you. I'm a laughing stock in my own home town! But if they see you in this, they'll know that you're just one of the superhero gang! They'll say, "That Patsy, she's so lucky, she married a superhero!"

Daimon: You're embarrassed to be married to me?

Patsy: It's not that! It's not that! But sometimes I feel like you don't do anything to contribute to this marriage! I try so hard, and all you do is your dumb ol' research! I have to do everything! Don't you want me to be happy?!

Daimon: Of course! It's just--

Patsy: Then you'll wear the costume! Look, I designed the cowl so you can see that adorable red hair of yours but your scary pointy ears are totally covered! It's great! And you'll get used to it! Do you think I wanted to wear that orange scoop-neck cardigan that was designed for me by Mandy Becker of Hutchinson, Kansas? Or that pencil skirt with the huge embroidered daisy on it that was designed for me by Alice McCormick of Flint, Michigan? Do you think I wanted to wear any of the ugly, hackneyed crap those brain-dead idiots designed for me? Of course not! But Mommy said I had to! Because I'd be making somebody else happy! If you can't understand that, maybe I'll... I'll... I'll KILL MYSELF!!!

Daimon (in a flat, defeated tone): Hand it over.

Daimon and Patsy's marriage eventually fizzled (as most Marvel marriages do), with Daimon becoming very demonic for a while, Patsy killing herself, and Daimon resurrecting her but telling her what was later established as a big honking lie about being Dormammu's grandson(!) in order to keep from getting back together with her.

But I'm thinking the real low point in their marriage was Daimon's costume.


Anonymous said...

The only one enjoying the meeting in that panel is Iron Man, because his mask covers his expression and stifles laughter.
Hawkeye is seeing a road he could very easily end up on, although I don't think you can blame his terrible armored costume on Mockingbird.

Anonymous said...

I think even Matt Murdock, comics' own Breakup King, would hesitate to hook up with the actual daughter of an actual devil. Maybe it was the fact that Daimon looked like the cover of a Black Sabbath album. You know models and rock stars... I was going to snark on that costume, but then I realized that someone had mystically shrunk their heads to the size of candy apples. I can't remember reading anything with him in it, but I liked knowing old SoS was in the Marvel Universe, where they were never afraid to bring 10 year old readers superhero versions of the R-rated movies they couldn't get into, whether it be Shaft, Death Wish, or The Omen.

P.S. Bravo for "Mandy Becker!"

Anonymous said...

Man, his bearing in the first panel just screams embarassed resignation. The unbreathed sigh is on his lips.

And the "theme names" are a wincer too, really.

Anonymous said...


Steven said...

Uh, Hellcat? No. No, in the real world, "Hellstrom" does not "go good" with "Hellcat."

I don't know how to explain it exactly, but like couples with rhyming first names, it's just too "cute."

I mean, think of the great superhero duos: Batman and Robin, Power Man and Iron Fist, Captain America and the Falcon, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.

Their names co-ordinated and complimented each other without actually matching.

It's bad enough when it Batman, Batgirl, and Ace the Bathound fighting crime together, but "Hell" teamed with "Hell"... that's like a plaid tie on plaid shirt.

Just. Not. Done.

cozmic said...

Is this from West Coast Avengers? The early Englehart/Milgrom issues are full of awful goodness.

You could write a weeks worth of columns just on Wonder Man's costumes.

Jeremy Rizza said...

Chuck T.: I do believe you're right! It's weird; even with the helmet on, it looks like he's mightily bemused. Also, I'm a bit baffled by the perspective in that panel. Apparently Daimon and Patsy walked in just as Iron Man and Wonder Man were having a push-up contest.

Constantine: Excellent points. I guess Daimon really is the closest thing Marvel has to a rock star. He's certainly more rock 'n' roll than Rick Jones.

Chawunky: Yup. It was the "Hellstorm goes good with Hellcat" line that clued me in that the whole superhero bit wasn't Daimon's idea.

Daimon, or should I call you Mister Hellstrom: I, um, didn't know you were reading this, um, sir! My most sincere apologies if I offended you. (Dang, now I know how Kathy Griffin feels.)

Steven: Again, great point. Maybe Hellcat should date Daredevil. Then she could get folks to call them "Patsy and Mattsy."

Cozmic: Oh my yes. Remember when Firebird started wearing that freaky big-shouldered choir robe over her regular costume? Jeebus. Yes, methinks the West Coast Avengers is a well from which I shall draw quite often.

Walaka said...

I wish someone would make a flash cartoon - or better, a live-action video - using this post as a script and put it up on YouTube.

Still chuckling...