DC Comics may be known for plucky heroes like Superman, but they also have several characters who stepped much closer to the dark shadows of the occult. One of those characters is Blue Devil, although he is not as evil as his name and appearance suggest. After being cursed by a fearsome demon, Dan Cassidy takes it in stride like perhaps no other DC hero. This unique twist gives her great potential for a comeback.
Languishing in publication obscurity for years, Blue Devil functions as a comedic part of DC’s magical pen, while also adding a darker edge to its more traditional superheroes. With the season getting creepier by the day, now is the time to look back at this somewhat forgotten figure in DC Comics history and see how he could become a huge success story in the modern age.
Blue Devil was originally rejected by Steve Ditko
Daniel Cassidy, aka Blue Devil, was created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Paris Cullins, however the character was intended for someone else. In 2007, Cohn recalled that Steve Ditko, the artist behind Marvel’s Spider-Man, was looking for a job at DC Comics. He and Mishkin sought to create an amalgamation of Marvel characters. This character would be in a suit like Marvel’s iron-clad billionaire Iron Man and would suffer from a curse similar to the one that befell The Thing. The character would also be a light-hearted, acrobatic hero like Spider-Man, while also having a Green Goblin-like appearance. However, given his day job, he could also be compared to another Marvel character: the biker Ghost Rider.
Apparently, Dan’s wife was a fan of the Blue Devils sports team, and the name stuck. Unfortunately, the response to this kind of tribute from Ditko himself was far less enthusiastic. Upon seeing Blue Devil, Ditko commented that the character wasn’t exactly his cup of tea. Despite this hellish reception, Blue Devil would go on to debut on Firestorm Fury #24 (by Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, Gerry Conway, Paris Cullins, Carl Gafford and Rafael Kayanan), with his series becoming a divine comedy.
Blue Devil’s adventures were more funny than creepy
Blue Devil’s origin was that he was a stuntman who wore a devil costume for a movie. While filming the movie, a real demon emerges from the Netherealm and attacks everyone, and Dan Cassidy leads him back to where he came from. Unfortunately, he was attacked by the demon’s power before he left, an action that fused Dan with his disguise. Now that he’s an “oddity magnet” who’s garnered all sorts of paranormal attention, the newborn Blue Devil was essentially forced to become a superhero.
Despite his appearance and demonic nature, Blue Devil’s adventures were typically more lighthearted. Given his appearance, this contrast is similar to the rambunctious X-Men member Nightcrawler, who was that team’s adventurous prankster despite his evil aesthetic. Him constantly finding himself in outrageous situations, many of which made fun of comic book plots and tropes. For example, Blue Devil was almost sued for damages in one story, a level of realism not seen in comics at the time. This made his ongoing series a deconstruction of superhero comics just before such a thing became the norm. In this way, his stories from 1984-1986 were very much a sign of things to come.
DC’s Blue Devil Is Their Creepiest Unused Hero
Blue Devil’s later appearances would end his more comedic nature, and DC would eventually get rid of him entirely. In the 2000s, his partner Kid Devil would have a more prominent role than him. DC’s New 52 reboot briefly featured him in a crossover story with Black Lightning, but this didn’t mean much more than that. As neglected as DC’s resident demon has become, he has the perfect formula for filling various niches. As mentioned, his nature initially made him a bait for supernatural threats, and this, coupled with his jovial early adventures and somewhat colorful appearance, could make him a happy medium between DC Shadowpact and Justice League Dark characters and their most classic heroes.
The key is to let it be a lot more fun than the last one and not get too sucked into the black magic of it all, despite its appearance. Even dealing with foes as diabolical as himself, Blue Devil would still be commenting on the ridiculous nature of things in the spirit of his creative ancestor Spider-Man. Similarly, he would fit alongside Superman or the despicable magic trickster Constantine, giving him universal potential. It’s a bit late for DC to release any stories featuring him in time for Halloween 2022, but perhaps in the future, the Blue Devil will rise again to face the threats that scare readers.