In an Internet filled with overwhelming negativity and pointless hatred of frivolous stuff, it's sometimes necessary to take a step back, take a deep breath and remember why we enjoy comics in the first place. Character Spotlight is a weekly feature showcasing some of the Outhouse's favorite characters that epitomize why we read comics. Maybe you'll learn something, maybe you won't, but regardless we hope you enjoy the Outhouse's Character Spotlight!
Yarva Demonicus Etrigan.
Change, change the form of man.
Free the prince forever damned.
Free the might from fleshy mire.
Boil the blood in heart of fire.
Gone, gone the form of man,
Rise the demon Etrigan!
With these words (or sometimes less, the last two lines are usually enough) the immortal former knight of Camelot, Jason Blood, is transformed into the demon, Etrigan. Having been bound together by Etrigan's half-brother Merlin, Blood and The Demon have a troubled relationship. Blood's desire to do only good is often rendered moot by Etrigan's whims and diabolical nature and so the two are at odds as often as they are working in tandem. Usually found in Gotham and Hell respectively, Blood and Etrigan tend to feature whenever the citizens of the DCU venture into hell or need some advice about its denizens.
Character Appeal: The appeal of Etrigan is that he's a poetry spouting demon who can just as easily be found fighting or working alongside the Justice League. His stories tend to involve the darker elements of the DCU which means appearances from other seldom-seen favourites like Blue Devil and the Phantom Stranger. Throw in his bizarre appearance and the built-in appeal of a Jack Kirby creation, and it's clear why so many of comics' finest writers have been tempted to slip in an appearance by The Demon.
Top Storylines: While you'd have trouble going wrong with any of Jack Kirby's issues of The Demon from the seventies, it's Garth Ennis run in the early nineties from #40-#58 that holds the most appeal to me. Setting Etrigan and Jason Blood very much at odds with one another, throwing Merlin back into the mix, and introducing the immensely popular Hitman, it's probably the best example of the character as a protagonist. As for his guest appearances, it's always a good idea to check out Alan Moore's Saga of the Swamp Thing issues featuring Etrigan visiting the bayou, and eventually the Swamp Thing returning the favour with a trip to hell.
Etrigan Can Even Beat Up Lobo: Despite being a fairly powerful denizen of the pit, outside his natural environment, Etrigan tends to get beaten up by heroes surprisingly often. This is more a consequence of his frequent role as a foil though, as he's proven able to hold his own against Morgaine le Fey, Lobo and Superman at times.
Where the character is today: Following up on appearances in Blackest Night and David Finch's Batman: The Dark Knight, Etrigan is currently heading up a team of medieval powerhouses in Paul Cornell's Demon Knights as part of DC's New 52.