Friday, March 6, 2015


Admittedly, you’re setting your standards kind of high when your first appearance declares you, in an elegantly lettered scroll underneath your name, “The Most Evil Man in the Universe,” but that’s exactly where the underwhelming evil of the one-eyed, alien malcontent Satanas begins in the back pages of Red Band Comics No.1 way back in 1944.

North America got kinda big when we weren't looking.
A green-skinned, red-clad alien of “the dread planet of Pluto,” Satanas turns out to be the single greatest over-achiever on a world full of evil alien sonsabitches. “We of Pluto are not a kindly race” explains Satanas’ adjudicator, sitting upon a throne before an auditorium of the villain’s accusers. “We make no pretense of honour,” continues the extra-planetary Jeff Foxworthy, rattling off the highlights of his popular “You Might Be A Plutonian If…” routine – “We have no particular virtues, but YOU, Satanas, have gone too far! You make vice a virtue … cruelty a practice …” and possibly also a crimson fedora a criminal fashion statement.

Since Plutonians are immortal and indestructible, Satanas is sentenced to fly through space forever in an atomic rocket – or, at the very least, for nine hundred years when the atomic motor conks out and the ship’s momentum carries Satanas into Earth’s proximity. This is why we revoked Pluto’s planetary status; they kept dumping their space garbage on us.

The extent of Satanas’ evil is best left to the imagination, if only because in practice he pales before your average Roman emperor, good old-fashioned American thrillkiller or, for that matter, guys who illegally download movies. Deciding to conquer Earth, Satanas decides to do it by stealing all of our money. Where’s he going to spend it, some interstellar convenience store?

So, uh, we won?
Once he’s wrecked a newspaper stand and thrown a crooner around a recording studio – the arch-fiend! – Satanas settles for robbing Fort Knox. Armed with rays which can both paralyze and disintegrate – although he drops the latter one, busting it beyond repair (and Apple support was no help at all) – the one-eyed green fiend is stymied by American G-Men armed with mirrors. They got him with the old Clash of the Titans gag!

Satanas does manage to get away with quite a bit of gold in his first major crime (According to the amount written on one sack with which he absconds, he gets away with at least five billion dollars in 1944 money), but the G-Men laugh it off since “America has been off the gold standard for years” and “he won’t be able to spend it here in the United States!” I’m not really sure that’s how gold works, or else why bother locking it up in Fort Knox?

Anyway, Satanas floats around a couple issues of red Band Comics, in his own feature and others and facing off against Red Band’s top hero, The Bogey Man, although only on the covers. Despite his rep, he never manages to match the level of evil you get from your average The Claw, Red Skull, or any other two-bit Axis supervillain, but at the very least he’s got like Mark Zuckerburg money, so he could probably retire to some pleasant asteroid in the galactic Riviera…

1 comment:

neofishboy said...

I too, when describing the attributes of the truly evil, tend to start with "cynical".

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