Marvel Mystery Monday: Davey and the Demon and the Prince of Good

Sorry, I’ve been busy with a road trip to the Grand Canyon and freelance work, but I’m working on a big MMM project. More info soon.

In the tradition of Tommy Tyme and Jimmy Jupiter and other alliterative boy heroes, we take a moment back into the Golden Age of comics to visit Davey Drew, orphan demon summoner.

Davey and his unnamed Demon fought for four issues straight in perhaps the most one-sided extended battle in comicdom. Despite Davey’s valiant efforts to keep humanity safe, he’s long been forgotten by the Marvel Universe.

And now… read on … if you dare!

Background:

Publisher Martin Goodman had a big success in the anthology title Marvel Mystery Comics. As a result, for the first few years Timely would produce a new book with several new heroes every month. Daring Mystery Comics and USA Comics each included new heroes, although some were reminiscent of prior successes (Dymanic Man was a new take on the Human Torch, the Defender was basically Captain America in a different costume).

Davey, appearing in 1941’s Mystic Comics #7 through 10, was a bit different however. His adventures really don’t feel like those of other super-heroes, and in fact Davey isn’t much of a hero on the surface. The creation of artist Howard James was just a normal runaway orphan who accidentally unleashed a demon on the world. Rather than run and hide, he took it upon himself to follow the Demon from state to state in a relentless battle to stop him.

He didn’t even need a kindly old uncle to tell him, he knew what his responsibilities were.

The story:

When we first meet Davey Drew (no relation) he’s running away from the orphan asylum because he couldn’t handle the structure and rules of the place. Running to an abandoned house he’d been told to stay away from, Davey finds a cave with a stone wall and a voice, calling from the darkness:

“HELP ME, help me! I’m imprisoned behind this wall — you can save me by hitting the black bottom stone three times with your left foot!”

Of course, anything on the left is considered sinister in old superstitions, and black stuff too for that matter, but Davey didn’t know that, so being a Good Samaritan he did as asked, and was shocked to see a 20-foot-tall demon (calling himself the Demon) who had been trapped “by a magician in the days before time began.” Ignoring Davey’s protestations, the Demon thanks him for releasing him and gives him a cape that will never allow the Demon to harm him.

The Demon is shocked by how much progress is made and hurt (albeit not permanently) by bullets, but even the military is no match for the beast. Davey jumps in to stop the monster, and while his punches have no effect on him, every time the Demon tries to hurt him he is thrown back by a powerful shock of energy. Each time he is frustrated, the demon moves on, followed relentlessly by Davey.

The boy is shocked by the trail of destroyed buildings and injured people, and can do nothing when captured by the Demon (who was careful not to touch him directly) when the ancient magician returns: the Prince of Good!

The Prince of Good was likewise 20 feet tall and similarly powerful and durable, but he would appear and disappear at a moment’s notice, often calling on the normal-sized Davey to give him directions. Each time the Prince appeared, the Demon would be defeated, but every time, the Demon secretly escaped to cause destruction again.

In the final confrontation between Davey and the Demon, the Prince was no where to be seen (perhaps because the battle took place in the Grand Canyon, far from any innocent bystanders). Davey took a plane (no explanation of how he afforded the ticket) to find the Demon in the highlands of Arizona and lured the beast into a hidden cavern lit by strangely glowing stalactites. The Demon accidentally knocked down a wall during their subterranean battle, causing the Colorado River to rush in and drown him.

Davey hoped that would be the last he saw of his foe.

Abilities:

Davey had no powers, save for his incredible courage and the cape given to him by the demon. Since the Demon described himself as “the embodiment of all evil on Earth,” it could be extrapolated that the cape protects Davey from all evil – as long as the evil being is directly trying to hurt him.

The Demon can lift dozens (possibly hundreds) of tons and can survive great falls, bullets and being buried alive, although he does feel pain.

The Prince of Good has similar powers, but he can teleport in and out when he feels he is needed. Both the Prince and Demon are immortal.

Why hasn’t the character shown up again?

Quite simply, Davey and the Demon aren’t typical characters for a super-hero dominated industry, and like many of Timely’s also-rans, they just got overlooked.

How could the character be brought back?

Jess Nevins suggested repackaging Davey and his Demon into something more like Stanley and his Monster or Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt. Of course, the Demon is a lot less friendly than Spot and not as compliant as Thunderbolt, but therein lies the story.

Any wartime stories could certainly tie in the Nazis, as the Demon would gladly join any enemies of America if he thought they would help him fight the Prince (with his ultimate goal being the destruction of humanity, of course).

In the modern era, the Demon and the Prince could be tied to existing races. They could be a demon and angel respectively, or a Deviant and Eternal, or even djinns!

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2 comments

  1. Sorry about that,but I accidentally put my comment on DAVEY AND THE DEMON on TOMMY TYME’s site( go there to read it ).

  2. Up to a point the Origin of DAVEY DREW and the DEMON is similar to that of DOCTOR FATE( Kent Nelson ) and NABU THE WISE[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Fate ]. If KENT NELSON had freed WOTAN instead of NABU they would be identical. Plus the PRINCE OF GOOD takes either NABU’s or DOCTOR FATE’s place in DAVEY DREW’s life.

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