Hellstrom Reborn In Satan
by John Joseph Adams
SF/fantasy author Alexander Irvine (The Narrows) told SCI FI Wire that when Marvel Comics expressed an interest in hiring him to write for them, several different characters were batted around before they collectively settled on Daimon Hellstrom. Irvine scripted a Hellstrom miniseries, Son of Satan, which is due to be published in October.
"For my story, Marvel decided they wanted to partially reboot the character—in other words, get a fresh look at who he is and why he does what he does," Irvine said in an interview. "I've borrowed elements from the existing continuity, but my series isn't a direct continuation of anything that's come before. It's a noirish story of demonic possession in post-Katrina New Orleans, and Daimon comes to the city because, in this vision of the character, he's a kind of itinerant seeker, trying to understand what he's been put on Earth to do."
Irvine added: "What he discovers when he gets to New Orleans is that his father is at war with a couple of other divinities, trying to control the resurrection of Osiris. Also, like most noir stories, Son of Satan is a tale of a fundamentally decent guy at war with his own darker impulses and with the forces of corruption and evil in the world."
The character of Daimon Hellstrom has been around for a while in the Marvel Universe, Irvine said. "He is the child of a mortal woman and a demon who may or may not have been the actual Satan, but was definitely acting on Satan's orders," he said. "In the character's history, he has often been at war with his father, and he's also been a part of Avengers and Doctor Strange storylines."
In preparation for writing the script, Irvine said that he did a little reading to refresh his memories of Egyptian mythology and Judeo-Christian demonology. "In a prose piece, I would have done all kinds of reading about New Orleans, too, but in this case all of that fell to [penciler] Russ [Braun], since he was the one who had to create a faithful visual representation of the New Orleans locales," he said.
Irvine greatly enjoyed working with Braun, but at the beginning of the process, he wasn't sure how much art direction to give in the script, he said. "I didn't know how collaborative the process was supposed to be, and I didn't want to step on anyone's toes," he said. "As it turned out, Russ and [Marvel editor] Axel [Alonso] have been very rigorous in pointing out when something I've written isn't clear so we can put our heads together and figure out how to get it looking right."
Meanwhile, Irvine continues to work on prose projects. A short story collection, Pictures From an Expedition, was just published by Night Shade Books. Due out soon is a Batman novel, Batman Inferno. And Irvine is working on a new original novel, a near-future noir called Buyout, which he said should be published sometime in 2007.