Change! Change, O form of man!
Release the might from fleshy mire!
Boil the blood in heart of fire!
Gone! Gone! — the form of man —
Rise, the Demon Etrigan!!
— Jason Blood
Created by Jack Kirby
and appearing for the first time in The Demon
#1 (August, 1972), Etrigan has played many smaller roles in several DC comics from The Sandman
to Wonder Woman
, with occasional stories and miniseries wholly to himself (such as in anthology series Wednesday Comics
), and a number of ongoings, including Kirby's original series, a fifty-nine issue run, not counting annuals, during The Nineties
, and John Byrne
's Blood of the Demon
Etrigan is a yellow skinned and red eyed demon who was summoned by Merlin to aid Camelot against the forces of Morgaine le Fay, who later became a recurring opponent in the series. After the fall of Camelot, Merlin sent Etrigan to roam the earth in the disguise of a man. Depending on the Writer
, Etrigan is either bonded to one of King Arthur
's noblemen or the human Jason Blood was merely created by Merlin's spell. In the present, Jason Blood, a well respected authority on demonology, is well versed in the skill of magic and has helped other superheroes in several occasions. Etrigan's habit of speaking in verses is a later addition, introduced by Len Wein
in DC Comics Presents
#66, but really established and explained by Alan Moore
. This also makes him fall under almost every rhyme Trope there is.
Etrigan's powers include superhuman strength, speed, durability, regenerative powers, hellfire projection, teleportation, and a high knowledge of maleficium. Jason Blood on the other hand is precognitive, as well as a capable sorcerer himself.
Etrigan has also appeared in various animated adaptations of DC comics, being played by Billy Zane
in Batman: The Animated Series
, Michael T. Weiss in Justice League
, Dee Bradley Baker
in Batman: The Brave and the Bold
and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
, and Christopher S. Field in DC Universe Online
His latest ongoing, Demon Knights
, sees Etrigan leading a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
in Dark Age Europe
Tropes associated with Etrigan include:
- Ambiguous Gender: Klarion's cat familiar Teekl alternates between male and female Depending on the Writer. Kirby's version (and appearance in an animated adaptation) was female (including an alternate humanoid form), while Morrison's is characterized as male.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Baron Von Evilstein
- Badass: Etrigan was rampaging through Hell when he was still a child and even higher level demons are afraid of the havoc and destruction he commits. He frequently goes hand to hand with people such as Lobo and Superman, Wonder Woman and other DC heavy hitters.
- Badass Normal: Jason Blood is no pushover either.
- Big Brother Bully: Etrigan was this to his brother Scapegoat.
- The Big Guy: Usually when teaming up.
- Blessed with Suck: Jason is thousands of years old, has witnessed the birth and fall of nations, traveled the world, and become a future seeing sorcerer. Oh...and he is forever bonded with a destructive demon from Hell that he doesn't get along with. At all.
- Blood Knight: Etrigan, even when he is acting as a hero on the side of the good guys, never tries to make it a secret that he enjoys fighting and general destruction.
- Breath Weapon: Etrigan can breath hellfire from his mouth, though he can also project it from his hands.
- By the Power of Grayskull!
- Often, especially in adaptations, only the two last lines are used. To change back, he recites "Gone, gone, O Etrigan! Resume once more the form of man!"
- Other versions of the poem have been seen to work. Spoofed at least once by Blood himself, while in a particularly snarky mood:
Gone, oh little man so tame,
Arise the demon... Whatsisname?
- In one story, Blood is turned into a fly and is forced to write out the poem in the dust in a desperate hope that could trigger the change: it works.
- Child Mage: Klarion the Witch-Boy is an absurdly powerful little brat who, in his first appearance: cures a deadly poison, conjures up a feast, banishes a monster with a fork, and summons the Demon to his aid while tied up and suspended from the ceiling.
- Cigar Chomper: Henry won't let go of a cigar even in a dead faint.
- Combat Sadomasochist: Etrigan enjoys receiving pain just as much as giving it. Even as an infant.
Etrigan: Blood is drawn! I am impressed—though my hell-spawned powers will heal it! Besides...next to giving pain, my favorite sport's to feel it!
- Creepy Child: Klarion the Witch-Boy
- Cursed with Awesome
- Dark Is Not Evil: He may be a demon, but that doesn't make him any less of a good guy.
- Depending on how he feels at the time, really. Sometimes Etrigan will do good for the sake of good, or need coercing by Jason.
- Demon Lords And Arch Devils: Etrigan is one of the higher-ups in Hell. A helpful indicator of his position in the hierarchy is his rhyming.
- His father Belial is also one of the three rulers of Hell.
- Depending on the Writer:
- The nature of his relationship to Jason Blood.
- Whether anyone else can force the transformation.
- The quality of his rhymes.
- Whether he's evil, apparently, though that may just be John Byrne.
- Whether Klarion's cat familiar Teekl is a male or female. (Female in Kirby's case, male in Morrison's.)
- Eldritch Abomination: A sizable portion of foes.
- Enfante Terrible:
- Klarion. In his second appearance, he very nearly kills Jason Blood/Etrigan for good.
- A baby Etrigan was this as well, forcing his father to create Merlin.
- Ethnic Magician: Randu
- Evil Laugh: A staple of the villains. Etrigan himself has been known to have a few evil chuckles.
- Evil Matriarch: Etrigan's mother is a serpent that Belial was afraid would eat him.
- The Fettered: Etrigan
- Game Face: On the occasions he only half-transforms.
- Good Is Not Nice: Jason Blood, especially outside of the Demon's own series. He isn't a villain, but he also doesn't bother often interfering with any disasters that aren't supernatural in nature.
- Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter
- Hell: Usually the Fire and Brimstone Hell.
- Hellfire: Etrigan can breath this from his mouth, or fire it from his hands. It has the effect of burning his target's soul and mind.
- Horrifying Hero: Etrigan is a demon grafted onto the soul of a knight who betrayed Camelot.
- Instant Runes
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: His transformation is triggered by anyone saying the poem. Depending on the Writer, sometimes even writing it does the trick.
- Least Rhymable Word
- Magic Knight: Jason was a literal knight of Camelot. And he has picked up a lot of useful sorcery over his few thousand years of life. However he is more of a "sit in a mystic circle and chanting" kind of magician.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast:
- His foe, called Baron von Evilstein (his true name is Von Rakenstein).
- Frequently, Jason Blood himself.
- Noble Demon: Though not particularly noble or magnanimous himself, even when he is doing good, Etrigan is royalty, as his father is one of the three rulers of hell, making Etrigan a prince.
- At times when he is in the mood, Etrigan himself can recognise the good qualities of others and lend them his assistance. But it's rare to catch him in this mood.
- Older than They Look: Haircut aside, Jason Blood looks exactly as he did in King Arthur's time.
- Our Demons Are Different
- Planet of Hats: Klarion is from Witch-World, a dimension where everyone has at least some skill in wizardry. However, being a child, adults were constantly telling him what he could and couldn't do with his powers and what kinds of sorcery he could and couldn't practice. Coming to our dimension where he was free to do whatever he wanted solved that problem for him.
- Really Gets Around: Belial, Etrigan's father has three children, by three different mothers. Though considering he is a very high ranked demon, it's understandable he'd have multiple wives.
- Red-Headed Hero
- Rhymes on a Dime: Apparently, this is required among the nobility of Hell. It takes an incredible amount of effort for him to speak without rhyming his words.
- The Scapegoat: Etrigan's little brother.
- Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can
- Skunk Stripe: Jason Blood
- Split Personality
- Summon Magic: Klarion the Witch-Boy is capable of summoning Etrigan to his aid in his first appearance.
- Super Strength: He's been known to be able to trade blows with folks as strong as Superman and Lobo.
- Torches and Pitchforks
- The Trickster: Frequently, Etrigan's own motivation is his own amusement... such as when he intentionally triggered a war between Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory over the vessel of God's divine rage, just to get more serious (and dull) demons abused when the heroes inevitably won.
- Unusual Eyebrows: Jason's are swooped and very, very noticeable.
- Urban Fantasy
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Etrigan and Lobo are a Type 2 duo, prone to physically pummeling each other as their way of saying "Hi."
- Voluntary Shapeshifting
- Where I Was Born and Razed: Even though it's Hell, Etrigan spent quite a lot of time terrorizing Hell as a child.