Created by the late Steve Gerber for Marvel Comics
, the Foolkiller
is clearly an offbeat character in the same vein as Howard the Duck
. The only difference is, he's played totally straight. The name is inspired partially by the O. Henry
story of the same name and the novel by Helen Eustis, the latter of which was made into a movie starring, appropriately enough, Anthony Perkins. There is also a minor character of this name in L. Frank Baum's "The Enchanted Island of Yew".
The original Foolkiller was introduced in Man-Thing
#3 (March, 1974) and killed in the the following issue. Several individuals have adopted the mantle of the Foolkiller, such as Ross G. Everbest, Greg Salinger, Kurt Gerhardt, and Mike Trace. Trace's incarnation appears in the Marvel Max universe. Each incarnation modified the definition of "fool" to fit his mission. Everbest, being a devout Christian, sought out those whom he considered sinners. Salinger, on the other hand, hunted those whom he deemed lacked a poetic soul. Gerhardt's razor sharp definition of fool caused him to target those whom he judged to be guilty pursuing "momentary gratification" at the expense of others.
Foolkiler provides examples of the following tropes: