troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Deal With The Devil: Comics
  • Jack Chick has used this motif several different times, notably in "Angels?" and "The Contract". This is arguably a subversion, since the point of these tracts is to contend that Jesus could save you even from one of those contracts if you have the requisite faith. (And if you don't have faith in Jesus, the devil gets you whether you sign a contract or not.)
    • "The Contract" is almost certainly intended as a Deconstruction of The Devil and Daniel Webster, while "Angels" is an over-the-top Take That to rock music. It's not clear whether Jack Chick really believes Satan has ever showed up in person and tried to buy anyone's soul, though he's willing to work with the idea as a hypothetical situation in his stories.
    • Given that the contract actually makes zero difference in whether the devil gets your soul, it's not clear why he goes around making these offers anyway. Possibly to trap people in despair (because they think the contract is unbreakable), or maybe just For the Evulz.
      • "The Contract" does hint at another potential reason near the end: such a contract can be useful as a False Reassurance to any friends and associates of the signer who didn't make any deals with the devil. It certainly served up a nasty Twist Ending for Bob Goode:
      Bob Goode: But the contract! ...I didn't have a contract with you! You can't get my soul!
      B. Fox: You fool! ...I don't need a contract! I've got everyone anyway.
  • In Hellblazer, John Constantine, of The DCU but mostly of Vertigo Comics, has a reputation of usually being able to get the upper hand in Infernal Contracts, earning him the irritation of Heaven and Hell. Most notably, he sold his soul to all three archdemons, meaning he can't die until they've resolved who actually gets it. Being Archdemons, they aren't inclined to compromise, and the only alternative is open war between them - something they are very keen to avoid.
  • In what was likely a case of Stupid Evil taken Up to Eleven, Doctor Strange's old enemy Baron Mordo tried to obtain power by selling his soul to not one, but two powerful demonic entities, Mephisto and Satannish. He got greater power, but it wasn't enough to defeat Strange, and things got much, much, worse when both demons came to collect. Mordo had counted on Strange to save him, but the two demons started fighting each other over Mordo's soul, each one apparently willing to destroy the Earth before letting the other have it. (Strange managed to drive them away with a ritual that would have merged them together into the evil singularity they originally were, forcing them to flee to avoid it, and seeing as they haven't bothered Mordo since, the contracts he made with them seem to have been annulled somehow.)
  • The case of Ghost Rider of the Marvel Universe and Spawn. In the movie adaptation of Ghost Rider, Mephistopheles plays a little hard and loose with the rules in order for the plot to portray Johnny Blaze more sympathetically. He pricks Johnny's finger while Johnny is just looking the contract over (and thus did not give clear, informed consent), and the splash of blood counts as a deal. He then cures Johnny's father's cancer, but kills said father the very same day via a motorcycle accident. In the Ghost Rider comics, Blaze still made the deal with the devil, except The Ghost Rider is actually an angel. Thus, when Johnny dies and goes to Hell, he can and does escape. If he dies without the Ghost Rider, however, he still goes to Hell permanently.
  • Animamundi Dark Alchemist has a nice variation on this, where the lead character sells his soul in exchange for his sister's life after she was attacked by a monster in the woods. Not only was Mephistopheles the one who attacked her in the first place, he did so because she had sold her soul to him a little while earlier in exchange for her brother's life. Naturally, Mephistopheles is quite pleased with himself for that one.
    • There is also a subversion in that game. Dr. Bruno Glening wants a deal with Mephistopheles, but Mephisto finds Bruno so repulsive that he rejects every attempt, and it has gotten to the point where he even refuses to answer the man's summons.
  • Subverted by Thanos in Marvel's The Infinity Crusade. Mephisto offers a key piece of information in subduing the Goddess in exchange for one of her cosmic containment units. When Mephisto later returns after the conflict has concluded to collect his payment, he decides to test his new toy against Thanos, only to realize that it is powerless. Thanos then clarifies that, while he had honored their agreement by providing Mephisto with a unit, it was never specified that he wanted one that functioned.
  • In The DCU Crisis Crossover Underworld Unleashed lots of villains (and a few Anti Heroes) sell their souls to the demon Neron in exchange for additional powers. (Well, most of them. Lex Luthor did it to cure his cancer. The Joker did it for a box of Cuban cigars.) Many find that the gifts have nasty side effects. The demon's ultimate plan was to corrupt, and then buy, the soul of Captain Marvel. When Cap selflessly offers his uncorrupted soul in exchange for nothing but the safety of his friends, Neron has no choice but to accept the deal, even though Captain Marvel had offered exactly what Trickster had told him, and so was safe: Neron could not collect if there was nothing in the bargain for the other person.
    • In a later story, Kid Red Devil, a former C-List sidekick, is offered super powers by Neron so that he can join the Teen Titans. He is allowed to keep his soul as long as his trust in his hero, Blue Devil, isn't broken, otherwise he loses his soul to Neron when he turns twenty. Naturally, things don't work out; in a Call Back to Underworld Unleashed Neron immediately tells him that his aunt's death was the result of the deal between Neron and Blue Devil.
    • Later, the Trickster himself offers Neron a bargain to protect his ex-girlfriend's son and the rest of the Rogues Gallery. He asked for nothing for himself, for the same protection. Fortunately, he only later did the arithmetic for the son's age.
    • Another interesting story with Neron came involved, weirdly enough, Santa Claus. After he'd captured the entire JLA, Santa defeated Neron by giving him a Christmas present with no strings attached and asking for nothing in return, which violated his every rule of trade and contracts. This was just a bedtime story told by Plastic Man....
    • Another one had Neron approach Oracle with a deal - the restoration of her legs to be his historian. No soul-selling required, just record what was going to happen. She actually thought about it for awhile, but turned it down in the end, stating that if she did take it, she'd still be selling her soul either way. Neron quietly dropped the subject and left peacefully.
    • When Neron brought the Flash's Rogues Gallery back wrong Wally and his wife Linda made separate deals with Neron to set them right (since they were mindless killing machine far more evil and dangerous than the real Rogues were). Except instead of their souls, Neron asked each to give up their love for the other. Both agreed, and they split. (Un)fortunately, holding their love 'polluted' Neron, who began to treat the damned with kindness. He asked them to take back the bargain, and both refused (since neither one cared about the other, neither had any desire to get their love back). Ultimately the Neron begged them to take a new deal, taking back their love in return for him releasing any and all remaining hold on the Rogues.
  • A light-hearted parody. In the Hong Kong comic The World Of Lily Wong the hero worked for a deeply immoral advertising agency named Faust Associates whose logo was a devil.
  • The infamous Spider-Man arc 'One More Day' involves Spider-Man allowing Mephisto, the Marvel Universe's version of Satan to save his Aunt May's life in exchange for undoing his marriage to the woman he loves, thus wiping away the last twenty years of his life. For numerous reasons (including the fact that if Mephisto was actually powerful enough to do this, the entire Marvel Universe would be screwed, since he'd use the power in far more evil ways than just wiping out Spidey's marriage), many Spider-Man fans consider this particular entry to be idiotic. Even Stan Lee disregards One More Day.
  • The main character of Jack of Fables has been selling his soul to a series of devils since he was in his twenties, gaining another hundred years of life every time he does it. Unfortunately for him, Fables are immortal anyway, so he wasn't gaining anything from it.
  • Subverted in an early story arc of James Robinson's Starman for DC where a demonic poster stole the souls of whoever looked at it. The demon offered to return the souls of all he had taken if Starman, the Shade and Matt O'Dare gave up theirs. They agreed and the people were freed but they kept their souls because the demon stated that part of the rules in such bargains was that he couldn't keep a soul offered in a purely selfless act.
  • The XXXenophile story "Demonstration of Affection".
  • Sistah Spooky's backstory in Empowered is a subversion. The deal she cut when she was her high school's Butt Monkey was only for beauty, but her caseworker screwed up the paperwork and she got Fearsome Arcane Might as a bonus. (Her first plan was Bloody Vengeance on her Alpha Bitch tormentors, but the demon couldn't inflict harm on other clients of Hell — they'd all sold their souls for beauty already.)
    • This comes back to bite her in the ass in the most tragic way imaginable. Her initial refusal to give back the powers is played for laughs, but later on the demon approaches her again when she is already near the Despair Event Horizon (thanks to her ex-lover Mind***'s death and her own impending dismemberment by Deathmonger) and reveals that he got into a lot of trouble because she wouldn't give her powers back, but that it's okay now, because now he's going to spend eternity torturing and violating his new toy, Mind*** in the most sadistically horrific ways imaginable. Whether he was telling the truth or just trying to push her buttons, it was a rather cruel way of making the point that one does not casually flip off Cthulhu.
  • A variant occurs in the Sleepwalker comics, where the demonic genie Mr. Jyn manifests on Earth by pretending to serve a human "master" and get back at those who wronged him, only to manipulate him into letting Mr. Jyn cause more and more mayhem until the demon is released in the process.
  • Subverted (twice) in the novel Superman: Miracle Monday:
    • After Lex Luthor accidentally releases a demon from Hell named Saturn on Earth, the demon offers him a bargain... except it turns out it was really Superman in disguise, tricking Luthor into revealing where the Hell portal was located.
    • Saturn tries to get get Superman to break his no-killing vow (to morally break him down) by possessing an innocent girl, then telling the hero the only way to stop him from further ruining the World would be to kill her. However, Superman refuses, even if it means the two would be locked in eternal combat. It turns out that by refusing, Superman actually won a wish from the demon (the rules governing demons demanded it) and Superman uses it to return everything to normal.
  • Subverted in the Spider-Man comics in the 1990s by the Jason Macendale Hobgoblin, a B-list villain who had been struggling to increase his powers. During a demonic invasion of New York, Macendale seeks out the demons' leader and offers to trade his soul for power. In a ghoulishly ironic twist, the demon openly laughs at the idea, considering Macendale's soul to be too pitiful to be worth taking, but goes ahead and gives Macendale the power of a demon anyway, just for making him laugh. Macendale's additional power made him a more formidable opponent, even coming close to killing Spider-Man on a couple of occasions, but it also ended up making him go Ax-Crazy and turning him into a fanatical Knight Templar. Macendale wasn't exactly a Butt Monkey, but no matter what he tried to do to increase his powers, he just couldn't catch a break...
    • And then he got turned into a cyborg. And THEN he got killed by the original Hobgoblin... only for said original Hobgoblin to immediately retire and not do anything ever again.
  • Subverted by the Black Panther, the Marvel Comics hero. The Black Panther pledged his soul to Mephisto (yes, that Mephisto) in exchange for Mephisto agreeing to depower an enemy of the Panther's that he had given great demonic power to. Mephisto lived up to his end of the bargain, and so did the Panther...but when Mephisto tried to claim the Panther's soul, Mephisto found that it was linked to the souls of the Panther God and every single previous Black Panther warrior in existence, whose sheer goodness threatened to destroy him. Mephisto requested that the Black Panther agree to release him from the pact, and the Panther agreed. This is probably one of the only cases where the Devil is the one who asks that the contract be voided.
  • Subverted by Mephisto again in Universe X, when he offers Captain America a device that can spirit him away to an extratemporal limbo any time he's in danger of dying. In fact, Mephisto is counting on Cap rejecting it; the real temptation is for the Captain to reject offers of help and depend on his own abilities to a fault. He dies shortly thereafter, nearly derailing Mar-Vell's plan to defeat Mephisto and Death (and when Cap bats the device away, it activates and sets another temporal plan in motion). That Mephisto guy is getting Dangerously Genre Savvy about this sort of thing....
  • In The Sandman, this trope gets a real workout in many different forms. Morpheus makes several deals over the course of the comic, in each case giving people almost exactly what they asked for in return for a seemingly negligible gain to himself — but what the humans get out it of inevitably turns out to be a heavy cost in and by itself.
    • Morpheus made a deal with William Shakespeare: in return for bringing out Shakespeare's own latent creativity, Will would write two plays centering around dreams. The first of these is performed for The Fair Folk (A Midsummer Night's Dream) as something of a gift from Morpheus to Titania. At first glance it seems like a real bargain. However, the last panel of the story implies that the Fae queen Titania's interest in Shakespeare's son Hamnet lead to the boy's death soon after the play was performed for the Fae. The second play is The Tempest, written just before Shakespeare died, and is implied in the comic to be about Morpheus himself. After Shakespeare delivers the second play, Morpheus even tells Will what his life would have been like if he had never made the deal.
      Morpheus: You would have written a handful of other plays, in quality no better than, say, The Merrye Devil of Edmonton, and then you would have come home to Stratford. You would have taught school, saved a little money. You would have bought a house, let it out, and bought another. You would have made your money in bricks and mortar—enough for your family's coat of arms, enough to make them forget your father's setbacks. You would not have been satisfied with your life; and, from time to time, you would have bored your children with the tales of your years in London, your days on the stage.
      William: And my boy Hamnet. Would he have lived?...No. Do not tell me. I have already heard too much.
    • Dream and his sister Death also makes a deal with one Robert "Hob" Gadling - Death will not touch him unless he truly desires it. However, the 'payment' that Dream gets from it isn't anything more substantial than fulfilling his curiosity, and a standing appointment with Gadling once every century. During their second meeting, Gadling even lampshades this trope and wonders if Morpheus is the devil and if he's now forfeited his soul for his immortality without his knowledge and consent. Morpheus replies that neither is the case: He is no devil, 'merely interested'. In the end, the story states that what Morpheus truly gained from it was, intentionally or not, a human friend.
    • In "Ramadan", Harun al-Rashid makes a deal with Morpheus. He sells his kingdom (the gleaming Baghdad of legend, full of wonders and miracles) to Morpheus so it can be preserved for ever without decaying like so many previous civilizations of men. When the deal is done, Morpheus retains the fabled city in a bottle in his realm, and the caliph wakes up in the historic Baghdad, a more mundane place. And the city of wonders now lives on forever in legends and stories, never to be forgotten, as we can see at the end of the issue.
    • Finally and perhaps most poignantly, in the "Season of Mists" arc, Lucifer himself criticizes this trope as it pertains to him:
    Lucifer: They talk of me going like a fishwife come market day, never stopping to ask themselves why. I need no souls. And how can anyone own a soul? No. They belong to themselves... They just hate to have to face up to it.
...
Skinner's ghost: We sacrificed a boy. All three of us. To the devil. We did stuff from old books. We did stuff you wouldn't believe. But when we went to Hell ... they didn't care. They hadn't even known. They—they laughed at us.
  • In Hack/Slash a wannabe rocker named Jeffrey Brevard ("Six Sixx") sells his soul and the souls of his band to an entity he thinks is the Devil (it's not) in exchange for fame and fortune (and demonic powers). As a part of the deal he also has to supply his benefactor with virgins for... breeding purposes. Also, Elvis apparently got his talent from the same entity.
  • In The Warlord Deimos, who'd been reduced to a head on a hand by that point, makes a deal with The Evil One to restore his body, as payment the Evil One takes Deimos' magic skill, which Deimos needs to fight the Warlord.
  • In an old comic, a shopkeeper makes a deal with what looks like a devil, and spends the rest of his life being nice and all that jazz. Then, when he's about to die, the being appears and tells him he's an angel. So, the guy goes to heaven.
  • Invoked by name in the Squadron Supreme limited series when Tom Thumb tries to get a cancer cure from the Scarlet Centurion, a Conqueror From The Future.
  • In Batman 666, Future Bad Ass Damian Wayne, having taken the mantle of Batman, made a deal with the Devil to protect Gotham. Even when pumped full of bullets, he survived and his injuries healed almost immediately afterwards with no lasting effects.
  • During a late 90s Superman arc, Lex Luthor bought out the Daily Planet for the express purpose of shutting it down. Later, Perry White found backers to help him buy the Planet back, rehiring Clark, Lois, Jimmy and the rest of his staff to put out the paper... Only for Lex to sell it to Perry for the price of one dollar. It was later revealed that Lois had secretly brokered a deal with Lex for the sale of the Planet; in exchange, Lois agreed to kill a story of Lex's choice at an unspecified date in the future. It turned out to be a story that would've sunk Lex's presidential campaign.
    • Lois gets out of it by telling Clark, who writes the story himself (after all, he didn't make a deal with Lex).
  • In Usagi Yojimbo, a priest/healer named Jizonobu hands himself over to his Evil Counterpart's evil gods after the latter appears to have healed a sickly child (the other option being to die along with his fellow priests and another sickly child). It gets worse: The being that takes over Jizonobu's body transforms him into the Axe Crazy Chaotic Evil Jei. Guess what happens to the above-mentioned fellow priests.
  • Gen 13: Heroine Caitlin Fairchild resolves a Brought Down to Normal storyline by making a deal with series villainess Ivana Baiul: restore her powers now, in exchange for performing one mission for Ivana sometime in the future. The plot hook is left alone until Adam Warren's run, where he has Ivana call in the favor for one issue — only to reveal that she'd been repeatedly using Fairchild on missions, only to erase her memory of the job, and of repaying her debt, every time.
  • Kicks off the entire plot in Tanpopo.
  • In Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja , after Sgt. Levin was dying of a chest wound, she is instantly healed by Psychopathic Manchild Reality Warper Alfie O'Meagan after she agrees to perform a favor for him in the future.
  • In Irredeemable, the Hornet made a deal with alien invaders: they would leave Earth alone and help bring down the Plutonian if Hornet's suspicions were borne out; in return, the Hornet would provide the aliens with teleportation technology and the locations of other planets to invade instead.
  • Frank Castle makes one in the alternate timeline Marvel MAX. The comic Born depicts his final battles in Vietnam before being sent back home, and has him stationed at a run-down base manned mostly by drug addicts and slackers. So when a massive Vietcong offensive comes, the base is quickly overrun. Before long, Castle is the last man facing hordes of NVC in close combat, and a voice that had coaxed him to accept an agreement throughout the comic returns forcefully. It rams home the concept that he can either die here, never to see his wife and children again, or he can accept its terms, which will require a payment but will allow him to continue fighting a war forever. As the combat reaches a brutal fever pitch and the voice is practically shouting in his head, the Punisher growls "Yes." Later on, when he meets his wife and kids at the airport, the voice returns. It casually reminds him that it had mentioned a price, and Frank sees Maria and the children outlined by the infamous Punisher skull.
  • In X-Men Fear Itself, Cyclops sent Illyana, Shadowcat and Colossus to Cytorak in the hopes of getting the Juggernaut depowered a little. It worked, though Piotr took his sister's place and became the new Juggernaut. Illyana knew he would do this, and allowed it just to show Piotr that demonic corruption changes people forever. Worse, she could have freed him at any time with her own powers but let him suffer just to make her point.
  • A teenage boy summons the eponymous demonic rock group to make a deal for wealth and and power (but ultimately ends up settling for a blowjob) in the Cherry Comics story "Bimbos from Hell".
  • In The Smurfs comic book story "Sagratamabarb", Gargamel makes a deal with Beelzebub that, if he can get rid of his titular cousin, he would be his slave forever. It didn't turn out well for Gargamel.
  • In Angel and Faith #10 and #11, two of Giles' spoiled and snobbish aunts come to Angel and Faith for help. They made deals with several demons in exchange for eternal youth, beauty, perfect health, etc. As the demons come out of the woodwork looking to collect on their bargains, Angel and Faith slay them one by one, with the aunts refusing to lift a finger to help. One of the demons says that the aunts bargained a kiss for his gift, so Angel and Faith let him pass. As the demon forcefully French-kisses the complaining aunts, the next demon that comes calls a truce and says he will leave satisfied if Angel and Faith let him watch.
  • Doctor Doom made a deal with a cabal of demons in the "Irredeemable" story arc that involved selling his former childhood love's soul to them and wearing her skin as his new armor. He nearly defeats Reed thanks to his new power, but then he arrogantly claimed he wasn't subservient to any other power. The demons responded by dragging him into hell.
  • DC's Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi #2 had "Dark Agent." The girls get rid of Kaz and sign a contract to make the Devil their agent, for which in return they will get success and riches beyond their dreams. But they become bored with it after awhile, and they can't reneg because the contract was for all eternity. Kaz arrives and challenges the Devil to a duel with guitars to win back the girls.
  • Creepy:
    • In "The Cool Jazz Ghoul" in Creepy #34 a jazz musician whose day job was at a funeral parlor offered his soul in exchange for enough money to start his own jazz club - then slipped the devil's human form some wine laced with embalming fluid and sold the body to a circus.
    • In "Gunsmoke Charly" in Creepy #35 a gunslinger wannabe sold his soul to the devil in exchange for invulnerability to bullets. Eventually the guilt and paranoia got to him.
  • In the pre-Code horror story "The Man Who Tricked the Devil!", the Devil's Jackass Genie tendencies are already firmly established in two anecdotes that the protagonist Jeffrey Hagstone's friends tell him - a art collector wishing to marry the offspring of the most beautiful people in the world is betrothed to a woman with leprosy, and promptly catches her disease; a diplomat who wishes to become prime minister of his own Ruritanian autocracy is assassinated a minute after his glorious regime begins. Hagstone, meanwhile, is insistent that he'll come out the better man in their deal, because the highly accomplished lawyer has drafted his own contract, with thousands of added clauses to ensure no treachery on Satan's part. However, as such documents are typically signed in blood, Jeff has to sign each clause separately as well... and dies of blood loss before he gets to the dotted line.
  • One Archie Comics story has Jughead discovering a Diner On The Hill That Wasn't There Yesterday (Heck, nobody's sure if the hill was there either!). Inside, the only waitress, Darlene, offers the house special, a...well, put bluntly it's like a Dagwood Sandwich made with Pizzas instead of bread and topped with cheeseburgers, but in exchange Jughead must give up his most important aspect- his metabolism! Confused, Jug nonetheless goes along with it. However, a Big Eater lifestyle minus the needed metabolism causes Jughead to bloat up very quickly. Archie learns about the trade and gives up his pure heart to get the metabolism back. But without his pure heart, Archie is just another womanizing boy. Betty and Veronica decide to go after the pure heart and give up their compassion and status, respectively, but because Veronica's status came from her father's fortune, this causes the Lodge family to go broke, and without her compassion Betty becomes a female Reggie. To add salt to the wound, Darlene is con artist who didn't really give anything up. With the help of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Jughead is able to set things right by forcing Darlene to take on the pure heart and compassion, making Darlene nice enough to push the Reset Button. (Well, not quite- Jughead has to work off the weight he put on). There's also a Running Gag about the gang assuming Darlene wanted their souls, followed by an Imagine Spot of said soul annoying Darlene somehow. When the girls do this, Darlene, she shouts, "What is it with you kids and souls!?"
Anime & MangaDeal with the DevilFan Fic

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
52611
39