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Deal With The Devil / Comic Books

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  • In And Then Emily Was Gone, Bonnie Shaw (the bogeyman) is called when a parent makes a deal in exchange for their child. Emily's mother made a deal to get rid of her husband's sickness.
  • In Angel & 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.
  • 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.
  • Archie Comics:
    • One 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 a 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!?"
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    • Issue 75 of Betty and Veronica has Betty making a deal with "Mr Inferno" (who has an angular Nonstandard Character Design) to get Archie's heart. As it turns out, Veronica also made a deal with him. When the two get pissed at him, he calls off the deal and goes back to Hell.
  • 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".
  • Creepy:
    • In "The Cool Jazz Ghoul" in Creepy #34 a jazz musician whose day job is at a funeral parlor offers his soul in exchange for enough money to start his own jazz club - then slips the devil's human form some wine laced with embalming fluid and sells the body to a circus.
    • In "Gunsmoke Charly" in Creepy #35 a gunslinger wannabe sells his soul to the devil in exchange for invulnerability to bullets. Eventually the guilt and paranoia get to him.
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  • As Alice found out in this strip in Dilbert, becoming a manager requires this sort of deal. Fortunately, they give you your soul back if you're demoted or learn to play sax.
  • One ''Donald Duck'' story has him going to the Deep South to become a folk singer after hearing a story about an ancestor of his was one and saved a town from a family of hillbillies who made one of these and takes the nephews along, on the way they meet a Big Fun Pig Man tax collector who hitches a ride because he's going to the same town and loves Donalds horrible singing voice. When they arrive it turns out that the hillbillies from the story are still around and Donald briefly has a Heroic BSoD after hearing a recording of his voice and realizes both he and his ancestor were both sounded horrible although he recovers when he realizes his singing really does act like a Kryptonite Factor for the hillbillies and their monsters. Later they find out that the tax collector managed to beat the hillbillies offpanel after Donald drove them back and after he leaves they realize the truth: the "tax collector" was the devil come to collect the hillbilies souls and the reason why Donald's and his ancestors voice acts like a Kryptonite Factor for the monsters is because he likes their singing so much he added that into the contract.
  • Dylan Dog has multiple examples with different devils and supernatural entities, who grant the wish in different manners but always demand a soul in exchange:
    • "Baba Yaga" is centered about two such deals made by the same person. Said person was terminally ill and stole from a gangster so his family could live well after he died, and the gangster in retaliation killed his family after he told him why he had done so. To have his revenge, the man sold his soul a devil so the gangster and his men would die before him... And then the devil tells him he'll kill them right before he dies, so he won't be able to see them dying and enjoy his revenge. Furious, the man makes another deal, offering his soul to Baba Yaga in exchange for their death. Yaga teleports him to where he can enjoy the show and then blows them up in a way that sets them on fire immediately... And the devil shows up because the man had sold the soul to him first, and refuses to let him die (and thus let Yaga claim his soul) until he can take said soul.
    • In another occasion Dylan was hired by a man who had sold his soul in exchange for being cured of his stutter... Except the devil had failed to deliver, so he wanted Dylan to go to that devil's London office and force him to void the deal. After accepting that the man was not a madman (and thus not trying to get him interned), Dylan went to the devil's office and found that the devil was more than willing to void the contract if his powers had failed to cure his stutter, only to find out the hard way the man had slipped a clause that made him the new devil if the contract was voided and had been faking not losing his stutter. That devil lived just long enough to tell Dylan he had got the job in pretty much the same way.
  • 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.
  • The main character of Jack of Fables has been selling his soul to a series of devils since he was in his twenties, originally to gain a physical body after being killed the first time and banned from the afterlife. He gains another hundred years of life every time he does it. It in of itself may have been unnecessary since popular fables like himself are pretty much immortal and tend to get new bodies or at least something similar takes their place eventually. He realizes too late that in the long run it is a bad deal because sooner or later he will run out of devils to deal with and things to offer while agreeing to suffer torments punishments each time. When they come to collect he is screwed.
  • Gen¹³: 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.
  • 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.
  • Jack Chick has used this motif several different times, notably in "Angels?," "The Contract", and "It's A Deal." 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.
    • At some point, though, the First of the Fallen discovered that God had lied to him to keep a power balance in Hell, and he then destroyed his "brothers." However, he is later killed by Constantine's succubus buddy. Apparently, though, He got better.
    • Lucifer in the Hellblazer series plays this perfectly straight. He always tells the exact truth, always advises people seeking to making a deal with him that they need to think it over and be absolutely sure, and always holds true to the contract by giving the person exactly what they asked for. There are a lot of Oh, Crap! moments from people who make a deal with Lucifer, but they can't say they weren't warned. There just isn't any fine print.
    • In an early issue, the stock broker "Mammon Investments" has a contract which provides that if the client misses a commission payment, they forfeit "all intangibles in perpetuity". The clients' investments are always successful, but other things in their lives go wrong, causing them to miss a payment—at which point they find out that the "intangibles" they forfeit are their souls.
  • 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.
  • In Lori Lovecraft: My Favorite Redhead, Natasha Reich and Dick Van Von make a deal with a demon: Natasha wanting fame and power, and Dick riches. Things go badly for them when they fail to deliver the second Human Sacrifice.
  • In Lost at Sea, Raleigh believes that her mother sold Raleigh's soul to The Devil in exchange for career success and that The Devil placed her soul inside a cat.
  • Many a heroine of a Misty story would make one of these, for various reasons.
  • 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 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, appropriately after he overheard a conversation between the young actor and Christopher Barlowe about Faustus: 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.
      • And later the ghosts of some Satanic boarding school bullies express their disappointment that their efforts amounted to nothing:
      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.
  • The Simpsons: One Treehouse of Horror comic begins with Mr. Burns playing battleship with the Devil, and losing. Discussion turns to payment. He declines Smither's soul, but Mr. Burns reveals the plant's employees actually sold their families souls in the last round of contract negotiations. For three-ply toilet paper in the washrooms. As a result, the Devil sends two demons to grab Bart and Lisa's souls (not Maggie's. Babies stink up the place.) But due to a mix-up involving Bart switching the Simpsons and Flanders mailboxes, Rodd and Todd get taken instead.
  • 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.
  • Spawn Was Once a Man named Al Simmons, a CIA-employed assassin. Simmons was betrayed, murdered, and condemned to Hell for all of the horrific deeds he committed as an assassin, only to be approached by the demon Malebogia and offered a chance to return to the land of the living and be reunited with his wife, in exchange for his immortal soul. Thus was Simmons reborn as a Hellspawn (or "Spawn" for short), a powerful demon tasked with amassing an army of damned souls for the coming war between Heaven and Hell.
  • Tales of Telguuth: Pel Morgath the Mage summons the demon Zamprox to make a Faustian deal for more knowledge about the world, heaven, and hell. The demon agrees, but wants Morgath's body after he dies because he already has plenty of souls. Morgath senses that Zamprox might try to "bump up" his death, so he comes to an agreement with the demon that their definition of death will be when Morgath's soul leaves his body naturally and freely. Zamprox then shows Morgath an amulet that shows all the wonders and horrors of the wide fantasy world of Telguuth. Morgath then realizes that his soul is now trapped in the amulet, and since he agreed to enter freely his body is now controlled by the demon. When Morgath protests that he didn't honor their deal, the demon scoffs that he has shown him the world, but since he's a demon he wouldn't be able to show him heaven even if he wanted to. He'll show him hell by murdering everyone he has ever loved while he's forced to watch.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A light-hearted parody. In the Hong Kong comic The World of Lily Wong, the hero works for a deeply immoral advertising agency named Faust Associates whose logo is a devil.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Birthright, Mikey Rhodes agreed to serve God King Lore after he failed to defeat him. Lore sealed the deal by attaching a Nevermind (a malevolent spirit that is an extension of his own will) to Mikey's soul. The Nevermind gives Mikey advice and grants him power while they serve Lore, but it also enforces Lore's will. Removing it isn't really an option either, since being bonded to Mikey's soul also made it necessary for Mikey to survive. If it goes, Mikey goes with it.
  • The trope is referenced in Nikolai Dante, when Akita Sagawa hires Nikolai to help apprehend Katarina. Nikolai turns the tables, taking out the Yakuza air force that was going to destroy Katarina's pirates and 'accidentally' kill him.
    Murakami: We made a deal...
    Nikolai: You'd be better off dealing with the devil.
  • Doxta of Black Science is happy to bargain with those who approach, sometimes by offering to give them back something she just took in exchange for some greater sacrifice. It's implied she's amused by the suffering endured as her victims live out their lives knowing what they've lost.
  • Tex Willer examples:
  • In Soulsearchers and Company #6, a demon transforms the team into '90s antiheroes and presents them with a contract to make their new identities and popularity permanent in exchange for their souls. Their new personalities are inclined to sign, and it is down to Arnold to save the day.
  • Spoofed in Sturmtruppen, when the Doctor becomes so obsessed with returning young he admits he'd make one such deal... And Musolesi promptly sells him a cooking book that he passes as a coded grimoire to summon the Devil. And then Musolesi finds out the Doctor has a lot of gold stashed away, so he feigns being the Devil to con him out of that gold.
  • Vampirella: The villain Von Kreist was a World War 1 Prussian officer who sold his soul to a demon in exchange for immortality. Unfortunately for Von Kreist, the deal didn't stop his body for rotting and decaying while he was alive.

Alternative Title(s): Comics


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