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Deal With The Devil / Comics

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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Superman:
    • Averted the classic story Superman #149: Death of Superman. On trial in the bottle city of Kandor for Superman's murder, Luthor smugly thinks he'll get out of this. After being found guilty, Luthor offers to restore the Kandorians to their full size in exchange for his freedom, certain they'll take the deal. To his shock, the Kandorians would rather stay in the bottle than owe their freedom to Superman's killer and send Luthor to the Phantom Zone.
    • During a late 90s 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).
    • Subverted (twice) in the novel 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 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.
  • In what may well be his greatest moment, when John Constantine discovered he had terminal cancer, he sold his soul to Lucifer for a cure. Naturally, Lucifer reneged and showed up as John was dying, gloating on all the tortures he would give him. Suddenly, in come the other two Lords of Hell, Satan and Bellezuub to show up and relate that John sold his soul to each of them as well. They argue before John points out the issue: All three of them have a claim to his soul and would have to go into a war so vicious that God himself would have to step in to wipe out all three. The only way to get out of this jam? Cure John of cancer and call the deals off. Nothing says Magnificent Bastard like this.
  • 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.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The White Magician made a deal for more Dark Magic power to be able to defeat Wonder Woman, but when he tired to fully use his new power it ended up killing him as soon as he'd killed the current Wonder Woman (Artemis).
    • Wonder Woman (2006): An even more evil and vindictive Ares than usual, possibly due to the deaths of his children, warns a traitorous Amazon that those who make deals with him rarely get what they want from said deals. This does nothing to dissuade her.
  • 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.
  • Swamp Thing: During Alan Moore's run, Jason Blood reveals he made an agreement with Etrigan some time before to try and moderate the demon's appearance. However, as Jason points out, there was a little flaw in this plan: Demons cheat, it's in their nature, and the deal is having a negative impact on Jason. Meanwhile, as this is happening, Matt Cable is in a car crash, and makes a deal with another figure in exchange for what he thinks is his life... It's Anton Arcane, creepy uncle of his estranged wife Abby, and Matt's corpse is possessed.

Marvel Universe

  • Of all the evil entities, Mephisto, the Marvel Universe's version of Satan, is the major example of these trope. It his trademark.
  • 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. 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 signature. 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.
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man
    • The infamous arc One More Day involves Spider-Man allowing Mephisto 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.
      • In a mild subversion, Mephisto doesn't bargain for Peter or Mary Jane's souls, and in fact tells them that he stopped making that deal ages ago. That's because the souls of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to save another suffer nobly for all eternity... "and really, where's the fun in that?"
    • Subverted 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 ("What would I want with your soul?" laughs the demon. "Have you looked at it lately? Disgusting!"), 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 for about ten years.)
    • In Spider-Girl, Spidey's clone Kaine also makes a deal with the demon Zarathos to try and save Daredevil's life after a Heroic Sacrifice. His Ill Boy "nephew" ends up a victim of Demonic Possession instead. Nice Job Breaking It, Anti-Hero.
    • In Champions 2018, Miles Morales and Amadeus Cho both make a deal with Mephisto to turn back time enough to save Ms. Marvel and Viv Vision. However, this ends up costing a few civilians their lives. Mephisto ends up explaining to his son Blackheart that he loves making Spider-People suffer due to the fact that they give people hope and he likes to quash that.
    • In the 2019 Superior Spider-Man relaunch, Otto makes a deal with Mephisto to return him to his original Doctor Octopus body when he is unable to battle Spider-Norman (a Norman Osborn with Spider Powers). He even claims he'll fix any mental disturbances his tentacles cause him since Otto claims that's why he went insane, though the way Mephisto phrases it, it was never the tentacles.
  • 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 by the Black Panther. 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 catching onto this sort of thing....
  • 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.
  • Frank Castle, alias The Punisher, 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.
  • 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.
  • In Soule's run on Thunderbolts, the Leader negotiates a contract with Mephisto on behalf of the team. The Leader is cunning enough to work out a deal that is favorable for the team. At the end of the run, when the Leader is trapped by Ghost Rider's Penance Stare by the rest of the team as punishment for all of the crap he's pulled, Mephisto shows up with to "renegotiate".
  • X-23 combines this with a variation of Chess with Death in the first arc of her Liu series. Throughout the story Hellverine, a demon using Wolverine as a Meat Puppet, is attempting to seduce Laura into his service as leader of his armies (and possibly just plain attempting to seduce her). He argues that her refusal is pointless because she already belongs to him as a result of being a clone (who he claims don't have souls), and because of all the blood on her hands. Laura continues to resist him, eventually culminating with Hellverine attacking her (sort of) boyfriend, Hellion. He then offers to spare him if Laura agrees to serve him. Instead she makes a bargain: If she can prove his assertions about her wrong, he'll leave her alone and restore Julian. Commence a Battle in the Center of the Mind where Laura revisits her past traumas and, with the help of the Enigma Force, comes to terms with the fact that she wasn't born evil and was herself a victim. Thus winning the contest and saving both herself and Hellion.
    • She later enters into a bit more of a conventional one during Circle Of Four, in which Mephisto offers to restore her, Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Venom to life after they've been killed by Blackheart, in exchange for stopping his machinations to unleash hell on earth. They succeed and Blackheart is defeated, and all four are revived as Mephisto agreed. Unfortunately, they also owe him another favor at a later date, the terms of which have yet to be revealed...
    • All-New Wolverine #6 reveals her clone "sisters" made one with Kimura to help them escape from Alchemax Genetics. Bellona elected to be the one to pay the price to ensure Gabby walked away free, but it's yet to be revealed just what that price is.
  • Deadpool was once contracted by a demon who wanted to overthrow Mephisto to "get Iron Man drunk". However, Deadpool invokes Exact Words when he finds Tony Stark so drunk it wasn't funny - he steals the Iron Man armor and gets himself plastered. The demon's not happy with this and neither is Mephisto when he gets word of what the demon was doing.
  • In the same story that gave the Hobgoblin his demonic powers, X-Men villain Cameron Hodge makes a pact with N'Astirh to provide mutant babies to use in the demon's invasion of Earth. In return, Hodge is granted immortality.
  • In X-Force, Sunspot makes a deal with Selene, an immortal sorceress, and Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, to reincarnate Sunspot's dead girlfriend in exchange for him serving under Selene at her villainous Hellfire Club. Juliana is brought back from the dead and Sunspot's involvement with the Hellfire Club becomes an Aborted Arc that he doesn't have to follow through, so he comes out pretty well at the top.
  • The Ultimates:
    • The Defenders made a deal with Loki to have powers, and become his pawns against the Ultimates.
    • Ultimate Avengers 3 deals with Ghost Rider, which naturally involves this. Many years ago, newly-wed couple Johnny Blaze and his girlfriend Roxanne were sacrificed by a biker gang to the Devil in exchange for political power. The Devil, being the Devil, decided to give Johnny an offer: Resurrect him as his agent in exchange for Roxanne's life, then sends the Rider after the biker gang in an Attempt to Collect. Then he empowers the last man standing as another Ghost Rider for his own amusement.


  • 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!?"
    • 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.
  • 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: 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.


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