Mephisto’s Most Powerful Servant Got Marvel Sued by the Hells Angels

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Marvel’s famous Devil-like character, Mephisto, got the company in legal hot water when

Marvel’s Mephisto is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, not to mention one of the very few who can be described as simply evil for evil’s sake. As Marvel’s analogue to the Devil of Christian myth (though he claims he’s existed in multiple myths across time and even dimensions), Mephisto manipulates mortals to cause chaos and bedlam on Earth. But the demon may have met his match when he faced off against Hells Angels – who wanted their stolen name returned.

The Hells Angels are a one-percenter biker gang, known as such thanks to the American Motorcyclist Association’s official response to the 1947 Hollister Riot, in which they claimed « 99% of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens. » The gang has a somewhat notorious reputation for their flippant attitude toward authority (prospective members must not be associated with the police) and criminal activity. They’re also quite protective of their intellectual property, which is why the group officialy sued Marvel in the 90s for naming a character « Hell’s Angel » – Mephisto’s most loyal servant.

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Hells Angel, appearing in 1992, was named Shevaun Haldane and had quite a traumatic start to her stint in comics when Mephisto brutally killed her father. She was later trapped into serving the satanic villain, but eventually broke free of his clutches. Unfortunately, she couldn’t break free of the Hells Angels lawsuit, which stipulated that Hells Angel infringed on their name. Surprisingly, Marvel acquiesced to the gang’s demands and changed Shevaun’s character name to Dark Angel…but that only landed the company in more hot water when they were the subject of yet another lawsuit.


In addition to donating over $30,000 dollars to charity, Marvel now had to change the name to Dark Angel. Alas, the name was owned by Hart Fisher’s Boneyard Press for another comic. Boneyard filed suit and the house that Stan Lee built had a choice to make: either change the character’s name yet again, or fold and cancel the publication of Dark Angel. That’s the choice Marvel made, and in Issue #16, the Dark Angel brand was put to rest.

It’s interesting to learn that Marvel was once on the receiving end of these lawsuits. Nowadays, the company is best known for creating lawsuits themselves in order to secure the rights to characters without the creators’ estates having any legal say, such as Steve Ditko, Gene Colan or Stan Lee. What the Hells Angels did to Marvel, Marvel is now doing to the creators of their beloved heroes.


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