El Diablo (Rafael Sandoval) from the cover of El Diablo vol 2 #16.
Art by Mike Parobeck.
|First appearance||(Lazarus Lane)|
All-Star Western #2
El Diablo vol. 2 #1
El Diablo vol. 3 #1
|Created by||(Lazarus Lane)|
Robert Kanigher (writer)
Gray Morrow (artist)
Gerard Jones (writer)
Mike Parobeck (artist)
Jai Nitz (writer)
Phil Hester (artist)
Ande Parks (artist)
|Alter ego||Lazarus Lane|
|Team affiliations||(Lazarus Lane)|
Olympic level boxer and athlete
The original version (Lazarus Lane) debuted in All-Star Western #2 (October 1970), and was created by Robert Kanigher and Gray Morrow. The character starred in a four issue mini-series published by DC Comics through their Vertigo imprint as a mature readers title; El Diablo #1 (March 2001) was written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Danijel Zezelj.
Fictional character biography
Lazarus Lane is the original iteration of El Diablo, operating in the later half of the 19th century in the American Old West. Lane was originally a bank teller who is nearly killed by a gang of thieves and put in a coma after being struck by lightning. After being revived by Native American shaman "Wise Owl", Lane becomes the vigilante El Diablo. The name El Diablo means "the devil" in Spanish.
According to Jonah Hex vol. 2, #11 (Nov. 2006) and #24 (Dec. 2007), Lazarus Lane is cursed to be the host of a minor demon which acts as a Spirit of Vengeance. Lane's body slumbers in a coma while "El Diablo" roams the Earth. His fate is similar to that of the current Crimson Avenger. In Swamp Thing vol. 2, #85 (April 1989), Wise Owl is shown in a more villainous light, with Lane/El Diablo his unwilling servant. In that story, set in 1872, a number of DC's western heroes (including the aforementioned Hex, Bat Lash, Johnny Thunder, and Madame .44) were employed by Otto Von Hammer and Jason Blood to defeat Wise Owl and recover from him an object of great power, which turned out to be a crystal containing the spirit of Swamp Thing, who had become lost in time. When the group killed Wise Owl, Lane's comatose body woke up, and El Diablo apparently vanished forever.
In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Lazarus Lane appeared in a backup feature in All-Star Western. In this iteration, he was once again cursed by Wise Owl to become the host of a demon. Rather than being in a coma, Lazarus remains awake. However, El Diablo arises from his body whenever he is unconscious.
Rafael Sandoval was the second iteration created in 1989 by writer Gerard Jones and artist Mike Parobeck as a title set in the modern DC Universe. This title lasted 16 months. As created by Jones and Parobeck, Sandoval is a rookie member of the city council of Dos Rios, Texas who creates his version of El Diablo (from a festival costume and an old boxing persona and local legends surrounding the Devil) after being stymied by officials while trying to pursue the case of a serial arsonist. Subsequent efforts involved battles with illicit drug smugglers using maquiladora covers for their activities, a hunt for a serial killer, conflicts with human-smuggling operations, and with Sandoval's own conscience over how best to serve the people of Dos Rios.
Rafael Sandoval's character has subsequently made guest appearances in one of the Justice League titles, in which he is possessed by the spirit of an Aztec god-emperor and takes on an appearance reminiscent of the Lazarus Lane Diablo. He also appears in the Villains United Special when he is pulled out of retirement by Oracle to serve in her de facto Justice League, whereupon he is attacked by a member of the Royal Flush Gang during a battle at the Enclave M prison in the Sonora Valley, Mexico. He is wounded in the battle, but saved from death by the warden of the facility.
The current iteration of El Diablo is Chato Santana, an ex-criminal who after being hospitalized, meets a still living comatose Lazarus Lane. It is written by Jai Nitz, pencilled by Phil Hester, with inks by Ande Parks.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Santana's El Diablo is a member of the Suicide Squad. He is later recruited into Checkmate under the leadership of Uncle Sam, until he realizes that he is being lied to and abandons them in search of the truth.
In other media
- The Lazarus Lane version of El Diablo appears in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by Nestor Carbonell. While designed after his comic appearance, elements from Zorro's appearance were added in. Seen in the episode "The Once and Future Thing", he appears alongside Pow Wow Smith, Bat Lash, and Jonah Hex.
- In the TV series Constantine, in the episode "The Saint of Last Resorts: Part Two", John gains the name "El Diablo" among the gangsters of Mexico City.
- The Chato Santana version of El Diablo appears in the Teen Titans Go! episode "TV Knight 2", with a costume similar to the movie Suicide Squad.
Jay Hernandez played Chato Santana / El Diablo in the live-action 2016 film Suicide Squad. Unlike most of his Suicide Squad teammates, he is not a ruthless villain, having used his powers to establish himself as a gang leader before he destroyed his family home and killed his wife and two children in a moment of anger. He mourns his actions. Finally he uses his powers to save the rest of the team from Enchantress' minions thanks to Deadshot. El Diablo helps the Squad resist Enchantress's illusions of what they want most if they surrender. He sacrifices himself to defeat Enchantress's powerful brother, turning into his Aztec fire demon form to overpower and hold the enchantress's brother in the blast radius of a powerful military bomb.
- The Chato Santana incarnation of El Diablo appears in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. He is part of "The Squad" downloadable content.
- The Chato Santana incarnation of El Diablo appears as a playable character in Suicide Squad: Special Ops.
- The Chato Santana incarnation of El Diablo is mentioned in Injustice 2 during dialog between Deadshot and Atrocitus.
The Chato Santana version appears as a background student in DC Superhero Girls.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "El Diablo I & II", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 113, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- "DC Comics' September 2008 Solicitations". Newsarama.com. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "NEWSARAMA - View Single Post - EL DIABLO RETURNS AT DC IN 2008". Forum.newsarama.com. 2007-11-17. Archived from the original on 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- Jai Nitz & Phil Hester - Introducing El Diablo, Newsarama, August 2, 2008
- Jay Jayson (February 19, 2015). "Jay Hernandez's Suicide Squad Role Revealed; Killer Frost, King Shark & More To Cameo". ComicBook.com. Retrieved April 29, 2015.