Didja Know... The Harrowing History of the Hellfire Club
Didja Know digs into downright delightful details from across the merry Marvel Multiverse!
Didja Know digs into the fun facts, strange stories, and divine details that helped build the hallowed halls of the House of Ideas!
Something pretty snazzy and jazzy’s about to happen to the X-Men in HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X—but before that goes down, UNCANNY X-MEN #21 has a stupendous story to tell of its own…and boy what a story!
Three words: the Hellfire Club.
Yep, it’s a name that sets longtime X-fan’s hearts a’flutter, because they know where the Club goeth, evil and excitement follow!
So follow along, oh Faithful One, and we’ll give you a few fun facts before the flames are fanned into a furious conflagration! Forward!
Didja Know… there’s a real-world Hellfire Club?
A few of ‘em, in fact, and while not the exactly the nasty no-goods who’ve dealt deviltry to the merry mutants over the years, the real Clubs weren’t necessarily Boy Scouts! First one kicked off in 1718 in England thanks to a dashing dude named Philip, Duke of Wharton. He called his Hell-Fire Club a “gentlemen’s club,” but if we have it right, the group-comprised of men and women—were anything but gentle. Jeepers!
Then, in 1749, Sir Francis Dashwood and our ol’ chum the Earl of Sandwich started their own little soiree they designated the Hellfire Club and set out to out-do the doings and goings-on of the previous one. “Do what thou wilt” was their monstrous motto, and believe us, they did it! Hmm...I guess they coulda used some X-Men back in those days, eh?
Anyway—back to the 616, bunky!
Didja Know… Sebastian Shaw’s led at least six different versions of the Club?
That Shaw—what a card! Or is that cad? Regardless, the mirthless mutant who eats energy for strength keeps turning up like the proverbial bad penny, obsessed with the idea of the Hellfire Club and satisfied with nothing less than world-domination! His first taste of Hellfire appeared in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #129, and from the get-go the X-Men have never truly been the same because of it.
Shaw, usually in the role of “Black King”—reappeared in X-FORCE (1991) #48 after a tumultuous time with his son Shinobi at the wheel, and with Selene as his Black Queen again made life miserable for our heroes all over again. He got his comeuppance again, but like all ne’er-do-well nutjobs, he was at the Hellfire Club’s business once more in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #388 as its “Lord Imperial.” Did he meet with an emphatic end again? Why, yes he did!
But he came back again in X-MEN LEGACY (2008) #215. Then, after a 12 year-old took the reins of the Hellfire Club, Shaw tried it once more…with predictable results. You know that old saying, about the definition of insanity? That’s Sebastian Shaw all over, Charlie.
Didja Know… the Hellfire Club once had a junior version?
Called the Hellions, they debuted in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #16 as a, yep, junior version of the Hellfire Club—but also a mirror-image of the New Mutants, the young students of the X-Men. Emma Frost—you know her, right?—was their teacher, and their line-up when something like this: Catseye, Empath, Jetstream, Roulette, Tarot, and Thunderbird.
A few of the kooky kids went on to bigger and better things, namely Thunderbird—he started calling himself Warpath and actually turned out to be a good egg—but some of the others—namely Catseye, Jetstream, and Roulette—wound up deceased. Such is the life and death of enemies of the Uncanny X-Men!