An actor willing to sell his soul for stardom, the Hangman found fame as a movie monster before earning infamy as a real-life monster. Jason Roland "optioned" his soul to a mysterious demon in exchange for show biz success. Using special makeup techniques, the demon's emissary made Roland a major horror movie star; but Roland never fully believed his benefactors were supernatural, and he tried to break their deal while filming his title role as The Demon that Devoured Hollywood. The emissary retaliated by trapping him in the form of the film's demonic title character, and Roland fled the set without explanation, his mysterious disappearance ironically enhancing his new status as a horror cinema legend. After years in hiding, Roland called upon his old demonic patron, who revealed himself as the devil Satannish. They struck a new bargain through which Satannish restored Roland to human form as his supernaturally powerful agent, the Hangman.
Taking over the Night Shift criminal gang, Hangman tricked them into exchanging their souls for fame and power. He led them in sabotaging a Mammoth Studios production which was trying to complete Roland's long-abandoned Demon film with a new cast. Opposed by the heroic Avengers, Hangman challenged them to a televised showdown during which Satannish tried to steal the souls of the huge television audience; however, Satannish's scheme was thwarted by the combined efforts of the Avengers, Doctor Strange, and the Night Shift, who turned on their leader and reclaimed their souls. During the broadcast, Hangman was unmasked as Roland and violently spurned his old girlfriend, Stella Houston, when she tried to talk him out of his mad scheme, admitting that he had planned to buy back his own soul with the souls of the Night Shift and the viewing audience. For his failure, Satannish claimed Roland's soul and left him a mindless husk.
Later, Satannish assigned a restored Hangman to lead his new Lethal Legion, a quartet of infamously evil souls stolen from rival demon Mephisto and resurrected as superhuman assassins. Promising to restore their lives and souls in exchange for their service, Satannish had the Lethal Legion attack the Avengers, casually killing Stella Houston along the way. In the end, the Avengers, the Legion, Satannish and Mephisto were all entangled in a four-way battle in Satannish's realm, where Mephisto randomly murdered Mockingbird and the souls of Hangman's four Legion comrades were apparently destroyed in a psychic tug-of-war between Mephisto and Satannish before the Avengers escaped. What became of the Hangman himself remains unknown, though Satannish was later seemingly destroyed by Mephisto.