Cover of Stalker #1 by Steve Ditko
|First appearance||Stalker #1, (June/July 1975)|
|Created by||Paul Levitz (writer)|
Steve Ditko (artist)
|Team affiliations||Justice League Multiverse|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength, senses and speed, various mystical abilities, expert fencer|
Stalker is a fictional antihero and swords and sorcery character published by DC Comics. The character debuted in Stalker #1 (June/July 1975), and was created by Paul Levitz and Steve Ditko. The art in all four issues of Stalker was handled by the team of Ditko (pencils) and Wally Wood (inks).
The Stalker title lasted four issues, to Dec. 1975/Jan. 1976 before it was cancelled by DC.
Fictional character biography
A young warrior seeking immortality and power challenges and defeats the Demon Lord Dgrth, winning immortality but losing his soul. The young warrior now known as Stalker the Soulless begins a quest to regain his lost soul. However, the more he traveled the greater his power grew, and the more he physically resembled Dgrth. Stalker eventually fights his way to the demon god in the depths of that dimension's netherworld, and defeats him, only to discover that the deity has already used up the energies of the traded soul. The only way to get his soul back would be to end the existence of that dimension's supreme deity, a solution which could only occur after the abolishment of all war.
Stalker the Souless later appeared in Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #163, arriving on Earth alongside Claw the Unconquered, Isis, Arion and Starfire. This storyline suggested that all DC "heroic fantasy" worlds were creations of Jim Rook (Nightmaster)'s mind, but this has been contradicted since.[volume & issue needed]
Stalker appeared in All-Star Comics (vol. 2) #1, and as a recurring theme in a retroactive story featuring the Justice Society of America at the end of World War II, the so-called "JSA Returns" event. Here, the soulless Stalker had evolved into an insane demon/supervillain, looking a lot like Dgrth, and bent on destroying dimension after dimension in his quest to end all conflict by ending all life. He was defeated and seemingly destroyed in a time warp generated by the Hourman android.[volume & issue needed]
Stalker reappears in present-day in Wonder Woman vol. 3 #20, again alive, younger, more human and reminiscent of his original self â possibly this is the same Stalker, somehow plucked from a point earlier in his life/personal timeline than the Stalker appearing in the above-mentioned JSA event. Here, he requests that Wonder Woman kill a demon from his dimension named D'Grth. To these ends he encourages her to recruit Beowulf Prince of Geats, and Claw the Unconquered. During this adventure Wonder Woman gives Stalker the proper name of Elpis, which means "hope" in Themyscirian. When D'Grth and Grendal eventually appear, Stalker reveals that he deceived the trio of warriors as a means of gaining his soul back at the bidding of D'Grth. He then throws his sword at Diana but Beowulf jumps in its way at the last second. Claw sees to Beowulf's wounds while Wonder Woman confronts Stalker. She tells him that Elpis is a female name. She then manages to steal the Rock of Destiny from Stalker and uses it to transport herself and D'Grth to Earth, leaving Stalker in his own world with an aspect of a soul. It is discovered that the soul Stalker possesses is in truth Diana's soul, which slowly began leaving her body shortly after her and Stalker's first meeting. Stalker, though reluctant, agreed to return Diana's soul to her and joined in the final destruction of D'Grth. He then leaves with an oracle as a companion.[volume & issue needed]
The New 52
Reference was made to Stalker in the alternate reality created by Brother Grimm and Mirror Master where the Speed Force never existed, Captain Cold telling the Flash that he read a book about this world's history that explained that the Stalker had killed Mr. Terrific without Jay Garrick there to help the fight, causing such damage to American morale that the JSA helped to deploy a bomb that annihilated Germany before retiring in disgust at themselves.[volume & issue needed]
In other media
- A future version of Stalker appears in Batman Beyond episodes "Bloodsport" and "Plague" voiced by Carl Lumbly. Stalker was a dexterous hunter with keen senses and reflexes, and one of the second Batman's opponents. Stalker was once an African game hunter who was wanted on three continents for poaching. On one occasion, while hunting a wounded black panther, a moment of carelessness cost the hunter his spine. He underwent a painful surgery to replace his back, which had been broken in five places. The procedure was not only a success, but it also enhanced his strength and reflexes. Stalker tracked down the panther that injured him and killed it with his bare hands as an act of revenge. With his new enhancements, Stalker was a more efficient hunter than ever before - too efficient, in fact. He soon discovered that hunting presented no challenge for him until he heard of the return of "the Batman" Stalker believed that Batman was an ageless soul that inhabited the greatest warrior of each generation. He saw hunting Batman as the ultimate challenge that would restore meaning to his life. After making his preparations, Stalker moved to Gotham City and broke into an Art Gallery to lure in his prey. After engaging Batman, Stalker hit him with a grenade that covered him with a phosphorus powder, which allowed the hunter to easily track Terry down. Thanks to this, Stalker uncovered Batman's secret identity and kidnapped his brother to use him as bait. Batman accepted the challenge, but was subdued by Stalker's prowess and high-tech traps. In spite of that, Stalker was tricked into electrocuting himself, damaging his spine. He was then assaulted by visions of his bane, panther that broke his spine and spirit, and made a run for it. In his rushed escape, Stalker fell on a train track and was believed to have been run over by a bullet train. It remains unknown how Stalker survived such an ordeal, but at some point he was captured and incarcerated by NSA. They later recruited his help to track down Falseface, who was working for Kobra to smuggle a deadly super virus to Gotham. By the time Stalker traced Falseface to Gotham's Airport, he had already hidden the virus glass container in Nelson Nash's luggage. Stalker intercepted Nelson at the airport and interrogated him about the whereabouts of the glass container. When Nelson told him the Customs officer had confiscated it, Stalker took off after him. Thinking he was up to no good, Batman intercepted Stalker, who tried to cease the fighting. At that point, Agent Bennet cut the brawl short and explained to Batman that Stalker was on the tail of Falseface at NSA's behest. Stalker took up his pursuit of Falseface, but this time he had the reluctant cooperation of his nemesis, Batman. The two headed to the Muscle City sweat shop, a place thought to be a Kobra nest. After disabling the surveillance system, they stumbled upon Kobra foot soldiers storing the virus. Despite being told to wait while Batman scouted the place, Stalker's wild instinct compelled him to tackle the troops. He single-handedly took out a dozen of Kobra agents, and Batman interrupted his rampage seconds before Stalker could administer the coup de grÃ¢ce to the last one. Though he admitted the error of his impatience, Stalker had identified the group's leader, and in his possession they found schematics to Gotham Plastics. There, they found Kobra One and Falseface, and a battle ensued. Stalker pelted Falseface with one of his phosphorus grenades and let him escape, while he was securing the virus. He then manhandled Kobra One into revealing that Falseface had been infected with the virus. Stalker picked up his trail by means of his special lens. He told Falseface he was contaminated, but the master of disguises dismissed his warning and subdued him with an electroshock weapon. The effects of the electrical discharge on Stalker's metal spine left him incapacitated for a while. He came to just in time to save Batman from a burning building. Stalker went on to assure Batman that the rescue was merely to guarantee their ultimate showdown, from which Stalker was sure to emerge victorious.
- The Batman Beyond version of Stalker appears in Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue". Stalker's future adventures remain to be disclosed, but at some point he joined the Iniquity Collective and ran afoul of the Justice League Unlimited.
Stalker made two more appearances in the tie-in comics: in Batman Beyond vol 2 #6, he tries to trap Terry when he's on an island trip with Max, Dana and Howard and in Batman Beyond vol 2 #18, he returns to track down Blight, who apparently survived the sinking of the submarine.
- The Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume 1 includes Stalker #1â4, 480 pages, September 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3111-X
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
This sword and sorcery title by scripter Paul Levitz and artist Steve Ditko epitomized the credo 'Be careful what you wish for'. The series anti-hero was a nameless wanderer whose dreams of becoming a warrior brought him first slavery, then worse.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 281. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- The Unofficial Stalker Biography
- All-Star Comics #1 (May 1999):
- Wonder Woman vol. 3 #20 (July 2008)
- Wonder Woman vol. 3 #21 (August 2008)
- Rogers, Vaneta (June 8, 2012). "DC Adds Four to New 52, Including DiDio's PHANTOM STRANGER". Newsarama.
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