Where Marvel Comics go, there also goes Mephisto. We should resolve ourselves to this as a law of nature. If Marvel had a wonder dog character, we could expect, at some point, for Mephisto to attempt to drag him into doggie hell.
--The Quarter Bin.
With a conventional red devilish appearance and a name derived from Mephistopheles, Mephisto has functioned as Satan in Marvel comics since 1968, stopping only for death, briefly.
His first appearance, in Silver Surfer #3, showed him a more shadowy figure than his later appearances, presiding over a literal hell and drawing energy from the evil in the universe. Later appearances gave him more distinct features, and Marvel backpedaled on the implication that Mephisto was, you know, that Lord of Darkness. The writers also put limits on his magic powers-- at least when he is away from his home dimension. These variable limitations have made it possible for him to interact, over the years, with virtually every Marvel superhero. Mephisto even tempted Kiss's Gene Simmons in the 1977 Marvel comic about the celebrated glitter-kitch band.
Mephisto's reputation as supreme tempter/evil incarnate suffered with the appearance, in the 1970s, of a similarly demonic-looking character who called himself Satan1. Most comics, including the short-lived Champions series (in which the titular heroes encounter an alliance of the Lords of the Dead), clearly, definitively showed these medaeval-style creatures to be distinct characters ruling over entirely different hells. Some comics, however, claimed they were different incarnations of the same being. Marvel has also definitively stated that both names were given to him (them?) by mortals who mistook him for a certain other supremely evil being, who may or may not exist in the Marvel Universe.
Mephisto apparently died in Ghost Rider #93. Satan, too, passed on, but in a different comic and under different circumstances. He has since returned. Granted, death rarely takes in comic books-- but in this case, what would death mean for Mephisto?
How do you damn a guy who calls hell home?
1.These days, Marvel's Satan more commonly calls himself Marduk Kurios.
Stan Lee. Bring on the Bad Guys.. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1976.
"Mephisto." The Villains of Marvel Comics. http://www.marveldirectory.com/individuals/m/mephisto.htm
"Mephisto." Villains of Marvel Comics. http://www.geocities.com/marvel_villain/mephisto/mephisto.html
"The Peculiar Resurrection of Nighthawk." The Quarter Bin. http://www.fortunecity.com/tatooine/niven/142/revolvin/rdd13.html
"Satan." The Villains of Marvel Comics. http://www.geocities.com/marvel_villain/satan/satan.html