"A blast of supenatural energy trapped Dan Cassidy -- special effects master and stuntman supreme -- in the skin of his greatest contraption! Forever after he would be an honest-to-goodness... BLUE DEVIL!"
Though nominally logging a first appearance in the June 1984 issue of the Fury of Firestorm (#24, "Terminal Velocity")
the story of Dan Patrick Cassidy
's alter-ego really got underway in the first issue of his own series, where he becomes fused into a technologically-brilliant gimmicky special effects costume of his own devising after being hit by a bolt of mystic energy thrown by the demon Nebiros
, rudely awakened from imprisonment on the magical Ile du Diable
during filming of the latest Verner Bros.
monster movie. (phew!)
He and the crew manage to banish the ant-like Nebiros back to his own dimension (for a little while), but things are just getting started - in addition to the various powers and augmentations the cursed suit (and its accessory, the flying prop trident) bestows upon him, he also finds his complicated life afflicted by a convenient plot device: somehow, as a side-effect of the bonding process, he's been turned into a weirdness magnet, coining the phrase in the process.
Dan would much rather get on with the business of making movies (as part of a great ensemble of regulars with his co-stars Wayne Tarrant and Sharon Scott - the obligatory romantic interest, the producer of the Blue Devil movie and its sequel Marla Bloom, the gopher Eddie - Marla's nephew and occasional unwanted sidekick as Kid Devil, the cinematographer Norm Paxton ("Keep throwing punches at that demon, I'm getting some great footage!") and the owner of the Verner Bros. studios, the repugnant Jock Verner) but continuously he gets thrown into the role of reluctant superhero, small-time bumbling costumed crooks and misguided supernatural entities constantly getting in the way of his quiet plans, to say nothing of Nebiros' nigh-constant risk of return - nigh-constantly thwarted with the assistance of sorceress Zatanna.
The weirdness penetrated even his subconscious and the occasional spate of business as usual, filling whole issues with bizarre film allegories, surreal dream sequences and flights of fancy hitherto unknown in the "muscled lads in skintight undies" genre. When Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn ran the series from 1984 to '86, the comic book tycoons at D.C. found themselves with an unexpected hit on their hands, as nothing like this series had ever been done well enough and for long enough to gain the critical mass of interest from a very different type of tongue-in-cheek comics fan.
Our man Dan maintained a low profile in the DCU after the end of his series, but has since reappeared and been reinterpreted (some might suggest misused) in other comics and crossover events, including Starman #38 (where he met his first death by Nash -- courtesy of some holy water after actually becoming a Devil), the Underworld Unleashed series, Day of Judgment (where he was brought back from the dead to battle - of course - Nebiros again, but in Hell this time), and his most recent sighting - in JLA: Black Baptism #4 in May of this year.