Belasco, David, 1853-1931, American theatrical manager and producer, b. San Francisco. He was actively connected with the theater from his youth, and while associated with Dion Boucicault in Virginia City, Nev., he was first exposed to scenic realism. At 19 he became stage manager of the Baldwin Theatre in San Francisco. His first venture as a playwright was when, in 1880, in association with James A. Herne, he toured the country in Hearts of Oak, a play adapted by them from an old melodrama. Connections with the Frohmans brought him to New York City in association (1882-84) with the Madison Square Theatre and later (1886-90) as stage manager of the Lyceum. He became an independent producer in 1895. Known for his minutely detailed and spectacular stage settings, Belasco showed inventiveness in his use of stage lighting. A creator of stars, he was lucratively associated with Mrs. Leslie Carter, David Warfield, Blanche Bates, Frances Starr, Ina Claire, and Lenore Ulric. His plays, mostly adaptations, were vehicles for his actors and for his lavish settings. His most successful writing combinations were with Herne, Franklyn Fyles, Henry C. De Mille, and John Luther Long. In 1907 he built the Stuyvesant Theater, later known as the Belasco, during his fight against the Theatrical Syndicate of the 1890s. The New York Public Library has his collection of theatrical materials. He wrote The Theatre through Its Stage Door (1919, repr. 1969).

See his plays, ed. by R. H. Ball (1940, repr. 1965); biography by W. Winter (2 vol., 3d ed. 1925, repr. 1972).

Belasco is a fictional supervillain in the Marvel Comics Universe. The character's first appearance was in Ka-Zar the Savage #11; he was created by Bruce Jones and Brent Anderson.

Fictional character biography

Belasco is an ancient, evil sorcerer serving the Elder Gods, and is perhaps best known for his kidnapping of Illyana Rasputin.

Early history

Belasco's early history is told by the poet Dante, though there is some dispute as to the veracity of these accounts. Allegedly, Belasco was a sorcerer in 13th Century Florence, Italy who used his knowledge of alchemy and the black arts to contact the Elder Gods (actually extra-dimensional demonic entities). He forged a pact with them enabling them to cross the barrier to our dimension using a pentagonal arrangement of five Bloodstones. In return, Belasco was granted immortality and immense mystical power. He was also given a demonic appearance, as he was intended to form a new race of Earth-dwelling demons.

To this end, he kidnapped Bice "Beatrice" dei Portinari, beloved of Dante, to give birth to the first of this new race. He fled with her to the Atlantean isle of Pangea, where the Elder Gods directed him to Mt. Flavius, where their summoning ritual could take place. While en route, Belasco raped Beatrice, and she was nine months pregnant by the time they arrived. He embarked onto the island, closely pursued by Dante, and took Beatrice into a network of underground passages designed to resemble Hell. Dante found them just in time to witness Beatrice dying in childbirth and, enraged, he attacked Belasco. During the battle, a pipe was accidentally struck, releasing an unknown liquid that placed Belasco in suspended animation. At some point on the island, Belasco also lost the locket containing the Bloodstones.

Modern history

In recent years, the volcano mountain became active again, releasing Belasco. He quickly located the locket and found a new sacrifice, Shanna O'Hara. He placed her under his mental control and began the spell. He sought to make Shanna the mother of a demonic race he would father. However, just as he was almost finished, Shanna's mate Ka-Zar appeared and hurled the locket into the volcano, sealing away the Elder Gods and apparently destroying Belasco.

However, he instead was trapped in Limbo, also called Otherplace, where he spent his years conquering it. Once complete, he drew the X-Men to him for unknown reasons and battled them. They all managed to escape save the seven-year-old Illyana Rasputin. He made Illyana his apprentice, transforming her into a "demon sorceress." He shaped part of her soul into a Bloodstone, giving her great potential for power and allowing him to control her. However, upon reaching the age of fourteen, she rebelled against him, driving him from Limbo. Now its new master, she returned to her own world only seconds after the X-Men had returned, and shortly after joined the New Mutants as Magik. Magik was later deposed as the ruler of Limbo by the demons S'ym and N'astirh, the latter of whom was destroyed in the "Inferno" crossover, which also restored Illyana's lost childhood.

Belasco then attempted to transform Ka-Zar and Shanna into demons to be parents to a new demonic race. He was defeated when Ka-Zar impaled Belasco on his own sword. Belasco was next revealed to be the new master of the Cat People.

Belasco eventually took control of Limbo once more. The cultist Sammy Smith, alias "the Rev", who was a Jim Jones analogue, worshipped Belasco as Lucifer. Belasco sought to wipe out humanity, using Smith as a pawn. The Rev fought the Punisher twice, the second time alongside the Punisher's longtime foe Jigsaw. When the Punisher killed Jigsaw, the Rev used his Belasco-granted powers to resurrect the thug, although both were defeated despite Smith's gift of demonic magic.

Belasco also turned Alpha Flight-ally Witchfire against her team by influencing her demonic side. She finally was restored to normal and returned to Beta Flight, Alpha Flight's support group. It was strongly suggested during this story that Belasco is Witchfire's father or at least that Witchfire believes so.

Later, Belasco and the fear-demon D'Spayre contested to corrupt Cable, the son of Madelyne Pryor, who had been the ally of S'ym and N'astirh during "Inferno". Belasco banished D'Spayre and summoned himself, Cable, and Cable's ally Lee Forrester to Limbo, where S'ym threw Belasco out of his way and fought with Cable. Cable won, and he and Lee returned to Earth.

It was eventually revealed that Illyana's best friend Kitty Pryde had received Illyana's Soulsword after Illyana had died; in dying, she had bonded the Soulsword to Kitty's own essence. After Kitty's team Excalibur fought off several claimants to the sword, Nightcrawler's girlfriend Amanda Sefton was given the sword. She then gave the sword to her mother, Margali Szardos, who was in turn kidnapped by Belasco and brought to Limbo. Nightcrawler and Sefton freed her, and Sefton secretly took the sword and adopted the codename Magik for herself. Belasco and his allies, the N'Garai demons, fought the X-Men again soon after, but were defeated by the X-Men with the assistance of the new Magik.

Quest for Magik

Cast into an even lower level of hell by his disappointed gods, Belasco used the life-force of a low level demon to regain access to the Limbo dimension. Once there he fought his way through Amanda Sefton's minions before battling the sorceress himself. As opposed to their first battle, Belasco was successful and cast her out of Limbo, becoming Limbo's ruler once again. Seeking to discover if the first Magik (Illyana Rasputin) was truly dead or simply hiding, Belasco summoned the New X-Men because he felt the scent of the House of M Magik on them. It is revealed that Belasco's fixation on Illyana is not simply for her powers, but also because he fell in love with her. Finally Belasco was defeated by Magik with the help of a reformed Pixie, who stabbed him with a 'Souldagger'. Now Magik is the new ruler of Limbo, served by S'ym and N'astirh and in search of her soul.

Powers and abilities

Belasco is one of the most powerful sorcerers on Earth and possesses a wide knowledge of the mystical black arts. He possesses the ability to manipulate the forces of magic for a variety of effects, including the ability to fire concussive bolts of mystical energy, create protective shields of mystical energy, transform and transmute matter both living and inanimate, interdimensional travel, shoot mystical rays, control the minds of humans and animals, and the ability to raise dead under certain circumstances. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of spells from a variety of books of occult spells that he can use.

He was also endowed by the Elder Gods with immortality and apparent invulnerability. The exception to this is his own sword, which was forged by the Elder Gods themselves. It was this which cut off his right arm under unrevealed circumstances.

Belasco's powers are somehow linked to those of Magik. When they fought a battle in Otherplace and Magik took on her "Darkchilde" form, Belasco simultaneously reverted to human form, losing most of his power and his invulnerability in the process.

He has also come to possess a wide knowledge of the advanced technology left by the Atlanteans in Pangea.

Additionally, he is an exceptional swordsman and battle tactician and was seen wielding a battle axe with great skill.


Originally he was a Caucasian human man possessing all the features associated with them- Caucasian skin, five fingers and toes as well as no distinguishing physical characteristics.

As the demon lord, Belasco has red skin, a prehensile tail, pronounced fangs, glowing red eyes with no visible iris, small horns on his forehead, pointed ears, and as a result of an early conflict, only one arm.

During the "Black Sun" conflict, he had a restored arm and his horns were more pronounced. He has since lost the arm and the longer horns.

Other versions

Universe X Belasco (Nightcrawler)

In the futuristic Universe X maxi-series by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross, it is revealed that Belasco is actually one and the same with his enemy Nightcrawler of the X-Men, who had become amnesiac and was displaced in time. After his origins are revealed to him by a resurrected Captain Marvel, Nightcrawler/Belasco finally joins the side of good. This story does not take place in actual Marvel continuity, but in an alternative universe referred to as "Earth-9997".


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