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Religion: primal-indigenous; Arthurian; occult/sorcerer
Name: Merlin Demonspawn
Other Names: Merlin; Warlock; Maha Yogi; The Mad Merlin
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery (vol. 1) #96 (Sep. 1963): "Defying the Magic of... Mad Merlin!"
First Appearance (Additional Details): (as Merlin) Journey Into Mystery (vol. 1) #96 (Sep. 1963): "Defying the Magic of... Mad Merlin!"; (as Warlock) The X-Men (vol. 1) #30 (Mar. 1967): "The Warlock Wakes!"; (as Maha Yogi) The X-Men (vol. 1) #47 (Aug. 1968): "The Warlock Wears Three Faces!"; (as Merlin Demonspawn) Captain Marvel (vol. 5) #20 (Aug. 2001): "Mother's Day"
Creators: Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein, Joe Sinnott
Super? (Has Super Powers/Special Abilities/Technology): Yes
Number of Appearances: 37
Enemy of: The Hulk, Thor, Bloodstone, Doctor Druid, X-Men
Ally: Caretakers of Arcturus
Employer: Comic Book Castle
Employer: Merlin Industries
Occupation: business owner, chairman of the board, mercenary, would-be conqueror
Note: born 10,000 years ago
Properly identifying the religious affiliation of Merlin Demonspawn may be complicated. When Merlin Demonspawn first appeared, he identified himself as "Merlin." Merlin is typically identified as a sorcerer with religious roots in Druidism and Celtic paganism. But Merlin Demonspawn was not really Merlin. He was falsely using that name and guise.
Merlin Demonspawn was revealed to have been born in central Europe approximately 10,000 years ago. He was born into the same primitive nomadic tribe that Ulysses Bloodstone originated in. Thus, Merlin Demonspawn would be classified as primal-indigenous.
Merlin Demonspawn wore the Jewel of Jeopardy, which was a fragment of the Bloodgem. He was quite adept in utilizing the Jewel for occult power. Merlin Demonspawn also developed psychic abilities and eventually started using true magic, so he can be classified in the "occult" category.
For a long time, this character went by the name of "Maha Yogi." This name seems reminiscent of south Asian mystics, and seems more Hindu than anything else. The name has Sanskrit roots and is usually only used in Hindu and Buddhist contexts. A yogi is technically a teacher (or sometimes practitioner) of yoga. "Yogi" is also used more generally to refer to a spiritual teacher. In calling himself "Maha Yogi," this character was essentially calling himself a "great spiritual teacher." There is no indication that this character is in any way Hindu. Did "Maha Yogi" really see himself as a spiritual teacher? Probably not. In all his years, he probably did believe that he knew more than most people about religion, mysticism, spirituality, etc. But there is no indication that he has ever focused on formulating his own church or school of thought or doing anything else to pass on his beliefs and knowledge to others in a productive way. The self-appointed title "Maha Yogi" was probably just another in a long string of names he falsely adopted in order to deceive others about his true nature and further his own selfish goals.
Eventually it was learned that while Merlin Demonspawn was still a young nomad, the Caretakers of Arcturus mutated him and imbued him with great psychic power. He turned on the Caretakers. Whatever the intentions of these aliens, it seems that they did not pass on any of their own religious beliefs to him. The apparently failed even in instilling within him whatever goal or purpose they had originally planned for him.
We know that before he achieved immortality, Demonspawn practiced the primal-indigenous religion of his tribe. As chronicled in Incredible Hulk (vol. 2) #210, the young Demonspawn was participating in a tribal ritual, the ritual of Ullux'yl Kwan Tae Syn, the Bloodgem, and the Hellfire Helix. It was then that wandering nomad now known as Ulysses Bloodstone came across the ritual and killed all of the tribesmen present. The man known as Merlin Demonspawn was the only survivor. This was the same man who had previously been mutated by the Caretakers. This survivor took one of the few remaining fragments of the Bloodgem and, with it, achieved immortality.
Although Demonspawn's original tribal religious culture was all-important to him in his formative years, it must be remembered that the man has outlived his tribal co-religionists by thousands of years. Demonspawn has lived through many eras of Earth's history, including ancient Egypt and the Greco-Roman empire. Christianity was, of course, another religion that Demonspawn has extensive experience with, as it was the predominant institution in Europe for centuries. Captain Marvel (vol. 5) #20 chronicles Demonspawn's quest for the legendary Holy Grail. It is not entirely clear why Demonspawn was so driven to strive for this famous Christian icon. Perhaps he simply believed it could be a source of additional power for him. Nothing in Demonspawn's long history suggests that he is particularly given to following Christian precepts or identifying himself as a Christian of any kind. Interestingly enough, Merlin Demonspawn's plot to obtain the Holy Grail for himself went wrong and he was actually trapped within it for a time.
Although the religion and culture of his upbringing has left a deep imprint on his psyche, Merlin Demonspawn no longer practices that religion per se (and wouldn't have anybody to practice it with even if he wanted to). His precise current religious beliefs, formed over a period of 10,000 years, are unknown. But it is known that he is a formidable magical adept. Demonspawn has become a full-fledged sorcerer and even joined a Convocation of Wizards.
Finally, it is clear that paramount among Merlin Demonspawn's motivations and "beliefs" are his desire for his own personal survival and his thirst for power.
Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: