Gargoyle is a name shared by two fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history

The first Gargoyle, Yuri Topolov, appears in The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962), and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.[1]

The appearance of Gargoyle in Rampaging Hulk #1 is merely part of one of Bereet's fictional techno-art films.[citation needed] The first Gargoyle received an entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #17, where his real name was revealed.

The second Gargoyle, Isaac Christians, is a human/demon hybrid and a member of the Defenders. He was created by writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Don Perlin. Perlin's design was inspired by a sequence in Prince Valiant in which the titular hero disguises himself as a gargoyle.[2] During his long run on The Defenders, Gargoyle also was the co-star of Marvel Team-Up #119, written by his co-creator DeMatteis, who later described the issue as "one of my favorite favorite stories".[3]

In 1985 Marvel published a four-issue Gargoyle limited series, written by DeMatteis and drawn by Mark Badger. DeMatteis said of the series, "It was a psychological fantasy. You take the interior life and make it concrete... give it substance... and play with it".[4] Explaining why he decided to do a limited series starring Gargoyle, he said,

I'd always wanted to do that character the right way. We'd had him in Defenders for years and Don Perlin and I were... We came to like him so much, as a person... this was a classic case of the character coming alive for us. We came to like Isaac Christians, this little old man inside the Gargoyle's body, so much that it began to mellow out the way we portrayed the outer shell, the gargoyle aspect. And, before you know it, he's this cute little funny animal. Which he was never intended to be.[3]

In a 2013 interview DeMatteis said that Gargoyle "is a character I still have tremendous fondness for".[2]

Fictional character biography

Gargoyle (Yuri Topolov)

Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962)
Created byStan Lee, Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter egoYuri Topolov
Team affiliationsKGB
AbilitiesHighly intelligent
Used a gun that fired will-weakening pellets

Yuri Topolov, was a Soviet scientist and the first foe of the Hulk. An atomic accident caused by working with radiation mutated him into a grotesque, large-headed dwarf of extremely high intelligence. He was informed of the Hulk by an imprisoned spy using a miniature transmitter, and succeeded in capturing him and Rick Jones using a gun that fired will-weakening pellets. Bruce Banner managed to cure him using Gamma rays. He gratefully used his rocket to send Banner and Jones back to the United States and managed to destroy several Soviet generals and 'die like a man' in an explosion he set off.[5]

However, he passed this deformity on to his son, the Gremlin.

Gargoyle (Isaac Christians)

Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Defenders #94 (Apr 1981)
Created byJ. M. DeMatteis, Don Perlin
In-story information
Alter egoIsaac Christians
Team affiliationsDefenders
Heroes for Hire
The Six-Fingered Hand
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength, durability, and physical resistance
Biomystical energy manipulation
Limited immunity to magic spells

Isaac Christians was an elderly man who sold his soul to an alliance of minor demons styling themselves as "The Six-Fingered Hand" in exchange for prosperity for the dying hometown that his ancestors had founded (the fictional town of Christiansboro, Virginia). Christians made a pact with the demon Avarrish to inhabit the body of an ancient gargoyle and act as an agent of the Six-Fingered Hand. The demons of the Six-Fingered Hand transferred Christians' life force into the Gargoyle body and sent him on a mission to capture Patsy Walker, at that time operating as Defenders member Hellcat. Christians battled the Defenders, but rebelled against the Six-Fingered Hand. He was trapped in the gargoyle's body, but joined the Defenders.[6] The Defenders then helped him defeat the Six-Fingered Hand.[7]

As a member of the Defenders, Gargoyle helped the Squadron Supreme defeat the Overmind and Null the Living Darkness.[8] The Gargoyle briefly fell under the control of an Afghan wizard, and he was forced to battle the Defenders.[9]

Christians later returned to Christianboro, and was later released from the Gargoyle body and the original demon spirit re-inhabited it. Christians, to prevent the chaos being wreaked by the gargoyle, re-assumed the body with the help of a druid and killed his original human body to prevent the demon from returning.[10]

Moondragon, under the influence of the Dragon of the Moon, later separated Christians' life force from the gargoyle body. The body was to be used as a vessel for the Dragon of the Moon, and it became larger and more grotesque. The gargoyle body was carbonized and transformed into a statue of ash, when the Defenders defeated Moondragon and the Dragon of the Moon.[11]

Christians' life force came to reside in a crystal talisman. He reconciled with the spirit of Moondragon, and journeyed with Pamela Douglas to Titan, where he witnessed the rebirth of Moondragon. The former Defender known as Cloud created a new body for Christians, with the ability to change back and forth between his gargoyle and human form.[12]

Alongside the Presence, Starlight, Jack of Hearts, and others, he returned to Earth from the Stranger's laboratory world.[13]

When the final confrontation between Gabriel, Devil Hunter, and Hellstrom left Gabriel irretrievably insane, only capable of babbling incoherently, Hellstrom left him in the care of the Gargoyle.[14]

Following the "Civil War" storyline, Christians was one of the registered superhumans seen in Avengers: The Initiative #1. He was shown flying in an attack against HYDRA;[15] this helped save the President from an assassination attempt. He is shown in battle against KIA.[16] Gargoyle was also seen aiding Hellcat.[17] He ignored Nighthawk's offer to join the Last Defenders[18] and remained at Camp Hammond to serve as an instructor training the Initiative cadets[19] before retiring.[20] He returns to assist in defeating a deranged copy of Thor called 'Ragnarok'.[21]

Alyosha Kravinoff later captured Gargoyle and placed him in his zoo for animal-themed superhumans which also consisted of Bushmaster, Tiger Shark, Kangaroo, Aragorn (the version that was owned by the Vatican Black Knight), Vulture, Mongoose, Man-Bull, Dragon Man, Swarm, Mandrill, Grizzly, Frog-Man, and Rhino.[22]

Isaac Christians later opened up a restaurant called Isaac's Oysters in Greenwich with Eugene Patilio as his busboy. Both of them were approached by Iron Man for help in rescuing James Rhodes from Korvac.[23]

Powers and abilities

The second Gargoyle is the result of the magical transfer of Isaac Christians' spirit into the body of the Gargoyle. Gargoyle possessed superhuman strength and durability in his gargoyle form. His leathery hide offered resistance to various forms of physical attack. He could manipulate "bio-mystical" energy to numerous effects, including concussive blasts and projection of the emotion of fear into others. He could siphon bio-mystical energy from others, causing temporary debilitating weakness. Surrounding himself in a field of bio-mystical energy granted Gargoyle limited immunity to certain types of spells. Gargoyle could fly via mystical levitation; his wings were incapable of producing sufficient lift but could be used for navigation. Gargoyle could regenerate lost or damaged limbs, although they would differ wildly in appearance from the original limb. Over-expenditure of bio-mystical energy over a short time could weaken or kill the Gargoyle; also, he could be commanded to act against his will by a wizard who spoke a particular obscure spell. Isaac Christians was a student of the occult with minor mystical ability. Prior to his transformation, Christians had some ability to manipulate mystical forces, including rudimentary spell-casting and summoning demons.

In other media


Video games

The Yuri Topolov version of Gargoyle appears in Lego Marvel's Avengers.[citation needed]

Collected editions

Title Material collected Published date ISBN
Defenders Epic Collection: The End of All Songs Gargoyle #1-4 and Defenders #138-152 January 2020 978-1302920708


  1. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  2. ^ a b DeAngelo, Daniel (July 2013). "The Not-Ready-For-Super-Team Players: A History of the Defenders". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (#65): 12.
  3. ^ a b Salicrup, Jim; Higgins, Mike (October 1986). "J. Marc DeMatteis (part 2)". Comics Interview. No. #39. Fictioneer Books. pp. 7–19.
  4. ^ Salicrup, Jim; Higgins, Mike (September 1986). "J. Marc DeMatteis (part 1)". Comics Interview. No. #38. Fictioneer Books. pp. 20–35.
  5. ^ The Incredible Hulk #1
  6. ^ The Defenders #94. Marvel Comics (New York).
  7. ^ The Defenders #99-100. Marvel Comics (New York).
  8. ^ The Defenders #112-114. Marvel Comics (New York).
  9. ^ The Defenders #136-13. Marvel Comics (New York).
  10. ^ Gargoyle #1-4. Marvel Comics (New York).
  11. ^ The Defenders #152. Marvel Comics (New York).
  12. ^ Solo Avengers #16, 18, 20. Marvel Comics (New York).
  13. ^ Quasar #19-20. Marvel Comics (New York).
  14. ^ Hellstorm #21. Marvel Comics (New York).
  15. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #2 (July 2007). Marvel Comics (New York).
  16. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #8-11
  17. ^ Marvel Comics Presents vol. 2 #3-4
  18. ^ The Last Defenders #1
  19. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #12.
  20. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #21 (2007). Marvel Comics (New York).
  21. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #22 (2007). Marvel Comics (New York).
  22. ^ The Punisher War Journal vol. 2 #13–15. Marvel Comics (New York).
  23. ^ Iron Man vol. 6 #5. Marvel Comics (New York).