When a colleague of his was gunned down during a robbery and as a result of his own inaction, Lazarus Lane felt the guilt of the world resting upon his shoulders. Seeking to redeem himself, Lane went in pursuit of those same thugs. Thrown into a shallow stream by those contemptuous bank robbers, Lane was suddenly struck by a bolt of lightning, leaving him on a coma from which there was no recovery.
Carried back to his remote hacienda by Wise Owl, the elderly Apache shaman whom Lane had taken into his home after the Indian had been exiled by his own people, Lane sat seemingly lifeless before the fireplace, his eyes blank and staring, his heart beating only through some minor miracle.
For the next two nights, Wise Owl did not leave Lazarus' side, ministering to Lane with strange herbs and root drugs of his own concoction, chanting ancient Apache prayers endlessly until, on the night of the third day, Lazarus awoke. Though he was not dead, neither was he truly alive, Lane explained, for the lightning should have killed him but instead had split his very soul asunder. Now he was two men, the husk of the man that was all that was left of Lazarus Lane and... someone else. A shadow, a phantom, a devil of a man, with a task to be done before he could give himself the eternal rest that should have been rightfully his.
The original El Diablo was created by Gray Morrow and Robert Kanigher.
Major Story Arcs
From that night forward, the part of the man that was Lazarus Lane would sleep, while his other self would ride as a dark avenger of justice, the frontier phantom known only as - El Diablo.
Lazarus later met Chato Santana - the new El Diablo. Lane was in a living coma when Santana was placed in a hospital room with him. He transferred his power over to Santana to become the new El Diablo and died in his coma.
El Diablo appeared in one of the early back-up features in the New 52 series All-Star Western. His story is much the same though in this iteration, the demon posses his body whenever he is unconscious rather than remaining asleep.
Powers and Abilities
Lane has no apparent superpowers, but seems to have increased stamina. Lane is proficient in the use of several weapons, notably his bullwhip, bolas, and guns.
Lucifer is El Diablo's black stallion.
El Diablo carries a bullwhip, a Bowie knife, six shooters, and bolas.
Alternate Versions & Successors
Rafael Sandova was created by Gerard Jones and Mike Parobeck, first appearing in El Diablo #1. This version lives in Texas, where he uses a boxing persona to fight crime.
Chato Santana was created by Jai Nitz and Phil Hester, appearing in El Diablo Vol 3 #1, in 2008. Chato was transferred the power of El Diablo from Lazarus Lane (see above) and is now a member of the Suicide Squad.
The 2001 Vertigo series El Diablo from Brian Azzarello portrays El Diablo as a ghost like figure and urban legend to a man named Elmer Huskey.
Justice League Unlimited
El Diablo, alongside other Western DC heroes, appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing Part One: Weird Western Tales".
He was voiced by Nestor Carbonell.