Hugh Dawkins was born a stooped-over were-beast on the Australian island of Tasmania and became Tasmanian Devil when his meta-gene kicked in. However, rumor has it that his mother, a “were” Tasmanian Devil, raised him in a Tasmanian Devil cult. This cult gave him a Tasmanian Devil amulet after selling his soul to a Tasmanian Devil and injecting him with a radioactive Tasmanian musk from a race of alien Tasmanian Devils who gave him his powers. OK – that’s the silly and hokey origin that his Who’s Who entry gives him… but who knows for sure what his real origin may be. He might just be some ordinary guy who got funky powers and decided to call himself Tasmanian Devil.
The character has two dichotomous sides to his personality. Where Hugh is a pacifist and a vegetarian, Tas is very aggressive and a carnivore. He’s been a member of the international superhero group the Global Guardians as well as Justice League Europe. Readers learned of the Tasmanian Devil’s sexual orientation when he made a passing comment to his fellow Global Guardian colleague Seraph.
Publisher DK’s DC Comics Encyclopedia (2006 edition) states on page 304 Hugh fell in love with JLA liason Joshua Barbizon during his time with the group. After leaving the group, he and Joshua moved to Sydney and Hugh taught drama at a local university. It also says Hugh and his father were working to better their relationship.
Tasmanian Devil reappered with other Global Guardians in Green Lantern #15 written by Geoff Johns in which the Guardians are used as pawns in a plot against Green Lantern. While Johns doesn’t give Tasmanian Devil and dialog, the writer reveals that Power Girl told Hal that Tas had a crush during Hal’s tenure as team leader and that he was teased by Flash (Wally West) and Elongated Man. Tas’ most recent appearance via a brief flashback scene was in Justice League: Cry For Justice #3. Writer James Robinson had Prometheus murder Tas in a fight. In an attempt to elevate the villain’s ruthlessness in the readers’ minds, Robinson had Prometheus use Tas’s flayed skin and intact head as a decorative rug.
Tasmanian Devil has returned from the fictional dead, thanks to James Robinson, in the pages of the Starman/ Congorilla one shot of January 2011. Details of the how will come later in order to avoid spoilers for anyone who haven’t read the story yet.
In times of emergency, Hugh’s muscles expand proportionately all over his body, thereby increasing his strength, speed and agility. As Tas, also augmented are his hearing, his night sight, and his sense of smell. Strongest though are his hands with which he can burrow very quickly through soil but break through a solid brick wall. In addition, during his metamorphosis, his body grows dark red hair from head to toe and a stylized “T” appears on his chest. Tasmanian Devil first appeared in Super Friends #7 and his sexuality was revealed in Justice League Quarterly #8. He was a member of the Global Guardians, Justice League International, and Ultramarine Corps.
In the Midnighter and Apollo mini series by Steve Orlando and Fernando Blanco it was mentioned that Taz and Extrano are married and living in Extrano’s home town of Lima, Peru and they are raising a daughter.
Tasmanian Devil was created by E Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon and first appeared in Super Friends #7. Art by Luciano Vecchio from the Justice League Queer story in the DC: Pride anthology of June, 2021.
A more detailed account of Tasmanian Devil’s history can be read at Wikipedia. Thanks to Jay who brought Joshua to my attention in a comment he left here!
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