Real Name: Ira Gross

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Formerly a United States soldier

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Beast, Devil-Slayer, Doctor Strange, Wong

Enemies: Ian Fate

Known Relatives: None known

Aliases: Sunshine

Base of Operations: (formerly) New York City

First Appearance: Defenders I#101 (November, 1981)

Powers/Abilities: None known.  After his death, Ira appeared as a spirit connected to Devil-Slayer for a brief time.

History: Little is known about the background of Ira Gross, or how he came by the nickname ‘Sunshine.’

(Defenders I#101 (fb)) – Gross served in Viet Nam, and came back with no purpose and likely mentally ill (perhaps with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)).  He moved into a derelict apartment in a bad part of town.  He spent his days drinking, using heroin, and playing his guitar on the street, living on donations thrown into his empty guitar case.

(Defenders I#101) – Gross was singing and playing his guitar in a rainstorm when he saw Devil-Slayer coming toward him in a garish costume.  Gross was shocked to see the costume, and complimented Devil-Slayer on it.  Devil-Slayer, thinking Gross was a demon of sorts, started to physically accost Gross, who fled and tripped over his own guitar case.  He begged Devil-Slayer to not hurt him.  Once both of them calmed down, Gross invited Devil-Slayer up to his ‘apartment’ and offered him some drugs.  Devil-Slayer lost his cool again and threatened Gross with violence.  Gross begged again, saying that drugs was the only thing he had.  Devil-Slayer left, promising to return to help Gross after Devil-Slayer had helped himself.

(Defenders I#103 (BTS)) – Devil-Slayer spent his free time trying to help Gross find his lost humanity.

(Defenders I#104 (fb)) – Devil-Slayer used his telepathic powers to help Gross overcome his mental addiction to heroin.

(Defenders I#104) – Gross struggled with the terrible withdrawal symptoms of coming off of heroin, and begged Devil-Slayer for more drugs.  Soon, though, Gross came to his senses, truly wanting to change.  When a demon delivered a ransom note to Devil-Slayer, the hero left, leaving Gross alone.  Gross took the ransom letter to Doctor Strange’s mansion, who Devil-Slayer had told him about, and sent Dr. Strange and the Beast to help Devil-Slayer.  Strange left Wong to see to Gross’s medical needs from the withdrawal.  Ian Fate, seeking revenge on Devil-Slayer, kidnapped Cory Payne, the hero’s estranged wife.  Fate changed his mind, however, and kidnapped Gross instead, setting Cory free.  Fate used a spell to make Gross look like Cory, to fool Devil-Slayer.  Gross was held in a mystic prison in another dimension.  As Devil-Slayer moved to save ‘Cory,’ one of the extra-dimensional aliens tried to kill Devil-Slayer, but Gross (now free) stepped in the way of the blade and was killed.  Devil-Slayer thought his wife was killed, but soon the illusion faded and Gross’s form was revealed.  Devil-Slayer teleported away with the corpse.

(Defenders I#110) – Devil-Slayer teleported himself and Gross’s corpse into the Negative Zone, where he was determined to let them both explode.  Gross’s spirit appeared to Devil-Slayer, so he teleported them to a bar and forced a bartender to pour them drinks.  Gross chided Devil-Slayer for giving into alcohol just as Gross had turned to drugs.  Gross’s spirit later met up with Devil-Slayer again, and prodded him to confront his wife, Cory, in Jerusalem.  Before fading away once and for all, Gross told Devil-Slayer what an effect he’d had on Gross, and implored him to change his own life.

Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis, Don Perlin, and Joe Sinnott.

Profile by Chadman.


Ira ‘Sunshine’ Gross has no known connections to

Defenders I#101, p8, p5

Defenders I#101 (November, 1981)
Defenders I#104 (February, 1982)
Defenders I#110 (August, 1982)

Last updated: 003/22/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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