Real Name: Johann Ernst Elias Bessler

Identity/Class: Human mutate magic user; late 17th Century to Modern Era;

German citizen

Occupation: Alchemist and servant of Demon Lords

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Demon Lords, Vic Slaughter;
    formerly Gottfried Bessler, Johann's two wives, Prince Karl and other investors and believers

Enemies: Johnny Blaze, Elvis, Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch/Noble Kale), Anne Rosine Mauersbergerin, Morbius, Nightstalkers (Blade, Frank Drake, Hannibal King), Veronica, many other victims over the centuries

Known Relatives: Gottfried Bessler (brother), two unidentified wives

Aliases: Orffyreus (see comments)

Base of Operations: A warehouse in Boston, Massachusetts;
    formerly mobile in Germany

First Appearance: Nighstalkers#7 (May, 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Stonecold's body consisted of a cold, stone-like mass. His wings gave him the ability of flight and were strong enough to carry the weight of at least two additional bodies. The razor-sharp claws on his hands and feet were dangerous weapons and also enabled him to hold onto others with all four limbs with an iron grip. A power of unknown origin is the temporal blast he could project by slapping together the tips of his wings. The victim's physical body of such a blast was sent back to the place where it was a few seconds ago (maximum seemed to be around a minute) which often brought him an advantage in fights or when somebody tried to escape. Additionally he possessed vast alchemistic knowledge and wore a skin that enabled him to look like a normal human.


(Historical) - Johann Bessler was born circa 1680 in Zittau in the Kingdom of Saxony. Early in his life he gave himself the pseudonym Orffyreus. He became famous for his perpetual motion experiments and in 1716 Prince Karl of Hessen-Kassel made him his town councilor and provided Bessler with the resources he needed to create his largest wheel at Castle Weissenstein which was finished in 1717. In 1727 his reputation was tarnished by his former maid Anne Rosine Mauersbergerin, who testified that Bessler's wheels were turned manually by a hidden mechanism. Bessler still continued with his experiments until he apparently died in Fürstenberg at the age of 65.

(Nightstalkers#7 (fb) - BTS) - One of Bessler's self-moving wheels (I presume it was the largest created for Prince Karl) he created during the 1700s brought him in contact with demons. Bessler was pulled into this wheel which was kept in motion by flesh and blood and lost his skin, but the demons promised him to give it back to him one day if he kept the wheel turning for them. Bessler got empowered and changed into a more demonic form by them and from this day on he lured humans to the wheel. During his ongoing experiments he also gained the ability to manipulate the timestream's perpetual nature. At an unknown point in time he came with his wheel to the United States.

(Nightstalkers#7) - Stonecold wore his skin and worked on a machine to feed his cats when his guests Elvis and Veronica arrived. He asked the demons in the wheel to show some patience because otherwise the guests could get frightened. Stonecold welcomed the siblings in his laboratory and showed them the wheel. They wanted to invest in his perpetual motion experiments and asked what made the wheel go. Stonecold told Elvis that he made the wheel go and pushed Elvis onto the wheel. It began to rotate and Elvis was pulled inside, but he tried to hold onto Stonecold and the former professor's skin was pulled off his body. Veronica ran away when she saw Stonecold's true nature, but Stonecold used his time manipulating powers and send Veronica back into the elevator when she arrived. Stonecold opened it and pulled her to the wheel where she became the next feast for Stonecold's Demon Lords.

He tried to put back on his skin, but it didn't stay on. He screamed and asked the demons what more they wanted from him. He didn't want to work as the devil's caterer all his life. For the moment he had enough of their presence and wanted to get some fresh air, but in this moment the Nightstalkers and Ghost Rider attacked. Blade and King kicked him to the ground and then Ghost Rider told Stonecold that he would be punished for breaching the walls between realities. The heroes weren't aware of Stonecold's powers and he set Ghost Rider back in time to his ascent on the building. Blade and King continued their attacks on Stonecold. King was pushed into the wheel by Stonecold and he turned into mist and found the demons' victims. Elvis and Veronica were still alive and with combined efforts they were saved by the heroes. Meanwhile Stonecold took his skin and flew away because nobody was paying attention to him anymore.

(Nightstalkers#8) - Stonecold was attacked by Vic Slaughter, who searched for Morbius. After a short fight Stonecold stopped the fight by using a temporal blast against Slaughter, who remembered how he was turned into a vampire by Morbius. Stonecold listened to Slaughter and got interested in Morbius, who due to his immortality would be the perfect engine for his wheel. Stonecold offered Slaughter to work together to make Morbius suffer. Slaughter took the offer and ripped a little piece off flesh from Stonecold to taste it. Stonecold hit him and asked him not to do this anymore.

(Nightstalkers#9) - Stonecold attacked when Morbius fought the Nightstalkers. He used a temporal blast against King, who reappeared in front of Blade instead of Morbius. Bessler then grabbed the weakened Morbius while Slaughter made sure that Drake missed Stonecold with the Exorcist gun. Stonecold then grabbed Slaughter as well and flew with two vampires in his grasp back to his laboratory.

(Nightstalkers#9 - BTS) - Stonecold put Morbius into the wheel and the demons started to feast on the immortal being.

(Nightstalkers#9) - Stonecold was sure that his masters would now restore his skin when they were finally able to break down the dimensional walls. King and Drake jumped through the skylight and attacked. Stonecold shot Drake with a temporal blast and Drake lost the Exorcist gun when he fell once again through the roof and the gun right into Stonecold's hands. When the demons grew stronger, Stonecold's body finally became warm flesh and blood again. Morbius stretched out of the wheel and was able to grab Stonecold and tried pull him inside. In his shock Stonecold accidentally shot Slaughter with the Exorcist gun. Morbius escaped the wheel and put Stonecold in. Stonecold now became a victim of his own invention which rolled into the sea after Drake broke it off from its mount with a shot from the Exorcist gun. Stonecold's pact with the demons was broken and the wheel disappeared with him in the water.

(Journey into Mystery I#627 (fb) - BTS) - Stonecold rose to demonhood and seemingly went to Hell.

(Journey into Mystery I#627 (fb)) - Stonecold attended the Devil's Advocacy to talk about the Serpent (Cul)'s actions on Earth.

Comments: Created by D.G. Chichester (writer), Ron Garney (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks).

Johann Bessler was the real name of the alchemist Orffyreus! Read more about Bessler at The Bessler Wheel website, which was also the source for the historical info on Bessler.

It is possible that Stonecold got his time manipulating powers from the demons, but it is also possible that he gained them by himself.

Elvis and Veronica didn't want to hear any Graceland or Riverdale jokes because of their names. They are lucky that I don't know any jokes. Isn't it funny that Veronica knew Orfyffreus work so well that she recognized on first sight that the wheel was based on his designs, but didn't know that Orfyffreus' real name was Johann Bessler?

The hand that pulled Stonecold's skin into the water could've been Stonecold's hand, but it is also possible that it belonged to Slaughter, who liked the taste of skin and flesh.

Stonecold was also on the cover of Morbius#11, but inside the issue he was nowhere to be found.

Profile by Markus Raymond.

Stonecold has no known connection to:

Elvis & Veronica

They were rich siblings that wanted to invest in Professor Bessler's perpetual motion experiments. They were invited to his place where Bessler showed them his wheel. Veronica remarked that Bessler's work seemed to be based on Orffyreus work and Elvis wanted to know what made it go. Bessler pushed Elvis onto the wheel and the poor man was pulled inside. Veronica ran away, but Bessler used his powers to send Veronica back where she was when she entered the lab. Bessler pulled her from the elevator to the wheel and she was pulled inside as well. Elvis and Veronica survived their time in the wheel unlike many others when they were rescued by the Nightstalkers and Ghost Rider.


Stonecold's skin

(Nighstalkers#7) - Bessler wore the skin when he welcomed Elvis and Veronica in his lab, but it was ripped off of his body when Elvis held onto his hand while he was pulled inside the wheel. Later Stonecold tried to put it back on, but the skin didn't stay on. Stonecold took the skin with him when he fled from the Nightstalkers and Ghost Rider.

(Nighstalkers#9) - Stonecold held the skin when he stood in front of the rotating wheel with Morbius inside. He was pretty sure that his masters would now restore his skin. He dropped the skin when King and Drake attacked the lab again. When Stonecold and his wheel rolled into the sea, his skin landed there as well. It was last seen floating on the water until it was pulled into the deep by a clawed hand. (see comments)

(Nightstalkers#12 (fb) - BTS) - For some time the skin spooked people all around Boston Harbor.

(Nighstalkers#12) - The Nightstalkers found the skin and were attacked by it. They recognized it as Stonecold's skin and were surprised that it had a life of its own. After Blade saved King from its grasp, Drake used the Exorcist gun on the skin and it crumbled to dust.

--Nightstalkers#7 (Nightstalkers#7, 9, 12



Orffyreus Wheel and the Demon Lords

(Nightstalkers#7 (fb) - BTS) - This wheel was created by Johann Bessler as one of his Perpetuum Mobiles (presumably in 1717). When the barrier between Earth and the demons' reality was broken down by Bessler's wheel the demons pulled him inside and turned him into their servant. The indestructible wheel was kept by Bessler and many humans became its victims because the wheel was kept in motion by flesh and blood. At an unknown point in time Bessler took the wheel to the United States.

(Nightstalkers#7) - The wheel rotated, but the demons were hungry again, but hid when new victims arrived. They waited until Bessler pushed them inside and once again the wheel rotated and weakened the barriers between Earth and the demons' reality. Ghost Rider and the Nightstalkers found out that something in Boston weakened the wall between realities and found Stonecold and his wheel. King was pulled inside and he saw the dead and the not yet dead victims. Blade cut open the wheel with an axe, Ghost Rider stopped its movement with his chain and the still alive Veronica and Elvis were saved from the wheel.

(Nightstalkers#8) - Frank Drake, Blade and Keith Roberts examined the wheel. They found out that it was indestructible as long as it didn't move.

(Nightstalkers#9) - Stonecold gave Morbius to the wheel and the demons grew stronger than ever before. They even began to give back Stonecold his skin and flesh, but then Morbius escaped the wheel, put Stonecold inside it and Drake destroyed the wheels' mount with the Exorcist gun and it rolled into the sea. The demons ended their pact with Stonecold when this happened and let the burning wheel disappear in the water.

--Nightstalkers#7 (Nightstalkers#7 (fb) - BTS, 7-9

images: (without ads)
Nightstalkers#7, p3, pan5 (main image)

#7, p2, pan1 (head shot with false skin)
#9, p17, pan3 (transforming back)
#7, p2, pan3 (Elvis & Veronica)
#12, p1 (Stonecold's skin)
#9, p17, pan1 (Stonecold's wheel)
#7, p1 (one of the Demon Lords)

Other Appearances:
Nightstalkers#8 (June, 1993) - D.G. Chichester (writer), Ron Garney (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Hildy Mesnik (editor)
Nightstalkers#9 (July, 1993) - D.G. Chichester (writer), Mark Pacella (pencils), Don Heck (inks), Hildy Mesnik (editor)
Nightstalkers#12 (October, 1993) - Steven Grant (writer), Vince Giaranno (artist), Hildy Mesnik (editor)
Journey Into Mystery I#627 (November, 2011) - Kieron Gillen (writer), Richard Elson (art), Ralph Macchio (senior editor)

Last updated: 08/16/12

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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