Real Name: Stefan Szardos

Identity/Class: Possessed human (German)

Occupation: Serial killer;
former Jahrmarkt employee

Group Membership: Jahrmarkt (Feuer, Jutta, Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), Sabu, Jimaine Szardos, Margali Szardos, many others)

Affiliations: Hive (Halphas)

Enemies: Neuri, Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner)

Known Relatives: Margali Szardos (mother), Jimaine Szardos (Magik/Amanda Sefton, sister), Kurt Wagner (adoptive brother)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Winzeldorf in Bavaria, Germany

First Appearance: X-Men Annual I#4 (1980)

Powers/Abilities: Stefan was proficient in the use of knives. Aside from that he heard voices in his head, which belonged to the demon Hive.


(Nightcrawler III#9 (fb) ) - As a child Stefan watched his mother encourage Kurt during his first steps. He didn't like it when she called Kurt her most special boy.

(Uncanny Origins#8) - Stefan, his sister Jimaine and the orphan Kurt were raised at the Jahrmarkt near Winzeldorf by their mother, the fortune teller Margali Szardos.

(Nightcrawler III#9 (fb) ) - One night Stefan found Kurt hanging around in the woods. Kurt showed him his power to teleport and in return Stefan brought Kurt to Margali's trailer to show him how their mother used her magical powers. Stefan was afraid that he would eventually become evil because mystic powers ran in their family.

(X-Men Annual I#4 (fb)/Uncanny Origins#8) - Stefan and Kurt became blood brothers. Stefan made Kurt swear that he would stop Stefan if he ever turned evil.

(Uncanny Origins#8) - One night Stefan watched Kurt, now known as Nightcrawler, save his sister Jimaine when she nearly fell to her death during her tightrope walking act.

  Stefan left the Jahrmarkt because the voices in his head demanded from him to take action.

(Excalibur I#Minus 1 - BTS) - Margali didn't cause him any trouble when he left.

(X-Men Annual#4 (fb) - BTS/Uncanny Origins#8/Marvel Comics Presents I#103 (fb) - BTS/Nightcrawler III#11 (fb) ) - Stefan murdered several children in Winzeldorf.

Death Version 1:
(X-Men Annual#4 (fb) ) - Kurt found Stefan outside Winzeldorf and fought him. During their fight Kurt accidentally snapped Stefan's neck. With Stefan dead Kurt tried to return to the Jahrmarkt.

Death Version 2:
(Marvel Comics Presents I#103 (fb) ) - For weeks Kurt was after Stefan. He finally found Stefan in a house outside Winzeldorf where Stefan attempted to murder a baby, which he recognized as a Neuri. They crashed through a window to the outside and Stefan used Nightcrawler's tail to break his own neck because he couldn't live with the possibility that his victims were merely normal children.

Death Version 3:
(Uncanny Origins#8) - After leaving the Jahrmarkt Kurt tracked down his brother within two days. When he saw the dead children nearby Stefan's campfire he confronted him. They fought and Kurt accidentally killed Stefan. A hunter found Kurt kneeling over his adoptive brother's corpse and when he saw the dead children he thought Kurt was their killer as well.

Death Version 4:
(Nightcrawler III#11 (fb) ) - Kurt called Jimaine in Winzeldorf and learned that Stefan had gone completely insane talking with voices in his head that told him to do terrible things. Kurt returned to Winzeldorf and found Stefan with several dead children at the village's fountain. He tried to explain to Kurt that these children only looked like children, but in reality they were demons like the voices in his head (the demon Hive) told him. Kurt tried to calm his brother, but when he saw that one of the children was still alive he tried to kill it. Nightcrawler jumped at him to hold Stefan back and accidentally broke his neck.

(X-Men Annual#4 (fb)/Giant-Size X-Men#1 - both BTS/Uncanny Origins#8) - A mob suspected Kurt of the child murders and hunted him through the village until Professor X saved him and asked Kurt to join the X-Men.

(Nightcrawler III#12 - BTS) - Mephisto offered Nightcrawler to bring back Stefan to life uncorrupted if Nightcrawler worked for him, but Nightcrawler declined the offer.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr. & Bob McLeod.

The many deaths of Stefan Szardos:

To learn more about the continuity mess Szardos was involved in check out the lengthy rant in the Jahrmarkt profile.

The storyline in Marvel Comics Presents I#101-108 adds the Neuri, which actually looked like monsters, as Stefan's victims.

Uncanny Origin#8 ignores Kurt's time with Jardine's circus (first revealed in Marvel Team-Up I#89), which was the first part of the big continuity mess that is now known as Nightcrawler's early years, but these are all minor problems compared to his origin *cough* Draco *cough*.

The storyline that ran through Nightcrawler III#8-12 added the demon Hive (Halphas) as the voices in Stefan's head. In Nightcrawler III#7 Kurt hallucinated Stefan after he had nearly beaten to death by Vermin. This revelation contradicted Margali Szardos's claim in Dr. Strange II#57 that her wand had turned Stefan into a murderer.

The flashback in Nightcrawler III#8 is a dream sequence, but it works fine for most scenes (though there is no blood brotherhood declared before Stefan asks Kurt to kill him in case he turns evil). The trapeze act where Stefan is present as well has to be discounted as a mere dream because it became a nightmare around that point though it kind of works as well until it becomes nightmarish.

Stefan's death was also recounted in X-Men: Heroes for Hope (1985) in a psychic assault by the entity Hungry.

In Nightcrawler III#3 Kurt used the story of how his brother could see through the disguise of demons to learn from Seth Walker if his aunt or Dr. Childs were demons.

Years later Jutta and other members of the Jahrmarkt plotted to take revenge on the Neuri for Stefan's death, but their scheme was stopped by Nightcrawler and Wolverine in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents I#101-108. It was never revealed how Jutta knew about the Neuri, but it is possible that she had learned about them from Stefan. Maybe they were lovers.

To this day Stefan's death is used to make Nightcrawler feel guilty.

And then there was X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler#1 (May, 2010), which changed everything we knew......Nightcrawler was drugged all along while his poor mother Margali had to watch. Stephan and Jimaine were still children when Kurt fled from Max Getmann's circus and then Xavier saved him. Stephan didn't die at all in this story.

Profile by Markus Raymond.

Stefan Szardos has no known connection to:

images: (without ads)
Nightcrawler III#11, p8, pan1 (influenced by Hive)
Nightcrawler III#8, p10, pan3 (head shot, teenager)
X-Men Annual I#4, p33, pan1 (original fight scene with Nightcrawler)
Marvel Comics Presents I#103, p3, pan1 (suicide -- KRAK)
Uncanny Origins#8, p16, pan4 (KRAK)
Nightcrawler III#11, p9, pan5 (CRACKKK)

X-Men Annual I#4 (1980) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Bob McLeod (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents I#103 (1992) - Scott Lobdell (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Uncanny Origins#8 (April, 1997) - Bill Rosemann (writer), Mark Campos (artist), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Excalibur I#Minus 1 (July, 1997) - Ben Raab (writer), Rob Haynes & Casey Jones (pencils/inks), Nathan Massengill (inks), Matt Idelson (editor)
Nightcrawler III#9 (October, 2005) - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Koblish & Rodney Ramos (inks), Mike Marts (editor)
Nightcrawler III#11-12 (December, 2006 - January, 2007) - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (inks), Mike Marts (editor)

Last updated: 01/29/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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