Real Name: John Dee

Identity/Class: Human magic-user (16th through 17th, 18th to 19th, World War I, World War II, post World War, pre-modern to modern era);
   citizen of British Empire

Occupation: Unrevealed;
    formerly Royal astrological and scientific advisor, personal Dark Wizard to Queen Elizabeth I 

Group Membership: Unidentified immortal society (François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Comte de Saint Germain, Grigory Rasputin, Yi Yang, possibly others)
    formerly the Watchers 

Affiliations: William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth I of England, Henry (Saint-Germain servant), Sir Francis Walsingham;
    formerly Sir Edward Kelley

Enemies: Bishop Edmund Bonner, Lucifer (see comments), Night Raven, Queen Mary Tudor

Known Relatives: Rowland Dee (father, deceased), Johanna Dee (mother, deceased), William Wild (maternal grandfather, deceased), Bedo Ddu (paternal grandfather, deceased), Katherine Constable (first wife, deceased), unidentified second wife (deceased), Jane Fromond (third wife, deceased), Arthur Dee, Michael Dee, Rowland Dee, Theodorus Trebonianus Dee (sons, all deceased), Katherine Dee, Madinia Dee, Frances Dee, Margaret Dee (daughters, all deceased), Rhodri the Great (Prince of Wales, alleged ancestor, deceased)

Aliases: 007

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly Queen Elizabeth I's court, England, circa 1558-1603

First Appearance: (Marvel) Mighty World of Marvel (UK) I#17 (October, 1984)

Powers/Abilities: John Dee is a polymath, and extremely knowledgeable in maths, astrology, astronomy, navigation, alchemy, magic and the occult. He claims to have learned the names of all of Hell's demons, allowing him to bind them. He is able to sense the presence of other's minds and their general mental state, and can project intense pain and perhaps illusions into other's minds. He is immortal, no longer aging and apparently able to be revived and healed even from normally fatal wounds. Since he was in a "maker's duel" with Sersi, he can presumably create objects from thin air and transform matter to some degree.

Height: Unknown (described as tall)
Weight: Unknown (described as slender)
Eyes: Gray
Hair: Bald; formerly gray in later life; color in early life unknown

(Historical record/mythologizing) - Born on 13th July 1527, John Dee was a polymath mathematician, astrologer, astronomer, alchemist and occultist, viewing these fields of study as merely aspects of a single overarching discipline.

    After graduating from Cambridge University in 1545 he gained a reputation as a magician, and traveled Europe meeting with many of the continent's greatest scientific minds, before returning to England in the early 1550s.

    In 1555 he was arrested for "attempting to calculate nativities," having cast horoscopes for the staunchly Catholic, virulently anti-anything heretical Queen Mary Tudor and her sister Princess Elizabeth. Even though this charge was elevated to treason, witnesses against him hesitated to come forward after one prosecution witness saw one of his children suddenly die and another go blind. Dee was exonerated, but then had to undergo intense religious examination by Bishop Edmund Bonner, which he again passed.

    Having already become a close confidante of Princess Elizabeth, when she ascended to the throne in 1558, Dee was appointed her astrological and scientific advisor, and for the next twenty years he helped develop navigation techniques for English explorers sailing around the world, even coining the term "the British Empire."

(The Union#5 (fb) - BTS) - He was also Queen Elizabeth's personal Dark Wizard, and created the Empire Stone, which was intended to give the holder complete and total power, making them impossible to defeat. Centuries later some would credit the Stone with being the power that allowed Britain to create an empire that dominated the world.

(Historical record/mythologizing/Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update#2, MI13 profile) - Appointed by Queen Elizabeth I's Secretary of State William Cecil, the Queen's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham developed one of the world's first espionage networks, the Watchers, sending agents across the world to spy for his queen. Dee was one of those agents, signing his reports with the codename 007.

(Historical record/mythologizing) - The 00s represented eyes, and the 7 was chosen because it was a lucky number that offered protection. Later this code on a letter was used to designate that it was for the Queen's eyes only. In 1582, Dee began collaborating with fellow occultist and spirit medium Sir Edward Kelley in studying the supernatural.

(Mighty World of Marvel (UK) I#17 (fb) - BTS) - It was most likely after this point that Dee discovered the secret of immortality.

(Savage Sword of Conan (UK)#85 (fb) - BTS) - Dee learned the names of the demons of Hell so he could bind them.

(Eternals Annual II#1 (fb) - BTS) - John Dee engaged the Eternal Sersi in a maker's duel in Elizabeth I's Summer Palace. Sersi later claimed she wiped the floor with Dee.

(Marvel Atlas#1, UK profile) - Immortal occultist John Dee and Puritan adventurer Solomon Kane were contemporaries in Elizabethan England.

(Immortal Hulk#6 (fb) - BTS) - Dee used automatic writing, the process of emptying his mind and letting his unconscious guide the pen on the paper, to transcribe the language of angels.

(Historical record/mythologizing) - The angels dictated entire books to him, many in their own language, Enochian (see comments). Early in 1587, Kelley and Dee defended themselves against charges of necromancy in a meeting with a Catholic bishop, and later that year Kelley told Dee that the angel Uriel had instructed them to share all their possessions, including their wives; believing this despite being distressed at the idea of letting Kelley sleep with his wife, Dee obeyed the instruction, but grew increasingly unhappy with the arrangement, and ultimately ended his partnership with Kelley.

    In 1588, when the Spanish Armada threatened, Dee was credited with using a wax pentacle to conjure the storms that decimated it, saving England from invasion. Despite this, his time with Kelley had taken him away from court, weakening his standing there, and after Elizabeth died in 1603, the new king, James I, had no interest in being Dee's patron.

    Dee allegedly died in poverty in 1608, and was buried in the grounds of St. Mary of the Virgin parish church in Mortlake. However, there was no gravestone, nor was his death written into the parish register.

(Mighty World of Marvel (UK) I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Dee had faked his death, no longer able to hide his immortality now that he was 81. Like others who had come into immortality after living as a mortal, he was initially loathe to step away from the "innocence" of his past life, but eventually he did so (see comments). At some point he became part of a small, loose-knit immortal society, whose numbers included Russian holy man Grigory Rasputin, Dragon Tong leader Yi Yang and fellow alchemist Comte de Saint-Germain; though their goals differed, they would assist one another in keeping their shared longevity secret.

(Savage Sword of Conan (UK)#85 (fb) - BTS) - These immortals learned to move through the world of mortal men without drawing notice, occupying the spaces which the mortals left, invisible. St. Germain considered Dee mad, in his own fashion, with an Elizabethan mind full of gothic grotesquerie, with vast castles of political intrigue and conspiracy in his head, and chaotic demons whispering incessantly in his "inner ear."

(Mighty World of Marvel (UK) I#17 (fb) - BTS) - Whether because it had always been the case, or perhaps as a condition of his immortality, by the late 20th century Dee was gawky and highly strung, and had a shrill, dry and brittle sounding voice, with his archaic accent giving it a distinctive cadence.

    At some point Dee and St. Germain worked together to chain a number of demons, or perhaps St. Germain had merely played along with Dee's delusions; either way, Dee sometimes feared he might forget and let one loose again.

(Savage Sword of Conan (UK)#85 (fb) - BTS) - Dee believed he had closed all the gates, and chained all the death-dogs of Lucifer.

(Mighty World of Marvel (UK) I#17) - In the mid-1980s, when recently immortal voodoo practitioner Dr. François "Papa Doc" Duvalier suffered an assassination attempt in his penthouse apartment after reneging on gambling debts, St. Germain and Dee visited Duvalier's building to ensure the incident was properly covered up and their shared secret not exposed.

    Night Raven, a vigilante made immortal in the 1930s by Yi Yang, chanced to have witnessed Duvalier's "death" and had pursued the assassin to the building's underground car park, but had lost him. Before he could depart, he witnessed the car carrying the other immortals arrive, and watched them send men up to clean up the murder scene while they waited in the car. Hiding in the shadows by the vehicle, Night Raven eavesdropped on their conversation. Dee was irate about Duvalier's recklessness, feeling it placed them all in jeopardy, and expressed the opinion that Duvalier was not strong enough to be counted among their ranks, but St. Germain countered that while Duvalier was a risk, he was also a fledgling who needed their help to mature, noting that there were too few immortals like them to squander lightly. Calming down, Dee nevertheless promised that Duvalier would know his wrath to ensure Duvalier learned his lesson. St. Germain reminded Dee that all of them had drawn attention to themselves in their youth, but Dee noted that while it was true he had played the worldly game of fame and fortune, he had never gotten himself killed for it, though many might have wished the courage to try, noting that magic in his era had been imposing, and not the circus act it had become. He stopped talking as he detected the approach of their manservants and the injured Duvalier, but as his senses reached out, he also detected Night Raven's presence, describing it as a pit-beast twittering in his inner ear, a simpleton babbling strongly with confusion in his quiet place. Shouting at the "night thing" to get, he mentally repelled Night Raven, who staggered back, suffering from a mind-numbing shock, assailed by the image of an aging swordsman with flashing rapier stabbing at his eyes. Hearing Dee's description, St. Germain concluded his friend was mistaken, reminding him that the demons they had once faced were long gone. Before they could continue their conversation further, their servants arrived back at the car with Duvalier's body, which was deposited in the trunk, and the car departed, presumably to take Duvalier somewhere he could be revived.

   With Duvalier restored, Dee and St. Germain returned with him to the Houngan's penthouse to ensure everything had been properly dealt with. As a result they were present when Night Raven, who had been forced to spend the daylight hours hiding in the garage, broke into the apartment to investigate the scene of the killing. Night Raven killed one of their servants and mortally wounded another before being confronted by the immortals. As he recoiled at confusion upon seeing Duvalier alive, Dee felt the cacophony in the new arrival's mind and realized it was the "pit-beast" he had felt earlier. Identifying the newcomer as a danger, Dee stated they needed to bind it quickly; St. Germain concurred, asking Duvalier to apply some "gentle restraint," and Duvalier swiftly blew an anesthetizing dust into Night Raven's face, rendering him unconscious.

(Savage Sword of Conan (UK)#85) - The three immortals discussed the strange new arrival, wondering what exactly he was and how to deal with him. Dee had no doubt that Night Raven was a vile, hell-spawned creature of the pit, since he had heard "the devilish clamor of its mind," and he declared the intention of working some magic to find its name and bind it, though he worried that he might not remember how, as it had been so long since he last did so. He paused as his mind ruminated, then wondered how one of Lucifer's demons had managed to break through the gates he had shut so long ago. Duvalier told him to calm himself, saying that while he had little doubt Dee could bind their intruder, there was no need, as this appeared to be a new demon, not one of the old order that required the laws of aeons to tie them down, and since it had deprived them of two servants, he had an inclination to take its mind and make it do his bidding in their place.

    Dee snapped angrily at Duvalier, noting that he was not a child who needed to be humored, adding that he knew what he spoke of, having learned about Hell centuries before Duvalier had been born, and deriding Duvalier as puppy, knowing nothing and with disordered magic. He finished by pointing out that Duvalier had been on Earth for less than a century, and had managed to die twice already, yet had the affront to scorn Dee. Duvalier reacted angrily to this, responding with his own grandstanding claims about his power, but St. Germain intervened with calming words, agreeing that the intruder was a danger as Dee had said, but concurring with Duvalier that it was not a demon either. Saying that Night Raven was dangerous, but something they were more than capable of handling, St. Germain recommended they interrogate him, though he admitted he already suspected he knew something about where their intruder originated. Using his magic, Duvalier confirmed St. Germain's suspicions that their intruder was Yi Yang's creation, so the trio of immortals summoned her, and she chose to release Night Raven after wiping his memories of the encounter.

Comments: Brought into Marvel by Jamie Delano; first depicted in Marvel by Andrea Di Vito and Le Beau Underwood.

    At the time I initially wrote this profile, though Dee had appeared and been mentioned in Marvel titles, he had yet to be depicted, turning up only in writer Jamie Delano's text Night Raven tale, hence why only he is credited with introducing the character into Marvel. Even though the story in question did have a couple of illustrations, Dee didn't appear in any of them. Then, after this profile was finished but before it went live, we finally got a visual reference to Dee, albeit only as a portrait, in The Union#4, written by Paul Grist and illustrated by Andrea Di Vito and Le Beau Underwood, which is why they now have the first visual depiction credit in the prior paragraph. Since the portrait's not at an ideal angle for this profile, I have also left in the original main image, which comes from a real world portrait of Dee.

    The reason some of the history is listed as "record/mythologizing" is because while some of it is hard fact about Dee, other aspects may only be the myth that grew around the man, and in our world may never have actually happened. However, since we know on Earth-616 that Dee is a genuine magician and immortal, and definitely was a spy using the number 007, I've treated it as factual for the purposes of this profile. For example, in the real world Dee and Kelley presumably developed the language Enochian that they claimed was the language of angels; however, on Earth-616 we've had confirmation that this is genuinely angelic language, so Dee and Kelley presumably did confer with actual angels. That said, I suspect the "let your collaborator sleep with your wife" bit might be more Kelley than actual angelic proclamation. The bit about there being no gravestone in the church where he was allegedly buried, nor any record of his death in the parish register, is true in the real world, not just the fictional one.

    Like many exceptional real life figures , John Dee has featured in fictional accounts of his life, starting as early as 1610, since the magician Prospero in William Shakespeare's Tempest is reputed to be based on him. He turns up under his own name in the 1840 novel Guy Fawkes by William Harrison Ainsworth, while horror writer H.P. Lovecraft credited Dee with translating the Necronomicon into English. As best as I've been able to ascertain, Dee transitioned to the screen with an appearance in the 1961 British TV series Sir Francis Drake, where he was played by actor Raymond Huntley, and has turned up in other films and series based around the life of Elizabeth I. In comics he has turned up in Promethea, Vampirella, the Italian comic Dampyr, Dark Horse's The Shadow Glass, and the 2000AD strip The Order.

    It's unclear from Sersi's brief comment about her interaction with Dee whether she was an enemy taking him on in battle or a friend merely enjoying a competition when she engaged him in a maker's duel. As such I've left her off both affiliations and enemies listings. Conversely, though Night Raven doesn't even recall meeting Dee, I feel that the fact that Dee considered him a demon would put him in the enemies category.

    Dee doesn't expound on what he means about young immortals needing to learn to step away from "that innocence," but I'm guessing he means things like abandoning mortal ties - friends, family and even casual acquaintances who would eventually notice your lack of aging - since he mentions this in reference to Papa Doc Duvalier, who had faked his death and so cut his original ties, but was then (temporarily) killed because of new mortal associations he had made.

    We only have Dee's word that he fought Lucifer's "death-dogs" and chained up demons, and he was highly strung, and though St. Germain seemed to corroborate the idea that they'd faced demons together, he also secretly considered Dee slightly mad and seemed to be at least partially humoring him. However, St. Germain's evidence for Dee being a little mad included Dee believing he could hear demons whispering in his inner ear, but Dee clearly did both hear Night Raven's chaotic mind in his "inner ear" and magically repel the vigilante, so maybe St. Germain was the one who had it wrong, and Dee was actually correct. After all, they live in a world that does have genuine demons and real magic. As such, I'm running on the assumption that Dee really did take on Lucifer's forces at least some of the time. Of course, the next question is, which Lucifer? Plenty of Hell-lords in Marvel who've used that name over the years.

    This profile was completed 05/10/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

Doctor John Dee has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
The Union#4, p19, pan 3 (main image - portrait in Tower of London)
16th century portrait (real world portrait of Dee)

Mighty World of Marvel (UK) I#17 (October, 1984) - Jamie Delano (writer), Ivan Allen (art), Chris Gill (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan (UK)#85 (November, 1984) - Jamie Delano (writer), Ivan Allen (art), Chris Gill (editor)
Eternals Annual II#1 (January 2009) - Fred Van Lente (writer), Pascal Alixe (art), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Immortal Hulk#6 (November 2018) - Al Ewing (writer), Lee Garbett (art), Wil Moss (editor)
The Union#4 (May 2021) - Paul Grist (writer), Andrea Di Vito (pencils), Le Beau Underwood (inks), Darren Shan (editor)

First Posted: 09/06/2021
Last updated:

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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