The Hellfire Club is a fictional society within the Marvel Comics Universe that often comes into confrontation with the mutant superhero team, the X-Men. Although the Club appears to merely be an international social club for wealthy elites, its clandestine Inner Circle seeks to influence world events to their own agenda.
Created by the Uncanny X-Men writer/artist duo of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, they were heavily influenced by a 1966 episode of the British television series The Avengers ("A Touch of Brimstone"). The name "Hellfire Club" in fact has a historical precedent, having been a popular name for gentlemen's clubs in the 18th century. The Hellfire Club as such adheres to an 18th century dress code. Additionally, the hierarchy of the Inner Circle is modeled on the pieces of a chess set, with Black and White sets of Kings, Queens, Bishops and Rooks.
The Hellfire Club and its Inner Circle were introduced in the Dark Phoenix Saga, attempting to subvert the X-Men's Jean Grey. This incarnation, composed most notably of Black King Sebastian Shaw and White Queen Emma Frost, would remain prominent for many years. After their initial confrontations, the Hellfire Club and the X-Men settled into an uneasy alliance. This however eventually fell by the wayside as endless power struggles perpetuated a series of upheavals within the Inner Circle. The club has appeared in two X-Men animated series (X-Men: The Animated Series and Wolverine and the X-Men), both times being renamed as simply The Inner Circle, due to the hesitations to use the word Hellfire in animated children series.
In creating the Hellfire Club, Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont and artist/co-writer John Byrne drew heavily upon a 1966 episode of the British spy series The Avengers entitled "A Touch of Brimstone". In the episode, agents John Steed and Emma Peel attempt to infiltrate a secret society named after the Hellfire Club of the 18th century, whose members of the "Inner Circle" all wear period costumes. Emma Peel's guise as "the Queen of Sin", dressed in a black leather corset, would be the model for the Club's Queens, her first name even borrowed for White Queen Emma Frost. The leader of the episode's club was played by actor Peter Wyngarde, best known for his role as Jason King, forming the basis for Mastermind's new "Jason Wyngarde" identity.
Read more about The HellFire Club at Wikipedia ...
Official Site: Marvel Entertainment
Links: Wikipedia Marvel.com Comicvine