First Appearance: Mystic Comics #1 (March 1940).
Golden Age Appearances: Mystic Comics #1.
Modern Appearances: None.
Years Active: 1940-?
Dave Dean, "the Deep Sea Demon," is an "intrepid adventurer" who works the South Pacific trying to earn his fortune via discovering sunken treasure, undiscovered pearls, light mercenary work, or any of the other ways that white men in the South Pacific made their money in the years before WW2. Dean is one of Timely's more overtly pulp-influenced characters, being taken from the South Seas Adventurer genre; some of the more notable members of that group were Hurricane Williams and Shark Gotch.
Dean is like those two characters as well as countless other comic book adventurer/explorer types. He's two-fisted, brave, unafraid of superstitions or bad guys, and not vulnerable to the lures of dames. His only real interest seems to be in profit, although he's by no means amoral. He's altruistic, but he wants to make some money. He's very strong, recovering quite quickly from the bends. In his only appearance he clashes (not for the first time, according to the story) with Wing Po, a stereotypical Yellow Peril, Chinese mandarin-type. Wing Po is Dean's nemesis; Wing Po hails Dean as "my illustrious rival" and treats him fairly but lethally. Wing Po's goal is to get the sunken loot before Dean does, but he fails at this.
Note: Once upon a time I had the notion of writing, for Alter Ego, an article on Timely's lifts from the pulps. I'd have compared Dave Dean to the aforementioned Hurricane Williams and Shark Gotch. I'd have compared the 3Xs to Jack, Doc and Reggie of "I Love A Mystery." I'd have compared Zara to Sheena. I'd have compared the Angel to the Saint, and Hercules to Polaris Janess. And so on. I think I could have made enough comparisons so that article would have made for good reading. But, alas, such was not to be....