History of the Marvel
A number of the Club's most important members, led by the wealthy trading company owner and former Member of Parliament Sir Patrick Clemens, and his mistress, the renowned actress Diana Knight, emigrated to the colony of New York in the 1770s, where they founded the new American Hellfire Club. Clemens and Knight served as its first leaders under their Club titles of Black King and Black Queen. The Club's headquarters was an abandoned church that stood on the site on the present day Hellfire Club mansion, located at what is now Fifth Avenue on Manhattan's East Side, only a
few blocks away from the Avengers Mansion.
Today's Hellfire Club counts among its members the wealthy, the powerful, and the celebrated from virtually all over the world. Membership is by invitation only, but such invitations are rarely turned down, for membership in the Hellfire Club
is universally regarded as the ultimate status symbol.
As far as the general public and, indeed, most of the Club's members are concerned, the Hellfire Club is a thoroughly respectable upper class social organization principally devoted to giving spectacular parties. It is also generally known that these parties serve as a means for members of
the social, economic, and political elite to meet unofficially
to discuss matters of mutual interest, and to strike political
or business alliances.
The Club's highest ranking members belong to its Inner Circle and dress in late Eighteenth Century costumes for Circle meetings and other formal occasions involving the Club.
Inner Circle members hold positions named after chess pieces: the leaders are King and Queens, followed by Bishops, Knights, Rooks, and Pawns. It is possible for there to be two or more Kings (a Black King and a White King) or Queens (Black and White) in office simultaneously. However, such situations almost invariably lead to power struggles, and so there is usually only one ruling King and Queen at a time. If a member of one faction of the Inner Circle displaces a member of another faction as King or Queen, he or she usually names his rank after the opposite color to his predecessor's. Hence, when Sebastian Shaw deposed former leader Edward Buckman, a White King, he became a Black King.
Unknown to most of the Club members, the Inner Circle members are engaged in a conspiracy to dominate the world through the accumulation of economic power and political influence. The Inner Circle commands great financial resources, highly advanced technology, and a large body of mercenaries (many of whom wear red and blue uniforms with masks), all of which are used in their subversive activities.