In the late 19th century, a gang of criminals broke into a bank and assaulted the tellers. One of the bank clerks, Lazarus Lane, failed to take action against the thieves, and as a result, the criminals mercilessly gunned down one of the other clerks.
Stricken by guilt for his own inaction, Lazarus sought to avenge his fallen friend by confronting the bank robbers. They easily outnumbered him however and tossed him into a shallow stream. Some time after they had left him, a bolt of lightning crackled from the sky striking Lazarus in the chest. Lane slumped over, lapsing into a coma.
His trusted friend, Wise Owl – an Apache Native American, discovered Lane's body and brought him back to his hacienda. He placed him before the fireplace and kept a close vigil over him for two days and nights. There was no ready explanation for why Lane was even still alive, but Wise Owl continued to care for him, administering aid in the form of strange roots and powders.
Three nights later, Lazarus, like his namesake, seemingly rose from the dead. It was later revealed that Wise Owl had used magic to turn Lane into a host for a Spirit of Vengeance, but Lane did not know this at the time. Grabbing hold of his new lease on life, Lazarus decided to become a dark, driven avenger of the night. Dedicated towards righting wrongs, he adopted the name and guise of El Diablo.
- Cheating Death: El Diablo appeared to have possessed an uncanny stamina and ability to survive insurmountable danger. Whether this was a reflection of Wise Owl's Apache magic upon him, or his own natural heartiness has yet to be explained.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic)
- Weaponry: He was proficient with several different types of weapons, but preferred his bullwhip or bolas.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- According to Jonah Hex (Volume 2) #11 (November 2006) and Jonah Hex (Volume 2) #24 (December 2007), Lazarus Lane is cursed to be the host of a minor demon which acts as a Spirit of Vengeance.
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #7 erroneously credits El Diablo's first appearances as All-Star Western (Volume 2) #3, when in fact he made his first actual appearance in All-Star Western (Volume 2) #2.
- In the letter column of Superman Family #188, editor E. Nelson Bridwell established that Lazarus Lane is an ancestor to both Superman's girlfriend Lois Lane and The Shadow's assistant Margo Lane. (This only applies to Earth-One. On New Earth, it is unknown if Lois and Lazarus are related, and Margo is not known to exist.)
- El Diablo is Spanish for The Devil.
- All-Star Western (Volume 2)
- El Diablo (Volume 1)
- El Diablo (Volume 2)
- Weird Western Tales (Volume 1)
- 45 Appearances of Lazarus Lane (New Earth)
- 9 Images featuring Lazarus Lane (New Earth)
- 3 Quotations by or about Lazarus Lane (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Lazarus Lane (New Earth)