||Born to Joe Hell and Molly Stern
||Disruptive in school but good in studies, a
troubled student with a rather thick school record, with multiple and confusing
psychological theories and speculations, the majority centering on an overly developed
mother/son relationship, the impact of a household with unreliable father figures coming
and going, attention deficit disorder (as it would later be called), and manic-depressive
||Joe goes punk,
mohawk, leather jacket, but refuses to wear jeans, usually used corduroys instead; begins
discovering the positive side to individualism, school record develops into a more
positive but still thick tome
school; mother tells him about his heritage; first attack (other than domestic abuse) made
on her; Joe believes it to be mob-based. He also goes straight-edge that year, gets rid of
jacket and moves to just white t-shirts and slacks or shorts, begins working out but
quickly loses that discipline but does begin a discipline of drinking heavily
slain, case remains officially unsolved. Gets P.I. license and begins emulating certain
behaviors of Joe Hell.
professional world isn't ready for a straight edge detective, he starts dressing more
seriously, growing his hair out to a crewcut, and slowly donning the appearance he's known
for - tan/light brown trench coat, fedora, dark colored (navies, reds, browns) patterned
tie, white or brown shirt, and tan or brown dress slacks, all reasonably well pressed and
kept up; no significant notices in the press; operates out of his house
||Makes page 10
story regarding the capture of a fugitive deadbeat husband and begins to generate a real
income (albeit still at poverty level; his mother's house is paid for and he remains
there, mitigating some expenses).
in the papers list Jack Hell as a witness in divorce and business lawsuits as a result of
his investigative role. A bloody multiple gangland murder reported on page two lists Jack
Hell as a witness questioned by the police.
Inc., quickly retitled to Hell Investigations; business picks up and the lawsuits begin.
Arrested in March for trespassing, his only guilty conviction to date but maintains
license as part of pledge to do community service. First libel case brought against him
when a spurned husband is dissatisfied with Hell's implications of his embezzlement;
Hell's proof reverses the situation and the suit is dismissed. This year also sees Hell's
relationships with dependent and downtrodden women begin in earnest, with several affairs.
||First of several
drunk and disorderly run-ins with the law, though he's merely cited, as is typically done
over the next three years. His name and face begin to appear in society columns (for his
role as an investigator, primarily breaking up marriages), the business section (for
corporate investigative work), and arrest reports (as a witness and/or suspect).
||A cocky Hell,
now successful, is again sued, this time losing a judgement for $250,000 in an invasion of
privacy case brought by another ex-husband. Only the involvement of Dr. Keeleher saves the
case on appeal; as part of the settlement the case is sealed, only the principles involved
and the fact the case exists remains on the books. Dr. Keeleher appears in court records
as counsel on behalf of Hell several times after this. One of Hell's girlfriends is found
brutally murdered, and he begins a tailspin into increased drinking but, for the next few
months, the business increases.
||Tax records reveal this
to be Hell's best financial year. It's also the year he legally changes his name from Jack
Stern to Jack Stern Hell. However, several police reports list him for drunk and
disorderly citations (though miraculously no arrests on those charges), as well as a more
serious arrest for the murder of the husband of a woman who had hired him. The charge is
the result of a setup by her and he is quickly cleared of those charges. His increasingly
enigmatic profile as both a troublemaker and an advocate of the abused (it's now known he
often handles cases for abused women for free, sometimes even without their asking)
attracts even more attention, positive and negative. He is still linked romantically to
women of lower status or intelligence, often both.
is heard from Hell, though he is listed as the defendant in a libel case as the result of
a divorce and a slander case as the result of a corporate espionage investigation.
Gambling losses appear to lead to the loss of his office space, but his reputation for
success apparently keeps enough business coming his way to keep him housed and fed. While
he still is not arrested for known drunk and disorderly activities, police records show
that Hell voluntarily (?) stayed in the drunk tank for at least 27 nights throughout 1997.
cleaning up his act. Also conducts an investigation of Lee Whitehead, executive
vice-president in Dagget industries, which results in front page stories of the executives
philandering and emotional wife abuse as well as hints at unethical if not illegal
practices. It also results in Whitehead's divorce. Then a smear campaign takes place in
the papers directed at Hell, detailing his run-ins with the law and hinting he's been
involved in his mother's and girlfriends' murders, as well as multiple unsavory personal
details. In the meantime Whitehead quietly drops out of the papers but remains powerful in
Dagget, despite a temporary demotion as the company prides itself on its moral image.
Hell's home burns to the ground, the first in a series of such misfortunes throughout the
year, including his default on credit cards which he claims he never owned - those cases
still lingering in civil courts.
appears listed in a battered women charity as a contributor of services (undisclosed
details). Throughout the year he has no drunk and disorderly citations and no time in the
drunk tank (at least none recorded), although he is still known as something of a party
animal. He begins using a somewhat controversial but legal and, if not misused, non-lethal
gun of his own design. However, not all of his life is turning around; he experiences his
3rd violent loss of a girlfriend (although this time he catches and brings the
perpetrator to justice). He also is subject to yet another major legal case; as part of
the settlement the records are sealed so the outcome is uncertain. His legal residence
changes several times and by the last half of the year no legal residence is shown on any
records. Adding injury to insult, a fall from a 5th story while on a stake-out
results in a hospital stay of several nights, abruptly ending as the impaired Hell
apparently narrowly escapes an attempt by unknown parties to do him in.
||Hell shows up in
photos taken at the Furies mansion in January and February and is clearly establishing
more ties to the heroic community of Bay City.