Other related characters have taken on the mantle of Sargon the Sorcerer. For the grandson appearing in the previous continuity, see: David Sargent. For the current New 52 daughter of John Sargent, Jaimini Sargent, see Sargon the Sorceress.
Four thousand years ago, the Ruby of Life, a gem of great mystical power, was kept in the temple of Asyreth, goddess of the Tiparanes. The Ruby of Life had been carved from the same stone as the gem in the Ring of Life, which has been used since the 20th Century by both the Spectre and his enemy, Kulak.
If the Ruby of Life was the first object a person consciously saw and touched as an infant, and if that person later spoke a certain incantation while touching the Ruby, he would gain magical power over whatever he touched.
Invading hordes stole the Ruby and carried it off to wastelands to the east, where it remained for centuries. Somehow the Ruby crossed the Pacific ocean and came into the possession of the Aztecs in Mexico. In 1917 the archaeologist Richard Biddle Sargent found the Ruby in a cache apparently dug by one of Montezuma's followers. He presented the Ruby to his fiancee, who wore it on a golden chain around her neck. Sargent married his fiancee and the first object their infant son John consciously touched was the Ruby.
Years later, John went on many archaeological expeditions with his father. While exploring the temple of Asyreth, John learned about the power of the Ruby of Life. Reciting the incantation while touching the Ruby, Sargent gained the power through the Ruby to control whatever he touched. John Sargent wanted to use his powers to do good, but believed people might harm him or fear him if they knew he had mystical powers. Therefore he began a career as a stage magician so that people would think that the magical effects he created were merely non-magical tricks. Sargent took the name "Sargon", the name of a Tiphranian priest-king.
Sargon first appeared in All-American Comics # 26, (dated May 1941), and was created by writer John B. Wentworth with artist Howard Purcell.
Major Story Arcs
Crisis On Infinite Earths & Saga of the Swamp Thing
Sargon became a crime fighter and was aided for a long time by his assistant Maximillian O'Leary and his most frequent foe was the Blue Lama. Many years after he began his career, the Ruby of Life somehow caused Sargon to become amoral, even evil, but he was finally freed from the Ruby's evil influence. Sargon fought alongside other mystical heroes in the Crisis on Infinite Earths and then again when the great Shadow Creature threatened heaven itself. Sargon died (as did Zatara) heroically as the creature's power incinerated his body during the seance performed by John Constantine, Zatanna, Zatara, Baron Winters and Mento. The Ruby of Life then went missing.
The Books of Magic
In Neil Gaiman's mini-series, Sargon's soul briefly appears to Tim Hunter and The Phantom Stranger, where Tim is on a magical tour of the universe to learn if he should pursue a life of magic. Sargon warns Tim about the dangers of pursuing a life in the occult, and then disintegrates before their eyes, leaving only the ruby behind.
Swamp Thing (Vertigo)
Sargon's spirit would later return in Mark Millar's Swamp Thing run, inhabiting the body of an elderly German man named Koestler. He planned to lead his fellow souls trapped in Hell in an assault on Heaven but was thwarted by the Swamp Thing.
The Helmet of Fate: Sargon the Sorcerer
Sargon's soul helps his grandson David Sargent to re-form the Ruby of Life and become his successor, after demons tricked David into trying to secure it for themselves.
In issue #7 of Paul Dini's Zatanna series, Sargon's soul still exists within the Ruby of Life which is attached to his turban. The turban is presented at Ms. Antonia Stefanacci's Hollywood Museum of Magic which is adjacent the Magic Palace Nightclub. Unfortunately, Sargon's pompous and self righteous nature carried on after his death. The turban begins to magically rally other magical artifacts like Dr. Fate's boots, Manitou Raven's totem, John Zatara's sunglasses, Ibis' business suit, Baron Winters' cloak and Dr. Thirteen's trenchcoat along with his pipe, to create a metaphysical form of Sargon. Sargon breaks out of the museum to exact justice on Hollywood.
Sargon begins his crusade by transforming a cocaine dealer and a buyer into solidified statues that were mainly composed of cocaine. Zatanna follows Sargon's trail of disaster to a woman that was just mugged. Zatanna finds the woman's mugger hanging by a light post because Sargon twisted the light post into a noose. Suddenly, Sargon appears and offers Zatanna the chance to join his crusade. Zatanna refuses and tries to make contact with the other residual spirits that Sargon has combined with. Zatanna frees her father's spirit and John Zatara manages to reach out to the other souls of his fallen magical comrades. The spirits gather their strengths and split apart from Sargon's metaphysical form. Sargon soul had been exorcised for the time being.
Sargon, with a more modern re-design, appears in brief flashbacks in titles such as Constantine and Justice League Dark. He remains deceased in the present (Zatara's death in Saga of the Swamp Thing remains loosely canon, so is possibly the case for Sargon). He is depicted to be more villainous, and a founding member of the Cult of the Cold Flame. His daughter, Jaimini Sargent, also knows as Sargon the Sorceress, has taken over his work and is a recurring villain for John Constantine.