Before he became Count Dante, The Deadliest Man Alive . . .

Before he began training Blacks and women in mixed martial arts and incited the deadly Dojo War in Chicago . . .

Before he started wearing a cape, carrying a gold cane, and walking his pet lion around the Loop on a leash . . .

Before he was—or was not — entangled with the Mob . . .

Before he did—or did not—help organize Chicago’s record-setting Purolator Heist, from which $1.5 million was never recovered . . .

Before he got hooked on cocaine, became even more bizarre, and died mysteriously . . .

He was John Keehan, a doctor’s kid from a good family, with a weakness for the girl next door. A certified beautician who owned a hair salon and coiffed the hair of Playboy Bunnies, nobody from high school ever expected he’d end up inside the pages of millions of comic books, selling the infamous secrets to the Dim Mak, The Death Touch, bringing mixed martial arts to the masses.

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Benji Feldheim is a Chicago-based writer and award-winning journalist whose work on crime, politics, music, food, and other life experiences has appeared in Vice News, Crain’s, Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, MEL, and others. Feldheim, a University of Illinois graduate and onetime Rolling Stone intern, practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and plays drums in any bands that will allow him on the stage.