The Beyond was a fictional location employed in Fawcett Comics' early 50s horror line. While the idea wasn't used consistently, it became a recurring plot device in all of Fawcett's horror titles, sometimes playing an essential role in the narrative. It was, in a sense, the closest thing to a "universe" in a series of books otherwise lacking in continuity.
Briefly speaking, The Beyond was a mysterious plane of existence which occasionally encroached on the physical world. A shadowy limbo vaguely akin to the Afterlife, it served as the source of the many supernatural menaces which threatened the "Realm of the Living." In a number of cases, it was a gray, lifeless purgatory inhabited by rotting corpses; in others, a place of perpetual torment akin to hell (although rarely defined as such).
The Beyond was depicted as the abode of all of humanity's worst fears; vampires, ghosts and demons existed alongside ghouls, witches and harpies. All seemed generally hostile towards mankind, some periodically crossed over to prey on selected victims or to seek vengeance on former tormentors. The traffic appeared to flow in both directions; mortals could inadvertently find themselves trapped in the Beyond before the end of their natural lives.
Access to the Beyond took numerous forms. Ghostly express trains made midnight runs to the other side, carrying the spirits of the recently departed. Phantom cruise liners ferried moldering passengers through the Sea of the Dead. Unwary travellers often found themselves making a one-way trip on the Road to Nowhere. Swamps, caves and haunted houses all seemed to lie within the outer boundaries of The Other World. From this perspective, the Beyond provided both an endless reservoir of potential storylines and an explanation as to how supernatural forces could exist in the 'real' world.
Localities within The Beyond
- Castle Valord: ancestral home of the undead Countess Siroon, an ancient portal into The Beyond. Reputed to be haunted by the local population, it is shunned and feared by all decent folk. A large doorway in its basement leads directly to hell.
- 13 Long Road, just past Elmsford: Departure point for The Last Express. Located beside an unused railway spur, it is one of Death's many way-stations, granting newly-departed souls access to 'The Other world'.
- The Bookstore, Salem: abode of The Shop Keeper and his faceless minions, another gateway to The Beyond. To the casual observer, the Bookstore appears to be a burnt-out vacant lot, but to the Shop Keeper's intended victims, it seems to be an antiquarian library full of forbidden tomes.
- City of the Fearful Night: A phantom stopover halfway between Earth and the Beyond, where those who died by accident, murder or suicide are forced to remain in torment until the "Other World" is ready to take them.
- The World of the Dead: a dismal, gray limbo populated by decaying corpses; main jurisdiction of High Court of the Dead. Clearly distinguished from heaven, hell or purgatory, it is nonetheless closely identified with the afterlife.
- Hell: Also known as the 'World of the Evil Ones', this region is a place of perpetual torment for any mortal unfortunate cross its boundaries, regardless of their innocence or guilt. Populated by demons, ghouls and similar supernatural entities, Hell appears to have a number of 'masters', including Mephisto Satan, Countess Siroon and The Shop Keeper. The ultimate power in this region appears to be Dr. Death, to whom all others must defer - even it seems, the devil himself.
- The Sea of the Dead: the black depths of the Beyond, a "bottomless abyss where life turns back and another world begins." The ultimate destination of all who drown at sea.
- Dr. Death
- The Mummy
- The Judges of the Dead
- Countess Siroon
- The Serpent Queen
- The Shop Keeper
- The Fleshless Ones