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Dr. Death (Fawcett/Charlton)

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Dr. Death
Dr. Death

Real Name

Richard Mord

First Appearance

This Magazine is Haunted #1 (1951)

Original Publisher

Fawcett / Charlton

Created by

Sheldon Moldoff

Golden Age Origin

Dr. Death was a horror host, like Man in Black, who frequently orchestrated the events that he narrated. While the Doctor acted mainly in an observational role, he was also known to drive characters to their doom by taking on human form, feeding victims false advice or betraying their trust when they most needed help.

Dr Death was provided with a back story in Haunted # 12, in which American screenwriter Richard Mord discovers a doorway to The Beyond in an ancient European castle. After near-lethal encounters with ghouls, demons and the vampiric Countess Siroon, Mord is revealed to be the absent master of this hellish domain: through unexplained circumstances, Death had assumed human form and lost all memory of his supernatural origins. The story ends with Mord/Death resuming his place as ruler of The Beyond (along with his duties as Haunted's malevolent host).

Powers

DoctorDeath

Master of ceremonies: Haunted's cadaverous narrator, Dr. Death

As the literal personification of death, Doctor Death acts as a psychopomp, collecting human souls and transporting them to his Hadean kingdom, described in one story as The Beyond. In this capacity, he has sovereign power over witches, demons, vampires and various other supernatural beings, which are charged to do his bidding. Assuming the role of Grim Reaper, he can travel at will between the Earth and The Beyond, evidently having the ability to transcend both space and time itself.

In addition, he is capable of moving unseen through the Living Realm, subliminally influencing the fates of his intended victims. When direct intervention is required he can either reveal himself as the Specter of Death (medieval grim reaper) or assume human form to interact with those around him. While human, he appears to retain some degree of his supernatural powers, being capable of flying and subduing demonic creatures. In various stories, he has taken the form of a screenwriter (The Door), an orchestral conductor (Satan's Stradivari), and a locomotive engineer (The Last Express) amongst others. He is sometimes portrayed as the supreme power of The Beyond, to such an extent that even the devil ("Mephisto Satan") is described as his lieutenant.

Golden Age Appearances

First appearing on the cover of Haunted #1, Doctor Death was the series' host until its cancellation in 1953. He returned for a number of issues when the magazine was acquired by Charlton Comics in 1954. As rendered by Charlton stalwart Steve Ditko, Doctor Death took on a progressively less skeletal appearance. After the magazine was retooled in 1956 to conform to the newly-established Comics Code, Death was replaced by Ditko's Dr. Haunt for the remainder of the magazine's run.

Appearances:

  • This Magazine is Haunted #1-14 (Fawcett)
  • This Magazine is Haunted #17-18 (Charlton)

See Also

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