Classification: Undead Humans

Location/Base of Operations: Cathedral of the Dead and the caverns around it

Known Members: Bride of the God, Priests of the Grateful Undead, Warriors of the Dead

Affiliations: God of the Dead (their god), "God of the Dead" (a monster mistaken for the God), Guardian of the Dead

Enemies: Bride of the God, Cable (Nathan Christopher Summers), Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch/Noble Kale), God of the Dead (at the end he was their demise), Jubal Jones

First Appearance: Marvel Comics Presents#90/3 (1991)

Powers/Abilities: They were able to resurrect their dead. They could hide in the shadows and were well served in the mystic and warrior arts.

Traits: They were a small race of undead assassins. They ate the flesh of the dead. Each member of the Grateful Undead lived with all the past memories of the race which were given to the dead at their resurrection.

The history of the Grateful Undead remains unclear.

(MCP#95/3 (fb) ): Centuries ago some of the people who would become the Grateful Undead brought warrior arts to the Lords of China. These were passed down and combined with lesser arts until they became Ninjitsu.

(MCP#97/3 (fb) - BTS): At some point a necromancer who worshipped the dead and used them for his own evil purposes went down to halls beneath the surface and started a new life among the dead. His powers became stronger and he as his comprehension of everything grew he left his evil ways. He became a god to a small race of warriors and preached respect to the dead and worship of them. The race became his followers and from that moment on known as the Grateful Undead.

(BTS): The priests started to reanimate the dead of their race with the arts they learned from their god. The Grateful Undead became assassins. Their god lived among the dead in the Cathedral of the Dead, but a monster dwelled there too. Mistaking it for their god, the Grateful Undead gave sacrifices to it.

(MCP#97/3 (fb) - BTS): The priests of the Grateful Undead told the warriors of the race to wear the archaic garb from their past in order to please their god.

(MCP#94/3 (fb) ): The Grateful Undead were among a number of races that dwelled beneath the surface. In the war between the races the Grateful Undead served as assassins. They did everything to please their god of death.

(MCP#96/3 (fb) - BTS): The priests of the Grateful Undead used an ancient ritual to reanimate a girl. She was given the memories of the entire race.

(MCP#94/3 (fb) ): A neophyte, the girl ran away when she was brought to a place of sacrifice.

(MCP#90/3): The Grateful Undead hunted the girl, but were thwarted by the intervention of Cable. The girl explained to her rescuer that more hunters would come, and that they would not be so easy to kill because they were death. Then she tried to leave with Cable, but accidentally led him to a place full of coffins where a Guardian of the Dead attacked them. Cable killed the Guardian using its own spike and used his gun to open a way to the surface, allowing the girl to flee. The girl came to the surface in a cemetery, pursued by the Grateful Undead. Encountering Dan Ketch (also known as Ghost Rider), she asked him for help when the Grateful Undead dragged her back to the underground. Cable was unable to help, having been attached to the wall with a net, and the girl was taken away.

(MCP#91/3): Working together Ghost Rider and Cable followed the Grateful Undead, who threw bloody rocks at them to deter the pursuit. The heroes drove into a canyon where the girl ran up to them. She told them to save themselves before being caught again. The Grateful Undead were attacked by the heroes and fought back with heavy artillery. They drove the heroes onto a bridge that cracked. The Grateful Undead watched as the heroes fell to the center of the earth.

(MCP#92/3): Ghost Rider stopped their fall with his chain and drove with Cable through the tunnels into a huge hall. They felt something dangerous around them. A priest of the Grateful Undead welcomed the heroes in the Cathedral of the Dead and sent his acolytes against them because they were not members of the chosen who were allowed in the cathedral. Ghost Rider and Cable defeated the acolytes and the priest screamed for something else. Cable and Ghost Rider were pulled down by something into the bones while the priest and his acolytes watched them.

(MCP#93/3): The girl was thrown into the bones by the acolytes and pulled down into the deep by a tentacle. Ghost Rider and Cable freed themselves and the girl from the giant tentacles and the so-called god that dwelled beneath the cathedral felt fear for the first time in a millennium. The heroes killed it, and the priest was shocked when he heard the scream of his god and the heroes got away with the girl. The priest wanted to send his acolytes after them but they were killed by the Warriors of the Dead. The leader of the Warriors told the priest that his sorcery failed, and that the Warriors would now slay the enemies of the Grateful Undead. The leader killed the priest although he didn't deserve the gift of death.

(MCP#94/3): The heroes arrived on the surface with the girl, emerging from a grave and nearly scaring grave robber Jubal Jones to death. Jubal was killed by the Warriors of the Dead when they came through the grave too. The heroes brought the girl to an abandoned warehouse and questioned her about the Grateful Undead. The Warriors of the Dead followed the heroes, found the warehouse and surrounded it while the girl told her new friends everything she could remember. The girl noticed the presence of the Warriors and told the heroes that the Warriors had arrived.

(MCP#95/3): The Warriors of the Dead waited outside the warehouse to psych the heroes out. Ghost Rider dragged a Warrior through the wall and shot him. The leader of the Warriors told them that the heroes would not prevent them from taking the girl who was to become the Bride of their God. The heroes tried to defeat them but the Warriors used tactics Cable remembered from the Ninja. The leader of the Warriors didn't want to spill the blood of the heroes, but they wouldn't let his men take the Bride and so the Warriors attacked from the shadows. The leader told his men to attack the Bride and then showed the heroes the truth. Taking several mortal wounds, the Bride sat up again with four weapons in her chest and wasn't dead.

(MCP#96/3): The leader of the Warriors told them that the Bride wasn't dead because she was just a resurrected body. She couldn't believe the truth and attacked the Warriors. Ghost Rider and Cable helped her. The leader didn't want to continue the fight and told the Bride that she only needed to open her mind to learn the truth. She did it but she still didn't want to fulfil her destiny. The warehouse began to rattle and everyone in it was grasped by a mystic field and brought into the Cathedral of the Dead. The leader kneeled when his god awakened from the bones and told the heroes that they would die.

(MCP#97/3): Ghost Rider attacked the God, but he just threw him away and walked up to his Bride. The heroes took down the leader of the Warriors and then tried to stop his God who couldn't understand the hostility of the heroes because the girl was his Bride. Cable shot the God into his head, breaking his mask. The heroes were surprised to see that the God was human. The God told them that he only wanted to pay homage to the dead and was surprised that the leader of the Warriors was wearing the archaic garb of their past. The God who once was a necromancer learned that the Grateful Undead left his noble way and became assassins. The God ordered the heroes to leave, but they didn't want to leave the girl alone. The God gave her the choice to leave too, but she chose death and died immediately. The heroes left and behind them everything broke down as the former necromancer fixed his mistake.

Comments: Created by Howard Mackie and Guang Yap

Most of the groups and individuals in this storyline are not given proper names. Everything is just called by their description. Even the Priests of the Grateful Undead were not given a name. First I thought they were called Servants of the Dead, but every member of the Grateful Undead was a servant of the dead and the necromancer even called the heroes Servants of the Dead. Except the Warriors of the Dead and the Cathedral of the Dead everything else stayed kind of nameless (except the long winded explanatory names like "He who dwelled beneath the Cathedral of the Dead").

Nice rushed story with nearly no explanations. Explanations given just brought up more questions that weren't even thought about before. Thanks Mr.Mackie! I had a lot to write about it.

The China Problem:
The leader of the Warriors claimed that they brought their warrior arts to China. Truth or not? They had an Asian appearance (too dark for China or Japan, but if you go a little bit down to some isles or India you have people with their skin color). They probably travelled around a lot and came to America a long time ago. As history tells us the ancestors of most Native Americans originally came from Asia around the last ice age. The race who would become the Grateful Undead could have done this too in the Marvel Universe. The look of their archaic garb is a little bit too developed for a race from this time, but in Marvel History we know something called the Hyborian era and there were highly developed races even before that time. They probably brought their martial arts to China in the Hyborian era. From there on there was time enough to combine it with other martial arts over thousands of years until everyone had forgotten the origins. That the leader of the Warriors is talking about centuries is no problem either. He went through the resurrection process of the Priests and probably didn't know that a few thousand years went by since they were in China.

The Necromancer joins the crowd:
They probably lived in the caverns for generations. Did they live in the caverns for sure? Nobody heard of them before and I will come back to the possible reason for them living in the underground later. Their origins were stories from the past told by the priests (priests and their love for the past turn things awry too often). Here comes the necromancer, who looks like a European, walks like a European and talks like a European (a British man probably because otherwise these poor underground residents wouldn't have been able to talk to Ghost Rider and Cable in English). He dresses himself in bones, but that's fitting for him. He probably came to America a long time ago and he was a bad guy in the old world who tried to find peace in the new world. I really don't have a clue when he found the caverns, but it was some time before New York was built on them and it could've been hundred or even some thousand years ago. He is not a member of their race even though he talked to the warrior in#97 as he was one of his kind, but this could be more of a spiritual figure thing, because he turned into a father who led this race out of their dark past. He probably found the last survivors of an old race of warriors and gave them a new religion. He taught them his believes and showed them how to resurrect their dead. He gave rituals to them and the possibility to give their dead people a mind by transferring the memories of their race into them. Magic rules. Then he started to live in the sacred place of the race among thousands of skeletons and there priests started to misinterpret everything he told them. For some reason the necromancer wasn't eaten by the monster (powerful magic? could be a reason). The priests still were in contact with him and gave him from time to time resurrected people (mostly or generally women as Brides) as homage to the necromancer. He didn't had a clue what else was happening (probably sleeping somewhere safe between the homage rituals).

The way of the Priests:
As memories were given from generation to generation of resurrected beings the misinterpretations and lies became truths, because the priests did the resurrections and controlled the process of mind transfer. They turned their race to the faulty ways of their past and made them to something they hadn't been for a long time. They Grateful Undead became real warriors again. The priests probably knew the truth. They used modern technology to fight heroes. The Warriors didn't. The Priests told the Warriors to dress up like in the past, to become assassins. They gave sacrifices to their gods and returned to their old cannibalistic ways (the priests' teeth were as sharp as knives). They probably were the only ones that ever saw the necromancer for a very long time and lied to him as well as to their kind (they just had to avoid being touched by the necromancer and that works if you come up with something like not being worthy to be touched by a god). They did a lot of evil things while the Warriors just served a higher purpose and did what they were told because they believed in it. This turned out bad for one priest because the Warriors believed in their "God" and killed the Priest for the pain the "God" had to suffer.

The false God:
A race of Warriors began to live in the caverns beneath the surface. Why? I say it was the fault of the Priests who lived in the past. For some time the warriors were probably still fighting on the outside world, but the priests had found a god in the caverns and produced a religion around it (giant tentacled things as gods is nothing special around the Hyborian era). A religion based on sacrifices and ritual killings that turned their race into cannibals. This god was just a creature, but it was old (we are talking now about the Hyborian era again and this thing was older than that). So they made the home of this creature a sacred place. It probably was already filled with some skeletons, but over the centuries it became a little bit more filled (a few thousand skeletons or so). The necromancer arrived and he turned them into good people, but the priests combined his religion with lies and turned the beliefs of their people over the next centuries with their new powers (resurrecting people and the mind transfer) into an older direction. They combined the necromancer, who became a god for the race, and the monster. (both weren't seen anymore and they lived in the same place). Why didn't the necromancer destroy the monster? Probably it hid at the time he arrived and hid again every time he awakened.

Guardians of the Dead:
There were more of them around than one. They lived in the ground and guarded the coffins with the dead of the Grateful Undead in it. The priests were able to control them somehow because otherwise they wouldn't have been able to get the dead bodies to resurrect them. But what were the guardians? Morlocks? No. Demons? Too easy to kill for that. Subterranean creatures? Most likely. (Perhaps deviant mutates - Loki). I'm not sure what these guardians were and not one was seen full. Just the arms and they were green and really big.

What if? :
There are still other possibilities. It can be that everything is a lie the necromancer began a long time ago with a big plan in his mind. The Grateful Undead were never a true race from somewhere else. He told the heroes about his evil past. Probably he was just trying to do the same thing again. He tricked them all the time and was even working together with the monster that ate so many people. He didn't even destroy the Grateful Undead then. Their destruction wasn't seen. The girl died, some walls collapsed and the heroes drove away. Probably he works on a plan for world domination with an undead army? Possibilities, possibilities and more possibilities. The truth will probably never be learned.

by Markus Raymond

Clarifications: Grateful Undead should not be confused with:

Bride of the God should not be confused with:

Warriors of the Dead should not be confused with:

The false God of the Dead could be related with:

Guardian of the Dead should not be confused with:

Bride of the God

Details of the Bride's life prior to her death were not provided. Some time after her death she was resurrected and given the thoughts of her race. She was to become the Bride of their God, but she fled shortly after her resurrection confused by everything that was happening. She was saved by Ghost Rider and Cable more than one time from the claws of the Grateful Undead. When she learned that she already was dead and that her destiny was to become the Bride of her god she didn't want this fate. She was taken to the Cathedral of the Dead by her God. The heroes couldn't help her in the end when she had to make the choice to live or to die. She chose death and died.

--Marvel Comics Presents#90/3 (91/3-97/3



Priests of the Grateful Undead

The priests of the Grateful Undead misunderstood the intentions of their god by accident or on purpose. They resurrected the dead, told the Warriors to wear the archaic garb of their past and were responsible for them to become a race of assassins. They were not only masters of the mystic but also capable to fight off enemies with modern technology. One priest failed with his acolytes to defeat Ghost Rider and Cable and awakened the monster that dwelled beneath the Cathedral of the Dead. Along his acolytes he was killed by the Warriors of the Dead when the monster was killed and the heroes got away with the Bride.

--Marvel Comics Presents#91/3 (91/3-93/3




Warriors of the Dead

They were warriors for a long time and even brought their arts to China. At some point they were told by the priests to wear the archaic garb of their past and to become assassins in the war between the races that lived beneath the surface. They hunted down the heroes and the Bride. The leader tried to use the truth about the Bride's origins to convince her to return, but she didn't like her destiny. The Warriors were taken to the Cathedral of the Dead by their God. Except their leader all  the Warriors were drawn into the bones. The leader kneeled before his god and tried to guard him from the heroes. The surprised God learned from the leader what they had become and was shocked.

--Marvel Comics Presents#93/3 (94/3-87/3







"God of the Dead"

It was a giant monster with tentacles. It pulled down his victims through the bones in the Cathedral of the Dead. For a long time it was mistaken for the God by the priests, who gave it sacrifices and called upon it for help. It pulled Ghost Rider and Cable down and was even given the treacherous Bride. Ghost Rider and Cable freed themselves and the Bride and killed the monster with chains, guns and a grenade

--Marvel Comics Presents#92/3 - BTS (93/3






Guardian of the Dead

It was a big monster that lived in the ground and guarded the coffins of the dead members of the Grateful Undead. It grabbed Cable and tried to stab him, but Cable was too strong and it was killed by his own spike. Only the hands of the monster were seen.

--Marvel Comics Presents#90/3







Grateful Undead fight: Marvel Comics Presents#92, barcode side, p7, pan1

Bride of the God: Marvel Comics Presents#96, barcode side, p1, pan1

Priests of the Grateful Undead: Marvel Comics Presents#91, barcode side, p6, pan2

Warriors of the Dead: Marvel Comics Presents#93, barcode side, p8, pan1

"God of the Dead": Marvel Comics Presents#93, barcode side, p2, pan2

Guardian of the Dead: Marvel Comics Presents#90, barcode side, p6, pan4

Last updated: 03/02/04

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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