THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN
Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Ghost/Astral Spirit
Occupation: Non-Entity, former Soldier/Mercenary
Group Membership: Former member of the Hessian Army
Enemies: Bones Bullinger and his hired men
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Sleepy Hollow, New York
First Appearance: (historical) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820); (Marvel) Uncanny Tales#22 (July, 1954)
Powers: The Headless Horseman possesses all the attributes of Earth's ghosts such as passing through matter and drawnig upon ectoplasm to create clothing and his spectral horse. He is impervious to harm except by mystical means and can move quicker on Earth than when he was alive. He generally appears in the form in which he died, but he could likely appear in any number of related forms. The luminescence of his ethereal substance allows him to glow in the dark. By decreasing and increasing the amount he draws upon, he can appear solid or decrease his appearance until he vanishes all together. He is also able to induce fear-based heart attacks, though whether this is a "power" or lucky accident remains to be seen.
History: (Historical) - The man who became the Headless Horseman was a Hessian mercenary hired by the British Army in 1776 in order to assist British soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Among the 548 Hessian mercenaries who lost their lives in that war, he was killed in battle near Sleepy Hollow, New York when his head was blown off by a cannonball. According to later local legend, the Horseman returned in spirit form to take the heads of the living.
(Supernatural Thrillers#6 (fb, bts)) - In 1820, writer Washington Irving based his short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," on the actual legend. It is unknown if the other characters in the novel were based on true incidents in the Marvel Universe.
(Uncanny Tales#22) - In recent years, two investment brokers named Sam Langhorn and Joe Jennings (both attracted to the same woman, Sally Klee), journeyed to Sleepy Hollow for a vacation. Langhorn had the idea to impersonate the Headless Horseman, and frighten Jennings away just as Ichabod Crane was in the novel, but while waiting for him, he was beset upon by another Headless Horseman, who threw his head at him. Langhorn awoke in a mental hospital, insane.
Jennings and Sally Klee were proud of the work they had done, impersonating the Horseman to get rid of Langhorn, but as they drove away from Sleepy Hollow, the real Headless Horseman appeared before them, and threw his head at their car, knocking it off a bridge and killing them both.
(Supernatural Thrillers#6) - Years later, businessman Bones Bullinger impersonated the Headless Horseman in order to force off the road and kill police officer Matt Carter who was coming close to exposing several of his more shady deals. Private investigator Duke Durbano prevented an attempt to silence Carter's wife and attempted to link Matt's death to Bullinger. As he discovered a Headless Horseman costume in Bullinger's possession, the ghost of the real Horseman took offense at his name being used for criminal purposes and appeared to Bullinger and his men, scaring them all into having heart attacks. Although he saw the ghost himself, Durbano blamed it on an overactive imagination.
Comments: Created by Washington Irving; adapted by Stan Lee and Dick Ayers.
Sleepy Hollow is a real community located near North Tarrytown, New York. Washington Irving is buried in the Sleepy Hollow cemetary and the area is full of ghost stories.
The description of the Horseman's powers is based on both attributes of ghosts in the Marvel Universe and my own interest on parapsychology.
It should be noted that as yet, these stories have not been officially incorporated into the MU, but there's no reason they couldn't--Snood.
Midway through Supernatural Thrillers#6, Matt Carter's name switches over to Matt Slater. (editor's note: Both of those names sound very similar to Marvel Western Hero Carter Slade who became Night Rider/Ghost Rider I-- also by Friedrich. Maybe he had too many ghostly horse-riding guys on the brain?)
Other "literary characters" that exist in the Marvel Universe are Dracula (based on the diary of Abraham Van Helsing), Frankenstein's Monster (journal of Robert Walton), Lord Ruthven (reported to Polidori) and Varney the Vampire (pieced together by James M. Rymer). Did I miss any... ??? (Maybe the Tripod Martians from War of the Worlds that appear on Earth-Killraven?)
Will U: "Supernatural Chillers#6 was one of the first horror comics I ever collected. Afterwards, I wrote several short stores of the Horseman as an anti-hero co-existing with the Marvel Heroes in a universe with the DC heroes. As yet, neither Marvel or DC remain interested in the character."
As noted by Prime, Uncanny Tales#22 is reprinted in Crypt of Shadows#9--Snood.
by Will Uchtman with Prime Eternal
The Headless Horseman should not be confused with:
Uncanny Tales#22 (July, 1954) - Dick Ayers (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Supernatural Thrillers#6 (November, 1973) - Gary Friedrich (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
First Posted: 08/03/2002
Last updated: 08/03/2002
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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