HOUSE of SHADOWS
Real Name: Unrevealed (and probably unpronouncable in our feeble Earthly tongues, anyway)
Identity/Class: Extradimensional (a shadow world) entity
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Dire Wraiths (unwitting allies); (potentially) Digger (Krupp)
Enemies: Brandy Clark, Dire Wraiths, Dr.
Strange, Steve Jackson, Robert Payne (later the Black Fox, see
Rintrah, Rom, Allan Stevens; (potentially) Digger
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The House, The Dweller in Shadows, The Haunted House, the Condo of Shadows
Base of Operations: presumably its shadow world; formerly a condominium in Manhattan; West Virginia; presumably New York, but who knows?
First Appearance: Strange Tales I#120/2 (May, 1964)
Powers: The House could extend tendrils from its walls to ensnare others. It could generate mists and levitate the objects within it. It could transform its physical appearance, from a small house to an entire floor in a condominium, and possibly other forms as well. It could form invisible shields around itself and seal all of its doors and windows. It can traverse dimensional barriers under some circumstances. It can also banish people within it to its own shadow world.
History: The creature known as the House is a native of a shadow world that borders on a pocket realm of Limbo. It came to Earth to learn more of humanity.
(Strange Tales I#120/2) - Some time before the modern era, a "haunted house" made the news when reporter Allan Stevens tried to debunk it, and instead lost contact with his news team. Dr. Strange tried to enter the House in his ectoplasmic form, but found it surrounded by an invisible barrier. Before events could progress any further, Strange forced his way into the House using the power of his orginal amulet. Strange sensed the nature of the House as it shaped mists around him into a prison. Using his utmost concentration and invoking several entities for power, Dr. Strange broke out of its prison and forced it to reveal its true nature. Faced with magical power greater than its own, the House agreed to release Stevens and return to its shadow world, in exchange for him keeping its existence a secret.
(Rom#5(fb)) - Dire Wraiths inadvertently released the House from its shadow world to Earth while trying to free their own comrades from Limbo. The House slew the Wraiths who freed it and took up a new residence in West Virginia
(Rom#5) - Fleeing from the police, as well as the Dire Wraiths who pursued him, Rom sought temporary shelter for his human friends who had helped him. He brought them to a lone house in the middle of nowhere, and they all took a much needed rest. While in "rest mode", Rom saw a vision (or a convenient flashback, for the reader) of Dr. Strange's encounter with the House. While they slept, the House released its solidifying mists and created arms to hold Steve and Brandy. Rom broke free and used his trusty Neutralizer to blast the wall, forcing the arms to retract. The House smashed Rom to the ground, but Rom recovered. After analyzing the House, learning its recent history, and hearing its threats, Rom turned his Neutralizer back on full, and banished the House back to its shadow world.
(Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme Annual#2/3) - Under unknown circumstances, the House returned to Earth, and this time took the form of the entire top floor of a condominium. The residents of the condominium began to disappear, and rumors began to circulate of it being haunted. After hearing the rumors, Strange recognized the work of his old foe. In order to test the worthiness of his disciple, Rintrah, to wear his former amulet and cloak, Dr. Strange sent him on his first solo mission: to repel the "House". Rintrah (in the form of the priest from "The Exorcist") confronted the House. Using the same Vapors of the Vishanti that his master had used against it, Rintrah banished the House once again. Upon its disappearance, the residents who had vanished began to phase back into Earth's plane.
(Marvel Monsters: From the Files of Ulysses Bloodstone and
the Monster Hunters#1 - BTS) - Digger (Roderick Krupp) sent out e-mails
(including one to Elsa
Bloodstone), offering to find, capture, tame and sell the House of
Shadows to the right buyer.
Comments: Created by Stan "The Man" Lee and "Sturdy" Steve Ditko.
In one of the issues of Marvel: The Lost Generation (#8, I think), Dr. Strange and the Black Fox reminisce about the time they worked together against the Haunted House. They commented in the letter page how several of Dr. Strange's Strange Tales adventures took place prior to the modern era. I'd ASSume that this is the struggle they're talking about, even though I don't see anyone that could have been Payne. He must have been Behind the Scenes...
However, the Black Fox and Dr. Strange never specifically said that they fought the House of Shadows, so their previous meeting could always refer to an "untold tale" wherein the two worked on some other "haunted house" case -- maybe some crooks/spies were using the ol' "Scooby-Doo" plot of making their secret hideout look like a "real" haunted house to frighten away any curious eyes, until the Black Fox and Dr. Strange stopped them..."And it woulda worked, too, if not for those blasted superheroes!"
The House is from some "Shadow World" and can change its shape. If someone wanted to be clever, they could link the House of Shadows to The Shadow Realm of Warlord Kaa and Mister E and use them all in some big Shadow War.
The House of Shadows could be related to the House of Hate (Captain America Comics#58 (September, 1946) ).
On the splash page of a Blonde Phantom story (Blonde Phantom#14 (Summer/1947) ) that mentions Blonde Phantom cases (flashback stories) --- one of them was the House of Horror. Maybe she encountered the House of Shadows or the House of Hate.
The House That Death Built (Marvel Tales#112 (3/53) 1st story) is a hungry house like the House of Shadows, perhaps it is the same house or a member of its race?
Clarifications: The Haunted House/House of Shadows has no known connections to:
Allan Stevens was the reporter who sought to make a mockery of the "Haunted House," and wished to prove it was harmless by spending a night in it. He thought it was just his imagination when he began to see the mists and a lamp floating past him. However, when it revealed itself to him, he felt sheer terror, and was soon its helpless victim. Only Dr. Strange's timely intervention saved him.
--Str Tales I#120
images: (without ads)
Rom#5 (April, 1980) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (artist), Mary Jo Duffy (editor)
Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme Annual#2 (1992) - Roy Thomas & Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier (writers), M.C. Wyman (pencils), Jim Sanders III (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Marvel Monsters: From the Files of Ulysses Bloodstone#1 (January, 2006)
Last updated: 05/20/14
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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