SOUL STRANGLER

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: ...hmm...the collective hatred of the Ku Klux Klan throughout its history, given form?

...or...the spirit of a former Klansman.?

Occupation: Persecutor

Affiliations: unknown connection to the Ku Klux Klan (he refers to himself as their master, although none of them seemed to have any knowledge of him), and possibly the Dragon Circle.

Enemies: Black Panther (T'Challa), Caleb and Ellie Lynne

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Georgia; Manhattan, New York (apparently he can appear anywhere in the presence of the KKK)

 

 

First Appearance: Jungle Action#22 (July, 1976)

Powers: The Soul Strangler is apparently of a supernatural nature. It can appear at sites of intense hatred (it has only been seen in the presence of members of the Ku Klux Klan or the Dragon Circle). It rides a horse, and carries a flaming pitchfork and a long noose. The pitchfork can project flames (real fire, or perhaps soul-searing hellfire), or can be thrown at a victim. It apparently returns to the Strangler's hands as needed. It tosses the noose over a victim's head, and then drags them behind its horse as it gallops off. Its horse can appear and disappear as the Strangler does.
It likely either generates fear and hatred in others, or feeds on the fear and hatred it finds in others. It is also possible that it possesses greater power to harm an individual in the grips of fear. It can vanish, to parts unknown, at will. It's vulnerabilities and limitations are unknown, but the Black Panther did manage to physically overcome it on one occasion.
The original Soul Strangler was almost certainly a mortal man. He did not demonstrate any superhuman powers, but used his costume and a few tricks to inspire terror in his victims. He used a skeletal hand (possibly a wooden carving) which he extended from his sleeve to appear be a supernatural. He, too, carried a pitchfork and a long noose, but he also used a pistol.

History: The nature and history of the Soul Strangler is, for the most part, unknown.

(Jungle Action#22(fb))-In 1867, the original Soul Strangler appeared alongside the Ku Klux Klan in order to enforce its sentence of Caleb Lynne. He duped Lynne into believing him to be a demon, shot him in the shoulder, drug him with the noose, and hung him to his death as the Klansmen restrained Caleb's wife, Ella.
Monica Lynne, Caleb's descendent, envisioned a different past, where the Black Panther was there to rescue Caleb, and to defeat the Soul Strangler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Marvel Premiere#52)-In the modern era, the spectral Soul Strangler appeared at a KKK rally in Manhattan. He spoke, "Hear me, men of the Invisible Empire--heed the words of your master! I have come in your hour of need--to lead you into sacred battle!"
The Klansmen had no idea who he was, and thought he was overdoing the "spook routine." Again, he spoke, "Hah! Mortal foes! I am no costumed pretender--I am the embodiment of your living past! You have chosen the path of hate--it is only fitting that I lead you on that path!"
The Strangler then revealed the presence of the Black Panther, who had been observing the rally in secret. The Panther dodged the Strangler's pitchfork, and leapt atop the Strangler--who then vanished in a cloud of vapors.

 

(MarvPrem53)-A group of Klansmen confronted Reverend Addison Blackburn, the leader of the Dragon Circle. They planned to take him out into the swamp and kill him. However, their path through the water was obscured by a thick cloud of vapors, and they emerged in what appeared to be the home of Caleb Lynne, circa 1867. They met Caleb Lynne just before the Soul Strangler appeared. The Black Panther had been following Blackburn, and leapt down to confront the Strangler. The Strangler smashed the Panther to the ground with his trident and dragged him across the ground on his horse. The Panther eventually managed to regain his footing and yanked the Strangler from his horse. T'Challa tackled the Strangler and beat him into submission, at which point the illusions of 1867 faded away--as did the Soul Strangler.

Comments: Created by Don McGregor, Billy Graham, and Rich Buckler.

Changing writer syndrome. McGregor's plot was dropped when Jungle Action was discontinued, and the Panther went off in a new direction under Kirby in the original Black Panther (see the current Black Panther for a continuation on that saga. You will NOT be disappointed). Jerry Bingham and Gene Day touched on it (Dragon Circle, not the Soul Strangler) in the last two issues of the Black Panther, at which point it continued in the Marvel Premiere series, under Ed Hannigan and Jerry Bingham
The Next Issue blurb of Marvel Premiere#52 promised "The answer at last!". I don't think we got ANY answers.
--What exactly was the Soul Strangler?
--How many times will I re-read these issues, trying to figure the whole saga out? (5 and counting--and still confused).
--However, it is a fascinating story, with excellent writing.
If you can figure it out, please explain it to me.

If the Soul Strangler, as it appears to be, is the spirit of hatred, it may have ties to Master Hate, the cosmic entity embodying hatred.
It would precede Adolph Hitler by many decades, so I don't think a connection to the Hate Monger is very likely.
However, as pointed out by
John McDonagh/Per Degaton,
"There is another Hate Monger that might be connectable to him. Fabian Niceza introduced a new Hate-Monger in Avengers#341-342, JUSTICE#1-2, and I can't remember the exact issues in NOMAD. This Hate-Monger's origin has not been revealed to my knowledge, so it is possible to extrapolate a connection..."
This Hatemonger's also in
Nomad II#12-BTS,13-15, Avengers West Coast#100, and Marvel Comics Presents#152-155--Snood.

I never could figure out how and why the Dragon Circle and Klan were connected, since the Circle was racially diverse. On top of that, the Soul Strangler, who was clearly tied to the clan, had "dusky" skin. Perhaps it was his spectral nature, or perhaps there's more to it? We'll never know!

CLARIFICATIONS: No known connections to any other "Soul-somethings."
The Soul Strangler has NOT appeared outside of the "Panther vs. the Klan" series, which is covered above.


Caleb and Ellie Lynne were freed after the Civil War, but left with nowhere to go. Caleb was left with a family (3 sons), a run-down shack, and no formal education. In 1867, the Ku Klux Klan appeared and threatened him. Caleb tried to tell politicians in the city, but they gave him empty promises, and were more interested in getting his vote. As he headed back to his shack, he was confronted by the original Soul Strangler, who killed him--leaving Ellie a widow and single mother.
Caleb was the cousin of Monica Lynne's great-grandfather.
--JunAct#22(fb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: 08/01/02

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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