Real Name: Matthew O'Brien

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Newspaper film critic

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Cine-Fantasy magazine

Enemies: Hangman (Harlan Krueger)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Los Angeles, California

First Appearance: Bizarre Adventures#31 (April, 1982)

Powers/Abilities: Matthew O'Brien was a movie critic with biting wit, and eventually became a capable murderer.

History: (Bizarre Adventures#31/3) - O'Brien attended a screening of the film "Gore Galore," which he considered to be garbage, full of pointless mayhem and dehumanizing violence. As the credits rolled, the man behind him was furious that he didn't have enough time to write down everyone's names. O'Brien did not recognize the other patron as the Hangman, and gave him a copy of the press kit so that he would know who everyone was.

When the producer and director of "Gore Galore" were found murdered, O'Brien feared that he had helped lead the Hangman to them. He went to the police with his information, suggesting that the rest of the film crew were in danger, but the police didn't have enough manpower to deal with the problem. He resolved to warn the people himself, but he had such a bad reputation for slagging their movies that no one would talk to him over the phone.

O'Brien went to warn the screenwriter in person, but found him hanging from the ceiling of his home. O'Brien wanted to warn the actors next, but the Screen Actors Guild couldn't give him their information. Fortunately, "D.J.," another writer for Cine-Fantasy knew that many of the actors from "Gore Galore" would be appearing in the film "Splatterday," so O'Brien bluffed his way to the wrap party by posing as a donut deliveryman.

O'Brien tried to find the intended victims, but in the crowd of actors, many still in their costumes, he had trouble recognizing anyone. He saw the Hangman in the crowd, but was afraid to confront him. Eventually, he found one of the actors dead, and continued his search. Finally, he happened upon the Hangman crying over the body of a woman he had strangled, not realizing at the time she was female, and that by killing a woman, he had violated his personal code. Seeing the Hangman's scythe resting nearby, O'Brien realized that he had a chance to end the killings. He agonized over the decision for a moment, then plunged the scythe into the Hangman's back. He was then pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't as hard to commit murder as he thought.

Following this incident, O'Brien's reviews took on a new tone as he praised gory movies like "Splatterday," and now revelled in the mutilations, encouraging the insights into the murderer's motivation as a cathartic exercise.

Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald, Bill Sienkiewicz.

The magazine Cintefantastique obviously inspired Matthew O'Brien's Cine-Fantasy magazine.
  This story serves as sort of an ironic satire of the backlash against slasher films that poured out in the 1980's after Halloween and Friday the 13th. In fact, Betsy Palmer, the person who played the murderer in the latter film (that is right, a woman) had to put up with film critics giving out her home address so that people would send her letters slamming her for taking the role.
--John McDonagh

by Prime Eternal

Matthew O'Brien should not be confused with:

Images taken from:
Bizarre Adventures#31, page 33, panel 2
Bizarre Adventures#31, page 33, panel 3

Bizarre Adventures#31 (April, 1982) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (artist), Dennis O'Neil (editor)

Last updated: 09/04/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Special Thanks to for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters