graybar-hauntofhorror-main Mr. GRAYBAR

Real Name: Graybar (first name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Unrevealed; presumably human; possibly a mutant, mutate, or magic-user

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: None known

Affiliations: Dakimh the Enchanter, Steve Gerber;
    apparently the Earth, as he was a key factor in a plot that prevented worldwide madness (see comments)

Enemies: Thog and his demons;
    allegedly everyone on Earth;
    specifically Dr. Kopern, an unidentified dentist, and possibly an unidentified dog

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "A friend of Dakimh";
    "the berserko" (nickname/description from Steve Gerber

Base of Operations: "In the shadows of the city..." but which one? All of them?

First Appearance: Haunt of Horror#1/8 (May, 1974)

graybar-hauntofhorror-facePowers/Abilities: Unrevealed.

    Mr. Graybar could cause others to visualize his murdering them (or their family (or perhaps friends, lovers, pets, etc.) in horrific fashion and/or to sense that he was a remorseless killer.

    It is unclear whether he did this via psychically manipulating others via his appearance, words, tone, etc., or whether he had supernatural powers.

    The he spoke incessantly of killing others, he was generally shown to simply depart after filling his target with fear. He did once mention killing a dog, but he may have simply said that to make others more fearful.

    He didn't seem to be certain of his own true nature, as he once noted that he hoped that he was indeed a killer...though he later tried to reassure himself that he was certain that he could go through with his visions.

    He repeated multiple times that he would do his killings every night..."in the shadows of the city."

    He claimed to be able to strike with demonic hunger.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 5'8" - 5'10"; he looked to be about average height, roughly the same height as Steve Gerber, not that I know how tall he is)
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 165 lbs.)
Eyes: Unrevealed (his eyes were only seen in shadow and/or in a black-and-white story); I'd guess brown
Hair: Brown

graybar-hauntofhorror-dentist-impaledHistory:
(
Haunt of Horror#1/8 (fb) - BTS) - Graybar allegedly was a lonely child and never had any friends. He used to lock himself in his room and dream of ways to kill everyone he ever met.

(Haunt of Horror#1/8 (fb) - BTS) - Graybar allegedly relived his murderous fantasies every night, waking up feeling refreshed and glad that his enemies were dead.

(Haunt of Horror#1/8) - Graybar narrated his desire to kill someone, refusing to divulge his reasons to this fair question because he was not a fair person, and noting that he had not decided when, because if he decided right at the time of the killing, he could claim temporary insanity.

    Graybar caused a dentist to (apparently) see in the back of his throat that he was a murderer and a fiend, along with images of him impaling the dentist on a molar. As the dentist staggered back, proclaiming what he had seen, Graybar untied his bib, got up from his chair, and left the office, without looking back or saying another word.

    After discussing the horrific fashions -- so unthinkable, so chilling that he dare not even whisper it aloud in his owner presence -- that he would kill others, he went to see psychoanalyst Dr. Kopern, telling him of his alleged history and his recurrent dreams. When Kopern acknowledged that he could see why Graybar was disturbed, Graybar countered that his dreams made him happy. Kopern asked why, then, did Graybar want his help in getting rid of these dreams, but Graybar explained that what he wanted was reassurance. Becoming concerned, Kopern asked if he wanted reassurance that such dreams were normal, but Graybar clarified that he wanted to know that dreams could come true.

    Visibly distraught, Kopern noted that Graybar didn't need him, but rather a policeman, as psychoanalysts could cope with suicide but not homicide; and he could sense that Graybar was a killer. Getting up, Graybar stated that he hoped the doctor was right. Pleading with Graybar, Kopern told him he was just trying to help him, although he was now sure that no one could help him, as he was hopelessly mad.

    Graybar countered that in this world, you had to be mad to go on living sanely (that's a Gerberism, if I ever heard one), and he told the doctor to look in his eyes. Seeing a vision of Graybar killing his son, Kopern collapsed to his knees and held his head, at which point Graybar departed.

(Haunt of Horror#1/8 (fb) - BTS) - Graybar allegedly killed a dog.

(Haunt of Horror#1/8) - Continuing his narrative in the shadows of the city, Graybar explained the fates he may allow or deliver to his victims post-mortem

    Finally, he described how he was waiting for his victims (or specifically, to "you"), just as they (or "you") were waiting for him..."You must ever live in fear of me, in one second...or one hour...or one year...I could leap from some innocent doorway...and claim you!"

    "Nowhere are you safe...I am always behind your back...in the shadows of the city...I AM going to kill you."graybar-hauntofhorror-mti22graybar-hauntofhorror-mti22-nab

(Man-Thing I#22 (fb) - BTS) - Thog, aka the Netherspawn, demon-lord of the dimension Sominus, had an astronomical number of Nox-designed emotion-charged Nightmare Boxes created to to plunge Earth into madness.

(Man-Thing I#22 (fb) - BTS) - One of Thog's demons lost one of the Nightmare Boxes, and other demons vied with the Man-Thing to recover the box.

(Man-Thing I#22 (fb)) - As the Man-Thing and demons struggled, Graybar (presumably guided to do so by Dakimh), who just happened to be present in the shadows of the city, picked up the Nightmare Box and departed with it.

(Man-Thing I#22 (fb)) - Graybar knocked at the apartment of Man-Thing author Steve Gerber (who was also an agent of Dakimh), noting that he was "A friend...a friend of Dakimh."

    Gerber opened the door, incredulous at the appearance of the man and the Nightmare Box in his hand. When Gerber asked if he knew him and/or if they had met before.

    Having handed over the Nightmare Box, Graybar replied, "In the shadows of the city," before turning away and disappearing down the hall.

(Man-Thing I#22 (fb) - BTS) - Thog's demons ambushed Gerber seconds later, reclaiming the Box before drawing Gerber's screaming form into the Box.

    Ultimately, however, Gerber's presence and ability to focus on rational thought disrupted the precisely calculated number of Nightmare Box, facilitating the Man-Thing's opportunity to destroy Thog and allow Dakimh to reverse the Box's damage.

Comments: Created by Steve Gerber and Vicente Alcazar.

    Graybar seemed to be breaking the 4th wall and speaking directly to the reader with his threats, but these could all have been him talking to some unseen person he was terrorizing. Or, perhaps, he is really going to kill YOU...in the shadows of the city.

    Given his desire to frighten others, the information he revealed may be made up...or it may be true...as true as fiction can be!

    Obviously Haunt of Horror was a horror magazine. There were some graphic imagery, and in his dialog he said some fairly graphic and gruesome things; I'll avoid anything too graphic, but you can buy the issue and read the story yourself.

    Given his assistance of Dakimh, it seems unlikely that he was actual a multiple murderer, as he made himself out to be. Perhaps he derived power from fear...or just really got a kick out of scaring others...maybe he was an agent of Nightmare...or the Dweller-in-Darkness...or one of the other Fear-Lords.

    Molar's aren't sharp, and I doubt they're good for impaling anything. They are from crushing and grinding food. A canine tooth would be much better. That's about where the dentist looked to be in the image shown...presumably the dentist knows the difference between the teeth, but perhaps he was distracted -- by his terror (and maybe he was soiling his underpants) -- and misspoke.

    Is it disturbing that as I wrote this profile, the Talking Heads' "Psycho-Killer" came on?
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa...

    He wears, notably, a NY Yankees baseball cap and a cloak/cape with a tall collar, which was fashioned from an old towel. A sweatshirt labeled "DTK LAMF." A pair of jeans. Tennis shoes.

    You can Google "DTK LAMF" if you want to know what that stands for.

    Graybar had a sub-profile in the Nightmare Boxes entry (posted back in November 2001) as the otherwise unidentified "Dakimh's friend."
    In April, 2019, I got an e-mail from Scott Andrew Hutchins, who revealed to me that this character had previously appeared in Haunt of Horror.
    So, here we are. Thanks, Scott!

    All of the information from Man-Thing I#22 was narrated by Steve Gerber.

    I can't hep but notice that "Graybar" has a similar (far from identical) sound to "Gerber." I won't speculate further on that.

    If Graybar wanted to kill everyone, why would he help Dakimh save Earth. Even if Graybar wanted to just scare everyone, why would he do something to help prevent worldwide madness. I'd speculate that since he obviously enjoyed terrorizing people, people who were already insane were less fun to torment (or kill) and/or less susceptible to his talents.
    But mostly I think Gerber just liked the character and wanted to use him...and maybe confuse people in the process.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Mr. Graybar
should be distinguished from:

The dentist has no known connection to:

Dentist (Dr. Ned Zane) - mutated into dentistry horror figure during Inferno--Daredevil I#265
"Dentist" - Peter Parker's dentist, affiliated with the Band of Baddies, wore clothing virtually identical to that of the Burglar who slew Ben Parker--Marvel Comics Presents I#49
other dentist characters

Dr. Kopern has no known connection

graybar-hauntofhorror-dentist-facegraybar-hauntofhorror-dentist-upperdentist

Real name unrevealed

(Haunt of Horror#1/8) - The dentist peered into Graybar's mouth, urging him to open a little wider.

    In the back of Graybar's throat, the dentist (at least believed he) saw who Graybar was (or at least what he portrayed himself as).

    He further at least believed he saw himself impaled on Graybar's teeth, and he realized that Graybar wanted to kill him.

    The dentist's eyes widened, sweat formed on his brow, and he recoiled in horror, revealing what he had apparently seen:

    "You're a murderer! A fiend!"

    Graybar untied his bib, got up from his chair, and left the office, without looking back or saying another word.

    After discussing the horrific fashions -- so unthinkable, so chilling that he dare not even whisper it aloud in his owner presence -- that he would kill others,

--Haunt of Horror#1/8



graybar-hauntofhorror-kopern-facegraybar-hauntofhorror-kopern-bodyDr. Kopern
First name unrevealed

He had an infant son.

(Haunt of Horror#1/8) - Psychoanalyst Dr. Kopern saw Graybar, who told him of his alleged history and his recurrent dreams.

    When Kopern acknowledged that he could see why Graybar was disturbed, Graybar countered that his dreams made him happy.

    Kopern asked why, then, did Graybar want his help in getting rid of these dreams, but Graybar explained that what he wanted was reassurance.

    Becoming concerned, Kopern asked if he wanted reassurance that such dreams were normal, but Graybar
clarified that he wanted to know that dreams could come true.

    Visibly distraught, Kopern noted that Graybar didn't need him, but rather a policeman, as psychoanalysts could cope with suicide but not homicide; and he could sense that Graybar was a killer.

    Getting up, Graybar stated that he hoped the doctor was right.

    Pleading with Graybar, Kopern told him he was just trying to help him, although he was now sure that no one could help him, as he was hopelessly mad.

    Graybar countered that in this world, you had to be mad to go on living sanely (that's a Gerberism, if I ever heard one), and he told the doctor to look in his eyes.

    Seeing a vision of Graybar killing his son, Kopern collapsed to his knees and held his head, at which point Graybar departed.

--Haunt of Horror#1/8

images: (without ads)
Haunt of Horror#1/8 "In the Shadows of the City"; pg. 2, panel 3 (dentist, face);
          panel 4 (dentist upper body);
          panel 5 (dentist in teeth);
       pg. 3, panel 1 (face);
       pg. 4, panel 1 (Dr. Kopern face);
       pg. 5, panel 1 (Dr. Kopern body);
       pg. 7, central panel (full body);

Man-Thing I#22, pg. 11, panel 3 (color image)


Appearances:
Haunt of Horror#1/8 "In the Shadows of the City" (May, 1974) - Steve Gerber (writer), Vicente Alcazar (artist), Marv Wolfman (associate editor), Roy Thomas (editor)
Man-Thing I#22 (October, 1975) - Steve Gerber (writer), Jim Mooney (artist), Len Wein (editor)


First posted: 06/01/2019
Last updated: 06/01/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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