Real Name: Graybar (first name unrevealed)
Identity/Class: Unrevealed; presumably human; possibly a mutant, mutate, or magic-user
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)
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
(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."
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?
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.
Mr. Graybar should be distinguished from:
(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
"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
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
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)
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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