Real Name: Witherspoon (first name unrevealed)
Identity/Class: Human (1930s era)
Occupation: Colonel (retired).
Group Membership: Formerly unidentified military, likely US Army
Enemies: Jeffrey WintersKnown Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Unrevealed
First Appearance: Marvel Preview#16 (Fall 1978)
Powers/Abilities: Colonel Witherspoon displayed no special skills or abilities in the short time
before he was murdered, but he was presumably a capable military man to
have reached the rank of Colonel.
Height: 5'9" (by approximation - see comments)
Weight: 180 lbs. (by approximation)
Hair: Unrevealed (appeared to be a light color - possibly white with age)
(Marvel Preview#16 (fb) - BTS) - An apparently retired military man, Colonel Witherspoon was a first class misoneist (someone who is intolerant of change).
Preview#16) - In 1937 (see comments) Witherspoon was traveling
on the Manhattan El train on a night with a full moon, unaware he was
sharing the carriage with a young werewolf, Jeffrey Winters, hiding
among them in his human form. He sat quietly judging his fellow
passengers, such as the dancer Gladys Jones, middle-aged amateur
detective Mildred Argot, and the disheveled and lovelorn Randy, who soon
left the compartment to seek air on the gangway between their carriage
and the next one. Witherspoon failed to notice Jeffrey follow and murder
Randy. At the next station two new passengers, the detective Hodiah
Twist and his companion Conrad Jeavons, got on, and Witherspoon scowled
at them with contemptuous disdain.
Moments after the train moved off again Jeffrey
"discovered" Randy's corpse. Everyone, including Witherspoon, piled into
the next car to see what had (seemingly) distressed the boy. Having
reached the body first, Twist instructed his fellow passengers that it
would be best if they remained seated, prompting the uncooperative
Witherspoon to demand to know who the detective thought he was that he
thought he could tell them to do anything, but Twist rebutted by
pointing out he worked with the police and that he would be asking the
questions. A few moments later Twist stated that none of them could be
allowed to leave until the murder was solved, adding that they would all
disembark at the next stop to wait together for the authorities. To
prevent this, Jeffrey covertly cut power to the lights, then in the
darkness swiftly warped all the exit doors, trapping everyone in the
carriage. Some limited light was swiftly restored to the room via
candles provided by Mildred, by which time Jeffrey had returned to his
Terrified that she was about to die, Gladys
bemoaned that her mother had always said she would come to no good, and
Witherspoon cruelly retorted that in his estimation she had a bad
beginning too, prompting her to move away from him to the end of the
carriage where Twist, Jeavons and Mildred were examining the damaged
(Marvel Preview#16 - BTS) - With Witherspoon now
momentarily isolated, the others' backs turned and darkness cloaking
his actions, Jeffrey resumed his lupine form and quickly attacked
Witherspoon, ripping out his tongue to keep him quiet and crushing his
head, killing him. Jeffrey then hung Witherspoon's body up, using one
of the hanging straps as a noose.
(Marvel Preview#16) -
Turning to listen to Gladys' complaints, Jeavons noticed
Witherspoon's absence from his seat, and as the group moved closer
they discovered Witherspoon's corpse. Twist lifted Witherspoon's
body down, and Argot asked to examine it, suggesting Witherspoon
might have been killed by having oxygen injected into his veins,
causing an air bubble that stopped his heart. When Twist pointed out
Witherspoon's much more brutal and very obvious fatal injuries, an
undeterred Mildred responded that this did not rule out her theory.
Leaving her to examine Witherspoon's body more closely, Twist and
Jeavons switched their attentions to trying to figure out exactly
where in the carriage Witherspoon had been attacked, hoping that
might reveal the killer's identity. Jeffrey, back once more in human
form, accompanied them.
A few moments later Mildred called the others' attention back to her as she rose from Witherspoon's corpse, announcing she had solved the case, and proposing that the entire carriage (barring presumably herself) had worked together to kill the colonel. With Twist and Jeavons' attention focused on Mildred, Jeffrey seized the chance to become the wolf again, stunned the inattentive Gladys with a blow from behind, then doused the candle. With the carriage once again in darkness, Jeffrey quickly killed Mildred, then reverted to his innocent looking human appearance before Twist could restore the light. Because he didn't believe in werewolves, Twist now concluded that neither Gladys nor Jeffrey were physically capable of the murders, and so turned on Witherspoon's body. Believing Witherspoon had faked his injuries and demise, Twist moved to examine the colonel more closely in an attempt to expose his ruse, and raised his voice to the corpse, demanding the colonel stop his pretense, but before the detective discovered that the colonel really was dead, Jeffrey transformed again, this time in front of everyone, and attacked them.
Comments: Created by Don McGregor (writer, uncredited), Richard Marschall (editor, credited instead) and Gene Colan (penciller) and Tony de Zuniga (inker).
We never see the Colonel standing up next to any other characters, so it's hard to judge his height - even when he's seen with Twist and the others most of them are crouching as they examine a corpse, so there's no way to really compare them. As such I've just ASSumed a middling, average height, since there's nothing to suggest he was exceptionally tall or short.
It's not explicitly revealed why Witherspoon
was the first of the carriage passengers to be murdered by the werewolf
after Twist began his investigation, but given that Jeffrey Winters
expressed some attraction towards Gladys, it's possible that the
colonel's rudeness to same earned him Jeffrey's ire.
The date of the werewolf incident isn't given in the story, but we do have some clues as to when it took place. Gladys mentions that if they die on the train they'll never know if La Guardia will get re-elected as mayor; while she could be saying this any time after he was initially elected (1933), her comment gives the impression that it's close to the time that he needs to run for office again, which happened in 1937 and 1941. Gladys, who appears to be no older than her late twenties, remembers his previous campaign, in 1933, which counts against the story taking place in 1941. Additionally, the elevated trains went into serious decline around the late 1930s, with the Sixth Avenue line closing in 1938 and other following over the next few years. So it would seem most likely that the werewolf on the El incident took place some time in 1937.
Profile by Loki, expanding on the sub-profile first written by Jean-Marc Lofficier for the Hodiah Twist entry.
Colonel Witherspoon should not be confused with
images: (without ads)
Marvel Preview#16, p6, pan5 (main)
Marvel Preview#16, p9, pan3 (headshot)
Marvel Preview#16, p11, pan1 (standing)
Marvel Preview#16, p16, pan1 (dead)
Marvel Preview#16 (Fall 1978) - Don McGregor (writers), Gene Colan (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Richard E. Marschall (editor)
First Posted: 10/24/2021
Last updated: 10/24/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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