THE MAN IN BLACK

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Unrevealed; may be a demon

Occupation: Unrevealed; tormenting humans may be his actual job, or just a hobby

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Blakely, Judge Roger Spencer, Terry, unidentified murderer/glove victim

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed

First Appearance: Adventures into Terror#3/1 (April 1951)

Powers/Abilities: The Man in Black can appear out of mist and darkness, a shadowy figure that fades in and out as he pleases. He can make himself only visible and audible to his chosen victims via the connection provided by them wearing his cursed black gloves. Through the gloves he can compel the wearer to kill; once donned, the gloves will only come off when the Man in Black wills them to. 

Height: Variable
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

History:
(Adventures into Terror#3/1 (fb) - BTS) -The Man in Black was the self-professed guardian for a pair of black gloves that slowly turned anyone who wore them into a murderer. Once an unfortunate victim was foolish enough to don the gloves, they would find the apparel impossible to remove, and the Man in Black would visit them to terrify them with his monstrous visage and taunt them with hints about their imminent fate. He would continue to appear to them after each killing they performed, a shadowy figure only they could see who would emerge out of mist and darkness, taking delight in their growing torment, only departing once the victim was about to be caught, at which point the gloves would finally come off, ready for the next victim to don.

   One such victim ended up in the court of Judge Richard Spencer, and though he tried to convince everyone of what had really happened, he was found guilty.

(Adventures into Terror#3/1 (fb)) - As the accused made a final desperate plea on the sentencing day of the trial, Spencer dismissed his claims as rot and sentenced the poor man to death. Afterwards Spencer noticed that the property clerk had seemingly forgotten to remove the black gloves the accused had worn at the time of the murder. On an impulse he put the gloves on, musing that it was odd how they had once served a serial killer, yet they fitted his hands just as well. Distracted by one of the staff coming into his chambers, Spencer forgot he was wearing the gloves until he was driving home, and found his hands seemingly choosing to steer the car down unfamiliar roads, at which point fog suddenly descended to enshroud the car. When he stopped to get his bearings the Man in Black emerged from the fog, calling out to Spencer that he had been awaiting his arrival. Spencer belligerently demanded to know how the stranger knew his name and that he approach closer so the judge could see his face. The Man gladly obliged, terrifying the judge with his hideous visage. Declining the judge's request to explain where had come from, the Man explained he was the gloves' guardian, and that they were a very special item whose true nature he would soon discover. Informing Spencer they would meet again, "and always when the world is in darkness," the man receded into the mist.

   The Man next visited Spencer at his home, entering through the bay windows moments after the judge had found himself compelled to strangle his pet dog, Terry. The Man congratulated Spencer on this "excellent beginning," and listened with a grin as Spencer desperately explained how his hands seemed to move with a will of their own, ignoring his desire to stop. Spencer's jabbering was interrupted by his wife, Martha, knocking at the door, and Spencer worriedly asked the Man how he could explain his dog-slaying. Enjoying his torment, the Man told Spencer to let her in so she could see what he had done, sardonically stating that he was sure Spencer would think of a reasonable explanation to tell his spouse, then he faded away as Spencer found himself opening the door to Martha as if he had been compelled to do so. As Spencer struggled to explain to his shocked wife that it was the gloves that had made him kill the dog, the Man called to his victim from the darkness outside the windows, a voice only he could hear. Compelled by his link to the Man, Spencer raced from his house and wandered in the moonlight as the Man, through the gloves, overwhelmed him with a growing sense of power and strength while his hands began to open and close compulsively. Through the gloves the Man directed Spencer to the home of a newspaper publisher, Blakely, who frequently denounced Spencer's harsh judgements. Thinking he had come to discuss a recent editorial Blakely had written about him, Spencer was invited in, but as the publisher tried to explain his viewpoint the Man in Black appeared as a shadow behind him; Spencer tried to alert Blakely, but found only he could see the sinister figure. Finding himself suddenly overcome with anger towards Blakely, Spencer suddenly grabbed the publisher by the throat and began squeezing, slowly but inexorably throttling the life out of him. Eventually, once Blakely had died, the Man in Black fully materialized to Spencer, telling the startled man that he could let go now. As Spencer desperately tried to justify his actions, blaming the gloves and stating he would prove it by showing others the irremovable gloves, the Man tormented him by echoing the judge's own words to the previous wearer, calling his story "fantastic rot." Spencer suddenly realized the gloves were no longer on his hands, and the Man took delight in pointing to the gloves, now lying on the floor, mockingly saying they were perfectly harmless and that Spencer could try to tell others that they carried an evil curse, but no one would believe him. Seeing the Man was beginning to fade away, Spencer made a last anguished appeal for his help, but the Man wished him goodbye, noting that they would not meet again, and with that he vanished, leaving behind only the gloves and echoes of his mocking laughter.

Comments: Created by Mike Sekowsky; comics.org believes George Klein may have been the inker.

   He's not given any name within the story itself, nor does he claim one, unless you count his description of being the guardian of the gloves. However the splash page of the story identifies him as "the Man in Black."

   This profile was completed 09/15/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Man in Black has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Adventures into Terror#3/1, p1, pan1 (main image)
Adventures into Terror#3/1, p3, pan1(front facing headshot)
Adventures into Terror#3/1, p3, pan2 (side facing headshot)
Adventures into Terror#3/1, p4, pan5 (taunting victim)
Adventures into Terror#3/1 cover (outfit clearly depicted)


Appearances:
Adventures into Terror#3/1 (April 1951) - Mike Sekowsky (pencils), possibly George Klein (inks), Stan Lee (editor)


First Posted: 09/16/2021
Last updated:
09/15/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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