Cain and Abel

 
 
Cain - Head Shot
Profession: Storyteller and caretaker of the House of Mystery (Cain)
Storyteller and caretaker of the House of Secrets (Abel)
Relatives: Eve (cousin)
First Appearance: HOUSE OF MYSTERY No. 175 (Cain)
HOUSE OF SECRETS (vol. 1) No. 81 (Abel)

BIOGRAPHY

Even now, not much is known about the enigmatic pair of brothers calling themselves Cain and Abel, less so at the time that BLUE DEVIL was being published. The 1986 WHO'S WHO was speculating that they might, in fact, be the "reincarnated manifestations of the biblical Cain and Abel, the first murderer and his victim", which I think may have been explicitly stated in Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN, but don't quote me on that. At the time Cain and Abel were known only as the caretakers of the House of Mystery and of the House of Secrets, respectively, the eponymous locations of two of DC's EC-style horror anthology titles. They had had a sort of mid-80s revival in Alan Moore's SWAMP THING, later to rear their heads in BLUE DEVIL, where they would become part of the supporting cast.

While not significantly altered from their traditional selves, the versions of Cain and Abel seen here are a much more light-hearted take on the pair, often engaged in what amounts to a sort of mystical troubleshooting. Cain, here, is less a macabre raconteur and more a hard-working caretaker trying to hold on to his job despite his troublesome and often demanding tenants. Abel, though he appears less often, runs the competing inn across the way and was shown to be prone to stealing customers away from the House of Weirdness. When in a bind, however, they team up to rectify a bad situation despite Cain's biting sarcasm and his demanding nature, and Abel's quintessential cowardice.

Abel - Full Body Shot

The two showed up for the first time in BLUE DEVIL No. 20. While attempting to entice the Hairy Devourer into taking a room at the House of Weirdness, Cain and Dan--who was looking into buying a beach house in Malibu--simultaneously opened up their doors to their shared closet. The Hairy Devourer escaped and was drawn to a satanic rite at a Halloween concert by Blackjack McCullough and the Windows. Blackjack, a rock and roller come back to life, intended to use the Devourer to consume the soul of Sharon in exchange for his own soul, currently trapped in hell. While Dan stopped the Devourer (who as it turned out was gorged on Halloween candy) by tossing it through a mystical pentagram, Cain was instrumental in defeating Blackjack. By winding his watch ahead to midnight, Cain locally sped up time and eliminated the window for Blackjack to act before his body would disintigrate and he would return in full to the afterlife. At the end of the adventure, Cain proposed that Dan rent the room that was meant to be rented to the Hairy Devourer, which has me wondering if Dan was paying both for his Malibu house as well as the rent on a room in the Weirdness. Abel appeared only briefly in this story, chased out of the House of Weirdness by his brother.

Cain has a pet gargoyle--a green one--named Gregory, who in a later adventure told in BLUE DEVIL No. 26 escaped into Metropolis once Dan built on his family's property there. Gregory, a big fan of baseball, or more specifically eating baseballs, accidentally inspired an ex-baseball player and would-be villain into adopting the costumed identity of the Green Gargoyle. Gregory would be framed for the Green Gargoyle's crimes and held in detention, much to Cain's ire. Cain once again left the House of Weirdness at this point to visit the imprisoned Gargoyle and to insist that Dan clear his pet's good name. Dan did as much with the help of Gregory who had managed to free himself. Cain and his gargoyle pet were reunited. Gregory has appeared elsewhere, but this was his only appearance in BLUE DEVIL.

In BLUE DEVIL No. 29, when Dan's weirdness sprung a leak and infected the House of Weirdness, the House created mites of opposite weirdness polarity to combat the infection. But these mites reproduced exponentially, and Cain and Abel had to wrangle them before they got out of hand. While Abel contained the situation outside the House, Cain devised a mite trapping automobile that Dan drove through the hallways, scooping up the mites in turn.

Dan had something of a tendency to inadvertently cause trouble for Cain. In Cain's final appearance in the series, in BLUE DEVIL No. 30, Dan's propensity to leave the door to the House open caused some sort of dimensional fluctuation that diverted to Los Angeles the matter stream from the Gorilla City stargate. Cain was actually sufficiently incensed by this incident that he locked the door to the House of Weirdness. He later unlocked it, however, to let Sharon, who had been drawn there through the stargate, out.


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