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Cain,The Caretaker



Marital Status:
174 lbs.
Light brown
House of Mystery,
The Dreaming
Storytelling, Cooking, Gardening, Killing Abel, Wood Carving, Chess


Cain, the Caretaker was introduced to DC comics by Joe Orlando in House of Mystery #175, 1969. It has been said that he was modeled after Len Wein (however this is only a cover-up story to protect the readers from the fact that Cain, Abel, Eve, Destiny and Lucien are all real and live in the Dreaming) He spent fifteen years in the Kentucky hills sharing his eerie mystery stories with the readers of House of Mystery until the title's demise in issue #321. During this time he kept many writers and artists chained up in his basement and in Room 13 in order to convey his stories in comic form. Cain would host the stories and answer the letters in his usual witty, slightly sarcastic manner. There were quite a few readers who would take offense to this, and hence write him very nasty letters. Cain would respond by sending Gregory, his pet gargoyle, to their houses to teach them a lesson. It was actually quite amazing how much these people would complain! I mean Cain only kept the best (and NOW legendary) artists and writers chained up! At any rate, these were the golden days for Cain. I can not begin to explain how fabulous it was, so what you should do, you see, is go out and buy every House of Mystery he was in.

A little later on he got Abel, his ever incompetent brother, a job at the House of Secrets. The house sort of just plopped itself down across from the cemetery in his yard, and so he decided his brother would make a proper caretaker for it. Cain also spent a lot of time participating in "storyteller showdowns", where he'd compete with Abel, Eve, and Destiny. It was really never any contest though because he always outdid all of them (ESPECIALLY Destiny). He really ought to have been the judge of these things, but I guess he couldn't resist the urge to show all those lame-brains up!
Biblical Cain and Abel?
No one is exactly sure about this, not even Cain himself. The story that Abel tells Daniel Hall in "A Parliament of Rooks" suggests that they are in fact the biblical characters. When searching for Goldie they came to a city that he seemed to remember building and ruling with his son Enoch, though he wasn't sure that it really happened. When the Kindly Ones attacked Abel though, they said that he was "only a shadow of a memory of a man whom one suspects never existed." It's been suggested that they are reincarnations of the brothers, as well as simply being archetypes to fulfill a reality that many believe in. Hmmmm.....
In the early 1980s the folks at DC decided to kick Cain out of his own house. This was around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earth. The house's identity seemed to split into three, the more sadistic "nightmare" HOM, the dark humor "House of Weirdness" and the one in the Kentucky hills. This is how he managed to keep showing up, without really being there, when Elvira was it's caretaker. This era is a bit confusing. After Crisis, it seems that the house came back together and stayed in the Dreaming. Perhaps it was always there and never really anywhere else; the lines are blurry. Unlike other inhabitants of the Dreaming, Cain and his brother Abel were not created by the dreamlord, Morpheus. Instead they were commissioned as storytellers to keep and protect the secrets and mysteries in the houses, as well as reenacting their own story (this means Cain gets to kill Abel again and again and AGAIN!!!!) and being archetypes.

During the time when Lord Morpheus was imprisoned by Roderick Burgess, many inhabitants of the Dreaming took off. Cain was one of the few who stuck around, not abandoning his duties. In fact, when Morpheus DID return, he and his brother were the first to see and take care of him, as he was very weak (Though I don't think Morpheus appreciated it very much).

After Morpheus got better, and set things in order in his realm, he sent Cain through the very taxing ordeal of confronting Lucifer in Hell. All this over a bad relationship, where his nibs sent one of his many lovers to Hell over some triviality, and now, feeling guilty, wanted to free her from this terrible fate. Morpheus took advantage of the fact that Lucifer wouldn't harm Cain because of the mark on his forehead. But, as you can imagine, Mark of Cain or not, having to deal with Lucifer was awfully stressful!

Later, when the Kindly Ones went on a slaying spree in the Dreaming, they murdered Abel. They were unable to kill Cain, again because of his mark. When Cain pleaded with Morpheus to revive his brother, he was too busy messing around in Faerie, and doing other things to help. Besides being a negligent ruler, he was also breaking a contract with Cain, that he himself had written. It wasn't until Morpheus died, and his new incarnation Daniel took over, that Cain got his brother back.

A while back, when Morpheus was gone from the Dreaming, Cain had purchased an egg from a peddler. The egg seemed to will him to give it to Abel, so he did. When the egg hatched, it was a golden gargoyle. Now Cain had always kept gargoyles, but never before had either of them seen a golden one. When it came time for Abel to name it, the idiot named it "Irving." Cain couldn't believe that he'd name it something that didn't begin with a "G," and rightly so. So Abel named her "Goldie" after an imaginary friend he once had.

One day, not understanding the way things work, Goldie got so angry with Cain for killing Abel that she couldn't take it anymore and ran away. (She somehow managed to spit fire on his leg, escaping the wrath of God. Hmm...) Cain and Abel had to go look for her. When they caught up with her, she was in the Garden of Eden, and had been manipulated by Decepto (the serpent) into almost altering the biblical story concerning their parents. When that was all over with and prevented, she ended up having to stay there, much to Abel's disappointment.

A little later one night, when Cain was having a dinner party with some new mysteries, his even younger brother Seth showed up. Seth had never spent any time with Cain or Abel, and was there to discover a secret to a mystery in their family. It was rather awkward, with much polite resentment between them all. Later on, knowing something was amiss, Eve showed up.

Now, I don't know HOW Seth knew this, but he moved a bookcase. One that REALLY should not have been moved. So who comes downstairs from the attic, but Jumella. Everyone had thought that she had gone away, but in reality Cain had locked her up in his attic, and now she was half-starved and quite insane. She cruelly slit Gregory's throat (I GUESS to get back at Cain, or maybe just because she's crazy), but Cain was able to save him before he died. Jumella threatened Cain that she was going to stay there and do whatever she liked, and then wandered off. So Seth gets his stupid secret: When Cain and Abel were born, they were both born with twin sisters. Cain was supposed to marry Abel's twin, Jumella, and Abel Cain's twin, Aclima. Jumella was ugly and fat and didn't get along with Cain. Besides that, Cain liked Aclima better. So this is supposedly the real reason why he first murdered Abel. Happy Seth?!

As if this wasn't enough stress and hassle created by his family members, Abel decides one day to sue Cain for his repeated murders. Mervyn Pumpkinhead is the prosecution, Matthew the Raven is Cain's defense, and unfortunately the judge residing is Judge Gallows!

Now, not too many people remember this guy, but he's NOT the judge you want on your murder trial. To make a long trial short, Cain gets banished to the waking world, despite the fact that the man he's being tried for murdering is sitting in the courtroom! Naturally, Cain's absence from the Dreaming causes a great upset in the waking world. Without the catharsis of Cain killing Abel in the Dreaming, people start taking their aggressions out on one another. Way to go Abel! So Abel and Matthew venture to the waking world to retrieve Cain against Gallows wishes. They manage to get him back without TOO much damage being done. They have to convince him though, and then face the judge when he shows up there to kill them. Cain takes rare form and gives Gallows his just desserts. The day is once again saved by our Caretaker!

Back in the Dreaming, A little while later, Cain and Abel get in another fight. This time it's over Abel's secret Goldie shrine. Cain mocks him and starts destroying it. Abel gets really upset and for the first time actually hits him back, right across the face. Now Cain enjoys inflicting pain on his brother, but he's not too keen on anyone else doing this. So he sits and waits, worried to death what the retribution from God that Abel will receive will be for harming the first born. Eventually a very frightening angel does appear, and instead of hurting Abel, gives him a wish (one of those wishes that can only bring harm, you know) Abel doesn't want to make it, but he has no choice, and so Goldie is back. Though as far as anyone can tell, this hasn't brought him any suffering yet.

Meanwhile Jumella sits in the attic conspiring with the house to kill Cain. The house claims to hate him, and IS quite insane at this point. It starts falling apart and being a minor nuisance, then eventually attacks him full-force, throwing knives and the like at him. Cain manages to escape unscathed, so the house just decides to burn itself down. A great effort is made in the Dreaming to prevent this, but the house succeeds. At least Cain is able to save his mysteries, oh yeah, and Jumella. This all leaves Cain very depressed, homeless and jobless. He and the mysteries stay at the House of Secrets with Abel. The space isn't really enough though, so he ends up having to store the mysteries in Lucien's library. Lucien does everything he can to get Mervyn Pumpkinhead to rebuild his house, but Mervyn is being a real jerk, and won't do a thing. He even accuses Cain of being a "firebug" burning down his own house.

Cain is at a very low point, and an incident on Halloween brings it all over the top for him. Abel gets to bring his house to the waking world and reveal secrets every Halloween. A group of gothic teenage trick-or-treaters happen to find their way to the house. The kids, one in particular especially, are rude and condescending to the both of them.

It doesn't seem to effect Abel that much, but it really gets to Cain. He feels that they are mocking them and all they stand for. This angers him at first, and he almost puts the goths, heh heh, out of their misery, but he ends up breaking down to tears. He comes to the conclusion that they just aren't needed anymore.

Cain had been drowning his sorrow in brandy now for quite some time. Locking himself up in his bedroom and neglecting even to kill Abel. His brother tries his very best to help him cope, and get him to stop drinking, but to no avail. He even goes to Eve and Jumella asking their advice. They of course feel Cain is beyond help, and that it's really his own fault that he's become a shut-in alcoholic. Eventually Cain writes Abel a note, letting him know he's going away, and hugs Gregory good-bye. This is the last seen of him for quite some time. This of course makes the Dreaming rather dull.

It isn't until things are seriously falling apart in the Dreaming that Daniel gets his shit together and tries to fix it all that we hear from Cain again. (I wonder why this time his absence from the Dreaming doesn't affect the waking world?) He sends Abel, Eve, Jumella, Gregory and Goldie out to find him. They eventually find him in the Necropolis Litharge, where he's been being treated like a god since he was the first murderer. There is still mystery and awe in Litharge, and there he rules supreme.....with his twin sister Aclima.

<SIGH> SO, anyway, evidently they've been MARRIED (THOUGH I REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS), and Cain doesn't want to go anywhere. Gregory decides to stay, while everyone else returns to the Dreaming. Meanwhile things are spiraling downhill even worse back in the Dreaming.

A once-mortal gothic transvestite named Echo, who had a run-in with the Corinthian, actually dies while dreaming, and hence gets to live in the Dreaming. When she appears there she's become a woman, and for some reason Daniel decides to make her the new Corinthian while the old one gets to experience living in the waking world for a time. Brute and Glob, some minor nightmares, talk her into a rebellion of Nightmare. She goes along with the idea. Mervyn has FINALLY built Cain a new House of Mystery, which the spirit of the old one now seems to inhabit. This spirit evidently enters Echo's body, and goes overboard with this rebellion. It also decides to merge the House of Mystery with the House of Secrets. Cain FINALLY returns to the Dreaming and puts an end to all this madness. He finds Echo's spirit inside the house, who then tells him what's going on. When he confronts the house/Echo's body, It seems the house wanted to know something, a secret, which he tells it (it is unknown exactly what this secret was). The house/Echo's body, finally at peace returns all to normal, dividing the two houses and giving Echo back control of her body.

So it is that we are left with Cain, Abel, Gregory, and UGH! Aclima at the dinner table eating dinner in the new House of Mystery. We'll see how long THAT lasts!!!!!



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