Mr. L. Dedd

Real Name: Lazarus Dedd

Identity/Class: Undead human

Occupation: Horror host;
   former alchemist's assistant; novitiate

Affiliations: Johann Von Honheim, Dr. M.T. Graves

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Mr. L Dead

Base of Operations: The Haunted House, Connecticut

First Appearance: Ghostly Tales#55 (Charlton Comics, May 1966)

Powers/Abilities: Mr. L. Dedd's body is composed of ectoplasm, feeling gelatinous to the touch. As a result he can turn invisible and immaterial, does not age, nor need to eat, breath nor sleep, and is virtually invulnerable to harm. He has an affinity to the dead and dying, able to sense them and seek them out.

History: As a youth Lazarus Dedd trained to become a priest but abandoned that vocation after falling out with the local bishop. Instead he used the Latin he had learned to garner himself a position as an assistant to the minor alchemist Johann Von Honheim, who was seeking to discover the elixir of life. Sometime circa 1530A.D. fate intervened when a chance lightening strike hit the laboratory while Dedd was there alone. Soaked in energised elixir, Dedd's body absorbed the fluid and he was transformed into ectoplasm. It took years for Dedd to convince his master not to blame himself, and Von Honheim never managed to replicate the elixir nor restore Dedd's humanity... though in truth Dedd didn't really want him to, soon realising he was now effectively immortal and no longer bound by the normal physical laws. Always a student of humankind, he now had eternity to study them unseen to his heart's content, and so he became a ghostly observer, wandering the world watching events and occasionally, when it amused him, participating in "walk-on roles" in the dramas he was witnessing. He came to the New World while following some of the earliest European explorers, and stayed, finding it a rich source of new tales.

   In the mid-60s an archive researcher working for Charlton Comics became interested in the occult and approached parapsychologist M.T. Graves with a view to turning the ghost hunter's cases into a comic title. Graves agreed, but suggested they also check out some of the more notorious haunted houses in Connecticut as sources for additional material. While investigating one such ruin the researchers found it inhabited by Dedd, who agreed to visit the Charlton offices from time to time and regale them with his tales in return for them paying for the upkeep of his home. Dedd and Graves also helped Charlton make contact with various other supernatural experts and creatures willing to similarly recount their tales of horror and suspense, helping put together the Charlton stable of Horror Hosts.

Comments: Like the majority of Horror Hosts,to begin with Mr. L. Dedd was merely a spooky teller of tales with no backstory beyond what might be divined from his appearance. However, Charlton Bullseye#2 (1975) included his origin in the format of a memo being sent to Charlton staff.


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