Halloween Spooktacular 2008

Take 10: Monsters & Mystics

Marvel.com's Halloween Spooktacular creeps on with the Secret Cabal's scariest list yet!

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Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. There's a chill in the air across the Marvel offices this week as we prepare for the ghouls and goblins to come out this Friday with our week-long Halloween Spooktacular! Of course, some would say in the Marvel Universe it's Halloween all year long, what with vampires, werewolves, magicians and all other manner of magical and monstrous marvels roaming free. In anticipation of one of their favorite holidays, the Secret Cabal selected their 10 favorites from Marvel's mystic underbelly. For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

10. DORMAMMU First Appearance: STRANGE TALES #126 (1964) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Chocolate and peanut butter! Who doesn't love that most magnificent taste combination? Now, picture if you will, combining magic and horror. Both totally awesome, yes? Mash 'em together and out pops Dormammu, the tyrannical ruler of the Dark Dimension. Ol' Dormy may not have been conceived as a horror character, but the evil flame-headed monster and his army of Mindless Ones stands forever on the precipice of taking over Earth and the main Marvel U. And if that ain't scary, I don't know what is." – Secret Cabal member Agent M Spotlight Comic: Strange Tales #134—Dormammu and Doctor Strange do battle with Earth on the line!

9. WEREWOLF BY NIGHT First Appearance: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #2 (1972) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Jack Russell—his laughable name aside—brings the legend of the werewolf to Marvel with just enough tragedy and pathos that you can't help but root for the poor furball by evening. Like many other Marvel mainstays, Jack is a man cursed by a monster, a noble soul struggling for freedom and to keep his inner demons from expressing themselves outwardly. Given their similarities, it's not that much of a surprise that Jack and the Hulk have had a couple of memorable throwdowns through the years." – Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS v1 #54—A Werewolf By Night solo adventure begins!

8. NIGHTMARE First Appearance: STRANGE TALES #110 (1963) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "The unfortunate thing about Nightmare is that he's rarely taken seriously enough for people to recognize he's more than just a creepy, lanky, pasty guy who dresses in green and messes with people when they sleep. No, Nightmare is a badass demon who exists to scare the bejeezus outta people and then lap up their tasty psychic juices. A perverse creature of the night who feeds off your anguish, anxiety and pain? Hardcore." –Agent_M Spotlight Comic: STRANGE TALES #110—The lord of the Dream Dimension encounters Doctor Strange for the first time!

7. GHOST RIDER (DANNY KETCH) First Appearance: GHOST RIDER v3 #1 (1990) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Many so-called 'legacy characters' have come and gone in this business who have ultimately just been carbon copies of their predecessors with a different name and new color scheme—not so with Danny Ketch. Whereas Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider, was a stunt cyclist used to living with danger, Danny was an average guy thrust into a situation he could barely comprehend, let alone deal with. Danny's adventures were darker than Johnny's, with a modern, violent, urban twist. Danny Ketch was the only Ghost Rider for a huge chunk of readers and carved out his own niche as a Spirit of Vengeance." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #347—Danny Ketch teams with Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Hulk as the new Fantastic Four!

6. GHOST RIDER (JOHNNY BLAZE) First Appearance: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #5 (1972) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Sure, there are a couple people on this list with flaming skulls for heads, but do any of them pull off Blaze's swagger and general air of cool? The original Spirit of Vengeance can still frighten even the most hardened of souls, as he proves in almost every single issue of his regular series. The dude's a former daredevil who now wanders the world on his sick motorcycle with a flaming head. 'Nuff said." – Secret Cabal member SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comic: GHOST RIDER v1 #27—Johnny Blaze teams with Hawkeye against the menacing Manticore!

5. DRACULA First Appearance: SUSPENSE #7 (1951) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Fictional incarnations of the original vampire, and the tellings of his deeds, are a dime a dozen. Dark, mysterious and strangely alluring, the concept of 'vampires' began with Dracula, the father of them all. In the Marvel Universe, Drac hasn't reared his fangs much outside of his classic TOMB OF DRACULA series, but it was his tangle with the X-Men back in the Chris Claremont/John Byrne run that I love most, especially since it gave birth (sort of) to one of my all-time favorite alternate reality characters ever: Bloodstorm! Seriously, Storm, during her punk phase, turned vampire?! That's sick in a great way." – Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: STOKER'S DRACULA #1—Classic horror with the most infamous vampire of them all!

4. MEPHISTO First Appearance: SILVER SURFER v1 #3 (1968) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Remember those kids who would push you down and take your candy on Halloween? Mean, yes. And at the time, they seemed evil. Right now, in the Marvel U., though, is there a more evil character in the minds of most than Mephisto? Not only did he kick Spider-Man when he was down, but he took away his marriage! Granted that's a story still unfolding, but that's just the latest atrocity this demon has committed. My personal biggest grievance: He destroyed another marriage by killing Hawkeye's beloved wife Mockingbird. Devil!" – RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR #276—Mephisto attempts to claim the soul of Franklin Richards!

3. MORBIUS First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #101 (1971) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Morbius is a fascinating study in defying expectations. From his appearance, one would assume he's a villain, but he's really a tragic Marvel hero—a great scientist who seeks to cure himself and accidentally transforms into a monster. His struggles raise ethical questions—if, as a vampire, he needs blood to survive, is it ever okay for him to feed? What allowances should—or shouldn't—be made for someone with his condition? And is he really a hero?" – Secret Cabal member OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: LEGION OF MONSTERS: MORBIUS #1—A fully-painted nightmare with the Living Vampire!

2. BLADE First Appearance: TOMB OF DRACULA #10 (1973) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "While his inclusion in the MI13, one of Marvel's coolest super hero teams, makes him pretty awesome, there's much more to love about Blade. The nature of his birth—the son of a human woman bitten by a vampire—makes him a compelling study in intercultural relations, as Blade walks both worlds while reconciling his complicated heritage. Oh, and he's a badass too, with more weapons than you can get a solid count on before he adds a dozen more. The simplicity—and pragmatism—of his costume is evident in how little it has really changed over the years and, let's be honest, it's just really cool." – OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: BLADE v2 #2—The Daywalker takes it to Dr. Doom!

1. DR. STRANGE First Appearance: STRANGE TALES #110 (1963) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "The Sorcerer Supreme didn't earn his title by sitting around twiddling his thumbs, True Believer. Stephen Strange proved his mettle by going from selfish, egomaniacal heart surgeon to one of Earth's greatest defenders, devoting all his time and energy into mastering the mystical arts. While at his core he's just a man, he doesn't flinch when he goes into combat with the likes of the Hulk, and he can hold his own with the most powerful beings in the Marvel U. in the Illuminati. And for that matter, hasn't he trumped half the characters this list at one point or another?" – SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comic: DOCTOR STRANGE v1 #169—The Sorcerer Supreme's origin retold!
Marvel Twitter Survey results for last week's Take 10 tie-in survey: Who is your favorite Marvel god/immortal: 1) Thor, 2) Hercules, 3) Loki and Ares (tie) Follow Marvel on Twitter to vote in the Take 10 Marvel Twitter survey! Check out the official Marvel Shop for the best mighty Marvel merchandise!

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