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Like each of the Fear Lords, the Dweller-in-Darkness was a mystery, and his origin (or even his very existence) was known to few.[5][6] Allegedly from the Sixth Cosmos,[7] he was a demon that originated from the dimension Everinnye,[1][8] and was was the embodiment of humanity's collective fear.[4] The Dweller turned his back on his people by following the Way of the Shamblu, in disembodying his head and existing in physical form.[9][8]

Dweller-in-Darkness (Earth-616) from Journey Into Mystery Vol 1 633 0001

The Dweller's disembodied true form

The Dweller considered Nightmare to be his "cousin", a designation Nightmare rejected, knowing the Dweller's full origins,[10] and stating that he had no cousin and especially not the Dweller, for he had chosen the way of the Shamblu. On the other side, according to the Dweller, Nightmare degraded himself by adopting his shape and by living in exile among the Lower Universes.[11]

Like Nightmare, the Dweller fed on the fear of living beings,[8] fear both increased his powers and kept him alive.[citation needed]

Pre-Cataclysmic Age[]

When he first came to Earth, 20,000 years ago, the Dweller-in-Darkness fed upon the fears created by the wars between the humans of Atlantis and the Deviants of Lemuria. The Atlantean sorceress Zhered-Na discovered the existence of the Dweller and banished him with the help of Agamotto and the Atlantean god Valka. When Atlantis sank, the Dweller absorbed the fear of the inhabitants and used it to create D'Spayre and ordered him to kill Zhered-Na in revenge. D'Spayre manipulated a tribesman to kill Zhered-Na and Zhered-Na's student, Dakimh the Enchanter battled D'Spayre over the next millennia, while D'Spayre tried to generate enough fear on Earth to free his creator.[11] During this time the Dweller created other beings with a similar purpose, including the demoness Spite. D'Spayre remained his most powerful creation though.[citation needed]

Modern Age[]

In the 20th century, the Dweller appeared in the dreams of many humans and told them that they would gain eternal life if they died. These humans would then kill themselves but turn into Shade-Thralls, powerful creatures who served the Dweller, but were vulnerable to light. His plan was stopped by the gods Thor and Hercules who fought the Shade-Thralls and destroyed them.[citation needed] He also inspired Zoltan Drago who became the first Mister Fear.

The Dweller created new Shade-Thralls. These Shade-Thralls were destroyed by Doctor Strange and Clea, but not before the Dweller finally freed himself from his prison. The Dweller witnessed the destruction of his Shade-Thralls by Strange and Clea and determined that they were the largest threat to him on Earth. Over the next few months he tried to kill Strange using servants like the Dream Weaver, or the twin-demons Ludi and Ningal, but Strange defeated them all. Still, Strange's resolve was sapped by the Dweller's servants and he was overcome with fear. The Dweller decided that he had defeated Strange and stopped his attacks.[11]

Months later, the Dweller gathered the Fear Lords and told them about his plans to create the Great Fear: a terror which would engulf humanity. In fact, the Dweller hoped that the other Fear Lords would be destroyed during this plan by Doctor Strange. Most of the Fear Lords agreed, but the Straw Man, benevolent to humanity, disagreed with their plan and warned Strange.[5] The Fear Lords destroyed the Straw Man before he could tell Strange too much, but they only killed one of the Straw Man's many bodies. The Great Fear started out as the Dweller had planned; several of the Fear Lords were destroyed by Strange and his allies, but D'Spayre told Nightmare about the Dweller's true plans. Nightmare and the Dweller fought, but during their battle they generated so much fear that humanity stopped fearing and started to despair. The two were unable to feed upon this despair, but D'Spayre was and he become more powerful than the two of them. Realising that D'Spayre had manipulated them, the Dweller attacked him, but D'Spayre destroyed the Dweller's robotic body. His head, the only living part of the Dweller escaped.[citation needed]

Dweller later met with the other Fear Lords to discuss the Serpent's attempted conquest of Earth[12] and the group was gathered again by Kid Loki to stop Nightmare from becoming the King of Fear by forging the Serpent's fear into a crown and usurping all the other Lords. To this end they were tricked into a stalemate where none could possess the crown without it being taken by another.[3] This seemingly lasted until Mephisto claimed the crown for himself and the Fear Lords bent to his will, feeding off the fear Mephisto gave them from the crown. It is presumed that when Kid Loki sacrificed himself the crown faded and the Fear Lords left Mephisto's service.[13]


Power Grid[18]
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The Dweller has the ability to generate fear in other living beings. This fear in turn sustains and empowers the Dweller, allowing him to generate even more fear. He also has other undefined mystical powers: he can create independent creatures out of fear like D'Spayre and he can turn humans who die under his influence into Shade-Thralls, beings made of shadow with superhuman strength. Strong light can kill or banish these thralls.[citation needed]

The Dweller is immortal, doesn't age and even the sorceress Zhered-Na, assisted by powerful beings like Agamotto and Valka, could only banish him, not destroy him.[citation needed]

The "Way of the Shamblu", the Dweller's chosen path in life, involved a ritual where the Dweller removed his head from his own body. His body died, but his head lived on, now as a corporeal being, whereas the other inhabitants of Everinnye are more ethereal. The Dweller's head is attached to a robotic body, which possesses superhuman strength, but it can detach and move with the tentacles near its mouth in case of emergency.[citation needed]


See Also

Links and References