An inhabitant of The Dreaming, Abel is the original murder victim from the Bible. Though the story that has survived tells of him being slain in jealousy over God preferring Abel's sacrifice of a lamb over Cain's offering of plants, the truth is more sinister. Cain killed Abel in a rage after they argued over a woman. Morpheus, also known as Sandman or Dream, took pity on the brothers and brought them into Dreaming to act as storytellers.
Located on opposite hills, with a rundown cemetery between them, Abel and Cain are custodians of, respectively, the House of Secrets and the House of Mystery. The houses seem to exist simultaneously in both the Dreaming and rural Kentucky, and fade in and out of both planes of existence. Anyone brave (or foolish) enough to visit either house will find the brothers wonderful hosts who will stay up all night sharing delightful stories of death, betrayal, and horror. Visitors should show caution when visiting the House of Secrets, as Cain's hobby of devising new and inventive ways of murdering his brother has been known to catch innocent bystanders as well. For those of a squeamish stomach or an unhealthy case of morals this habit may seem shocking, but Abel never fails to resurrect in short order.
During the upheaval caused by Daniel Hall becoming the new Sandman, the Furies of Greek legend killed Abel. When he failed to come back to life his brother petitioned the new Lord of the Dreaming to restore him. Cain said that they had been promised by Morpheus that they would always be a "double act" and that Daniel needed to remain true to the contract. Surprisingly, it worked. Though quiet in recent years, the brothers are still active, spinning horror stories and endlessly reenacting their own.
- Immortality: Abel ceased to physically age after a certain point in his life.
- Resurrection: Abel can resurrect himself endlessly.
- Dimensional Travel: Abel also possesses the ability to enter and exit the realm of the Dreaming through sheer act of will.
- Storytelling: Abel is a master storyteller, preferring tales of the horrific or the macabre. Ironically, Abel is so talented at his craft that he often frightens himself with his own stories.
- Cowardice: Abel is extremely prone to fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. In particular, he lives in perpetual fear of his brother Cain. Abel's fear is understandable, as Cain loves nothing more than to torment his brother, often killing him through various cruel and violent ways. Though Abel always resurrects himself, the practice has affected his behavior and he often cowers in terror of his brother's next malicious act.
- Mental Illness: For some time Abel had delusions that he was being visited by an imaginary friend named "Goldie". Later, Abel adopted a baby gargoyle whom he named Goldie. He still has a tendency to talk to himself.
- This character is an adaptation of Abel, a character in traditional stories. These include, but may not be limited to religious texts, myth, and/or folk lore. More information on the original can be found at Wikipedia.org.
- The comic version of Abel is based upon the Biblical Abel as presented in Genesis, the first book of the Torah.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- Abel's appearances before Alan Moore's Swamp Thing should perhaps be treated as only semi-canonical, as they often conflict wildly with later continuity, especially that of The Sandman. For instance, the Three Witches are frequent guests in older issues of House of Secrets, which would be highly out of character for the deadly Kindly Ones of The Sandman.
- Abel's appearance is modeled on DC assistant editor Mark Hanerfeld.
- 94 Appearances of Abel (New Earth)
- 6 Images featuring Abel (New Earth)
- 2 Quotations by or about Abel (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Abel (New Earth)
- The Biblical Abel at Wikipedia
- Abel article at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe I
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia