- Murder? Don't talk to me about murder! I invented murder!
- — Cain src
The Bible lists that many thousands of years ago, the first man born of Adam and Eve, who was known as Cain, killed his younger brother Abel. This was the first murder in human history, and because he had introduced such an abominable idea to mankind, Cain was cursed to wander the Earth forever with a mark on his forehead.
Abel, on the other hand, was brought into the Dreaming, the realm representing imagination, where he became a storyteller and was given the House of Secrets to live in, as the immortal Dream, Prince of Stories, knew that the tale of Abel's death would be told and re-told for many centuries to come. As one of the few residents of the Dreaming back in those early days, Abel grew lonely, and so Dream fashioned a version of Cain to live next door in the House of Mystery. Of course, being next door to his brother reminded this Cain of why he'd murdered him in the first place, and thus he killed Abel again, except this time Abel came back, and so this Cain resolved to kill him again and again, ad nauseum.
In 1916, Dream was forcibly removed from his realm by the occultist Roderick Burgess, and held prisoner until 1989. During this time, the Dreaming fell apart, though Cain and Abel continued to amuse themselves by telling stories while acting as caretakers of the mysterious House of Mystery and House of Secrets respectively (these houses appear to exist simultaneously both in the dreaming and adjacent to a graveyard in Kentucky). For a short time, Cain resided instead at the "House of Weirdness" in California, where he befriended the superhero Blue Devil; the woman Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, briefly took Cain's place as caretaker of the House of Mystery, but he eventually returned to his customary abode. When Dream finally escaped his prison, Cain and Abel nursed him back to health.
Sometime later, Dream sought to rescue his former lover Nada from Hell, to which he'd condemned her centuries ago after she spurned his affections. Cain was sent ahead as an envoy to give Lucifer fair warning that Dream would be entering his realm and possibly invading it. Cain had been chosen as the messenger, as the mark upon his forehead would prevent him from being killed. Still, Lucifer and his minions subjected Cain to rough treatment, and the first murderer would later leave the realm deeply shaken by his experiences. The House of Mystery then mysteriously moved locations to an interdimensional crossroads; Cain spent several months hunting for it, but eventually resumed his tenancy.
- Decelerated Aging: Cain has not aged in thousands of years. He is not technically immortal and can be killed, but as a dream-creature, his master the Sandman can resurrect him at will.
- Mark of Cain: Anyone stupid enough to cause damage to Cain will be instantaneously harmed 7 times by unusual disasters.
- Mental Illness: Cain is periodically gripped with the overpowering urge to murder his brother, Abel.
- Cain debuted in Picture Stories from the Bible Old Testament #3, as his exact biblical counterpart. He first appeared as storyteller and caretaker of House of Mystery in House of Mystery #175.
- Although Cain is by nature a character that exists more in thought than in reality, Final Crisis: Revelations establishes that the concept of Cain was based on the age-old supervillain Vandal Savage.
- This character is an adaptation of Cain, 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.
- 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.
- 260 Appearances of Cain (New Earth)
- 9 Images featuring Cain (New Earth)
- 26 Quotations by or about Cain (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Cain (New Earth)