Very little is known about Mister E. Originally from somewhere in the American South, he was once a great magician and hero, but over time he was corrupted by his power. After a spell he cast accidentally liquified his own eyes in their sockets he was driven completely insane, and became a villain. Together with three other powerful mages he founded the Cult of the Cold Flame.
Mister E was created by Bob Rozakis, Dan Spiegle and Jack C. Harris. He made his first appearance in Secrets of Haunted House #31. The character was reintroduced and greatly expanded upon by Neil Gaiman. He was significantly rewritten and redesigned by Ray Fawkes, Jeff Lemire, and Renato Guedes.
In his initial appearances in the Bronze Age almost nothing was known about Mister E. He possessed largely unexplored magical or supernatural abilities, the exact nature of which was never explained. He frequently alluded to simply knowing where he was needed, and being able to go there; the mechanism of this was unknown. He could also see good or evil in the souls of others. He always carried a cane, but it seemed to function primarily as an ordinary cane, and occasionally as a blunt weapon. His origin, and the cause of his blindness, was unknown. The character was an enigmatic but nonetheless heroic figure.
The Modern Age expanded upon the character's origins and powers. Dangerously fanatical and psychotic in his pursuit of the greater good, Mister E was still ostensibly a hero, but twisted by his own warped outlook. In this Age, Erik was the son of a fanatical and abusive father, and he was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused from a young age. When he was a child his father cut out his eyes with a sharpened spoon after he accidentally found pornography his father had created of Erik's own mother and sister. Erik was able to convince himself that his father was still a good man, and developed a rigid moral code and psychotic obsession with rooting out and destroying evil as he perceived it. Because of his father's teachings he also developed a deep hatred of women. This version of the character possessed unknown but powerful magical skills. He was also able to walk backwards and forwards through time at will, and could bring others with him.
In the New 52 the character's nuance and complexity were largely excised and he became an unequivocal villain. His current origin and powers were introduced.
Major Story Arcs
Secrets of Haunted House
Acting as a paranormal investigator in and around Boston, Mister E confronts vampires, werewolves, witches, and strange occurrences with the help of his assistant Kelly O'Toole. During this time he repeatedly encounters and defeats the Twice-Cursed Man.
The Books of Magic
Working with the other members of the Trenchcoat Brigade, Mister E advocates the murder of Timothy Hunter, to prevent his power from falling into the wrong hands. When the group decides to mentor him, Mister E is the first to encounter the boy, and the last to guide him. He brings Tim to the future, walking him through various potential points in time until they come to the very end of time. He attempts to kill Tim there, believing that Tim will be corrupted by the world if allowed to live. He is prevented from carrying out his plan by the intervention of Death and Destiny. He is forced to walk back to his present time.
Trapped near the end of time and unable to escape, Mister E encounters his shadow, a being made up of the parts of his nature that he shunned. As it is still able to walk through time, it brings him to the 64th century, where he reacquires his eyes. He encounters the Temptress, and is forced to confront some of the truth of his own childhood, and to question his own crusade. Nonetheless, he is driven to continue hunting Tim. Successfully returning to his home time, Mister E attacks Tim, but realizes that he is perpetuating his father's cycle of violence. He kills his shadow instead, and lets Tim go free.
The Trenchcoat Brigade
Deeply traumatised by his experiences and a series of apocalyptic visions, Mister E's psyche fractures in two. The far more balanced Erik lives a relatively normal life, while the unstable Mister E carries out a series of murders in an effort to find and destroy the individual who he believes will be responsible for the apocalypse. His erratic behaviour draws the attention of the other members of the Trenchcoat Brigade, whom he brings to the future. There, they uncover the hand of M'nagalah in the ending of the world. Mister E lures the demon to seek himself as a vessel, and is able to overcome his guilt about his past and defeat the demon.
Working as a leader of the Cult of the Cold Flame, Mister E repeatedly clashes with John Constantine. After the Cold Flame is able to steal several magical artefacts from Constantine, Mister E travels the world stealing magic from mages who refused to join the Cult. His own power is greatly enhanced by the destruction of the artefacts and the absorption of the souls. He fights Constantine, who traps his soul in the Moonblade. As part of the blade, he is forced to accompany Constantine to confront several supernatural threats. During this time he is able to trick Constantine into carrying out an assassination for him. The Moonblade, and thus his soul, becomes lost in Tanzania in 1914.
Powers and Abilities
Mister E is an exceptionally powerful mage. Despite being blind, he is able to "see" evil; this ability is poorly explained, and may actually be an ability to see emotion. It may manifest within people he is looking at as sinuous bundles of cord, or as bright lights which may or may not correspond to their emotions.
Weapons and Equipment
Mister E always carries a cane which functions both as a focus and conduit for his magic, and as a weapon. He also uses it to guide himself.