Spectre (DC Comics character)

  (Redirected from Spectre (comics))

The Spectre is the name given to several fictional antiheroes who have appeared in numerous comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in More Fun Comics #52 (Feb. 1940).[1] He was created by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, although several sources[2][3][4] attribute creator credit solely to Siegel, limiting Baily to being merely the artist assigned to the feature.

Art by Alex Ross
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceMore Fun Comics #52 (Feb. 1940)
Created byJerry Siegel
Bernard Baily
In-story information
Alter egoJames Brendan "Jim" Corrigan
Crispus Allen
Hal Jordan
Oliver Queen (Arrowverse)
Team affiliationsJustice Society of America
All-Star Squadron
Justice League
Justice League Dark
Notable aliasesThe Spirit of Vengeance, the Spirit of Redemption, the Avenging Wrath of God, the Ghostly Guardian, the Man of Darkness, Raguel, Master
  • Nigh–omnipotence/divine empowerment
  • Nigh–omniscience
  • Reality alteration
  • Ethereal form
  • Immortality
  • Reality warping
  • Energy and matter manipulation
The Spectre
More Fun Comics #52 (Feb. 1940), the debut of the Spectre, cover art by Bernard Baily
Series publication information
Schedulevol. 1: Bi-monthly
vols. 2–4: Monthly
FormatOngoing series
Publication datevol. 1: November/December 1967 – May/June 1969
vol. 2: April 1987 – November 1989
1988 Annual
vol. 3: December 1992 – February 1998
1995 Annual
vol. 4: March 2001 – May 2003
Number of issuesvol. 1: 10
vol. 2: 31, plus 1 Annual
vol. 3: 64 (numbered 1 – 63, includes a #0), plus 1 Annual
vol. 4: 27
Main character(s)All: The Spectre
vols. 1–3: Jim Corrigan
vol. 4: Hal Jordan
Infinite CrisisBlackest Night: Crispus Allen
Creative team
Writer(s)(vol. 1)
Gardner Fox (1-2, 6-7), Neal Adams (4-5), Mike Friedrich (3, 9-10), Steve Skeates (9)
(vol. 2)
Doug Moench
(vol. 3)
John Ostrander
(vol. 4)
J.M. DeMatteis

Publication historyEdit

Golden Age versionEdit

The Spectre debuted in More Fun Comics #52 (February 1940) when hard-boiled cop Jim Corrigan, on his way with his fiancé Clarice to their engagement party, is murdered by thugs who stuff him into a barrel filled with cement and then throw it into a body of water. His spirit is refused entering into the afterlife, however, and he is sent back to Earth by an entity referred to only as "the Voice" to eliminate evil.[5]

The Spectre seeks bloody vengeance against Corrigan's murderers in grim, supernatural fashion. One of them was turned into a skeleton upon touching him. Corrigan soon creates his signature costume, breaks off his romance with Clarice, and continues to live as Jim Corrigan, assuming the secret identity of the Spectre whenever he is needed. He eventually turns down an offer to relinquish his mission to destroy all evil.

The Spectre is soon awarded charter membership in the first-ever superhero team, the Justice Society of America in All Star Comics. Jim Corrigan is resurrected in More Fun #75 (Jan. 1942), after which the Spectre's ghostly form enters and emerges from Jim Corrigan, functioning independently of him. During the mid-1940s, the popularity of superhero comics began to decline and the Spectre was reduced to playing the role of guardian angel to a bumbling character called "Percival Popp, the Super Cop", who first appeared in More Fun #74 (Dec. 1941). When Corrigan enlisted in the military and departed to serve in World War II, in More Fun #90 (April 1943), the Spectre became permanently invisible, becoming a secondary player in his own series. The feature's final installment was in issue #101 (Feb. 1945) and the Spectre made his last appearance in the superhero group the Justice Society of America at roughly the same time in All Star Comics #23 (winter 1944–1945).

Silver Age versionEdit

In the mid-1950s and 1960s Silver Age of Comic Books, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the Spectre and returned him to the role of an avenging undead spirit, beginning in Showcase #60 (Feb. 1966). Under writer Gardner Fox and penciller Murphy Anderson, his power was vastly increased and at times he approached the level of omnipotence. A 1987 magazine retrospective on the character said this revival had been initially announced as a team-up with Doctor Mid-Nite.[6] After a three-issue try-out in Showcase, the Spectre appeared in the superhero-team comic Justice League of America #46–47 in that year's team-up of the titular group and its 1940s predecessors, the Justice Society of America: written by Gardner Fox. A few months later, he co-starred with the Silver Age Flash in The Brave and the Bold #72 (July 1967).

The Spectre was given his own title, premiering in December 1967, while simultaneously making another appearance in The Brave and the Bold #75 (Jan. 1968), this time teamed with Batman. In The Spectre, the creative credits varied widely over the 10 issues published, with introduction of a then-newcomer to comics, Neal Adams, who drew issues #2–5 and wrote issues #4–5. For its final two issues, the comic became in effect a horror anthology, with the title character being little more than a narrator in several short stories. The Spectre title suffered from the same problem that vexed the Golden Age series: writing meaningful stories using a character who was virtually omnipotent.

The end to this era came at the climax of another JLA/JSA crossover, when Doctor Fate frees the Ghostly Guardian from a crypt in time to block a collision between Earth-One and Earth-Two caused by an alien device planted in the Red Tornado II. The Spectre's body is torn apart when Doctor Fate creates a massive explosion to destroy the device and return the colliding Earths to their own dimensions.[7]

Bronze Age versionEdit

Adventure Comics#432 (April 1974), cover art by Jim Aparo.

In the 1970s, DC revived the Spectre again in the superhero anthology series Adventure Comics. Editor Joe Orlando explained that this was the Earth-One version of the Spectre, though some at DC said otherwise.[8][9] Later stories explained that the Spectre had moved from Earth-Two and taken over the body of the Jim Corrigan of Earth-One.[10] Beginning with the 12-page "The Wrath of ... the Spectre" in issue #431 (Feb. 1974),[11] writer Michael Fleisher [12] and artist Jim Aparo produced 10 stories through issue #440 (July 1975)[13] that became controversial for what was considered gruesome, albeit bloodless, violence. Comics historian Les Daniels commented that the Spectre had

...a new lease on life after editor Joe Orlando was mugged and decided the world needed a really relentless super hero. The character came back with a vengeance ... and quickly became a cause of controversy. Orlando plotted the stories with writer Michael Fleisher, and they emphasized the gruesome fates of criminals who ran afoul of the Spectre. The Comics Code had recently been liberalized, but this series pushed its restrictions to the limit, often by turning evildoers into inanimate objects and then thoroughly demolishing them. Jim Aparo's art showed criminals being transformed into everything from broken glass to melting candles, but Fleisher was quick to point out that many of his most bizarre plot devices were lifted from stories published decades earlier.[14]

In the series' letter column, some fans indicated uneasiness with this depiction. In issue #435 (Oct. 1974), Fleisher introduced a character that shared their concerns, a reporter named Earl Crawford. The series was cancelled with three scripts written, but not yet drawn.[15] Several years later, these remaining three chapters were penciled by Aparo, lettered and inked by others, and published in the final issue of Wrath of the Spectre, a four-issue miniseries in 1988 that reprinted the 10 original Fleisher-Aparo stories in its first three issues and three newly drawn stories in the fourth one.[16] Fleisher had stated in 1980 that only two scripts were left undrawn.[17]

The Spectre also made a guest appearance in the "Doctor Thirteen" feature in Ghosts #97–99 (Feb.–April 1981) and would go on to periodic guest appearances in such other DC titles as The Brave and the Bold, DC Comics Presents and All-Star Squadron.

A new Spectre series was planned for 1986, with Steve Gerber as writer and Gene Colan as penciler. However, Gerber missed the deadline for the first issue so that he could watch the last day of shooting on the film Howard the Duck and DC cancelled the series in response.[18]

Among the many changes made to DC Comics' characters during the latter half of the 1980s following the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries, the Spectre fought the Anti-Monitor largely depowered. Prior to this, the Spectre is revealed to be guarding an entrance to Hell in Swamp Thing Annual #2 by writer Alan Moore and artists Stephen R. Bissette and John Totleben. Then, in the conclusion to Moore's "American Gothic" storyline in Swamp Thing (vol. 2) #35-50, the Spectre is defeated by the Great Evil Beast. Next, in the Last Days of the Justice Society of America special, the Spectre fails to resolve a situation and is punished by God for his failure.

In his fourth solo series and second self-titled comic, The Spectre, under writer Doug Moench, Corrigan became the central figure in this story of an occult-oriented private detective agency.[19] The Spectre's powers were significantly reduced here, with even the act of emerging from Corrigan's physical body being painful to both. This run ended with issue #31 (Nov. 1989). A few months after this, the Spectre had a cameo in writer Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic, a four-issue miniseries starring many DC occult characters.

Modern Age versionEdit

Three years after the cancellation of the Doug Moench version, the Spectre was again given his own series, this time written by writer and former theology student John Ostrander, who chose to re-examine the Spectre in his aspects as both the embodied Avenging Wrath of the Murdered Dead and as a brutal 1930s policeman.[20]

Ostrander placed the Spectre in complex, morally ambiguous situations that posed certain ethical questions, one example being: What vengeance should be wrought upon a woman who killed her abusive husband in his sleep? Other notable dilemmas included:

  • The tiny (fictional) nation of Vlatava, the history of which was an endless cycle of civil war, ethnic cleansing, retribution, and blood feuds that had endured for centuries. The Spectre responded by judging the whole nation guilty, razing the land and killing the entire population except for two opposing politicians, one of them the on-again, off-again supervillain Count Vertigo.
  • The pending execution of a wrongfully convicted man. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after the Spectre threatened to kill the entire population of the state of New York in retribution, arguing that if the execution was carried out, the "people of the state of New York" would become guilty of murder in his eyes.
  • A 90-year-old woman who had spent her entire life trying to atone for the single murder she had secretly committed in the 1920s. The Spectre found her on her deathbed.

Ostrander also added several new concepts into the Spectre's history: He revealed that the Spectre was meant to exist as the embodiment of the Wrath of God, and Jim Corrigan was but the latest human spirit assigned to guide him while he existed on Earth. It was also shown that the Spectre was a fallen angel named Aztar who had participated in Lucifer's rebellion, but then repented, and that serving as the embodiment of God's anger was its penance.

Furthermore, the Spectre was not the first embodiment of God's anger, but was the replacement for the previously minor DC character Eclipso. Ostrander chose to portray this as a distinction between the Spectre's pursuit of vengeance and Eclipso's pursuit of revenge. In a historical context, Eclipso was responsible for the biblical Flood, while the Spectre was the Angel of Death who slew the firstborn Egyptian children. The Spectre and Eclipso have battled numerous times through history, but neither entity can be fully destroyed.

The Spectre has also played a pivotal role in the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour: Crisis in Time storylines. In both cases, in the final struggle against the main villain (the Anti-Monitor and Parallax, respectively), the Spectre is the only hero capable of standing against the villains directly, allowing the other heroes time to put a plan into action that would destroy the villains once and for all.

Although all of these versions are usually considered to be from the Earth-Two of the Pre-Crisis DC Multiverse, the same continuity started during the Golden Age, as an Earth-One version of the Spectre was shown to team up with Batman and Superman on a few occasions.

Hal Jordan, Spirit of RedemptionEdit

Promotional art for Green Lantern: Rebirth #1 (Dec. 2004) by Ethan Van Sciver

Eventually, Corrigan's soul finds peace. He relinquishes the Spectre-Force and goes on to Heaven. The role of the Spectre is later assumed by Hal Jordan, the spirit of the former Green Lantern, during the Day of Judgment storyline written by Geoff Johns, when a fallen angel attempts to gain the Spectre's power. Corrigan is asked to come back, but refuses, as he has found peace. The Spectre-Force chooses Jordan as his new host because Jordan seeks to atone for his universe-threatening actions as the villainous Parallax. His next appearance was in a four-part story arc in Legends of the DC Universe #33–36. In the series The Spectre (vol. 4), written by J. M. DeMatteis, Jordan bends the Spectre's mission from one of vengeance to one of redemption and makes appearances elsewhere in the DC Universe, such as advising Superman during the "Emperor Joker" storyline or helping Wally West keep his family safe by erasing public knowledge of his true identity.

In the 2001 Green Arrow storyline "Quiver" written by Kevin Smith and the final Supergirl story arc, "Many Happy Returns" by Peter David, revealed that the Spectre (Hal Jordan) is aware of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He is one of the few DC Universe characters with this knowledge.

After The Spectre (vol. 4) was cancelled, Jordan was forced to return, temporarily, to the Spectre's mission of vengeance, following a confrontation between the new Justice Society of America and the Spirit King, who had managed to "resurrect" the ghosts of all those the Spectre had damned to Hell when Hal's attempt to turn the Spectre's mission to redemption weakened his hold on the damned until Hal 'accepted' his original mission of vengeance. In Green Lantern: Rebirth, written by Johns, the Spectre-Force's decision of choosing Jordan as his host was retconned into being not because of Jordan's worthiness, but as an effort to destroy the Parallax entity, which was infecting Jordan's soul. After the Spectre-Force was able to purge Parallax from Jordan, it departed in order to move on to the next recipient of the spirit.

Day of VengeanceEdit

Promotional art for Day of Vengeance #3 (Aug. 2005) featuring the Spectre fighting Captain Marvel, art by Walt Simonson

Without a human host, the Spectre-Force becomes unstable and goes on a vengeance-fueled rampage. Not only is it killing murderers, it also kills people for minor crimes, such as petty theft. Its lack of a human host deprives him of the ability to effectively judge the sins in their appropriate context. As detailed in the miniseries Day of Vengeance, Jean Loring is transformed into the new Eclipso. She goes after the Spectre and seduces him into removing all magic in the DC Universe. Eclipso explains to the Spectre that all things that follow the rules of the physical universe follow God's law. Anything that breaks those rules thus breaks God's law and is therefore evil. Consequently, as magic breaks the rules of the physical universe, it is an originating source of tremendous evil (this line of logic makes sense to the unstable Spectre-Force). The Spectre destroys magical constructs, institutions that teach magic and magical dimensions. In one such dimension, his acts include the mass murder of over 700 battle-hardened magicians. His actions cause havoc to other very powerful magic-based characters:

  • The Phantom Stranger – The Spectre turns him into a mouse.
  • Black Adam – He fights the Spectre when the spirit invades his kingdom of Kahndaq and causes plagues of destruction.
  • Doctor Fate – He is imprisoned in a dimension inside his helmet.
  • Madame Xanadu – Her eyes are destroyed (and made incapable of restoration through magic) by the Spectre to prevent her from reading her magical tarot cards.
  • Raven – She can no longer properly control her powers.
  • The wizard Shazam – Despite the intervention of his champion Captain Marvel, Shazam is killed by the Spectre.

The Spectre also destroys the magic-fueled kingdom of Atlantis (the home of Aquaman) during his rampage.

In Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special #1, the Spectre kills Nabu, the last of the Great Lords of the Ninth Age and the Presence's attention is finally drawn into action. The Spectre is once again forced into a human host, stopping his mad rampage. Nabu reveals before dying that originally he and the other Lords had been working towards forming the perfect host for the Spectre, but those plans are cut short.

The text of the story is unclear on who the Great Lords were. Nabu (introduced in 1942 as the powerful entity responsible for Kent Nelson becoming Doctor Fate) was one of the Lords of Order. The Spectre had apparently killed the others, along with their counterparts the Lords of Chaos, with the exception of Mordru and Amethyst (whom he battled on Gemworld). Amethyst is among those gathered by the Phantom Stranger to aid in rebuilding the Rock of Eternity, and survives into the Tenth Age.

Alexander Luthor also revealed that he was indirectly responsible for the Spectre's actions in Day of Vengeance. Under Alexander Luthor's orders, the Psycho-Pirate gave Eclipso's diamond to Jean Loring, making her manipulate the Spectre-Force so that magic could be undone and used as fuel for Luthor's Multiverse tower.

Crispus AllenEdit

In Gotham Central #38, Crispus Allen is killed by a corrupt policeman coincidentally named Jim Corrigan (not the same Corrigan that was formerly associated with the Spectre). While Allen's body is in the morgue, the Spectre-Force is forced against its will to enter Crispus Allen, taking Allen as its new host.[21]

Blackest NightEdit

During the 2009–2010 Blackest Night storyline, Black Hand reveals that the Spectre must be moved out of the way in order for the universe to be at peace. For that, he uses the Black Lantern Pariah, who unleashes more black rings which latch themselves onto Crispus' body (who was killed by Eclipso), turning him into a Black Lantern and sealing the Spectre-Force inside its host. Changing into a giant version, the Black Lantern Spectre declares that it wants Hal Jordan back.[22] The Phantom Stranger and Blue Devil work together in an attempt to distract the Black Lantern Spectre from seeking out Hal Jordan. The Phantom Stranger manages to temporarily free the real Spectre, only for the Black Lantern to repress it again and, discarding the Stranger and Blue Devil, leaves to carry out its intention to cast vengeance on Hal Jordan.[23]

In Coast City, Hal Jordan encounters the Black Lantern Spectre. Using the real Spectre-Force's power to protect itself, it is rendered immune to the combination of emotional lights that usually destroy Black Lanterns. Knowing that the Spectre is afraid of Parallax, Jordan allows himself to be possessed by the fear entity once more in order to stop him. The powers of the Spectre also become of interest to the Red Lantern Corps leader Atrocitus, as he senses the Spectre's real nature despite being influenced by the black ring: an embodiment of rage and vengeance. Atrocitus desires to harness the spirit's power for his corps and his own vengeance against the Guardians of the Universe.[24] Parallax tears into the Black Lantern's body, freeing the real Spectre-Force and destroying the facsimile. Atrocitus attempts to turn the Spectre into his own rage entity but fails, the Spectre telling him that "he is God's rage" and of the true rage entity and warning him not to trifle with it. Parallax then attempts to destroy the Spectre, who uses his own fear of the entity coupled with the love Carol Ferris feels for Hal, to separate Parallax from its host. The Spectre then confronts Nekron, the master of the Black Lanterns, but discovers that Nekron is without a soul and is thus immune to his powers. The Spectre is then removed from the battlefield by Nekron to parts unknown.[25]

Brightest DayEdit

In the Brightest Day storyline, the Spectre resurfaces, again with Crispus Allen as its host, in the hills of Montana on the trail of the Butcher, the Red Lantern entity.[26] The Spectre confronts Atrocitus once again when the two locate the Butcher, who is about to possess a man whose daughter had been killed by a death row inmate. Despite the Spectre's attempts to stop it, the Butcher succeeds, killing the criminal. The Butcher then attempts to possess Atrocitus, revealing that Atrocitus had a wife and children who were killed in the Manhunters' attack. With the Spectre's help, Atrocitus wards off the Butcher and imprisons it within his power battery. The Spectre attempts to judge the man that the Butcher possessed, but Atrocitus argues that his method of judgment is flawed. The Spectre calls off his judgment and is unable to judge Atrocitus, discovering that his mission is a "holy" one, although he warns Atrocitus that this will not last forever.[27]

"Rise of Eclipso"Edit

The Spectre later appears during James Robinson's "Rise of Eclipso" storyline in Justice League of America. In the story, Eclipso captures the angel Zauriel and begins to torture him in order to draw the attention of the Spectre. The plan succeeds, with the Spectre traveling to the moon to rescue Zauriel, only to be ambushed by Jade and the members of the Justice League's reserve roster, all of whom had been brainwashed by Eclipso. Once the heroes wear the Spectre down, Eclipso confronts his old nemesis and seemingly kills him by cleaving the Spectre in two. Eclipso then absorbs the Spectre's immense powers, which he then uses to shatter the moon with a single blow from his sword before attempting to use them to fulfill his sinister agenda.[28] Eclipso is defeated by the reserve Justice League.[29]

The New 52Edit

Jim Corrigan is a Gotham City Police Detective whose fiancé is kidnapped. He is guided by the Phantom Stranger on the instructions of the Voice. He leads Corrigan to the abandoned warehouse where his girlfriend is being kept, but this turns out to be a trap. Corrigan and his girlfriend are killed by the kidnappers and he is then transformed into the Spectre, who accuses the Phantom Stranger of betraying him. As the Spectre is about to attack the Phantom Stranger, the Voice intervenes and sends the Spectre off to inflict his wrath on those who are more deserving of it.[30]

It is revealed that the Voice chose Corrigan to be "the mirror of his desire for justice" (though Corrigan believes in vengeance) and imbued him with divine powers. Corrigan returns to work as a police detective in Gotham City, but his rage causes him to practice vengeance rather than justice in his alter ego as the Spectre. The Phantom Stranger attacks Corrigan's police precinct, convinced that Corrigan was the one who kidnapped his family out of revenge.[31]

After the two exchange blows physically and verbally, the Voice himself intervenes in the form of a Scottish Terrier (his sense of humor) and informs the Stranger of his mistake, setting him on the right path. The Voice also sets Corrigan straight on his duty, making him realize he is meant to exact justice, not vengeance.[32]

Batman calls in Corrigan and Batwing to investigate Arkham Asylum, because he believes something supernatural is going on and was already busy trying to end a violent gang war in Gotham. Corrigan and Batwing investigate and discover a demonic Deacon Blackfire commanding an army of corrupted humans and demons in the sewers beneath the asylum.[citation needed]

Corrigan eventually joins Gotham's Detailed Case Task Force, a small precinct responsible for investigating supernatural events off the books.

Powers and abilitiesEdit

The Spectre has all the abilities of God, including, but not limited to, manipulation of time and space, manipulation of matter and energy, invulnerability, limitless strength, and reality alteration. Virtually anything he wishes to do to those he judges is possible. He has no discernible weakness other than needing a human host to be able to be a fair and impartial judge, although he has been tricked before by the Psycho-Pirate and Eclipso. The Spectre is immune to most damage, although he can be hurt by powerful magic. Though he is widely considered to be the most powerful superhero in terms of abilities, the Spectre does not harm the innocent (unless he is tricked into doing so). The Spectre is usually immune to mind control effects. In the Blackest Night story arc, Atrocitus attempted to enslave him with a Red Lantern power ring, but the Spectre cast it off, stating that his fury comes from a Higher Power and cannot be controlled by a mere mortal (his corruption by the Black Lantern Corps was only possible because the Black Lantern power rings were controlling Crispus Allen, the Spectre's current host, rather than the Spectre himself).


  • Needing a human host
  • Sufficiently powerful magic: The Spectre can be injured or even slain by sufficient magic force, most notably a fully empowered Eclipso. He can also be affected by magical devices; for example, the Spear of Destiny (also known as the Holy Lance) is the only thing that can destroy him.
  • Divine limitations: The Voice can impose limits on what the Spectre is able to do, as it did in binding the Spectre to a mortal host.
  • Divine law: There are certain boundaries that even the Spectre cannot, and indeed must not, cross. If he does, he faces the punishment of the Presence. When the Spectre killed Nabu, he drew the Presence's attention and was recalled.
  • Finite power: The Spectre's power is great, but it is not limitless. If the Spectre performs a sufficiently great act of magic, his power is lessened and he becomes vulnerable to magic for as long as the working is maintained. One example of this was the Spectre's creation of a living body for Jim Corrigan.


Each of the hosts of the Spectre have their own enemies:

  • The Anti-Monitor - An evil counterpart of the Monitor.
  • Clayface - A shapeshifting supervillain.
  • Darkseid - The ruler of Apokolips.
  • Eclipso - An incarnation of the Wrath of God who turned evil.
  • The First of the Fallen - The personification and embodiment of evil and negativity in the universe who is the former conscience of God.
  • The Joker - The Clown Prince of Crime.
  • Killer Croc - A criminal with a scaly condition.
  • The Manhunters - A group of alien robots.
  • Neron - A demon-lord from Hell.
  • Oom the Mighty - A statue with super-strength and magical powers who came to life and arrived on Earth to commit murders, only to run afoul of the Spectre.[33] Oom the Mighty later became a member of the Monster Society of Evil.[34]
  • Poison Ivy - A plant-manipulating criminal.
  • The Scarecrow - A scarecrow-themed criminal who specializes in fear.
  • Sinestro - An enemy of the Green Lantern Corps.
  • Two-Face - A scarred district attorney with a split personality.
  • Wotan - An evil sorcerer.

Other versionsEdit

Kingdom ComeEdit

In the four-issue Elseworlds miniseries Kingdom Come, the Spectre is Jim Corrigan, a once-human soul imbued with angelic powers by God. In a near-apocalyptic world, the Spectre takes a preacher named Norman McCay through the events of a possible future of the DC Universe. Here, the Spectre is to determine who is responsible for an impending apocalyptic event. However, here his "faculties are not what they once were", and he is said to need an outside perspective to properly judge the events that they witness. A conversation between McCay and Deadman reveals that, with the passing of time, Corrigan has become further and further removed from humanity, now only wearing his cloak to cover an otherwise nude body. He is reminded by McCay of his humanity to see things through the perspective of the man that he once was and decides that no one is to blame. Corrigan becomes a member of McCay's congregation and they become friends. In the epilogue set in a superhero-themed restaurant, he expresses irritation that the meal named after him, the "Spectre Platter", is a mix of spinach and cottage cheese.

Tangent ComicsEdit

In the Tangent Comics imprint, the Spectre is a man named Taylor Pike, a boy genius who one day bombarded himself with neutrino energy, and gained the power to become intangible. Initially operating as a thief, he later joined the Secret Six.

  • There is an alternate version of the Spectre on Earth-2 shown in JSA Annual #1 (2008) as well as an evil Spectre on Earth-3 shown in Countdown #31 (2008) of the Crime Society of America. Both versions look similar to the Golden Age version.

Injustice: Gods Among UsEdit

The Spectre makes his first appearance at the end of the third chapter of Year Three in the Injustice: Gods Among Men comic, attacking Jason Blood's home where John Constantine and Batman have gathered their allies, seemingly killing the ancient human and the detective Harvey Bullock at the same time. Batman briefly confronted him in an attempt to restore his confidence after Superman broke his back. He later confronted Ragman and Deadman, also making clear he aligns himself with Superman's One Earth Regime. It is also strongly implied that someone else has usurped the mantle from Jim Corrigan, the true Spectre, as Deadman attempts to talk with Corrigan, but discovers that the Spectre's current inhabitant is not Corrigan. Having inherited the powers of Deadman, the deceased Dick Grayson comes before Batman, informing him that Corrigan was found in Arkham "jokerized" by some form of magic (Batman had briefly believed that the Joker had become the new host of the Spectre). Superman and Wonder Woman are then rescued from an angry Trigon by the true being impersonating the Spectre, Mister Mxyzptlk.

Collected editionsEdit

Jim CorriganEdit

Title Material collected Pages ISBN
The Golden Age Spectre Archives Vol. 1 More Fun Comics #52–70 224 1-56389-955-8
The Spectre: Crimes and Punishments The Spectre (vol. 3) #1–4 120 1-56389-127-1
The Spectre Vol. 1: Crimes and Judgments The Spectre (vol. 3) #1-12 320 978-1401247188
The Spectre Vol. 2: Wrath of God The Spectre (vol. 3) #13-22 240 978-1401251505
Wrath of the Spectre Adventure Comics #431–440 and Wrath of the Spectre #4 200 1-4012-0474-0
Showcase Presents: The Spectre Showcase #60-61, 64; The Spectre #1–10, Adventure Comics #431–440, The Brave and the Bold #72, 75, 116, 180, 199; Ghosts #97–99, DC Comics Presents #29 624 978-1401234171
The Spectre: The Wrath of the Spectre Omnibus Showcase #60-61, 64; The Spectre #1-10, Adventure Comics #431-440, The Brave and the Bold #72, 75, 116, 180, 199; Ghosts #97-99, DC Comics Presents #29 680 978-1779502933

Crispus AllenEdit

Title Material collected Pages ISBN
Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre #1–3 and Tales of the Unexpected #1–3 128 1-4012-1506-8
The Spectre: Tales of the Unexpected Tales of the Unexpected #4–8 128 1-4012-1506-8
Final Crisis: Revelations Final Crisis: Revelations #1–5 169

In other mediaEdit



The Spectre appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Mark Hamill.[35] In the episode "Chill of the Night!", the Spectre and the Phantom Stranger hold a bid when it comes to Batman learning that Joe Chill was the killer of Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne. He returned in the teaser for the episode "Gorillas in Our Midst!" in which he helped Batman track down Professor Milo. After Batman left, the Spectre turned Milo into cheese and released the lab rats which soon eat Milo (off-screen). The Spectre later makes a non-speaking appearance in the episode "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!" where he appears alongside the Justice Society of America.

Live actionEdit


  • Jim Corrigan appears in Constantine, portrayed by Emmett Scanlan. He is a New Orleans police detective that is thrust into the world of the supernatural after witnessing a ghost murder a woman. He wrongly detains John Constantine after Constantine alerts the police about a second ghostly killing before it happens. Corrigan assists Constantine, Zed and Papa Midnite in vanquishing the ghouls. Zed has a vision of Corrigan bleeding from multiple wounds and shrouded in a green glow that envelops his head and undulates downward to the ground. In "Waiting for the Man", Constantine and Zed assist Jim with a child abduction case. They ultimately apprehend the man responsible, who Constantine convinces Jim to kill. Zed shares with Jim her recurring visions of his demise.[37]
  • A version of Jim Corrigan from an unspecified Earth makes an appearance in the Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths", portrayed by Stephen Lobo. He appears in Purgatory to pass the power of the Spectre onto Oliver Queen so he can save the multiverse from the Anti-Monitor after Lucifer Morningstar helped John Constantine to rescue Oliver's soul.[38] After Jim trains Oliver, the latter unlocks Barry Allen's true potential to help the Paragons escape the Vanishing Point. The Paragons then stop Mar Novu from going back in time and inadvertently releasing the Anti-Monitor before they confront the malevolent being's forces themselves while Oliver uses the Spectre's power to defeat the Anti-Monitor, at the cost of his resurrected life.


Video gamesEdit

  • The Spectre appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Robert Kraft. When the Spectre has been driven mad, he creates Reapers that attack the humans of Metropolis to dispense his judgement. Oracle suspects that Eclipso is behind this and sends Green Lantern and Green Arrow to help the superheroes. While Green Lantern distracts the Spectre, the players and Green Arrow must release lost aspects of the Spectre's psyche (including his pride, wisdom and compassion) which have been sealed into crystals by demons. After the Spectre's humanity is restored, he tries to take one of the heroes as his new human host. He possesses Green Arrow and Green Lantern in turn. When Eclipso appears, Spectre possesses the player and defeats Eclipso.
  • The Spectre is among many other DC characters included in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure.[41]
  • The Spectre is mentioned in Injustice 2 by Enchantress saying he fears her.
  • The Spectre appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains, as part of the "Justice League Dark DLC Character Pack", voiced by Corey Burton.[42]


  • Spectre appeared in the animated TV series-based comic book Justice League Unlimited #37, and was out of control due to Tala's spirit.
  • Though not mentioned in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, the tie-in comic of the same name, which acts as a sequel to the film, reveals that the Spectre is the one who will collect Amanda Waller's soul once she dies, which was seemingly the reason why Waller was desperate in obtaining the "Get Out of Hell Free" card in the film.

Reception and awardsEdit

The character won the 1961 Alley Award as the Hero/Heroine Most Worthy of Revival and the 1964 Alley Award for Strip Most Desired for Revival.

IGN ranked the Spectre as the 70th greatest superhero of all time.[43]


  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Greenberger, Bob, "Of Ghostly Guardians and Resurrections," The Spectre (vol. 2) #1 (April 1987), DC Comics, ("letter" column).
  3. ^ Thomas, Roy, "Secrets Behind the Origins Dept.", Secret Origins (vol. 2) #15 (June 1987) DC Comics (sidebar to letter column, second page).
  4. ^ Bails, Jerry, "Foreword", The Golden Age Spectre Archives Volume 1, 2003, DC Comics, p. 6.
  5. ^ Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  6. ^ Stewart, Alan, "The Lives and Deaths of Jim Corrigan, Alias...The Spectre: Part One of a Hero History", Amazing Heroes #112 (1 March 1987) Fantagraphics p. 32.
  7. ^ Justice League of America #83 (Sep. 1970)
  8. ^ Adventure Comics #434 (July-Aug. 1974), letter column
  9. ^ Burkett, Cary, "Speculations on The Spectre", Amazing World of DC Comics #16 (Dec. 1977) DC Comics, p. 40.
  10. ^ Justice League of America #220 (Nov. 1983)
  11. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The Spectre re-materialized in the pages of Adventure Comics. This time, however, he brought along an all-out wrathful disposition, delivering punishments that not only fit the crimes, but arguably exceeded them. [Michael] Fleisher and [Jim] Aparo's run lasted only ten issues, yet it was widely regarded as some of their finest work, and the character's seminal period.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Initially, in collaboration with artist Russell Carley, who provided art breakdowns for Fleisher's scripts, (see, for instance House of Mystery #218 (Oct. 1973): "The Abominable Ivy") and other Fleisher 1973–1974 stories at the Grand Comics Database
  13. ^ Michael Fleisher at the Grand Comics Database
  14. ^ Daniels, Les. DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes (Bullfinch Press, 1995), pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-0-8212-2076-4
  15. ^ Sacks, Jason; Dallas, Keith (2014). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1970s. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 978-1605490564.
  16. ^ Sanderson, Peter, "The Wrath Against...The Spectre", The Wrath of the Spectre #3 (July 1988), inside covers
  17. ^ Catron, Michael, "The Blessed Life of Michael Fleisher: An Interview with the Man Who Stuffed Jonah Hex", The Comics Journal, June or May (first on cover, second on contents page, indicia states monthly frequency) 1980, Fantagraphics, p. 51.
  18. ^ Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (September 1986). "Steve Gerber (part 2)". Comics Interview (#38). Fictioneer Books. pp. 6–19.
  19. ^ Powers, Thomas (August 2018). "Ghostly Reflections: Doug Moench and the Spectre". Back Issue. TwoMorrows Publishing (106): 60–70.
  20. ^ Riley, Shannon E. (August 2018). "The Spectre: John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake Revisit Their Acclaimed Series". Back Issue. TwoMorrows Publishing (106): 71–76.
  21. ^ Infinite Crisis #4 (March 2006)
  22. ^ Blackest Night #2 (Aug. 2009)
  23. ^ Phantom Stranger #44 (Jan. 2010)
  24. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #50 (Jan. 2010)
  25. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #51 (Feb. 2010)
  26. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #55 (Aug. 2010)
  27. ^ Green Lantern (vol. 4) #61 (Feb. 2011)
  28. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #57 (May 2011)
  29. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #59 (July 2011)
  30. ^ Phantom Stranger #0 (Nov. 2012)
  31. ^ Phantom Stranger #5 (April, 2013)
  32. ^ Phantom Stranger #5 (April, 2013)
  33. ^ All-Star Comics #3. DC Comics.
  34. ^ All-Star Comics #51-54. DC Comics.
  35. ^ Oesterle, Joe (2010-04-11). "BRAVE & THE BOLD – "Chill of the Night" Review". Mania. Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  36. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 14, 2011). "Fox Developing 'The Spectre' Drama Series Based On The DC Comic Book Character". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
  37. ^ Fowler, Matt (September 5, 2014). "CONSTANTINE CASTS JIM CORRIGAN AKA THE (FUTURE) SPECTRE". IGN. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  38. ^ "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Stephen Lobo Cast as Jim Corrigan, AKA The Spectre". IGN. October 16, 2019.
  39. ^ "DVD Report: Upcoming 'Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths'.
  40. ^ Harvey, James (February 15, 2010). "Extended Cast, Crew List For Upcoming DC Showcase "The Spectre" Animated Short". worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  41. ^ "Scribblenauts Presents: The Top 13 DC Comics Characters You Don't Know, But Should". DC. 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  42. ^ Crecente, Brian (30 May 2018). "'Lego DC Super-Villains' Drops in October".
  43. ^ "IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes". IGN. Retrieved May 11, 2011.

External linksEdit

← The first Spy Smasher was debuted by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker. See Spy Smasher for more info and the previous timeline. Timeline of DC Comics (1940s)
February 1940 (See also: Jim Corrigan)
The character Hugo Strange was debuted by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. See Hugo Strange for more info and next timeline. →