Gentleman Ghost
Gentleman Ghost facing Alan Scott from JSA #84. Art by Luke Ross.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceFlash Comics #88 (October 1947)
Created byRobert Kanigher (writer)
Joe Kubert (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoJames "Jim" Craddock
SpeciesGhost
Team affiliationsInjustice Society
Secret Society of Super Villains
Suicide Squad
Notable aliasesThe Ghost
"Gentleman Jim"
Abilities

Gentleman Ghost (James "Jim" Craddock), introduced as Ghost, and also known as Gentleman Jim, is a supervillain appearing in works published by DC Entertainment.[1] Created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Joe Kubert, the character first appeared in Flash Comics #88 (October 1947).[2]

Fictional character biography

Earth-Two

Originally on Earth-Two and just called "Ghost," this criminal fought Hawkman and Hawkgirl, claiming to be an actual ghost. Hawkman refused to believe it and the couple's investigation seemed to support that, but the original story left the truth ambiguous. In their next encounter, it was confirmed that the supposed ghost was a mundane criminal named James "Jim" Craddock who had used special tricks and gadgets to appear to be a ghost.[3][4]

Post-Crisis

In Post-Crisis continuity, James "Jim" Craddock is the son of an English gentleman who abandoned both him and his mother, forcing them into poverty. Craddock grew up to become a notorious highwayman and robber who terrorized England in the 19th century under the name "Gentleman Jim", after a prophecy from a gypsy said he would be a highwayman. He encountered the ghosts of other highwaymen, and Dick Turpin left him a horse. He journeyed to the United States and encounters the gunslingers Nighthawk and Cinnamon. The hot-headed Nighthawk lynched Craddock after wrongly assuming that he sexually assaulted Cinnamon, but Craddock somehow eludes death to rise again as a ghost.[5]

The Gentleman Ghost learns he must wander the earth until the spirit of his killer moves on to the next plane of existence.[6] Nighthawk and Cinnamon turn out to be the reincarnations of Ancient Egyptian royalty Prince Khufu and Chay-Ara: their souls (due to their exposure to the Thanagarian Nth metal) can never truly pass on. Both are eventually resurrected as Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and the Gentleman Ghost becomes their recurring nemesis during the 1940s.[7] Craddock has over the decades menaced other heroes, including Batman, The Atom, Flash, The New Teen Titans, Max Mercury and Stargirl, but the vengeful ghost always returns to his main foes, the Hawks, sometimes as a foe and sometimes as a friend.

Gentleman Ghost later appears as a member of the Injustice Society.[8]

During the Infinite Crisis storyline, he joins Alexander Luthor Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains. He fought Alan Scott and placed him in a coma.[9]

His origin is explored and altered in the pages of JSA #82-87 (2006). The natural son of an abusive father and a poor mother, young Jim Craddock soon slips into a life of crime, making contacts with the supernatural. After a gypsy prophesies that he will be able to transcend death and return to life fighting and killing his enemies on English soil, his villainous career is put to an end when he is captured and sentenced to death by hanging after he is tricked by a woman he is trying to seduce who summons Redcoats. Returning as a ghost, he battles those on JSA, hoping for the prophecy to come true. When the rightful time arrives, the Ghost gains the additional power of summoning vengeful ghosts from his enemies' (the JSA) past, like someone Scott killed with an electrical accident, although this is a fake, and other highwaymen. His plan is foiled by Stargirl, who, as a virgin girl, is impervious to ghostly attacks, an army of ghostly nobles who attack his army, and Wildcat, surprisingly a descendant of the Royal House of England, who decapitates him. Vanquished, he disappears.[10]

Gentleman Ghost is seen as one of the villains sent to retrieve the Get Out of Hell Free card from the Secret Six.

The New 52

In 2011, The New 52 rebooted the DC universe. Gentleman Ghost is still a thief and is not a ghost like his Earth-Two counterpart.[11]

In his first appearance, he steals the Mortis Orb, which has the power to resurrect the dead.[12] Hawkman deduces that Gentleman Ghost is Jim Craddock (whom he knew in a previous incarnation) and Gentleman Ghost confirms it. Gentleman Ghost tells Hawkman he invited him here because the Nth metal drew him to the Mortis Orb. Then, he tells Hawkman he will take him to the orb, but Hawkman refuses, so Gentleman Ghost sends more apparitions after him, Hawkman escapes the building. Then, Gentleman Ghost appears again, saying that the warlock's spell rendered the orb inert years ago, but the Nth Metal broke the spell causing the orb to regain its power. Gentleman Ghost takes the orb, saying that he will use it to transcend death and resurrect himself through the life-force of every man, woman, and child nearby. Then, he disappears and the zombies attacking Hawkman fall apart.[13] Gentleman Ghost begins fully harnessing the orb’s power, creating a portal from which Julius Gates comes out. Gates (demanding the orb) grabs Craddock, while Hawkman takes the orb from him. The portal vanishes with Craddock and Gates inside causing them both to disappear along with the apparitions and zombies. Hawkman drops the Mortis Orb somewhere in Antarctica to keep it from falling into the wrong hands again.[14]

Sometime later, Craddock takes up residence in a New Hampshire town called Duskhaven which he operates out of while he robs wealthy socialites of Gotham. When the Midnight Shift apprehends him, he reveals his new origins. Some time in the past, Craddock was a philanderer and drew the ire of a witch, who cursed him, granting his abilities but forcing him to commit criminal acts. He believed the curse would be lifted once the witch died. It was not and he found himself to be immortal and having been turned into a ghost.[11]

DC Rebirth

In 2016, DC Comics implemented another relaunch of its books called DC Rebirth which restored its continuity to a form much as it was prior to "The New 52". When Sebastian Faust goes rogue and steals all the magical items in A.R.G.U.S. storage, Amanda Waller recruits Craddock into a special magic-based team of criminals known as Suicide Squad Black.[15]

Powers, abilities, and equipment

The Gentleman Ghost of Earth-Two relies on various devices to simulate ghost-like capabilities for his criminal capers.

Jim Craddock is a true ghost with paranormal powers far beyond that of ordinary ghosts. In fact, the appearance of his head had been shown as a floating hat, monocle, and transparent face. As the Gentleman Ghost, he can become intangible to pass effortlessly through solid materials, turn completely invisible, and float on air. He has the ability to teleport distances in a few rooms, across states, or other dimensions. Craddock could summon spectral weapons (such as flintlock pistols) or detect psionic energies. Due to Craddock's ghostly form, he can also freeze people with his touch. Around the time of his prophesied revival, he gains spirit magic. This allows him to call upon and control the undead when his mother's ghost spent centuries recruiting them for her son. The Gentleman Ghost possesses expertise in equestrianism and marksmanship. However, his weaknesses are royal nobles, virgins, and the Nth Metal.[16]

Other versions

Earth-3

A heroic Gentleman Ghost from Earth-3 called the Pinkerton Ghost appears in Hawkman (vol. 6) #18 as a member of the Justice Society All-Stars, the Injustice Society's heroic counterpart.[17]

Huntress' Future

In a possible future seen in "The New Golden Age", Gentleman Ghost appears as a member of Huntress' makeshift Justice Society of America until he is revived and killed by Per Degaton.[18]

Kingdom Come

An alternate reality version of the Gentleman Ghost makes a minor appearance in Kingdom Come #2.[19]

In other media

Television

Film

Video games

See also

References

  1. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 141. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Manning, Matthew K.; McAvennie, Michael; Wallace, Daniel (2019). DC Comics Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle. DK Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-4654-8578-6.
  3. ^ Flash Comics #88. DC Comics.
  4. ^ Flash Comics #104. DC Comics.
  5. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 145. ISBN 9780345501066.
  6. ^ 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. 119. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  7. ^ Wallace, Dan (2008), "Gentleman Ghost", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 137, ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1, OCLC 213309017
  8. ^ JSA Classified #5-7. DC Comics.
  9. ^ Villains United #1. DC Comics.
  10. ^ JSA #82-87. DC Comics.
  11. ^ a b Gotham By Midnight Annual #1. DC Comics.
  12. ^ Savage Hawkman #5. DC Comics.
  13. ^ The Savage Hawkman #6. DC Comics.
  14. ^ The Savage Hawkman #7. DC Comics.
  15. ^ Suicide Squad Black Files #1-6. DC Comics.
  16. ^ Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe Vol 1 #9 (November 1985)
  17. ^ Hawkman (vol. 6) #18. DC Comics.
  18. ^ Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #6. DC Comics.
  19. ^ Kingdom Come #2. DC Comics.
  20. ^ "The World's Finest - Backstage - Unused Villains Database - Gentleman Ghost". www.worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  21. ^ "LEGO Batman Movie TV Spot with Gentleman Ghost, Calendar Man, and Condiment King". DC. Retrieved 24 August 2017.