Signalman from Detective Comics #466,
artist Ernie Chan.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman #112
(December 1957)
Created byBill Finger (writer)
Sheldon Moldoff (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoPhillip "Phil" Cobb
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
Notable aliasesBlue Bowman
AbilitiesSkilled hand-to-hand combatant
Wields various small, compact weapons

Signalman (Phillip Cobb) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. He is a member of Batman's rogues gallery.

Publication history

Signalman first appeared in Batman #112 (December 1957), and was created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff.[1]

Fictional character biography

Phillip "Phil" Cobb was a gangster with big ideas. He came to Gotham City intent on hiring a gang of his own and making it big, only to be laughed at when he tried to recruit the gang because he had no reputation. Steaming with anger, he vowed to prove himself to Gotham's mobsters, and when he noticed how modern society was regulated by signs, signals and symbols, he found the inspiration for his criminal career. As the Signalman, he went on a spectacular crime spree using those signs and symbols as his motif.[2]

Ultimately captured by Batman and Robin, he returned for a rematch a year later,[3][4] and then switched gears as the Blue Bowman, a copycat of Green Arrow.[5] After that, he remained unseen until 1976, when he resumed his Signalman guise in Detective Comics #466 where he actually managed to trap Batman inside the Batsignal.[6]

In the years since then, Signalman has also been a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains and, in that capacity, did battle with the Justice League[7] and the Justice Society.

In the pages of Identity Crisis, it is mentioned that Signalman was kidnapped by Doctor Moon and Phobia, a fact confirmed in the pages of Manhunter, which depicts his torture and seeming death via a video recording.

"One Year Later", he appears alive and is a drug-addled informant for Black Lightning.[8]

During the "Final Crisis" storyline, Signalman appears being arrested in full costume.[9]

In The New 52 reboot of DC's continuity (launched in 2011), Signalman first appears as a member of the Secret Society. When Catwoman breaks out of Arkham Asylum, Signalman and Blockbuster confront Catwoman on the rooftop, which ended with Catwoman being knocked out.[10]

During the "Trinity War" storyline, Signalman is sent with Giganta and Vandal Savage into tracking Pandora. After Pandora successfully subdues Giganta, Signalman realizes that Pandora is more parahuman than originally thought.[11]

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". Signalman is one of the many villains taken down by Batman and Catwoman after the latter takes the former along with on an "average night" of Batman's job.[12]

Powers and abilities

Signalman has no superhuman powers but he is a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant. He also carries items such as a knockout-gas gun, miniature flares that cause fires, electric "sparks" capable of controlling the signals to the human brain, and a remote-control device in his belt that alters signals of an electronic nature.

Other versions

In other media

Signalman makes minor appearances in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by an uncredited Greg Ellis. Additionally, Blue Bowman appears in the episode "Deep Cover for Batman!" as an evil alternate universe version of the Green Arrow and member of the Injustice Syndicate, voiced by James Arnold Taylor.

See also


  1. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 325. ISBN 9780345501066.
  2. ^ Fleisher, Michael L. (1976). The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, Volume 1: Batman. Macmillan Publishing Co. pp. 336-338. ISBN 0-02-538700-6. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  3. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 325. ISBN 9780345501066.
  4. ^ Batman #124. DC Comics.
  5. ^ Batman #139. DC Comics.
  6. ^ Batman #466. DC Comics.
  7. ^ Justice League of America #195-197. DC Comics.
  8. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #1. DC Comics.
  9. ^ Final Crisis #1. DC Comics.
  10. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 3) #3. DC Comics.
  11. ^ Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2. DC Comics.
  12. ^ Batman (vol. 3) #14. DC Comics.
  13. ^ Batman Beyond (vol. 2) #1. DC Comics.