Villain of the Week: Gentleman Ghost

Gentleman Ghost made his debut in the year 1947, during which he was featured in Flash Comics #88.  Surprisingly, despite most DC Comics characters having multiple origins and aliases, Gentleman Ghost has retained the same origin story from day one.  The villain was created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert, who had already made their name in the comic industry.  Now, let’s take a look at Gentleman Ghost’s origin story.

Jim Craddock, a highway robber, terrorized 19th century England under the alias “Gentleman Jim”.  While he continued to live this lifestyle, he was haunted by other highwaymen who had been killed after being caught and charged.  Eventually, he encounters gunslingers Nighthawk and Cinnamon, who were later reincarnated as Hawkman and Hawkgirl.  Nighthawk wrongfully accused Craddock of harming Cinnamon and killed him in an act of vengeance.  When Craddock returned as a ghost, he learned from a gypsy that he must wander the earth until his killer dies; unfortunately for him, his killers’ souls are immortal, thus allowing them to be reincarnated time and time again. Due to this fact, Gentleman Ghost became Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s sworn enemies and still appears in many of their comics today.   However, as of the New 52, Gentleman Ghost joined the Injustice Society of America and became one of Stargirl’s main foes.

I personally hope he makes an appearance in the new Stargirl TV show.

 

Gentleman Ghost’s Stats:

Gentleman Ghost (Character) - Comic Vine

 

Real Name: James “Jim” Craddock

Occupation: Criminal

Base: N/A

Foes: Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Stargirl, JSA

 

The Surprising First Appearance of Harley Quinn

As many know, Harley Quinn will go down as a fan favorite of DC’s, having appeared on the big screen before many other iconic characters, even Wonder Woman.  Since she has been in fans’ hearts for so long, people usually assume that she has been in comics for even longer, however, Harley Quinn actually made her debut in “The Joker’s Favor”, an episode of the Emmy winning cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series.  That’s right, she was a cartoon before she was a comic.  In fact, Harley Quinn was originally just supposed to be an add in for that particular episode, but the immense response to her personality made her develop into one of Batman’s main villains in the series.

As previously mentioned, Quinn became a main character later on in the show’s run.  So, originally, she was just created for the show, and that was supposed to be it.  However, a year after her first appearance in the show, she made her comic debut in Batman Adventures #12.

Today, Harley Quinn was a main character in not only the Suicide Squad live action film, but also stars in the upcoming Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.

Black Hand and Bill Finger

Many fans of DC Comics will recognize the name Black Hand, even if it belongs to one of Green Lantern’s lesser known foes.  For those who do, know that Black Hand will go down as one of Green Lantern’s first and most powerful villains, but even die hard fans of the super villain might not know that his character was based off of DC’s most influential comic authors, Bill Finger.

First appearing in Green Lantern (vol. 2) #29 (June 1964), William Hand is a genius inventor, who later uses his smarts to become a criminal that no one seems to be able to catch.  He obtains the name “Black Hand” since he was always called the “black sheep of the Hand family”, which is partially what drove him to leave his normal life behind.  After his years as a mastermind, he decided that he needed more power.  He needed to amp up his crime sprees; he believed that he could do more with it.  So, he created a device that would change anything for him.  This device could absorb the same amount of energy that a Green Lantern ring harnesses, but he could absorb it from anything.  Thus creating a new era of super powered crime, and ultimately landing himself on the top of Hal Jordan’s rogue list, along with infamous characters such as Sinestro and Parallax.

Bill Finger is now known as one of DC’s most famous comic creators, but that is an extremely new development.  This is due to the sad, yet true fact that despite his assistance in the creation of Batman, along with many other characters, he didn’t actually get much credit until the 2000s.  Although he was inducted into Jack Kirby and William Eisner’s Hall of Fames in the 90s, his name wasn’t featured on his own works until 2015, almost forty-five years after his death.  While the general public not knowing of his influence of comics today, his co-workers did because they saw it first hand.  So, that’s why two of them, John Broome and Gil Kane, created Black Hand.

Now, Black Hand’s “origin story” is pretty average considering how many super villains there are in comic books, and one might wonder how this ties into an actual comic author; the same author who created Green Lantern.   Well, Black Hand was actually created to honor Bill Finger by representing him in super villain form. The relation between the two is solely based on irony.  For example, Black Hand’s real name is William Hand, which is a play on the name Bill Finger, since Bill can be short for William and there is a finger on a hand.  The next similarity is their personality in general.  While Bill Finger was obviously not a villain, he does have the same exact traits that Black Hand does.  An example of this would be the fact that Black Hand carries around a “gimmick book” in which he writes his ideas for new crimes, while Bill Finger used to carry around the same, only his was filled with comic ideas.

Villain of the Week: Deathstroke

First introduced in The New Teen Titans #2 in 1980, Deathstroke has been a favorite among fans everywhere.  Originally the main Teen Titans villain, he has progressed to fighting big time superheroes such as Superman in Batman in more recent comics.  Deathstroke’s real name is Slade Wilson, and his origin is that he joined the military when he was a teenager and had so much potential that he was used in government secret experiment to turn him into a meta-human soldier.  The procedure left him  unstable, but left him with incredible super human powers such as being able to use over 90% of his brain capacity, super strength, and being skilled with many weapons.  After discovering his powers, Slade Wilson chose being a mercenary as his day job and began to do contracted kills.  Despite being a criminal, Deathstroke had a family and was convinced to retire for a short bit to be with them, but instead he recruited his son to go on a mission with him.  This resulted in his son dying, and the original story of how Deathstroke lost his eye was when his wife found out that their son died, she shot him in the eye (this story has changed a lot in the past and the most recent one was that Green Arrow stabbed him in the eye).  Although he vowed to never let his kids get involved with his job again, he trained his daughter Rose to become an assassin, but she became Ravager and joined the Teen Titans as a hero.

 

Deathstroke’s Stats

220px-Deathstroke-DC-Comics

Real Name: Slade Wilson

Occupation: Villain

Allies: Secret Society of Super-Villains

Foes: Teen Titans

 

Like my blog? Follow me on Instagram at dc_comments_1