One of my favorite comics characters, all-time, is the Spectre. The character was created by Jerry Siegel and artist Bernard Baily, debuting in More Fun Comics #52 in 1940.
The Spectre was a surrealist take on the new creatures called superheroes. It was also, to the kid’s eye, flat-out scary.
Being a huge fan, I spent a lot of time on this weird character, and got to talk to some people who could answer who actually created him.
Jim Corrigan was a detective who was killed by the Mob. But he was resurrected by, well, God really, to become a divine spirit of retribution with unlimited powers. He could grow, shrink, turn people to skeletons — he was way more powerful than Superman, which was kind of the point. He operated in “Cliffland.”
To top it off, it had a real noir feel to it.
Corrigan’s secret identity is further complicated because he is technically no longer alive.
And, of course, since Jerry Siegel was the author, he wrote from his own life.
You’ll meet this man on the left, too. And no, he’s not Bernard Baily.
He’s the Spectre.
The chances that I’ll ever write Superman are less than getting bit by a radioactive spider on the moon while being bombarded by cosmic rays and getting powers, but I let myself write the Spectre, just a little bit, sorta, in the book — yeah I could say it was for dramatic effect and to draw in the reader, but it’s more like I just couldn’t resist. Sue me…oh wait, forget I said that.
Below: detail from one of my favorite Spectre pages, from Madame Xanadu with art from Amy Reeder Hadley.