The Spectre I

Created by Jerry Siegel & Bernard Baily

Raguel, Aztar, Caraka, Jim Corrigan

Jebediah Corrigan (father, deceased), unnamed mother (deceased) Louisa (sister, deceased), Michael Corrigan (distant cousin), Rafe (half-brother, deceased)

Justice Society of America, Sentinels of Magic

More Fun Comics #52 (Feb. 1940)
Percival "Popp" Poplaski: More Fun #74 (Dec. 1941)

The Spectre is one of the most ancient and powerful beings in the universe. It's origins date to the very dawn of creation, where it began life as the angel named Raguel. Raguel was created by "The Presence alongside the likes of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and the infamous Samael. (Spectre vol. 3 #60)

For a time, the hosts of heaven were content to serve the Presence, but around 10 billion years ago, when the planet Earth formed, one-third of the Angels were tempted by Samael (aka Lucifer Morningstar) and rebelled against Heaven. During the fiery battle of Lucifer and his rebellion, "The Big Bang" occurred, which created our universe. (Books of Magic vol. 1 #1, Sandman #23) Raguel joined Lucifer's rebellion and after the war was lost, he was renamed Aztar and given a choice by the Presence. Rather than be cast down to hell, Aztar reluctantly agreed to relinquish all memory of his former existence to become the embodiment of God's wrath. Men would henceforth know him as the Spectre. (Spectre vol. 3 #60)

For millennia, the Spectre served as the Presence's hand on Earth. Circa 3000 BCE, in Mesopotamia it destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. (#0) And in ancient Egypt, (c. 1260 BCE) it killed the pharoah Ramses for his crimes against the Hebrews. Despite the sorceror Nabu's warnings, the pharaoh's son, Ramses II, continued the persecution of the Hebrews. In retaliation, the Spectre slayed the first-born sons of Egypt then protected the Hebrews by parting the Red Sea as they fled the pharaoh's troops. (Spectre vol. 3 #14) NOTES: The destruction of Sodom and Gomorra is described in Genesis 19:24-25. The murder of the Egyptian first-born in Exodus 12:29, the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14:21-31; Jericho in Joshua 6:20 and 10:11-14.

Again around 1250 BCE, the Spectre destroyed the walls of Jericho and caused the sun to stand still in the sky, allowing Joshua to lay waste to the enemies of Israel. (The archangel Gabriel also participated in the slaughter.) (#0)

Life for this terrible being changed dramatically with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The Presence banished the Spectre to limbo because vengeance and forgiveness (Jesus) could walk the Earth at same time. (DCU Heroes Secret Files #1, Spectre vol. 3 #0)

Following the crucifixion of the Christ, the Spectre went berserk, raising the dead and causing widespread chaos. The forces of Heaven were able to temper the entity's rage by binding it for the first time to a human soul: an Indian man named Caraka, who was murdered along with his family by the necromancer Beltane. (#0) Caraka was corrupted by the massive power and and relinquished his bond to the Spectre. He later became the demon Azmodus. (#25)

It is uncertain how many human have hosted the Spectre since Jesus' death. Each host shares one trait, though: an unjust death. In Britain, circa 240 CE, the Spectre was again bound to a human soul, that of a young woman brutalized by highwaymen. (#0) The Spectre's most well-known host, of course, is Jim Corrigan, whose life remains in recent memory. Corrigan was born on January 3, 1900 into the strict Christian household of his father, Jebediah, who was a preacher. (#46)

Corrigan hated his abusive father, but had a hero's spirit. At sixteen, Jim Corrigan lied about his age and enlisted in the American expeditionary forces in World War I. (#52) As an adult, he became a New York City Police Detective. Unwittingly, he once encountered his future Justice Society ally, the Sandman while both trailed the "Phantom of the Fair." (Sandman Mytstery Theatre #42)

His time as the Spectre began on February 3, 1940, when Corrigan and his fiancee Clarice Winston were kidnapped by the gangster Gat Benson. Corrigan is murdered, thrown into a barrel of cement then drowned. (More Fun Comics #52) The Presence chose him then to be the newest host for the Spectre, and Corrigan returned to the living. (#53) After this dramatic turn of events, Jim called off his engagement, but continued to see Clarice off and on.

In addition to his enormous Heavenly powers, the Spectre acquried the with the Ring of Life, which greatly increased his powers and enabled him to defeat mystical menaces such as Xnon (#60) and Kulak. (All-Star Comics #2)

The Spectre was a key force behind the creation of President Roosevelt's all-star soldiers. On November 9, 1940, Roosevelt sent several heroes into Europe to battle the Nazi threat. Hitler possessed the Spear of Destiny (which had pierced the side of Christ), a weapon powerful enought to keep the Spectre at bay. He used the Spear to summon Valkyrie, one of which succeeded in killing President Roosevelt. Corrigan made a bold move then by traveling to the afterworld and actually persuades the Presence to resurrect FDR. At FDR's suggestion, the band of eight heroes formed a team, using a name suggested by the Spectre: the Justice Society of America Shortly thereafter, Hitler used the Spear to erect the "Sphere of Influence" around Axis Europe. Any metahuman entering the Sphere would fall under Hitler's mental control. This effectively kept the Spectre from single-handedly ending the war. (DC Special #29, Secret Origins #31)

During this era, Corrigan exerted a great deal of control over the Spectre's nature. He achieved some semblance of a normal life (to outward appearances). He became good friends with another police officer Percival "Popp" Poplaski. (More Fun #74)

His power was temporarily removed from the playing field when he was subjugated by the sorceror, Kulak. (All-Star Squadron #20) Kulak claimed the powerful Ring of Life but was eventually tracked down by Dr. Fate. (#27) He and other All-Stars located Kulak, but Kulak, the Ring, and Fate's Helm of Nabu are sent hurtling through "an infinity of dimensions." (#28)

As the war continued, Corrigan was continually more influenced by the raging Spirit of Vengeance. He resigned from full-time membership in the JSA, (All-Star Comics #23) but was with them when they were finally able to enter the former Nazi Europe. The Spectre was enraged by scenes of the Holocaust and his friends were barely able to restrain the him. After this, the Spectre became more distant from his former comrades. (Spectre vol. 3 #20)

Soon after this, during a battle with Azmodus, the Spectre was fully trapped in the form of Corrigan; Jim lost his memory of the Spectre. He would not emerge for another 20 years. (Showcase #60, Spectre vol. 3 #26) Except for one night in 1951 when the Spectre paid a visit Alice Holland (the mother of Alec Holland/Swamp Thing) on the night before Alec's birth. He warned Holland against her son's future involvement with the Presence's aspect, the Word (or Logos). (Swamp Thing #147)

When Jim eventually recovered his memory, (Showcase #60) he reconnected with his JSA friends and participated in the occasional case. (Spectre vol. 1 #3, Justice League of America #82-83) He was key in helping avenge the murder of his friend, Terry Sloane (Mr. Terrific). (Justice League of America #171-172)

Within the last ten years, the Spectre unexpectely ended his mission on Earth and became the guardian of Heaven and Hell. (Swamp Thing Annual #2) This was short-lived, as his power was needed during the universe's greatest "Crisis." It was the Spectre who united Eartrh's heroes and villains in a last-ditch effort to stop the Anti-Monitor from changing history and eliminating the positive-matter universe from existence. The Spectre and the Anti-Monitor clashed at the Dawn of Time, which resulted in the recreation of the universe. (Crisis #10)

After the Crisis, Jim was one of the few surviving JSA members who did not leave Earth for eternal battle in Limbo. (Last Days of the JSA) Soon after this, the Presence stripped the Spectre of much of his power and returned to Earth (this as punishment for his failure against the Shadow Creature). (Spectre vol. 2 #1) The Spectre eventually rescued the JSA from the Ragnarok cycle with the help of Waverider. (Armageddon: Inferno #3-4)

Corrigan continued to match wills with the Spectre, which had grown increasingly more interested in its original mission: vengeance. He went so far as to intervene in a civil war in the Balkan nation of Vlatava and levels the entire nation, slaying most of its population. (Spectre vol. 3 #13) The world was stunned and the U.S. government hired Prof. Nicodemas Hazzard to find a weapon that could be used against the Spectre. Hazzard eventually learns about the Spear of Destiny. (#20) The Spear was retrieved from a government warehouse and entrusted to Superman, who agreed to use it to stop the Spectre. (#21) But the Spear still carried Adolf Hitler's curse and the Man of Steel narrowly avoided being overwhelmed by its influence. He and the Spectre came to an understanding regarding the Spectre's mission, which Superman conveyed to the President. The Spectre threw the Spear into space. (#22) It returned too soon, and he then threw it into the sun itself. (#50)

Corrigan's last great act as the Spectre came once again during the universe's hour of need. He aided Earth's heroes during the "Zero Hour" and stopped Parallax from remaking the universe again. (Zero Hour #0) Jim had for some time sought the counsel of a priest named Craemer. Partly because of Craemer's guidance, Corrigan was able to finally make peace with himself, his father, and God. He willingly relinquished his duties as host and left the mortal world for Heaven. The Spectre returned to limbo, awaiting a suitable new mortal host. (vol. 3 #62)

Hal Jordan, The Spectre II

From this prison, the Justice League and Justice Society called on the Spectre's power to help stave off an imminent invasion from the 5th Dimension. (JLA #28) Unrestrained by a human conscience, the Spectre transformed the rogue JLA member, Triumph, into ice. (#31)

After this, the Demon Etrigan tricked the Spectre into merging with another rogue angel, Asmodel. Together, they subdued Neron (a Prince of Hell) and unleashed Hell on Earth. Dr. Occult assembled an army of mystics who traveled to Heaven in search of some assistance. They were allowed to speak with the spirit of Jim Corrigan, but he Corrigan rejected their pleas to once again host the Spectre. (Day of Judgment #1-2) In search of a weapon to defeat Asmodel, Captain Marvel retrieve the Spear of Destiny from space. (#3)

In lieu of Corrigan, the "Sentinels of Magic" channeled their mystical power into Hal Jordan to battle Asmodel. He succeeded in defeating Neron and Asmodel and returned to life as the newest host of the Spectre. (#4-5) Jordan entrusted the Spear of Destiny to the Sentinels of Magic, who returned it to the sun — after casting a spell to ensure that only they could retrieve it. (DoJ Secret Files)

Jordan served as the Spectre's host for only a short time. His tenure was remarkable, however, in that Hal's will was strong enought to subjugate the will of the Spectre and become instead a spirit of redemption. But Jordan did not realize that he was also possessed by another cosmic power: the evil of Parallax. The Spectre's power kept Parallax at bay, but eventually Parallax's power was too strong and it began a new quest for universal domination. (GL: Rebirth #1) Hal's own soul was cleaved from the Spectre and Parallax and coaxed back into his dead body. (#5)

Again free from a human host, the Spectre quickly fell under the influence of Eclipso. Eclipso seduced the Spectre into believing that Earth must be purged of all aspects of magic. He began killing mystics left and right, prompting the formation of a new band of heroes. (Day of Vengeance)

Corrigan's Legacy

Jim Corrigan left no surviving family. Clarice Winston eventually married someone else. After his 10-year hiatus, Corrigan was briefly became engaged to a young woman named Gwen Sterling. Before they could be married, however, he was murdered again by gangsters. He resumed his role as the Spectre and broke off his relationship with Gwen as he had with Clarice. After his defeat in the war against the Shadow Creature, the Spectre was again separated from Corrigan, although neither could survive without the other. During this time, Corrigan began a romance with a fellow detective, Kim Liang, unaware that she was a magical entity created by Madame Xanadu for purposes of manipulating him. He later fell in love with a woman named Amy Beitermann, who was murdered by a serial killer not long afterwards.

Recently, Corrigan relinquished his ties to the Spectre and went to Heaven, where he was reunited with the spirit of Amy. Dead for almost sixty years, Corrigan left no immediate family. His father and his sister Louisa are dead and his only known living relative is a distant cousin, Michael Corrigan, whose wife and young daughter died in an IRA bombing in Northern Ireland in 1994.


In pre-Crisis continuity, the Spectre eventually jumped from the Corrigan of Earth-Two to that of Earth-One. The JSA encountered the "Spectreless" Corrigan in All-Star Comics #71.

Earth-2, Post Infinite-Crisis

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the original Earth Two was merged into all other surviving Earths. After the Infinite Crisis, the multiverse of the DC Universe was restored, there was again an Earth-2. Their history seemed to have unfolded as if the first Crisis had never happened (picking up approximately after Infinity, Inc. #24). On it, Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society merged to form Justice Society Infinity, and the Spectre was a member. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1)

The Spectre/Jim Corrigan of Earth-One (or Earth-B)

The Spectre was another Earth-Two denizen who made a bunch of unexplained appearances on what appears to be Earth-One, beginning in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #75, where he met up with Batman to face off against the menace of Shahn-Zi. This Spectre was split from Jim Corrigan, much like the Spectre was in his own magazine at the time, but no explanation was ever given for his sudden appearance on Earth-One (in both his heroic and secret identities).

The Spectre's appearances anywhere could've easily been explained away as being the Earth-Two hero moving between the alternate universes (given his usually great power and ability to do so), but this was never mentioned or stated in any of these particular tales.

A much grimmer Spectre began avenging crime in the early seventies, as Michael Fleischer and Jim Aparo related the character's adventures in ADVENTURE COMICS. This Spectre was much more similar to the earliest version of the character, and the body count was both high and warped. Jim Corrigan was still the alter-ego of this Spectre, and he did show up to help the Batman on one occasion which would seem to indicate that he belonged on Earth-One.   

The one problem with this particular portrayal of the Ghostly Guardian being set on Earth-One was that in one story, it was shown that pretty much everyone knew that Clark Kent was Superman, indicating that he was probably a fictional character there.

Several years later, Dr. Terrence Thirteen was involved with the Spectre while attempting to debunk a number of charlatans. This Spectre showed the same rather-murderous attitude toward evil that the Fleischer/Aparo Spectre had, which is why I group these appearances in with those of a probable Earth-One Spectre.

One key to the mystery may lie in an almost throwaway caption in AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY #2. After the Spectre offers to basically destroy the world for his old friends to get them out of legal trouble, the Spectre leaves, to the caption "Then, it seems as if a different universe opens up beneath the feet of one who has been Jim Corrigan on at least two Earths — and the Spectre is seen no more among men." To me, this says that while there is only one Spectre, there may be a multitude of Jim Corrigans that he can inhabit at any time.


The Spectre had "died" during a JLA/JSA crossover circa JLofA #83. His next appearance was in the Fleisher/Aparo ADVENTURE COMICS series, with no other super-heroes in evidence. However, Joe Orlando (or someone) confirmed in one of the letter columns that "this is the Earth-One Spectre". This was probably just to satisfy the fans' questions, since there is no real indication that Fleisher cared about multiple Earths. The Clark Kent/Superman comment was, I suspect, partly a gag and partly an attempt to preserve the grim and creepy atmosphere of the series, by fostering the illusion that these stories took place in the "real" world... with no "soft-hearted", gaudy super-heroes to clutter things up.

That said, the E-2 Jim Corrigan turned up alive(?) and well circa #70 of the 1970s ALL-STAR COMICS series, with the Justice Society, mentioning that the Spectre seemed to have disappeared lately... the implication being that he now inhabited the E-1 Corrigan. And in JLofA #220 a few years later, the specifically Earth-One Corrigan turned up again, being held in some kind of mystical stasis. Roy Thomas promised in a footnote to explain how he got that way in a future story, but it never happened.

Steve Gerber pitched a new SPECTRE series to DC in the 80s that would have, among other things, explained the two Corrigans, but after CRISIS, the whole question was declared moot, since there was now only one Earth and one Corrigan anyway.

(And there was also ANOTHER police detective named Jim Corrigan on Earth-One in the 70s, who apparently had nothing to do with the Spectre. He appeared in the later JIMMY OLSEN issues and in BLACK LIGHTNING, working in Metropolis. Actually, I'm not sure if they were both the same guy, but they were almost certainly intended to be.)

When you think about it, the Crisis did more good for "Earth-B" than anything else, since many of those questionable tales (especially with Wildcat and Plastic Man) now can fit into the DC universe fairly easily.

Of course, Batman still couldn't have met the Blackhawks, the Unknown Soldier, or Sgt. Rock during the war, and the Vigilante's post-1947 adventures are still up in the air, but what the hey?

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, during the years of Haney and Boltinoff, could be confusing. Most times, they ignored the whole Earth-One/Two device but other times, (the Black Canary story), they would use it themselves.


  • The Brave and the Bold #75, 116
  • Adventure Comics #431-438


The Spectre is a nearly omnipotent being, but his power can be limited at any time by his master, the Voice.

Appearances + References


  • Adventure Comics #431-440
  • All-Star Comics #1–23
  • All-Star 80-Page Giant #1 (1999)
  • The Brave and the Bold #75, 116
  • Justice League of America #46-47, 83, 124
  • Showcase #60–61
  • Showcase '95 #8


  • More Fun Comics #52-101 (Feb. 1940 – Jan./Feb. 1945)
  • The Spectre vol. 1, 10 issues (1967–69)
  • The Spectre vol. 2, 31 issues (1987–89)
  • Wrath of the Spectre, 4-issue limited series (1988)
  • The Spectre vol. 3, 62 issues (1992–98)
  • Day of Judgment, 5-issue limited series (1999)
  • Day of Vengeance, 6-issue limited series (2005)