Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Guide to Golden Age Spectre Reprints

Looking back at the Golden Age must seem like looking back at people who are long gone...but one Golden Age star started out dead!  Jim Corrigan was just a cop, until a confrontation with a mobster ended up with Jim dead, until he was approached by "the Voice", and returned from the dead to punish criminals, as the Spectre, the spirit of vengeance, starting with More Fun Comics #52 (February, 1940) by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily.

Spectre has had quite a few of his original Golden Age tales rise from the dead as well...

Starting with More Fun Comics #52 and More Fun Comics #53 (March, 1940), both by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, detailing Jim Corrigan's war against mobster Gat Benson, and how he returned to life in the first story, and saving his girlfriend, Clarice Winston, in the second, but being unable to his engagement with her, because he is now dead.  It is in the second tale that Jim fashions the costume of the Spectre.

These two stories are often reprinted together, finding their way into Secret Origins #5 (November-December, 1973) with a cover by Nick Cardy in this E. Nelson Bridwell edited series, and then in the Weird Secret Origins of 2004 (under a Jerry Ordway cover, edited by Robert Greenberger, and also containing a Dr. Fate Golden Age origin tale), and these origins were reprinted again along with other origin collections in the DC Universe: Secret Origins hardcover of 2012, and DC Universe: Secret Origins softcover of 2013.

Jim Corrigan battles another evil spirit named "Zor" in More Fun Comics #55 (May, 1940) in a tale by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, battling for the life of Clarice Winston, winning with the help of "the Voice".

This issue was reprinted in DC 100 Page Super Spectacular #6 (1971), which, under this awesome Neal Adams cover, also had a reprint of the first JLA/JSA team-up, a Golden Age Vigilante story, and a previously unpublished Golden Age Wildcat story (as well as lists of "every" DC hero's first appearance up to that time.).  Even better, DC made a replica of the World's Great Super-Heroes Super Spectacular (yes, a reprint of a collection of reprints) in May, 2004 (though the cover was slightly altered)!

More Fun Comics #57 (July, 1940) features "The Return of Zor" by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, with the Spectre having to clear Jim Corrigan's name (as Zor returns, frames Jim for murder after freeing himself from the paralysis Jim had left him under...).

Along the way, Spectre turns the real murderer into a tree, then banishes Zor into the depths of the universe (but that wouldn't stop Zor from returning eventually...).

This tale was reprinted in Superman #252 (June, 1972) under a high flying cover by Neal Adams (and a few other Golden Age stories of Dr. Fate, Starman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl and more), and later in the Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told hardcover of 1990, all under a Jerry Ordway cover with a few of the Spectre's fellow members of the Justice Society of America and All-Star Squadron.

Next up is More Fun Comics #65 (March, 1941) by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, with the Spectre facing off against the villain called the Blue Flame (really "Dr. Mephisto", a stage magician, as Jim Corrigan discovered with a little detective work).

This tale awoke again in Detective Comics #443 (October-November, 1974) under a cover done mainly by Jim Aparo (though not the Spectre, thankfully, Jim rendered the ghostly guardian for his run in Adventure Comics from #431-440), and this issue also contained a Golden Age Green Lantern tale and in the new Batman story, the end for the revived Golden Age Manhunter by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson (which itself has been reprinted a few times).

More Fun Comics #66 (April, 1941), by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, sees the Spectre go into "The World Within The Paintings", saving Clarice from robbers and creatures from an extra-dimensional world within paintings.

This tale found itself reprinted in the 100-Page Super-Spectacular DC-20 of September, 1973 and also includes a few other Golden Age reprints, of folks like the Black Canary, Dr. Mid-Nite, Batman's earliest fights with Two-Face and more...

...all under a cover by artist Nick Cardy, who was quite the cover sensation of the 1970s!

Spectre fought "The Vanishing Menaces" in More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941) by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, facing animals transported from Africa by Nat Rhodes, using Morton Kirk's transporting machine.

This issue was reprinted in its entirety in the Millennium Edition: More Fun Comics #73 of January, 2001, which also features the first appearance of Aquaman and Green Arrow, of Dr. Fate foe Mr. Who (with the doctor capturing the cover in his half mask that he was using at this time), as well as Johnny Quick, a ton of Golden Age goodness!

The Spectre's last Golden Age appearance was in More Fun Comics #101 (January-February, 1945) by Gardner Fox and Bernard Baily, and "The Unsafe Safe", with the Spectre helping Percival Popp (the Super-Cop) against jewel thieves, who tricked Percival into helping them.

This tale is found in the Millennium Edition: More Fun Comics #101 of November, 2000.  This issue also features Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Johnny Quick, as well as debuting a new feature...Superboy (a story of Superman, as a boy!

The Spectre didn't return until Showcase #60 (January-February, 1966) by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson.

But, these weren't the only Golden Age Spectre solo tales...

...the Spectre was one of many DC heroes featured in All-Star Comics #1 (Summer, 1940) in "The Tenement Fires" by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, facing off against Dr. Cragg and an arsonist, and in  All-Star Comics #2 (Fall, 1940) facing off against an evil high priest of Brztal in "The Curse of Kulak" by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily.

The first All-Star Comics story was reprinted in the Great Comic Book Heroes of 1965, and both tales found themselves (along with stories of the Golden Age Flash, Hawkman, Johnny Thunder, Hourman and more) in the All-Star Comics Archives #0 of March, 2006.

Spectre was also a founding member of the Justice Society from All-Star Comics #3 (Winter, 1940) until All-Star Comics #23 (Winter, 1944), and all those tales are reprinted in the All-Star Comics Archives.

Spectre's earliest Golden Age tales were also collected in the Golden Age Spectre Archives #1 in 2003, featuring the stories from More Fun Comics #52 to More Fun Comics #70 (August, 1941), all by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily....but would it kill DC to give us a Golden Age Spectre Archives #2 with the rest of the story?

One would hope that Emmett Scanlan, who played detective Jim Corrigan on NBC's Constantine would be dying for viewers were only teased with his becoming the Spectre in that show...

1 comment:

  1. Great Spectre article.
    Unfortunate that these reprints are too costly now.