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Tired of Marvel & DC? Watch These 15 Superhero Shows & Movies
Since 2021, we’ve been bombarded with a deluge of superhero films: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings , Eternals , Spider-Man: No Way Home , The Suicide Squad and the infamous “Snyder Cut” of Justice League . There’s been no shortage of superhero shows either — WandaVision , The Falcon and the Winter Soldier , Loki and Hawkeye , Ms. Marvel , and She-Hulk have all flooded Disney+. For DC fans, there’s always the Arrowverse’s numerous shows — Batwoman , The Flash , and so on — on The CW as well as Doom Patrol , Titans , and Harley Quinn on HBO Max. And we’d be remiss not to mention the success of The Batman (2022).
All of this to say, there’s clearly no shortage of Marvel and DC content, and, while big-budget superhero flicks and limited series can make for great weekend marathons, it can also lead to some genre fatigue.
Don’t get us wrong — we love superhero stories. But sometimes digging into graphic novel adaptations or completely original no-capes-involved dramas that don’t center on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) cavalcade of heroes is refreshing, to say the least. Not sure where to start? Here are 15 of the best superhero shows and films that fall outside of Marvel and DC’s scope.
Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
While A24’s upcoming Everything Everywhere All at Once is billed more as a sci-fi adventure than a superhero film, this mind-bending movie seems to incorporate quite a few of the genre’s most compelling elements. Not to mention, it stars screen legend Michelle Yeoh, and that’s enough to get us to the theater.
Directed by “Daniels” — that is, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert of Swiss Army Man (2016) fame — the story centers on Evelyn Wang (Yeoh), a Chinese American woman who finds herself swept up in some multiverse madness. (After all, multiverses are all the rage right now — just ask the MCU.) In order to save the world, Evelyn must explore these other universes and discover the alternative lives she could’ve led. Everything Everywhere All at Once released on March 25 2022, accompanied by an equally mind-bending poster created by artist James Jean.
The Crow (1994)
Written by David J. Schow and John Shirley and directed by Alex Poyas, The Crow is based on the James O’Barr comic book of the same name. The story centers on Eric Draven, a rock musician who is revived in order to avenge not only his own death, but the assault and murder of his fiancée as well. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more celebrated superhero cult classic.
Memorably, Rolling Stone dubbed The Crow a “dazzling fever dream of a movie,” praising its unique style, stunning visuals and atmospheric feel. But, above and beyond all else, the film is perhaps best remembered for being the final appearance of its late star, actor/martial artist Brandon Lee. Undeniably, Lee’s presence permeates the film, with a critic for The Washington Post writing it’s “a case of ‘art imitating death,’ and that specter will always hang over The Crow .”
The Old Guard (2020)
As one of the few summer blockbusters to come out during the pandemic, The Old Guard made quite the splash: A few days into its release it cracked the top-10 most-popular Netflix movies ever, and it quickly reached 72 million households in its first four weeks . Adapted from Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’s acclaimed comic series and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood ( Love & Basketball ), The Old Guard deserves all that acclaim and more.
The film stars Charlize Theron as Andy, an invulnerable warrior who has led a group of tight-knit mercenaries — also invulnerable — for centuries. But fighting the good fight takes a dark turn when a pharmaceutical company learns of their “immortal” statuses and aims to make them lab rats. Luckily for Andy, whose abilities are waning, a new “immortal” named Nile (Kiki Layne) joins their ranks. This gritty, action-packed film also does something Marvel and DC struggle to do: It’s undeniably queer and centers multiple queer characters.
Hailed as a “darkly funny blood-soaked romp” by Entertainment Weekly , Dredd eases the pain of the ’90s-era Judge Dredd . (Sorry, Sylvester Stallone, we’re still not sure if that one was a serious action flick or a parody.) Unfamiliar with the 2000 AD comic strip? No sweat. The series’ eponymous character is a law enforcer with the power of judge, jury and executioner in a place called Mega-City One, a dystopian metropolis that lies in a wasteland.
Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and his apprentice, Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), are tasked with bringing order to a block of high-rises and bringing its resident drug lord (Lena Headey) to justice. Between Urban’s incredible performance and Alex Garland’s ( Annihilation , Ex Machina ) superb writing, Dredd is bombastic and violent and gritty and in your face, but it also finds humor in self-satire. Who could ask for more?
Fast Color (2018)
Best known for her roles in the Emmy-winning “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror and, these days, the hard-to-trust Ravonna in the MCU limited series, Loki , Gugu Mbatha-Raw has gone on to star in plenty of more grounded dramas and thrillers. However, one of her most standout performances is as Ruth in Fast Color , another film with a sci-fi bent.
In this more grounded and less comic book-y film, Ruth, a woman with supernatural powers, is not interested in being controlled or studied, so she goes on the lam. Directed by Julia Hart and co-starring Lorraine Toussaint, Fast Color is a restrained, genre-juggling film — a compelling look at three generations of Black women and their gifts and agency. Bonus: Fast Color is being adapted for TV by Amazon Studios, so here’s hoping we see more of it in the future.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Although you might want to first watch Hellboy (2004), Guillermo del Toro’s initial entry in what was planned to be a trilogy, there’s no doubt that Hellboy II: The Golden Army is the superior film. Ron Perlman plays the titular character, a well-meaning half-demon who spends his time hunting down the Nazi occultists who summoned him from Hell and investigating mysteries that feel plucked straight from a Lovecraftian horror tale.
With Oscar-worthy makeup and an immersive fantasy atmosphere and characters, Hellboy II retains that B-movie feel of the first film but packs in more wit, creativity and spectacle. Long story short: If you’ve ever wanted to wash away the self-importance of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, this Dark Horse Comics superhero romp is for you.
The Rocketeer (1991)
Before Iron Man soared onto the silver screen in 2008, there was The Rocketeer . The Art Deco design stems from the fact that it’s a period piece set in Los Angeles of the late 1930s, and the film certainly embraces that pulp, adventure-story feel. Instead of building his tech in a cave, however, stunt airplane pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) stumbles upon a rocket-powered jetpack and takes it for a spin.
While the self-proclaimed Rocketeer uses his jetpack skills for good, he ends up becoming a target: The FBI are searching for Howard Hughes’ stolen jetpack, and Nazi operatives are trying to re-steal the tech. Speaking of tech, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the special effects studio behind the Star Wars films, was called in to create incredible stop-motion animation sequences for the Rocketeer’s flight scenes — and, like the effects in the original Star Wars trilogy, everything holds up in that charming, movie-magic sort of way.
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Look, we know Brad Bird’s 2004 film The Incredibles is a classic — that’s why Pixar fans were clamoring for a sequel in the first place — but hopefully it’s not too much of a stretch (insert Elastigirl joke here) to say that the sequel might be even more worth the watch. While the first Incredibles film showed us what supers look like when they try to settle down, blend in and lead a normal life, the sequel spotlights the difficulties inherent in living openly.
Unlike in the first film, Elastigirl takes center stage as the family’s main crime-fighter (and breadwinner), while Mr. Incredible stays at home with their superpowered kids, handling the “heroics” of the day-to-day. Although the gorgeously animated Incredibles 2 is chock full of humorous moments, it also gets at something very real: The way a family — who may not always understand each other, who may feel jealous of one another — can splinter under the weight of their individual traumas. In the end, the Incredibles are tasked with finding their footing, with one another and with a whole slew of other supers, in order to save the day.
Technically Mark Millar and John Romita’s Kick-Ass comic book was published by Marvel Comics, but we’re going to grant this film a special pass. For one, there are no Marvel Cinematic Universe characters to be found here and, more importantly, Marvel Entertainment wasn’t involved in the film’s production (that honor goes to director Matthew Vaughn’s Marv Films and producer Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.) Okay, enough with the formalities.
This humorous, self-aware ode to all things comic books tells the story of ordinary teen Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who decides he wants to become a real-life hero named Kick-Ass. Things get complicated when Dave meets Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), a former-cop-turned-caped-crusader who has transformed his 11-year-old daughter, Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), into a ruthless, foul-mouthed vigilante intent on taking down a crime boss. When Kick-Ass hit theaters, there was nothing else like it — and there’s a reason it has become a cult classic.
Chronicle puts an interesting spin on the superhero genre, blending it with found-footage horror when one of its main characters, the oft-bullied Andrew (Dane DeHaan), starts videotaping his life. Although they start as unlikely friends at first, Andrew, his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and popular kid Steve (Michael B. Jordan) are brought together once a strange object bestows them with telekinetic powers.
At times, Chronicle is a bit paint-by-numbers, following the beats of a generic superhero origin story. However, all of the fun and games with superpowers dissipate when Andrew starts using his powers in increasingly sinister and disturbed ways. In a strange twist of fate, Chronicle was nominated for Best Sci-Fi Film at the Saturn Awards, but lost to — you guessed it — The Avengers (2012). (They don’t call them “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” for nothing.)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
This one might be a little more superhero adjacent than the others on the list, but, without a doubt, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a bonafide classic. The action rom-com was adapted from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s much-loved graphic novel series and, to this day, hardly any comic-book adaptation captures the same feeling of reading panels, or its BAM! and POW! video game-style fight sequences. It’s all brightly colored, saturated in sound effects and catchy music and full of a self-aware bite.
For the uninitiated, director Edgar Wright’s adaptation centers on slacker musician Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) who, along with his band, is eager to nab a record deal. Unfortunately, things take a turn when Scott’s new sort-of girlfriend, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), reveals that he must battle her seven evil exes in order to be with her. And, as fate would have it, one of those evil exes just so happens to be record producer Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman). Needless to say, it’s a real K.O.
What a twist! An M. Night Shyamalan film on the best superhero movies list. Look, if you just know Shyamalan for his thrilling (and twisty) horror films, like The Sixth Sense (1999) and Signs (2002), then you’re missing out. Between those two landmark films, the masterful director teamed up with Bruce Willis for a second time in Unbreakable , which gained a cult following but, perhaps, a less-mainstream audience than some of Shyamalan’s other hits.
Willis plays David Dunn, a security guard who walks away from a horrific train crash without any injuries. He embarks upon a superhero origin story of sorts and, in doing so, meets comic book store owner Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). Sure, it’s been 20 years since the film debuted, but we’ll still avoid spoilers. (You’re welcome.)
Unbreakable became part of Shyamalan’s Eastrail 177 Trilogy , which is rounded out by his more recent films, Split (2016) and Glass (2019). Not interested in a Shyamalan Cinematic Universe? No worries. This genre-deconstructing film stands on its own and, without a doubt, is one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Invincible (2021 — Present)
If the name Robert Kirkman doesn’t ring a bell, maybe The Walking Dead will. Kirkman released that iconic zombie comic book series in October 2003. However, he teamed up with Image Comics to release Invincible in January of that same year. Invincible might seem like a traditional superhero story on the surface, but this series deconstructed and reconstructed countless genre tropes during its 16-year long run!
In 2021, Amazon released the first season of an animated adaptation that honors its source material while also incorporating plenty of timely changes. The series follows Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) as he tries to follow in the footsteps of his world-renowned father Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons) after gaining superpowers.
What starts as a heartwarming coming-of-age superhero origin story gradually becomes a heart-wrenching action drama. Backed by stellar voice acting and impressive animation, Amazon Studios’ Invincible is off to a good start. Yes, this series gets incredibly gruesome at times but the gore always serves a greater purpose than mere shock value.
Once upon a time, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ landmark graphic novel Watchmen was considered unadaptable. Yet here were are; Zack Snyder’s 2009 feature-length film adaptation generated plenty of buzz back in the day, and key members of the Watchmen played a pivotal role in DC Comics’ Doomsday Clock saga.
Enter Watchmen (2019), a “remix” of sorts created for HBO by writer Damon Lindelof (of Lost and The Leftovers fame.) This miniseries serves as a kinda-sequel to Moore and Gibbons’ graphic novel, mixing old and new elements to create something wholly original.
Sister Night (Regina King) is the lead character of this series, who wrestles with White Supremacist groups, corrupt police officers, and a sprawling, decades-old mystery. As short-lived and divisive as they come, the Watchmen miniseries has undoubtedly left its mark. It also veers into thought-provoking territory that Marvel and DC proper hasn’t with their shows.
The Boys (2019 – Present)
Long ago (i.e. the late-2000s) the embodiment of God’s wrath (i.e. Garth Ennis) decided to stick it to mainstream comic publishers like Marvel and DC Comics. He teamed up with artist Darick Robertson to create The Boys , a visceral, mean-spirited take down of popular superheroes and society as a whole.
Over a decade later, Amazon Studios would adapt this NSFL comic book for the small screen. Helmed by Eric Kripke (the creator of Supernatural ), The Boys (2019 – present) satirizes superheros just like its predecessor, but that premise hits differently in a post-MCU/DCEU world. This adaptation also takes incredibly precise shots at neoliberalism, Alt-Right extremists, and corporate pandering.
Despite these lofty ambitions, the series never loses sight of the increasingly desperate conflict brewing between its titular anti-heroes and Vought International’s demented “superheroes”. Billy Butcher (hey again, Karl Urban) and Homelander (Anthony Starr) are the driving forces of this show, almost guaranteeing that things will end as catastrophically as possible. And we’re all for it.
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What Is a DC to DC Converter?
A DC to DC converter is also known as a DC-DC converter. Depending on the type, you may also see it referred to as either a linear or switching regulator. Here’s a quick introduction.
What Are DC-DC converters?
DC-DC converters efficiently convert one DC voltage to another. They may, for example, help to regulate a voltage from a poorly controlled source. They use high-frequency switching, inductors, transformers and capacitors to do so. So what might you use one for?
Most electrical appliances and devices are semiconductors that can only function on DC power. For that reason, they convert AC mains power to DC operating power. However, some specialist applications, such as an integrated circuit, require precise voltage ranges. They will therefore need a DC-DC converter.
There are four types of DC-DC converter, which may be either isolated or non-isolated from the ground. A buck converter produces a lower voltage by stepping down the incoming voltage. It’s also known as a step-down converter. It may be used to charge a 4.2V battery from a 5V USB source, says Digi-Key.
You should make sure your buck converter’s voltage ripple rating is suitable for your device or needs before use.
A boost, or step-up, converter effectively does the opposite of a buck converter. It converts incoming voltage into a higher output voltage; in other words, it steps the voltage up. It might therefore be useful for powering LEDs from a lithium battery. It could also be used to produce a 5V USB output from a lithium battery, according to Digi-Key.
As you might have guessed, a buck-boost converter does both. It’s capable of stepping up or stepping down the voltage, and you might also see it called a boost-buck converter instead. It’s also capable of producing a voltage equal to the input voltage.
A buck-boost converter could be used to stabilize a 12V battery’s voltage, which Digi-Key notes can vary from 10 to 14.7V. This converter type could also be used to power an LED from a single cell.
SEPIC converters likewise step a voltage up or down and can also produce a voltage equal to the input. It’s therefore similar to the buck-boost converter type, but it’s more suitable for a number of specialist applications. Not only does it provide a superior purity and efficiency of current than the other DC-DC converter types, it also has minimal overshot, ringing and switching loss. Operating at a much higher frequency, it tends to produce less noise.
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Powers and Stats
Tiering System : 2-A at his peak, but usually qualifies for much lower levels | 1-A | 0
Name: The Spectre
Origin: DC Comics
Classification: Ghost, Police detective, Angel, Wrath of God
Powers and Abilities: Superhuman physical characteristics, Invulnerability, Flight, Reality Warping, Cosmic Energy Manipulation, Shapeshifting (includes changing his size), Non-Corporeal, Precognition, Telepathy, Telekinesis, Teleportation, dimension travel, Illusion Creation, Soul Manipulation, Cosmic Awareness, Empathic Manipulation, Mind Manipulation, Duplication, Absorption, Resurrection (Resurrecting others will send the Spectre into the sea of nothingness), Fusionism, Pocket Reality Manipulation, Sealing, BFR, Time Travel, Time Manipulation, Possession, Transmutation, Ice Manipulation, Invisibility, Power Nullification, Attack Reflection, Resistance to Existence Erasure, Immortality (Types 1 and 4) | Regeneration (True-Godly; regenerated after being thrown and erased in the Void), Immortality (Types 1, 3, 4 and 10), Omnipresence, Nigh-Omniscience | All powers to a much greater extent, Plot Manipulation, 4th Wall Awareness, Immortality (Type 5), Omnipresence, Regeneration (True Godly), Concept Manipulation, Acausality
Attack Potency : Multiverse level+ at his strongest (See the notes below for further clarification) | Outerverse level (By breaking the constraint of individual identity, the Spectre's true nature is a spirit merged with the Logoz. He merged with the Void beyond Voids and is directly connected to the Oversoul itself. The power of the Spectre was so great and all-encompassing that its fullest potential was impossible to exploit. He has fought with Michael Demiurgos and caused the latter to overexert himself) | Absolute Infinity (Merged with God.)
Speed : Immeasurable | Omnipresent (One with the Void and all of Creation) | Omnipresent
Lifting Strength : Immeasurable | Irrelevant | Irrelevant
Striking Strength : Multiversal+ | Outerversal | Absolute Infinity
Durability : Multiverse level+ at his strongest | Outerverse level | Absolute Infinity
Stamina : Limitless | Irrelevant | Irrelevant
Range : Multiversal+ at his strongest | Irrelevant | Irrelevant
Standard Equipment: None notable
Intelligence : Knowledge of events of the future and used to be part of a police department. Near-Omniscient and remembers the Crisis on Infinite Earths | Nigh-Omniscient
Weaknesses: The Spectre can be injured or even slain by sufficient magic force such as the Spear of Destiny (although it should be noted that due to the nature of the Spear, it is precisely suited to harm him). If his body dies then The Spectre will be no more and the human spirit and the Divine Wrath will separate. The amount of power he has is limited by the amount The Presence is willing to give him, so his power level canonically varies enormously between different appearances, even beyond normal differences between writers and decades. He also cannot do anything that The Presence will not allow him to do | None Notable | None Notable
- Intimidation: The Spectre excels at being able to intimidate and frighten his adversaries. This is usually done through showy spectacles such as assuming a monstrous appearance, growing in size, projecting a loud, booming voice, etc. In combat he can shoot green (or yellow) energy blasts.
- Judgment: The Spectre punishes souls who have done evil, often by using his reality warping powers to give them ironic punishments, and then damning their souls to hell.
Key: Normal | Unbound/Full Potential Spectre
The Spectre's destructive capacity is variable, but he is ranked as Multiverse Level+, due to matching the Anti-Monitor when the entity was displayed at its strongest (although the Spectre had to be boosted by all of the DC heroes in order to do so). However, he is not normally portrayed as this powerful.
In addition, he has repeatedly been badly outmatched against the 5-dimensional imps in "Crisis Times Five", "World's Funnest", and "Emperor Joker".
Before making any changes to this page, please read and follow the Power-scaling Rules for Marvel and DC Comics.
- 1 Superman Prime (One Million)
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DC: 10 Superpowers You Didn't Know The Spectre Has
The Spectre is a powerful being in the DC Universe. Here are 10 of his lesser-known powers.
There is a varied range of superheroes, supervillains, and anti-heroes in the DC Universe , who are capable of the unthinkable, but none of them has what the Spectre has. This ultra-strong being is a part of the God who created the DC Universe, namely the Presence.
RELATED: 10 DC Characters Who Could Be Heralds Of Galactus
DC's Spirit of Vengeance only appears when it is necessary and because this mythical creature is so strong, it is very difficult to find enemies who'll put him under any kind of pressure. Providing Divine Wrath to those who need it, the Spectre has a plethora of superpowers that help him in his quest. Here are some the fans probably didn't know.
10 Dimensional Travel Between The Realm Of The Recently Dead & Earth
Spectre can bend whatever rules he likes as he has permission from the one being who built all of this. Being a spirit , it is possible for him to travel between the realm of the recently dead and Earth. Moreover, he can also drag people to a place where the Spectre rules and he can alter everything to his will. Spectre knows about every mythical detail in the DC Universe and that makes him even more dangerous. He knows about all the demonic rituals and the bad places.
9 Psychic Attacks & Gathering Information With Telepathy
Spectre has telepathic abilities, although he hasn't mastered them yet. He can sense the places where people intend to carry out their bad thoughts, and on top of that, he can attempt psychic attacks. If he wants more information out of someone, the Spectre attacks the mind but he has to fight for it as the brain starts throwing projections at him. Once the Spectre gains control , he can easily get the information he wants. Spectre's telepathic powers are nowhere near as good as Darkseid.
8 Size Alteration To Intimidate His Foe
The Spectre needs a human host to do his magic and once that's out of the way, he can do many things, including changing his size at will. This is a trick the Spectre uses to intimidate his enemies before using his trademark death stare.
RELATED: 10 DC Superheroes Who Are Stronger Than Galactus
Size alteration is a superpower that many superheroes have in the DC Universe but every single one of them has a limit to which they can grow. Spectre can grow meters in size without any fuss.
7 Invisibility & Undetectable By The Senses
There are many ways to be invisible. Either by bending light in the wrong direction or trying to camouflage. Spectre is considered to be a master of disguise. He can not only become invisible to sight, but also to other senses. It all aligns perfectly well with the character as he is someone who judges humans and they usually do their darkest things when no one is watching. Again, invisibility isn't an exclusive superpower to have but it is impressive, considering Spectre's skill set.
6 Time Manipulation To Visit Other Timelines
The Spectre has been given free reigns by the Presence to do what he feels just, and thus, he can bend the rules of physics. If dimensional travel wasn't enough, the Spectre can jump from one timeline to another whenever he sees it fit. Unlike Doctor Manhattan, the Spectre would never use this superpower just for the sake of it as he knows the consequences. Only when the situation has gotten out of hand will the Spectre reveal this ability.
5 Manipulation Of Matter
Matter or molecular manipulation is often confused with telekinesis. While telekinetic abilities allow the user to lift objects without any physical contact, matter manipulation allows the user to not only lift matter but also break it down to a molecular level. The Spectre can convert a rock into a pointed weapon without so much as touching it. This is a superpower that can end many superheroes in the DC Universe, especially the vigilantes.
4 Nigh-Invulnerability To Easily Avoid Attacks
There aren't many ultra-powered beings in the DC Universe who can hurt the Spectre. He is a divine force and only someone or something mythical can do any damage. With sufficient magical force, the Spectre can be pegged back but it's almost impossible to get rid of him for good.
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Not any superhero can show up and dominate the Spectre. DC's Spirit of Vengeance is immortal and its physical form is almost untouchable.
3 Limitless Strength That Usually Remains Hidden
Strength can be defined in various ways. While Superman is a genuinely strong muscular presence , the Spectre is much more delicate and he relies on some of his specialized skills to do the job. That doesn't mean he can't throw a punch. If he is allowed to show everything he has got, the Spectre is quite easily the strongest being to ever grace the DC Universe. The Presence keeps a good eye on the Spectre to see if he is not stepping out of line and that limits his true superpowers a bit.
2 Altering Reality To Instill Fear
This is something that comes naturally to the Spectre. He is all about magical superpowers , and there isn't anything more magical than altering reality. He can do it in a blink of an eye. This superpower isn't available to everyone and it can play with anyone's mind, no matter how strong the said person is. The Spectre can change what people see in front of their eyes and he has done it to strike fear in the hearts of the evil.
1 Nigh-Omnipotence To Do Whatever He Wants
The Spectre knows all about the DC Multiverse and he can use his imagination to his aid. As mentioned above, the Spectre comes from a mythical world, so the normal humane rules don't apply to him. He can literally do what he can imagine. This being is the servant of God himself, granted with limitless possibilities and that in itself is a superpower every single superhero or supervillain in the world would love to have. That said, it comes with a lot of responsibility and the Spectre has been punished for misusing his powers.
NEXT: The Boys: 5 DC Villains Homelander Would Destroy (& 5 Who Would Demolish Him)
"the world needed a relentless superhero": the real-life reason dc's most r-rated character is so extreme.
The Spectre has racked up DC's most shocking kills in his long career, but he got more extreme when the editor of his comic got mugged.
As the living embodiment of God's vengeance, the Spectre is one of DC's most powerful characters - and traditionally, he's the most blood-drenched and violent too. However, despite many of his extreme, R-rated kills, the Spectre's fearsome reputation came from a real-life altercation.
Created in 1940 by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey, the Spectre is (usually) the alter ego of police detective Jim Corrigan. After he is killed in the line of duty, Corrigan is bonded with the Spectre , the heavenly Spirit of Vengeance sworn to punish evil-doers everywhere. With near-omnipotent powers, the Spectre has found endless ways to punish his victims, whether it's burning them alive, summoning sharks to eat them in their beds, or imprisoning them to drown in a pillar of water. However, all these vicious punishments began with a single event in the seventies.
The Spectre Changed After a Real-Life Mugging
The Spectre returned as the lead feature in Adventure Comics in 1974, where writer Michael Fleischer and artist Jim Aparo brought the ghostly hero back to his vicious roots. According to Les Daniels’ DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes , this run of stories actually came about following a real-life incident: "The Spectre was given a new lease on life after editor Joe Orlando was mugged and decided the world needed a really relentless super hero." A veteran of the classic EC horror comics , Joe Orlando was certainly no stranger to darkly violent tales with an ironic twist, but it wasn’t long before trouble started: " The character came back with a vengeance ... and quickly became a cause of controversy. Orlando plotted the stories with writer Michael Fleisher, and they emphasized the gruesome fates of criminals who ran afoul of the Spectre."
Spectre's Ultra-Violence Was a Poor Fit for DC
The stories certainly read like the ultimate revenge fantasy, as Jim Corrigan winds up investigating several crimes where individuals have committed horrible acts. The Spectre then shows up and deals out some horrible punishment, like chopping them in half with a pair of giant scissors or turning his victims to glass only to then shatter them into a million pieces. Eventually, the stories proved to be too weird for DC Comics readers of the seventies, and the Spectre feature was ultimately pulled from Adventure Comics . However, Spectre came back again and again , with stories in 2006's Tales of the Unexpected (from David Lapham, Eric Battle, and Prentis Rollins) giving the Spectre a new host, and adding far more actual gore to his attacks in images so visceral, we can't show the worst of them here. Unlike most heroes, Spectre faces people who could never pose him any harm, using godlike power to pluck out their greatest fear and use it to kill them.
The Spectre's rebirth as a truly horrifying character came from real-life violence, as the ghostly character became a very literal embodiment of vengeance. While today, the Spectre is depicted more like a benevolent cosmic god than Freddy Krueger, he has a long history of sickening attacks on criminals - apparently in response to a crime that made DC staff decide Batman and Superman weren't going far enough.
Source: DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes by Les Daniels
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The Spectre Reading Order
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In comic books, dead men can come back to life to seek vengeance. Created by by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Bernard Baily, The Spectre belongs to this particular kind of superhero: the avenging spirit.
It all began a very long time ago when Aztar was part of a rebel band of angels led by Lucifer Morningstar . But he came to repent and was punished by becoming the vessel for God’s Wrath.
In More Fun Comics #52 (February 1940), hard-boiled cop Jim Corrigan is murdered by thugs and his spirit is then fused with Aztar/The Spectre. Together, they work to avenge victims and combat evil. He even was part of the JSA .
Jim Corrigan was The Spectre for a very long time, but he has not been the only host of The Spectre. The two other most important hosts were Hal Jordan (a famous Green Lantern) and Detective Crispus Allen. He would also sometimes wander hostless before being bound with another human host.
Though he is weaker without a host, The Spectre is one of DC Comics’ most powerful characters.
Throughout the years, the mythology surrounding him has been explored and expanded, and you can discover more about the Spectre in this following reading order!
Jim Corrigan, host of The Spectre
The Golden Age era with More Fun Comics and All-Star Comics
Detective Jim Corrigan is murdered, but came back with a vengeance! Or more specifically, supernaturally empowered as The Spectre in the Golden Age of Superhero comic books. He soon joins the Justice Society of America in All-Star Comics.
- The Golden Age Spectre Archives Vol. 1 Collects More Fun Comics #52-70
- The Spectre continues to appear in More Fun Comics until #101 Issues #73-78 are available on Kindle & Comixology
- All-Star Comics Archives Vol. 1 Collects material from All Star Comics #3-6
- All-Star Comics Archives Vol. 2 Collects material from All Star Comics #7-10
- All-Star Comics Archives Vol. 3 Collects material from All Star Comics #11-14
- All-Star Comics Archives Vol. 4 Collects material from All Star Comics #15-18
- All-Star Comics Archives Vol. 5 Collects material from All Star Comics #19-23.
Around the beginning of 1945, The Spectre simply disappeared from the DC Universe for 20 years.
The Spectre in the Silver and Bronze Age
The Spectre was revived in Showcase #60, more powerful than ever under writer Garner Fox and artist Murphy Anderson. The character is killed a few years later, only to be revived again.
- Wrath of the Spectre Collects Adventure Comics #431–440 and Wrath of the Spectre #4 .
- Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #46-47 Collected in Crisis on Multiple Earths Book One: Crossing Over
- Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #83 Collected in Crisis on Multiple Earths Book One: Crossing Over . This story takes place after the events of Adventure Comics (Vol. 1) #440.
- Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #124 Collected in Crisis on Multiple Earths Book 2: Crisis Crossed . This story takes place before Ghosts.
- All-Star Squadron #1-5 collected in Showcase Presents: All Star Squadron Vol. 1
- All-Star Squadron #20, #27-28, #30-35, Annual #3. Available on Kindle & Comixology
A Modern Age Spectre
After Crisis on Infinite Earths and his fight against The Great Darkness, The Spectre was depowered but was also given his own series, this time by writer Dough Mench. During this period, Corrigan is more central to the story, as an occult detective. The series lasted 31 issues.
The Spectre headlined a new series three years later, written by John Ostrander. If you know nothing about the Spectre, this is the perfect series to read, as he added some concepts to the Spectre’s history and explored moral issues.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths Collects Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12
- Swamp Thing (Vol. 2) #49-50 Collected in The Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 4
- Last Days of the Justice Society of America Special #1 Collected in Last Days of the Justice Society of America
- The Spectre (Vol. 2) #10-11 are part of Millennium .
- The Spectre (Vol. 2) #23-24 are part of Invasion!
- The Spectre Vol. 1: Crimes and Punishments Collects The Spectre (vol. 3) #1-12
- The Spectre Vol. 2: Wrath of God Collects The Spectre (vol. 3) #13-22
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus Collects Zero Hour #0-4, stories from Showcase ’94 #8-9 and the Zero Month sampler and much much much more!
- The Spectre (vol. 3) #0 is part of Zero Hour
- The Spectre (Vol. 2) #35-36 are part of Underworld Unleashed.
- The Spectre (Vol. 2) #47 is part of Final Night .
- The Spectre (Vol. 2) #58 is part of Genesis .
Jim Corrigan’s soul finally finds peace, putting an end to his role as Spectre.
Hal Jordan, host to The Spectre
After Jim Corrigan ascended into Heaven, The Spectre Force wandered alone before being tricked to bond with Asmodel. Then, The Spectre goes on a rampage until Hal Jordan, the famous Green Lantern , became its new host (in Day of Judgement #5).
- JLA, Vol. 5: Justice for All Collects #24–33. The Spectre is present in JLA #28-31
- Day of Judgment Collects Day of Judgment #1-5 and Day of Judgment Secret Files. To read after Green Lantern vol. 3 #117 and before #119
- JLA #35 Collected in JLA Vol. 4
- Green Lantern Vol. 3 #119
- Martian Manhunter Vol. 2 #23
- Legends of the DC Universe #33-36
- JSA #19-20 Collected in JSA by Geoff Johns Book Two
- JLA/The Spectre: Soul War #1-2
- Spectre Vol. 4 (2001) #1-8
- Green Arrow Vol. 3 #7-8 Collected in Green Arrow: Quiver
- Spectre Vol. 4 #9-27
- Flash Vol. 2 #200 Collected in The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 2
- JSA: All Stars #1-8 Collected in JSA by Geoff Johns Book Three
- JSA #60-62 Collected in JSA Omnibus Vol. 2
- Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Book One Collects Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-6 , Green Lantern #1-3, Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1-5 and Green Lantern Secret Files 2005 #1.
Hal Jordan is separated from the Spectre in Green Lantern: Rebirth #4.
Crispus Allen, host to The Spectre
Once again, The Spectre finds himself without a host and goes on another rampage, also going after the magic community before being bound to a new host, Detective Crispus Allen during Infinite Crisis ( see reading order ). Let’s notice that Crispus is killed by a corrupted cop named Jim Corrigan, but it is not the same Corrigan as the previous host of the Spectre.
- JSA, vol. 10: Black Vengeance Collects JSA #68–75. JSA #73-75 are Day of Vengeance tie-in issues.
- Blood of the Demon #6-7 are also Day of Vengeance tie-in issues.
- Crispus Allen is murdered by Jim Corrigan (unrelated to Jim Corrigan/the Spectre) in Gotham Central #37, taking place after Infinite Crisis #1
- The Spectre appears in Aquaman #32-36
- Crispus Allen becomes the new host of the Spectre in Infinite Crisis #4
- Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre Collects Infinite Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre #1
- The Spectre: Tales of the Unexpected Collects Tales of the Unexpected #1-8
- Dr. Fate: Countdown to Mystery Collects Countdown to Mystery #1-8
- Final Crisis: Revelations collects Final Crisis: Revelations #1-5. Part of Final Crisis .
Following, The Spectre made several guest star appearances:
- The Flash vol. 2 #246-247
- The Brave and the Bold (Vol. 3) #26 , collected in The Brave and the Bold: Milestone
- Justice Society of America Vol 3 #27-28 , collected in Justice Society of America Vol. 5: Black Adam and Isis
- Blackest Night #2-3
- Atom and Hawkman #46
- Blackest Night: Flash #3
- Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #50-51
- Phantom Stranger (Vol. 2) #42
- Untold Tales of Blackest Night #1
- Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #55 & #61, collected in Green Lantern: Brightest Day
- DC Universe Holiday Special 2010 #1
- Justice League of America (Vol. 2) #57, collected in Justice League of America: The Rise of Eclipso
- Zatanna (Vol. 2) #13, collected in Zatanna by Paul Dini
- JSA 80-Page Giant 2011 #1
- Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #4, collected in Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol. 1
Jim Corrigan is back as the Host of the Spectre
The DC Universe was rebooted with New 52, as Jim Corrigan was back as the host of the Spectre with a new backstory introduced in Phantom Stranger. After that, he is a guest star or recurring character in a few titles including Batman Eternal . Spinning out of it, Detective Jim Corrigan stars in his very own series Gotham By Midnight !
- Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger Vol. 1: A Stranger Among Us Collects Phantom Stranger (Vol. 4) #0-5
- Constantine (Vol. 1) #2 Collected in Constantine, Vol. 1: The Spark and the Flame
- Constantine (Vol. 1) #7 & #10 Collected in Constantine, Vol. 2: Blight
- Batman Eternal #2, #6, #15-17 Collected in Batman Eternal Vol. 1
- Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger (Vol. 4) #17, #19-20, #22 Collected in Trinity of Sin – Phantom Stranger Vol. 3: The Crack in Creation
- Batman Eternal #29-30 Collected in Batman Eternal Vol. 2
- Gotham By Midnight Vol. 1: We Do Not Sleep Collects Gotham By Midnight #1-5
- Batman Eternal #40, #45 & #52 Collected in Batman Eternal Vol. 3
- Gotham By Midnight Vol. 2: Rest in Peace Collects Gotham By Midnight #6-12 and Annual #1
- Swamp Thing (Vol. 6) #5-6 Collected in Swamp Thing: The Dead Don’t Sleep
- Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz #1-2 Collected in Sixpack and Dogwelder: Hard-Travelin’ Heroz
After New 52 came Rebirth, an era where The Spectre appeared in Deadman and had his origin story once again revised in Detective Comics.
- Deadman Collects Deadman (vol. 5) #1-6.
- Detective Comics #1006-1007 Collected in Detective Comics Vol.3: Greetings from Gotham
- Justice League: Vengeance is Thine Collects Justice League (Vol. 4) #40-47. The Spectre is present in the story “Cold War”.
- Ghosts Giant #1
Following the Dark Nights: Death Metal event, the Infinite Frontier era started, and Jim Corrigan and The Spectre Force were eventually separated. A Dark Crisis is upon the DC Universe with Aztar being possessed by the Great Darkness and becoming part of the Dark Army.
- The Flash (Vol. 1) #779 Collected in The Flash Vol. 17: Eclipse
- Justice League (Vol. 4) # 75, collected in
- Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths # 1-2 & # 5-6
- Dark Crisis: War Zone # 1, collected in Tales from Dark Crisis
- Justice Society of America (Vol. 4) #1-2
Last Updated on October 10, 2023.
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The Spectre #1 FINE/VF (The Spectre) Comic – January 1, 1970
- Comics $14.33 1 New from $14.33
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- Publisher DC
- Publication date January 1, 1970
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- ASIN : B005JPE7ZU
- Publisher : DC (January 1, 1970)
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