The Spectre #2 (1968)

Ah, the Spectre. The hero who could not just move mountains with his own two hands, but who could even move planets. The spirit of vengeance, empowered by God (literally by God!) to defeat evil-doers by any means necessary. (eww! gross!) The hero who was just too damn powerful for his own sales. The only time the Spectre was popular was when John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake made his comic even more hellish than it had been, in a wonderful ’90s series, that is easily found in the quarter bins.
 
In the late ’60s, though, there was also a Spectre series, which only lasted ten issues. Obviously sales for it weren’t the best, either, despite (or because of?) the three issues that contained art by the great Neal Adams.
 
Adams was a real cult figure at the time, an artist whose work was loved by hardcore fans but whose work famously never sold. His work on Deadman, for instance, was beloved by fans but the comic barely sold. The only work Adams did that was popular was his reworking of Batman into The Batman, a creature of vengeance and passion that has set the template for Batman as we know the character today.
 
Or maybe the comic didn’t sell because the stories were gloriously weird and goofy. Take this issue’s story, for instance. A small time magician somehow gains the ability to split into two beings, and gets omnipotent powers. Umm… yeah. It has something to do with the fact that the Spectre has a second identity with whom he sometimes shares his body and…
 
oh damn, really, it’s too convoluted and hokey to go into. The plot makes no sense, the Spectre’s alter ego Jim Corrigan is a jerkwad and manipulator, and the ending involves a scene at a carnival where Corrigan gets shot out of a human cannonball machine to defect the evil creature being thingy that is evil.
 
So why didn’t this comic sell? Umm, because it sucked? At least the art is pretty good.
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One Response to “The Spectre #2 (1968)”

  1. Scott Says:

    Hi Jason,You commented on my blog so I will do the same to you. 🙂 It\’s kind of funny that I stumbled across your SBC column considering that I have spent a little time on MSDN lately learning about VBA for work. So now I read both of your blogs, or try to… I love the idea of writing reviews of comics that are 30+ years old. Just the other day a friend of mine was telling me he saw a MAN-THING movie and after I shook my head in disbelief, I tried to explain to him about Steve Gerber\’s writing, and how stuff like Man-Thing and Howard the Duck and Omega and The Defenders were really amazing at the time.. granted, some more than others.Anyway: re your comment on my blog about blogging and zine writing, I know what you mean. I have been blogging in one place or another for getting on 4 years now, I think, and I enjoy the anytime/anything/anywhere feel of it, whereas my zine writing has steadily declined in quantity and quality over that time. APA Centauri still endures and is a good read but my own contribution is pretty minimal these days. I have become Mat Kramer.How amazing to see that pic of you and Robin.. she is all grown up. I feel so old.Sorry about the off-topic comment. I never read much of the Spectre and don\’t know anything about him that was not in KINGDOM COME. It does seem odd that DC had Neal Adams work on not one, but two dead superhero characters. Didn\’t Adams also draw the famous Green Arrow/ Green Lantern race and drug issue comics in the early 70s? Anyway, wonderful to read you again. Keep on truckin\’.

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