Welcome back to Character Spotlight! This week we find out about the amoral apparition, the sinister specter, Gentleman Ghost! Who is this ghostly villain? How did he come to be? Who does he torment? What are his favorite haunts? Let’s find out!
Jim Craddock grew up in the 1800s of England. Forced to live a life of crime from a young age due to being abandoned by his nobleman father, Jim would become infamous as a highwayman known for making off with plenty of riches. Enough so that he could travel to the United States to continue his career as a criminal. While in the U.S. he’d run afoul of the vigilantes Nighthawk and Cinnamon, who would bring Jim to his end. His death was tied to them, and he’d learn that he would not rest until his killers moved on from this plane of existence. The problem is Nighthawk and Cinnamon were that era’s incarnation of the immortal souls of lovers and heroes more commonly known as Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Thus, Jim was now a ghost for all eternity as long as those two continued to reincarnate.
Having years to practice, Jim would master his new ghostly state, allowing him to continue his death of crime much like his life. He’d become a thorn in the side of the Hawks as they reincarnated into a world of heroes. This also meant Jim now had plenty of people to pester and all sorts of treasures to plunder. He’d find Gotham to be a fun city for his paranormal activity, and became a frequent bother to Batman and company. His skills as a criminal and his non-corporeal abilities made him a valuable ally to villainous organizations.
Since the Hawks were often members of the JSA, Jim would haunt the team and often come to blows with the whole team. This was especially dangerous when, for a short time, he was able to summon ghosts to his aid. He’d be defeated by Star Girl able to get the upper hand, along with Wildcat, due to laws of ghosts that involved bloodlines.
In the New 52, Jim Craddock is still a thief turned ghost who gains control over the magical artifact the Mortis Orb. The orb grants him powers over the dead and he plans to use it to allow him to return to life. Unfortunately, this plan requires absorbing the life of every living thing in the vicinity. Hawkman is able to help stop this and trap Jim beyond the realm of the living, and he takes the Mortis Orb and hides it in Antarctica.
You know what? I think calling him a gentleman is a misnomer! He seems like a real cretin. More like Garbage Ghost, just a jerk. Anyway, see you next time. Way to shake my belief in your name, Craddock.
Flash Comics #88
Dr. Alexander Bustos