Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Spectre Vol. 1: Crimes and Judgments Paperback – May 20, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
John Ostrander is a renowned comics writer who co-created the science fiction series GRIMJACK with artist Timothy Truman. With his late wife, Kim Yale, he wrote DC's SUICIDE SQUAD and MARTIAN MANHUNTER. With artist Tom Mandrake, he wrote a lengthy run of DC's THE SPECTRE. Ostrander has also written for Marvel Comics and Warp Graphics' ELQUEST series. Recently Ostrander has been writing for Dark Horse's line of STAR WARS comics.
Top customer reviews
The Spectre is a character who keeps coming back to life even though he's been dead for over 70 years. Created in 1940 by writer Jerry Siegel (better known as co-creator of Superman) and artist Bernard Baily, the Spectre was a costumed superhero who got his super powers the hard way, by dying. He was originally Jim Corrigan, a tough police detective who was murdered by gangsters. A supernatural power (hinted, but not explicitly said in the original comics, to be God) raised Corrigan's ghost, charged him with a mission to avenge his own murder and then go on to eliminate all evil on Earth, and endowed him not only with traditional ghostly abilities such as invisibility and intangibility but with nearly limitless magical powers. In terms of sheer power, the Spectre made Siegel's other famous creation look like a 98-pound weakling. And the Spectre took a much harder line with crime than most other comic book heroes. He didn't bother beating crooks up and dropping them off with the police; he literally scared them to death or put them to death in various gruesome magical ways.
But apparently the Spectre was a little too creepy for comic book readers of the 1940's. After a couple of years, he wsa demoted to a backup slot instead of being a lead feature, was saddled with a funny sidekick named Percival Popp, and became about as menacing as Casper. Then, in 1945, he was dropped. 20 years later, after DC Comics had successfully revived several other "Golden Age" superheroes, the Spectre too was revived. The Comics Code and DC editorial policy wouldn't allow him to be a death-dealing avenger as of old, but he was still almost infinitely powerful. In his second revival appearance, he defeated "Azmodus," a villain clearly intended as a stand-in for Satan. What do you do for an encore after you've defeated the Devil himself? Not much; the revived Spectre didn't catch on and was again dropped. Yet another revival in the early 1970's was said to have been inspired after editor Joe Orlando suffered a mugging and sought vicarious vengeance. This time, in a series written by Michael Fleisher and drawn by Jim Aparo, the Spectre was once again a terrifying figure of vengeance, skirting the edges of the Comics Code by killing criminals in bizarre magical ways. Reportedly that series sold well, but it made DC management queasy, and again the Spectre was cancelled.
After another brief and unmemorable revival in the 1980's, the Spectre returned again in this version by Ostrander and Mandrake (so finally we get to the comics appearing in the book I'm actually reviewing). This was, in my opinion, by far the best of all the Spectre series (including a couple more that have apeared since then-- you just can't keep this guy in his grave). The 1990's have sometimes been called the "Dark Age" of comics, dominated by psychotic anti-heroes who reveled in violence for its own sake. The new Spectre seemed outwardly to fit into that mold, but Ostrander and Mandrake had something deeper and ultimately more satisfying in mind. They went once again with the idea of the Spectre as a vengeful spirit who killed evildoers at will. But they didn't just use the idea as an excuse for "violence porn". Unlike the earlier series, they actually went into the moral issues and dilemmas that would apply to such a being as the Spectre. In their re-imagining, the Spectre was an ancient embodiment of the "Wrath of God," who would appear periodically through human history, detached from the Deity's other attributes but tethered to a single human soul whose function was to temper the Spectre's implacable justice with a sense of humanity. In the case of Jim Corrigan, this restraint didn't always work out so well, since Corrigan-- as his character was developed in a series of flashbacks back to his original lifetime in the 1930's-- was himself an angry, bitter and morally flawed mortal. And yet not beyond redemption. Over the course of the original 12 issues reprinted in this book-- and the total series which ran 62 issues plus several annuals and specials-- Corrigan learns and grows, suffers tragedy and learns about hope, and develops the compassion that his ghostly alter ego lacks. This isn't just a psychological study; it is a superhero comic book, and the Spectre faces off with a variety of villains, monsters and menaces in his God-given yet ultimately impossible mission to "destroy all evil". But the most compelling conflict is that which develops between Corrigan and the Spectre themselves.
I originally passed up this comic-book series when it first appeared in the 1990's, but then discovered how good it was and went to some trouble to collect the whole series (I'm still missing just one issue, the next-to-last in the series). So I don't really need this book collection myself, but I'm glad to see at least the beginning of the series back in print for others to discover and enjoy.