DCU Spec – The Spectre

by Douglas Ohlandt

030323B-1024x536 DCU Spec - The SpectreNow that James Gunn has made his big announcement of the upcoming DCU productions we’re able to dive deep into characters we now know will be coming soon and speculate on others who could be making appearances in these projects or ones yet to be announced. Let’s take a look at The Spectre.

First Appearance

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The Spectre is one of DC’s multidimensional characters who work well in a number of genres, be they superhero stories, mystical yarns, or horror tales. He has a long and complex history in comics with multiple origins and hosts. The Spectre first appeared in More Fun Comics #52, cover dated February 1940.

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There are only 49 graded copies of More Fun Comics #52 in the CGC census, and more than half of those have been restored or conserved. Only one CBCS-graded copy is listed as ever selling. You don’t see this book come up for sale very often, but we got a fascinating look into values for this comic when two were sold in December 2022.

The first was an 8.5 selling in the December 11 Heritage auction for $264,000. The second was a restored 7.5 selling in the December 16 ComicConnect auction for $22,425. That first sale was a record price paid for a copy of More Fun Comics #52, topping the previous high of $119,500 for a 9.2 graded copy set way back in 2006.

There are two 9.2 graded copies in the CGC census and none higher. I can’t wait to see what those sell for in the future.

Justice Society

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The Spectre was a founding member of the Justice Society of America. The team made its debut in All-Star Comics #3, cover dated January 1941. This is one of the biggest Golden Age DC keys. The only sale of an unrestored copy in nearly two years occurred on January 15 when a 3.0 graded copy sold in a Heritage auction for $14,400.

The highest price paid was $312,000 for a 9.4 in an April 2021 ComicConnect auction. There is, however, a lone 9.6 graded copy that last sold in 2002 for $126,500. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see this singular copy someday sell for more than $1 million.

End of an Era

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The Spectre would be a staple of More Fun Comics until his final Golden Age appearance in More Fun Comics #101. By this point, while appearing in every issue since his debut, he was no longer the star attraction in the series and didn’t even make the cover in his final issue. In fact, this issue would introduce a new star to DC comics, one who would be one of the publisher’s better sellers in the decades to come: Superboy.

Due to this, it’s a little pricy if you’re interested in the issue as a Spectre key. It is, however, fairly low priced (an entirely subjective term) for a key Golden Age DC first appearance. A 9.0 graded copy sold in a September 2022 ComicConnect auction for $16,601, barely lifting the needle from the $16,200 paid for a 9.0 in a ComicConnect auction in 2010.

Silver Age Spectre

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The Spectre would disappear from DC comics for two decades before finally returning in Showcase #60, cover dated February 1966. There are 762 graded copies in the CGC census, an appreciable number when you consider the comic is not a major key.

Recent sales include a 5.0 selling on eBay for $200 on February 18, a 9.0 selling in the February 13 Heritage auction for $660, and an 8.0 selling also selling on February 13 for a slashed $580. All-in-all it’s an affordable price to pay for the Silver Age revival of the Spectre.

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The Spectre would soon move on to his own series, for the first time ever, with The Spectre #1. The series would only last 10 issues, unfortunately. However, as a Spectre key, that first issue is pretty cheap. A 7.5 graded copy, one of the more plentiful grades, sold on February 15 for just $160.

Bronze Age and Beyond

Adventure431-197x300 DCU Spec - The SpectreDC has worked hard to keep the Spectre alive in some form since returning in 1966. He had his own ongoing stories in Adventure Comics beginning with Adventure Comics #431 with some fantastic art by Jim Aparo. Two post-Crisis attempts were made at ongoing series for the character, beginning first with The Spectre #1 in 1987, followed by The Spectre #1 in 1992.

Neither series lasted long, however, due to lacklustre sales. All three are inexpensive for collectors; the latter two can likely be found in dollar bins if you’re looking to go really cheap. The Spectre hasn’t seen a self-titled series since and has been relegated to back-up status. Sometimes he’s appeared in major storylines, such as in Day of Vengeance and Blackest Night/Brightest Day. Hopefully, someday soon, someone at DC will figure out a way to bring The Spectre back to the prominence he had in the Golden Age.

DCU Spec Analysis

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One of the problems with the character of The Spectre is that he’s just too powerful. His powers are god-like and, as an avatar of vengeance, his motivations are limited. Attempts to depower the character have only watered him down. In addition, his alter ego, or the host he inhabits, be it Jim Corrigan, Hal Jordan, or Crispus Allen, is pretty much irrelevant and unnecessary for any likely cinematic inclusion. I highly doubt you’ll ever see a Spectre movie or TV show.

That being said, because of his cosmic/supernatural status, he could easily fit into a number of properties within the larger DCU. He could just as easily make an appearance in Creature Commandos or Swamp Thing as he could in Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. The Spectre, and his associated comic keys, should definitely be on your radar as the new DCU takes shape. I would not be at all surprised to see him in the Gods & Monsters first phase.

Do you think the Spectre will appear in the DCU? Let us know below!

000080221A_Games-1-Footer DCU Spec - The Spectre*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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1 comment

bmffrankiebuckets March 8, 2023 - 11:23 am

The Spectre1992 run is one of the best I’ve read, and the art was top-notch. Ostrander and Mandrake were an awesome team and the book lasted years and had a 62 issue run. Spectre is one of my all-time favorite characters to this day. I hope DC finds a way to keep him in the public eye and a book on the shelf.


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