Scary Speculative Fun – The Spectre, Key Issues

by Blaise Tassone

118498_03f67baa38d89ea95f6dae2ced9777e02e35401c-202x300 Scary Speculative Fun - The Spectre, Key Issues

It can’t be easy being the physical embodiment of God’s vengeance on Earth, but that’s exactly what the Spectre is. This cosmic being was created by Jerry Siegel (of Superman fame) and Bernard Baily. The Spectre first appeared in the Golden Age in More Fun Comics #52. The original Spectre, or rather the original human host for him, Jim Corrigan, was a police detective who, after being murdered by a criminal gang, had his soul bonded to the cosmic force of Divine Wrath known as the Spectre. Corrigan was subsequently able to control and use the powers of the Spectre.

As the Spectre, moreover, Corrigan was incredibly powerful. Able to inflict death with a mere glance; he also possessed the ability to fly, to become intangible, to change size at will and teleport among other feats. In the comics we even see the Spectre bring the bodies of the dead back to life (minus their minds). In his career as the Spectre, Corrigan became a member of the Justice Society of America and, later, the All-Star Squadron. In more recent comics, the Spectre identity was given to Gotham City police officer Crispus Allen and often associates with the Justice League Dark.

So far as I know there are currently no plans to make a Spectre movie or even to re-introduce the character on the small screen (there was a brief appearance of Jim Corrigan, played by Irish actor Emmett J. Scanlan, on the excellent- but short-lived- Constantine live action series). However, if upcoming WB/DC cinematic projects (like Shazam) become hits at the box office, and given how the trailer for the former is getting very positive feedback- it’s possible DC could have a hit on their hands with that one, introducing a cosmic character like the Spectre might be viewed as worth the risk.

Given his powers and strange appearance a Spectre movie would, if nothing else, give Doctor Strange a run for its money and would be distinct from the average super-hero fare. If not his own movie, an appearance in the tentatively planned ‘Justice League Dark’ film (i.e. if the Guillermo del Toro script is green lighted) may happen. If it does, it will probably be the Crispus Allen version they use, not Jim Corrigan. In any case, it would take very little to push his already in demand key issues up in value.

More Fun Comics #52 (February 1940) – First Full Appearance of the Spectre

This is the first origin story of the original Spectre. After Jim Corrigan is murdered by the gangster known as “Gat” Benson, a power called simply ‘the Voice’ transforms him into the Spectre. This is a Golden Age key that is hard to find in any grade. The last two high grade (9.2) copies sold at Heritage Auction in 2010 and 2006 respectively, fetched prices of: $89,625.00 and $119,500.00. Obviously, this book is out of reach of most buyers, even a low grade 1.0 copy, if you can find one, can sell for over $10, 000.00.

Showcase #60 (January 1966) – First Silver Age Spectre, First appearance of Azmodus

Realistically, this issue of Showcase, featuring the first Silver Age appearance of the Spectre character is the book to look for. There was a slight adjustment of the details surrounding the Spectre in the Silver Age version, but the connection to the original, as well as all his powers, were kept intact. The Silver Age Spectre, however, didn’t completely take over his mortal host, he keeps the Corrigan persona around as a secret identity otherwise having his own existence. The introduction of the evil spirit Azmodus, however, is what makes this story of Corrigan’s re-connection with the Spectre a success. Best returns on this Silver Age key have been on 2.5 copies with a 147.6% return on investment. Since the market price for that grade is a mere $35.00, you might want to seek out a 7.0 or higher. Starting at $160.00 dollars, the returns on 7.0, 8.0 and 9.2 have also been positive.

The Spectre #1 (December 1967) – First Issue of Self-titled Series

With the success of his reintroduction in Showcase, the Spectre quickly received his own comic. The short-lived series (only ten issues were published) allowed the Spectre to have his own monthly adventures. Best returns have been on 9.2 graded copies. The last sale of that grade was for $479.00 in April of 2018 giving it a 92.3% return on investment from previous sales over the last five years.

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