The signs are pointing toward the godlike Spectre joining the DCEU as HBO Max looks to the darker side of DC Comics for its new lineup of content.
WHO IS HE?
Debuting in 1940, the Spectre was born when Detective Jim Corrigan was murdered. Jim wouldn’t stay dead for long. His spirit heard the entity known only as “The Voice,” who sent him back to Earth as the Spectre, seeking vengeance against evil. Two years after his introduction, the Spectre would be added to the original Justice Society of America.
By the Silver Age, the character fully embraced the supernatural. The modern version of the character is very much an anti-hero, functioning as the biblical wrath of God.
AS SEEN ON TELEVISION
The Spectre has appeared in the DCEU, as fans of Arrow will remember. At one point, the Spectre bonded with a resurrected Hal Jordan. The CW version saw Oliver Queen take Hal’s place as the human vessel for the Spectre. While I don’t see either Green Arrow or Green Lantern taking up the role of the Spectre, something similar could be on the way.
The opening will come with either Madame Xanadu, the Justice League Dark, or possibly both. The two HBO Max series not only are venturing into the macabre, but they each have direct ties to the Spectre. Along with being a founding member of the original Justice League Dark that made an unnamed appearance in Blue Devil Annual #1, the Spectre had a romantic relationship with Madame Xanadu. That makes the odds very good that Xanadu will introduce him to the larger DCEU outside the Arrowverse.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Spectre keys from the Golden Age and beyond.
MORE FUN COMICS #52
After a teaser in More Fun Comics #51, the Spectre made his full debut in the following issue from 1940. Not only does he fully appear in More Fun Comics #52, but the story also introduced the Presence, one of the most powerful entities in the DC Multiverse. The Presence created the Spectre, and it would be fitting for that magical figure to appear on HBO Max.
Of course, a comic with a major first appearance from 1940 comes with a gargantuan price tag. The only copy sold last year was a 1.0 that brought $16,501 that August.
When it comes to DC’s historic characters, many collectors opt for the first Silver Age appearances. They are easier to find and usually much cheaper. In the case of the Spectre, this has been a popular issue within the past month.
Since June, there have been five different grades that have traded hands online.
At the top of the list is the 8.0, which brought $350 a month ago. In July, a 6.5 Showcase #60 sold for $225, so prices are still reasonable for what could be a highly sought-after key if the Spectre appears on HBO Max.
All grades of this book, save for the 4.5, are seeing positive trends right now, with virtually every grade being sold at least once since January.
DETECTIVE COMICS #742
When it comes to the Spectre appearing in Madame Xanadu or JLD, the question is, who will be the human host? One possible suspect could be Crispus Allen, who debuted in 2000. Being a much newer character as opposed to the Golden Age exploits makes him a likely candidate to be the Spectre for the DCEU.
Other collectors must have the same idea because prices for a 9.8 Detective Comics #742 suddenly jumped. After averaging just $44 in 2020, a copy sold for $105 in May, which should raise eyebrows.
THE SPECTACULAR SPECTRE
Once the mystical HBO Max series begins preparing for Justice League Dark, the red carpet will be rolled out for the Spectre. How big of a role he plays is anyone’s guess, but he fits too perfectly for DC to leave him on the shelf for much longer.