The Gentleman Ghost character has a long history at DC and has seen slightly different interpretations over the years. This profile covers only the version seen in Nu52 continuity.
To hear Jim Craddock tell his story, he was a charming rascal during the 19th century who’d fallen in love with a beautiful young woman named Pauline. Pauline’s mother was not pleased with Jim as her daughter was and she forced him to steal for her. Once denying her whims earned Craddock a curse that made him into ghost of sorts whose physical existence is tied to the phases of the moon. The curse persists after the elder woman’s death, and Craddock continues his existence of crime and seduction. Eventually he runs into Hawkman after planning to steal an object made of Nth metal that Craddock believes will end the curse and return him to life. Hawkman doesn’t share anything with made of Nth metal and Craddock uses a mystical portal to disappear, presumably to a house in a town called Duskhaven on the New Hampshire coastline, in order to lick his wounds and return another day.
That day happens when Gotham City detectives Lisa Drake and Jim Corrigan of the Midnight Shift (from Gotham By Midnight) track him to the Weir estate. Their intent is to intercept Craddock, and catch him in the act of stealing from Eleanor Weir whom he’s tricked to fall in love with him. Their efforts are successful and also unnerving when Craddock turns the table by trying to psychologically seduce first Drake then Corrigan. The drama continues with the two detectives confronting Craddock, and his stolen memento mori, as he attempts to flee Gotham by train. Craddock doesn’t seem to fare nearly this time around as Corrigan’s alter ego comes into play.
Craddock’s love for Pauline certainly seems real and provides the crux of the plot. Is writer Ray Fawkes telling readers that the character is bisexual, an equal opportunist if you will or is Craddock simply willing and eager to use his powers on both women and men as a means to an end. In any case, dialog and art strongly suggest that Corrigan himself is more than straight, and this is underscored in a later scene when Craddock tells Drake: “Whatever you feel about me is totally natural. My power doesn’t do anything to your mind. If you want me, it’s because you want me.” Fawkes revisiting the character and examining his effect on Corrigan seems likely. Labeling Craddock as bisexual for the purpose of this profile may be presumptive.
Along with his ability to move through solid objects, to teleport, and can manifest at will spider leg like appendages. Craddock also seems able to intuit people’s desires, or perhaps has limited telepathy. Another power seems to be either to create the appearance of a human face or to create a ghastly appearance to frighten and intimidate people. Craddock created apparitions in Savage Hawkman.
Gentleman Ghost first appeared in Flash Comics #88 (1947) and was created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. This version first appeared in Savage Hawkman #5 – 7 though his sexuality does not seem to be mentioned in those issues.
Art by Christian Duce and Lee Loughridge.
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