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Created by writer John Broome and artist Sheldon Moldoff, Spellbinder first mesmerized readers as an op-art-like villain in Detective Comics #358 (1966). He was art forger Delbert Billings, who developed optical devices that enabled him to hypnotize others. A second Spellbinder, unrelated to Billings, appeared in 1994 as a green-and-orange-robed mystic who fought the Justice League of America as part of the government-supported Leaguebusters. Billings resumed his Spellbinder guise shortly thereafter, refusing to sell his soul to the demon Neron for enhanced powers (Underworld Unleashed, 1995), but was shot to death by his girlfriend Fay Moffit, who was more than willing to accept Neron's offer. Moffit's vertigo inducement is optically generated—her powers are negated when her eyes are covered. Spellbinder was introduced to a modern audience on the WB's Batman Beyond (1999–2001) as Dr. Ira Billings, a high-school guidance counselor for Terry McGinnis, the new Dark Knight of Gotham. He grew tired of advising unappreciative teenagers, and as Spellbinder used his glowing eyeball-like facial feature to project subconscious images directly into his victims' minds, which sent them into a virtual reality. Spellbinder received greater character depth on the WB network's animated The Batman (2004–present) as a three-eyed mystic with the ability to induce hypnotic visions into his victims: “A state of awareness so pure or potent, one could project one's visions into reality,” explained Bruce (Batman) Wayne to his butler Alfred. Although The Batman Spellbinder has attempted to dupe Gotham's wealthy citizens into giving up their prized possessions—including a rare gem that would strengthen his spells—Batman intervened and used mind over matter to thwart the villain.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.