The Gentleman Ghost

The Gentleman Ghost

(pop culture)
Nineteenth-century English highwayman James “Gentleman Jim” Craddock swore during his public execution that he would return to haunt those responsible for his demise, including the American West heroes Nighthawk and Cinnamon. At the moment the noose took his life, Craddock slipped through a portal in time and became a ghost of himself, silently walking the modern streets of London. Created by scripter Robert Kanigher and artist Joe Kubert, the Gentleman Ghost first appeared in Flash Comics #88 (1947). In the true spirit of an English gentleman, the Gentleman Ghost dons a white top hat, tails, and an antique flintlock pistol as he loots the pockets of many innocent victims. Like all ghosts, he is invisible and can move through solid objects. True to his word, he tracked down Nighthawk and Cinnamon, who weren't true Wild West adventurers, but reborn incarnations of ancient Egyptian royals Prince Khufu and his beloved princess Chay-Ara. The spirits of these ancient Egyptians also found their way to Hawkman and Hawkgirl, two heroes that became the Gentleman's key nemeses through much of comics' Golden Age (1938–1954). Like Hawkman, the Gentleman Ghost's soul can never truly die, and so he restlessly wanders the Eearth continually stalking the hero. Although the phantom villain has resurfaced in Gotham City—where he kidnapped Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred and clashed with Batman—the spirit of the Gentleman Ghost continually returns to haunt his favorite winged hero.
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Sometimes I think I see a figure in knickers, a starched shirt and tie, swinging from the spikes up out on a distant fairway and I wave thankfully, silently, to the gentleman ghost.