Manhunter is the name given to several different fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. They are depicted as superheroes and antiheroes. None of these are to be confused with the better-known DC Comics superhero called the Martian Manhunter, who is sometimes addressed as "Manhunter".
Secret Origins #22 featuring the first three Manhunters.
Originally Quality Comics
Adventure Comics #58 (January 1942)
Police Comics #8 (March 1942)
1st Issue Special #5
Secret Society of Super Villains #1
Manhunter (vol. 2), #0
The Power Company: Manhunter #1
|Created by||(Kirk, Shaw)|
Steven Grant (writer)
Vince Giarrano (penciler)
|Alter ego||- Dan Richards|
– Paul Kirk
– Mark Shaw
– Clone of Paul Kirk
– Chase Lawler
– Kirk DePaul
– Kate Spencer
Birds of Prey
Justice Society of America
|Abilities||varies, see below|
Standard U.S., 4 color.
At the time of publication: Ongoing
|Publication date||vol. 1: July 1988 – April 1990|
vol. 2: October 1994 – November 1995
vol. 3: October 2004 – January 2009
|No. of issues||vol. 1: 24|
vol. 2: 13 (numbered 0–12)
vol. 3: 38
|Main character(s)||vol. 1: Mark Shaw|
vol. 2: Chase Lawler
vol. 3: Kate Spencer
The first of DC's Manhunters was a non-costumed independent investigator, Paul Kirk, who helped police solve crimes during the early 1940s. Though the series was titled "Paul Kirk, Manhunter", Kirk didn't use the Manhunter name as an alias. He appeared in Adventure Comics #58–72 (Jan. 1941 – March 1942).
Beginning with Adventure Comics #73, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby established a new Manhunter, Rick Nelson, big game hunter turned crimefighter. Though he was obviously a different character than the first DC Manhunter, the name Rick Nelson was quickly changed to Paul Kirk in Adventure Comics #74 by an unknown editor. The Simon/Kirby team left the feature after #80, November 1942, although Kirby wrote a few more scripts. The Paul Kirk Manhunter appeared in Adventure Comics until #92 in June 1944, when wartime paper shortages caused DC to drop page counts and thus his strip. This version of the character reappeared as reprint in back-up stories of New Gods, a series also penciled by Kirby.
Kirk decides to become a crimefighter when his friend, Empire City police inspector Donovan, was murdered by the supervillain known as the Buzzard. He wore a superhero-like red costume with a blue mask. While he had no superpowers, he was an above average athlete and possessed superior tracking skills.
Although Dan Richards and Paul Kirk never met in Golden Age stories, because they were published by different companies, they have been retconned in DC continuity as having met, and arguing over who should get the Manhunter name. They resolved the dilemma by joining different teams: Dan Richards became a member of the Freedom Fighters, while Paul Kirk stayed as a member of the All-Star Squadron.
He [Archie Goodwin] had this idea for doing a back-up story for Detective Comics which he was editing. He was going to do a lead Batman story and then have an eight-page short story in the back. He thought he would try to invent a character and do him in a way that contrasted with Batman. While Batman was dark and grim and very urban, this would be a guy in brighter colors and the whole world would be his stage. Where Batman was more or less an empty hand combatant, this guy would carry weaponry.
Contrary to popular belief, although the name was chosen as an acknowledgement of the 1940s character, it was not the original intent of the creators for this to be the same character. This link was later established within the series to quickly provide backstory within the limited eight-page structure.
Kirk carried and used primarily three weapons: a Bolo Mauser, a Katar (कटार), and two shuriken "throwing stars". These are carried by Kirk as part of his costume, on the chest. Said Simonson of his costume design, "I did a bunch of preliminary designs and I think Archie thought my first costume was a little complex, but then I did a bunch of variations. They were just simpler and not as good, so we went with the original design. The only difference was originally I’d given him nine throwing stars. Archie wanted to include martial arts in the strip and I came across something that said nine was a mystical number in some of the martial arts cultures. But somewhere along the way I realized that drawing nine throwing stars in every damn panel was going to be a big problem. So we fixed that!"
Paul Kirk was killed by an elephant on safari in the 1940s, but his body was cryogenically preserved and eventually resurrected by the Council, a secret society dedicated to saving the human race from dangers such as nuclear war, pollution and overpopulation. After his return from death, Kirk is given a healing factor devised by a geneticist-member of the Council (it was later retconned that the healing factor is due to nanobots injected into him and he is trained extensively in the martial arts by Asano Nitobe). He was also the genetic source for many clones, which the Council intends to use as their paramilitary arm, with the original Paul Kirk as their leader.
To test Kirk's loyalty, the Council assigns him to kill an Interpol official while refusing to explain how this mission advances their stated goal of helping mankind. When Kirk tries to warn the agent instead, a group of clones attempts to kill him. Realizing that the Council have been corrupted by power, gradually warped from idealists into ruthless fanatics, Kirk begins to hunt down them and their agents.
The 1970s Paul Kirk/Manhunter stories appeared primarily as 8-page backups in Batman's Detective Comics, at the time going through an incarnation as a "100-Page Super Spectacular" featuring mostly reprints of non-Batman stories. Only with the last episode of the series did Manhunter move to the front of the book, in a full-length team-up with Batman. The stories were all written by Goodwin, and were the breakout work for future fan favorite artist Simonson. Simonson later said that the distinctively dense layouts and breakdowns for many of the early Manhunter stories were done by Goodwin. Goodwin's work on Manhunter, in which he both updated an obscure Golden Age hero, and, in the series' last episode, took the daring approach of killing him off (one of the few comic book deaths that has actually "taken" and not been reversed or retconned away in the decades since it occurred) is very well regarded by both fans and other comics professionals, winning a number of Shazam Awards. Goodwin himself has cited the series as one of the three "best things I've done in comics". When the team was approached in the early 1990s to create a new story with the Paul Kirk character, Goodwin and Simonson together wrote a two-page plot, but Simonson, busy with a monthly series, failed to produce the layouts for Goodwin to script. Years later, after Goodwin's death, Walt Simonson acted on his wife Louise's suggestion that the story be completed without dialogue as a "silent" story.
In 1975 DC published a second, completely independent Manhunter revival in 1st Issue Special #5, written and pencilled by Kirby. In this story an elder Manhunter retires and passes on the mantle to Mark Shaw. Though it is usually presumed that Kirby meant the elder Manhunter to be Paul Kirk, the character is never explicitly identified, allowing the reader to suppose him to be someone other than Kirk and thus avoid the resulting contradiction (in the Goodwin/Simonson revival, Kirk retired so that he could serve in World War II, i.e. during the 1940s).
The second Manhunter's first appearance was in the Quality Comics title Police Comics #8 (cover-date (March 1942) and his solo stories ended in issue #101 (Aug. 1950). The Quality Comics characters were purchased by DC Comics when Quality went out of business in 1956. Dan Richards would eventually be featured in Young All-Stars and All-Star Squadron. His origin was retold in Secret Origins vol. 2, #22 (Jan. 1988).
Donald "Dan" Richards attended the police academy with his girlfriend's brother, Jim, who was at the top of the class, while Dan was at the very bottom. After Jim was framed for a crime he didn't commit, Dan took up the identity of Manhunter to track down the actual killer. He caught the perpetrator and cleared Jim's name. Afterwards, he continued to operate as Manhunter. His sidekick was a dog named Thor, who was later retconned to be a robotic sentry operating under the auspices of the Manhunter cult. Dan's granddaughter, Marcie Cooper, became the third Harlequin after he convinced her to join the Manhunters.
Dan Richards was later killed by Mark Shaw, who had fallen back into his Dumas persona.
Mark Shaw was a public defender, unhappy about how easily criminals manipulated the system and got off without punishment. Shaw's uncle Desmond introduced him to an ancient sect of crime fighters called the Manhunters. Shaw contacted the Grand Master, the sect's leader, through a magical lion medallion. Shortly, he assumed the Manhunter name and costume from a previous Manhunter.
The Manhunter sect was composed of androids, created billions of years before by the Guardians of Oa to police the galaxy. For millennia, they served the Guardians well. The Manhunters became obsessed with the act of "hunting" criminals. Their code, "No Man Escapes the Manhunters", became more important to them than seeing justice done. Eventually, the androids rebelled against the Guardians, but were swiftly defeated by their creators. Those that survived went into hiding.
The latter-day Manhunters attempted to disgrace the Guardians with Mark Shaw at their side. They were opposed by the JLA, especially by League member Green Lantern. Shaw realized that he had been duped by the Manhunters and turned on them, killing the Grand Master, who was revealed to be a robot. Mark Shaw quickly returned as a new hero called the Privateer, but it was soon revealed that he was also working as a villain called the Star-Tsar, in league with the Key. The Red Tornado discovered this deception and Shaw went to prison.
While in the midst of serving his sentence, Shaw was offered the chance to accompany the Suicide Squad on a mission as the Privateer, and was released when the mission was completed. In the wake of the Millennium crisis, he donned a new costume to distance himself from the Manhunter cult, and had his own adventures. Shaw now hunted costumed criminals for the bounty. He kept insisting that he was just operating for the money, but he kept finding himself doing the right thing.
Shaw continued working with the Suicide Squad, but left once again upon learning of a mission against Loa in New Orleans, LA.
During this time, he and his family were threatened by two shape-shifters named Dumas. Shaw killed the first Dumas and his battle with the second led him to give up the Manhunter identity at the end of his series. It was later revealed that Mark Shaw was actually himself Dumas and much of his history was actually the result of mental programming by the US Government. Shaw joined the Shadow Fighters in order to battle the supervillan Eclipso. It was assumed that Mark Shaw was killed opposing Eclipso alongside his other team members in the Shadow Fighters. This was soon revealed not to be the case.
He was actually undercover at the time he was facing Eclipso, masquerading as his old enemy Dumas at the behest of Sarge Steel. When the call went out for heroes to fight Eclipso, Sarge Steel believed that it would raise too many questions as to where Mark Shaw was if he did not answer the call, and Sarge Steel sent along a ringer in Mark's place. The ringer thus only appeared once and is not known to have done anything but attack Eclipso and die.
In the Manhunter comic featuring Kate Spencer in the title role, Mark Shaw was approached by the Order of Saint Dumas to take up the mantle of Azrael. At some point, it seems he refused as Michael Lane has become the new Azrael.
In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Mark Shaw appears in the Forever Evil storyline as a U.S. Marshal who is assigned to find Barbara Minerva, the Cheetah. He is referred to as "one of the best manhunters" in the United States Marshals Service.
One of Paul Kirk's remaining clones, claiming the Manhunter identity and wearing Paul Kirk's Council-created uniform, masterminded the creation of the Secret Society of Super Villains. However, he died trying to kill Darkseid.
A new Manhunter title (by Steven Grant and Vince Giarrano), unrelated to any of the previous Manhunters, was created in the aftermath of the Zero Hour limited series in 1994. Chase Lawler was a musician who summoned the Wild Huntsman to save himself and his girlfriend from harm. He did not understand the commitment he was making to the Wild Huntsman and found himself compelled to hunt the lonely. He tried to resist the urge by hunting villains, with limited success.
Lawler suffered a heart attack and Mark Shaw attempted to resuscitate him. This transferred the bond with the Wild Huntsman and the compulsion to hunt to Shaw. It was later revealed that Lawler had undergone the same mental programming as Mark Shaw and that the Wild Huntsman was actually an illusion created as a side effect. Lawler was drugged and then murdered by Shaw, who had fallen back into his Dumas persona.
Created by Kurt Busiek and Tom Grummett, the Kirk DePaul version of Manhunter was the last surviving Council-created clone of Paul Kirk and wore a variation of that Manhunter uniform. DePaul was roaming through Africa when his progenitor was killed. DePaul was a partner in the superhero-for-hire firm known as the Power Company. Fellow partner in the firm Skyrocket despised him for his miserly, materialistic attitude.
DePaul's role in the Power Company attracted the attention of Asano Nitobe and Christine St. Clair, who confronted him. They established that he was not evil and, although St. Clair continued watching DePaul, decided not to kill him. DePaul was later murdered and decapitated by Mark Shaw who had suffered a breakdown and resumed his Dumas persona.
Although never officially confirmed, it is strongly implied that DePaul was later resurrected by Morgaine le Fey as the character "Swashbuckler" in the comic book Trinity (2008–2009), a mercenary who shows all the skills of a Manhunter. Trinity writer Kurt Busiek (also the creator of Power Company and Kirk DePaul) confirmed that Swashbuckler is the only member of the Trinity series' villainous Dreambound that has been seen before in the DC Universe; "Swashbuckler is a pre-existing character, but not a Silver Age one. There are clues in the story that indicate who he is, though..." Also, in Trinity #27, Swashbuckler reveals a scar visible all around his neck. At the end of the Trinity series, the Dreambound including Swashbuckler switch to the side of the heroes, and are later pardoned in court. Their current whereabouts are unknown.
Kate Spencer, like Mark Shaw, is a lawyer, but instead works as a prosecutor. Outraged by the ability of supercriminals to escape justice, Spencer assembled a costume from a variety of devices left over from various heroes and villains. A Darkstar costume and Azrael's Batman gloves give Spencer enhanced strength, agility and resistance to injury while Mark Shaw's power staff allows her to fire bolts of energy. Spencer has taken on several minor league supervillains including Copperhead and the Shadow Thief.
Recently Spencer fought her father, a minor league supervillain who erroneously claimed to be the son of Al Pratt – the Golden Age Atom. Kate is in fact the granddaughter of Phantom Lady and Iron Munro. Al Pratt allowed Sandra Knight (the Phantom Lady) to use his contact information in order to enter a home for unwed mothers, which led to the mix-up.
Most recently Kate Spencer, in her heroic identity as Manhunter, began working with the US government's Department of Extranormal Operations, headed by the former criminal Mister Bones. The new Manhunter series in which she appears began in 2004. This current series has featured appearances by Dan Richards, Mark Shaw, Chase Lawler, and Kirk DePaul.
Manhunter was initially slated to be cancelled due to low sales. However, a massive and organized fan campaign, along with support from DC Comics' management, allowed for another five-issue arc to be commissioned. It was revealed at the 2007 New York Comic-Con by Dan DiDio that the series had been given a second reprieve from cancellation. The series was meant to be restarted in July 2007, but has been put on hold until several issues have been written and drawn before the title resumes publication. The series returned in June 2008 with issue #31, written by co-creator Marc Andreyko and pencilled by Michael Gaydos. It ended again in January 2009 with issue #38.
Kate Spencer eventually joined the Birds of Prey, and her teammates were subsequently featured in a number of issues of the Manhunter series.
Kate Spencer briefly relocated to Gotham City where she took up a position as the new District Attorney. Her first adventures in Gotham were chronicled in a back-up feature in Batman: Streets of Gotham. She later appeared in Justice Society of America, which saw Kate move to the city of Monument Point and join the JSA.
Ramsey Robinson is the son of Kate Spencer and her ex-husband, Peter Robinson. He is revealed to have super powers in Manhunter (vol. 3) #33 when the seven-year-old smashed a semi-truck while rescuing his dog. Issue #38, penned as a "future story", details Ramsey's college graduation and introduces his super-powered boyfriend, Justin, as well as Jade, the super-powered daughter of Obsidian (who is named after Obsidian's twin sister, Jade). The story describes Ramsey, Justin, and Jade training to become the next generation of superheroes and ends with an older Kate presenting Ramsey with a man-made replica of her Darkstar exo-mantle as a graduation gift, hinting he's destined to be the next Manhunter.
Starker, a bounty hunter in the future, was the star of Manhunter 2070. The Manhunter 2070 series was created by writer and artist Mike Sekowsky. Starker first appeared in the pages of Showcase #91–93 (June–September 1970).
In 2053 Starker's father was murdered by space pirates, and young Starker was taken as a galley slave. Starker took control of the pirate vessel, captured the pirates, and collected a bounty on them. Starker then decided to become a bounty hunter. He was aided by a robot named Arky.
Manhunter 2070 is one of six DC heroes featured in Walter Simonson's 2012 graphic novel, The Judas Coin.
The 1973–74 Goodwin/Simonson Paul Kirk Manhunter stories from Detective Comics have been collected several times: first in 1979 in oversized, black-and-white format by Excalibur Enterprises; then in color by DC in 1984; they were reissued yet again by DC in 1999 with additional material, namely a silent story illustrated by Simonson from a plot breakdown by Goodwin and him; the new collection was dedicated to Goodwin's memory, who had died before he could write the captions and dialogue (as explained in the book's text piece). This collection, titled Manhunter: The Special Edition (ISBN 1563893746), won the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Reprint Graphic Album in 2000.
|Manhunter: Street Justice||Manhunter #1–5||ISBN 1-4012-0728-6|
|Manhunter: Trial By Fire||Manhunter #6–14||ISBN 1-4012-1198-4|
|Manhunter: Origins||Manhunter #15–23||ISBN 1-4012-1340-5|
|Manhunter: Unleashed||Manhunter #24–30||ISBN 1-4012-1632-3|
|Manhunter: Forgotten||Manhunter #31–38||ISBN 1-4012-2158-0|
Hot properties Joe Simon and Jack Kirby joined DC...[and] after taking over the Sandman and Sandy, the Golden Boy feature in Adventure Comics #72, the writer and artist team turned their attentions to Manhunter with issue #73.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
|← The character Midnight was debuted by Jack Cole. See Midnight (DC Comics) for more info and the previous timeline.|| Timeline of DC Comics (1940s)
|Gotham City takes the place of real life city New York City by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. See Gotham City for more info and next timeline. →|
Gotham City ( GOTH-əm), or simply Gotham, is a fictional city appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, best known as the home of Batman. The city was first identified as Batman's place of residence in Batman #4 (December 1940) and has since been the primary setting for stories featuring the character.
Gotham City is traditionally depicted as being located in the state of New Jersey. Over the years, Gotham's look and atmosphere has been influenced by cities such as New York City and Chicago.Locations used as inspiration or filming locations for Gotham City in the live-action Batman films and television series have included Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and New York City.List of DC Collectibles action figures
The following is a list of the various action figures that have been released by DC Collectibles (formerly known as DC Direct between 1998 and 2012).Batman: Arkham City: Series 2, released on April 25, 2012, was the final series released with the DC Direct branding.List of superhero debuts
The following is a list of the first known appearances of various superhero fictional characters and teams.
A superhero (also known as a "super hero" or "super-hero") is a fictional character "of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to acts of derring-do in the public interest." Since the debut of Superman in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas — have dominated American comic books and crossed over into other media. A female superhero is sometimes called a "superheroine."
By most definitions, characters need not have actual superhuman powers to be deemed superheroes, although sometimes terms such as "costumed crimefighters" are used to refer to those without such powers who have many other common traits of superheroes.
For a list of comic book supervillain debuts, see List of comic book supervillain debuts.List of teams and organizations in DC Comics
Parent article: List of DC Comics charactersThis is a list of teams and organizations that appear in various DC Comics publications.
Note: Please check Category:DC Comics superhero teams before adding any redundant entries for superhero teams to the page.Manhunter (Kate Spencer)
Manhunter (Kate Spencer) is a fictional character, a superheroine appearing in DC Comics. She is the eighth DC Comics character depicted using the name Manhunter, and the first female to do so. The character first appears in Manhunter (vol. 3) #1 (October 2004) and was promoted by DC Comics as relevant to the popular Identity Crisis limited series.
Kate Spencer appeared in the first and second seasons of Arrow as the District Attourney played by Chelah Horsdal.Midnight (DC Comics)
Midnight (real name: Dave Clark) is a fictional character owned by DC Comics. A masked detective, he was created by writer-artist Jack Cole for Quality Comics during the 1930s to 1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books.Paul Kirk
Paul Kirk may refer to:
Paul G. Kirk Jr. (born 1938), former United States Senator from Massachusetts and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Paul G. Kirk Sr. (1904–1981), associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Paul H. Kirk (1914–1995), American architect
Paul L. Kirk (1902–1970), American chemist, forensic scientist, and Manhattan Project participant
Manhunter (comics)#Paul Kirk, a DC Comics comic book character
Paul Kirk (footballer), retired Irish league footballer and manager