Ragman

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Ragman
Ragman11.jpg
Artwork for the cover of Shadowpact #17 (Nov, 2007). Art by Doug Braithwaite.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Ragman #1
(August/September 1976)
Created by Robert Kanigher
Joe Kubert
In-story information
Alter ego Rory Regan
Team affiliations Shadowpact
Sentinels of Magic
Abilities Enhanced physical attributes
Enchanted costume
Limited flight
Skilled in the use of magic.

Ragman is a fictional DC Comics mystic vigilante and superhero who first appeared in the short-lived comic-book series named after him. He is one of a number of Jewish superheroes, and his continuity is tied to that of DC Comics' Golem, derived from the Golem of Prague of Jewish folklore. Ragman was created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Joe Kubert.[1]

Ragman is sometimes compared to the other nighttime defender of Gotham City, Batman.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

A Vietnam veteran, Rory had grown up helping his father, a junk man who owned a pawn shop named Rags'n'Tatters. His father always dreamed of making a better life for Rory and constantly promised that someday he would make Rory rich. While drinking with his friends one night, his father discovered 2 million dollars stuffed inside an old mattress that had been pawned just recently. He and his friends decided to hide the money for Rory, since they were too old to truly benefit from it. The money turned out to be the loot from an armored car heist and when the hoods came to the shop one night to get it, they shot down some electrical wires and used them to torture Rory's father and his friends into revealing where the money was hidden. Rory arrived soon after and seeing his father in agony attempted to pull him free from the wires. A final shock of power ran though the old men and grounded out at Rory, knocking him unconscious. When he woke his father and friends were dead and the hoods responsible were gone. Using a costume made out of old rags (his father had bought it from a stranger before he died and left a note saying Rory could wear it to a costume party) he became Ragman, "The Tatterdemalion of Justice".

In this pre-crisis history Rory apparently had gained the physical abilities of the men who were electrocuted as they were all touching when the final blow of electricity flew through them and into Rory. He had the agility of a world class acrobat, the strength of a circus strongman and the fighting ability of a heavy weight prize fighter. In his pre-Crisis incarnation, Rory Regan was Irish, not Jewish, as explicitly stated in the letters page of Ragman #3.

Post-Crisis[edit]

Rory Regan is a ragman, doing good in his community by buying used items from people who need money. The suit of rags that he wears, as mentioned above, was originally just a costume made from materials found around the rag shop, Rags'n'Tatters, that he shared with his father. This was retconned in a 1991 limited series, and currently each of the patches in the suit is made from the soul of an evildoer that the Ragman had punished and absorbed.

The absorption of these souls caused a problem for Rory at one point, when the evil souls hungered for murder and finally freed themselves of Ragman. It was only with the support of Batman and Regan's old friend, Rabbi Luria, that he regained control, though at the cost of Luria's life. Ragman's powers have increased since then. Currently, he can absorb souls into his costume. With each new soul added, a rag is added. He can call upon the souls in his costume to lend him their attributes or power. He is also a very proficient magic user.

Judgment and vengeance[edit]

During the Day of Judgment limited series, Ragman was active in destroying many of the demons invading Earth. This would earn him the wrath of the Diablos, a group of demons who style themselves after the Mafia. Wanting to gain revenge for demons lost during the Day of Judgment, they attack Ragman, injuring him and tearing off parts of his costume. They believe him to be dead but this is not true.

Ragman is one of the members of the Shadowpact, a team that formed to confront the Spectre in DC Comics 2005 Day of Vengeance limited series, a lead-up to the seven-issue Infinite Crisis limited series.

During the "Infinite Crisis" storyline, Ragman and Nightshade are seen standing side by side as part of the line of superheroes defending Metropolis from attack from dozens of villains.

During the series Day Of Vengeance, Ragman is one of the few volunteers willing to take on the rampaging Spectre, who has decided that all magic is evil. During a planning session, he is taken aside by the Enchantress and given a mystical gun. She entrusts him with it, as it can kill her if she goes too far with her magic, a scenario she believes is all too possible. He tells her if she truly turns evil, his costume will take her. He then tries to kiss her, but his feelings are not returned and Enchantress even mocks him for it in front of the other heroes.

Shadowpact[edit]

In the Shadowpact series, Ragman, along with his teammates, was trapped inside a shield of solid blood that grew over the town of Riverrock, Wyoming. Ragman and the rest of the team spend a very short period of time inside the shield, but to due to magical after-effects, a full year passes outside. Various mystical heroes, such as Phantom Stranger and Rex the Wonder Dog keep watch outside the town's borders.

While inside Riverrock, Rory met an evil counterpart of himself belonging to the supervillain group that had formed the shield, the Pentacle. His counterpart is named Bagman. He/it dresses in similar green garb, and can turn his body to goo and while in this form he absorbs people. While inside Bagman they either suffocate or they are digested. Bagman even mentioned how oddly similar the Shadowpact and the Pentacle are. Rory only survives this encounter because Bagman's boss does not want the heroes to be killed. After the Riverock encounter, Rory must deal with the severe disruption to his life, as everyone had thought he was dead. He, like most of the team, ends up having to find a new source of income, a place to stay and the oddity of encountering a memorial statue to the entire team.

In Shadowpact #8, Rory was temporarily trapped in the limbo dimension of his own cloak. He met the soul of an ancient centurion working off his crimes. This man, Marcus Liberius, first saved him from the beating several other of the murderous souls were giving Rory. Marcus reveals that the cloak was actually the "Great Collector Artifact", which has been in existence in many forms since the time of Abraham. Ragmen in Rory's line have been in action since 1812 BCE. Marcus also helped Rory, who had become disenchanted with the job of collecting corrupted souls, to see that he is not a punisher but a redeemer — allowing a better afterlife for those who work for it. This work usually takes the form of suffering on Rory's behalf. For example, Rory had been recently blinded by magic. Marcus willingly takes this blindness on, adding to previous injuries he had suffered. This last sacrifice allows Marcus, in the full view of the rest of the Shadowpact, to ascend to a higher realm.[2]

Rory, along with Nightmaster and Nightshade, attempted to teleport to Washington D.C to break up a bank robbery. They were trapped mid transit in the Land of Nightshades. During this time it was suggested that he is attracted to team member Nightshade.

Trinity[edit]

In Trinity #18, Ragman appears to save a man from a gang of muggers, when reality has apparently been warped and there is no "Trinity" of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and apparently never has been. Ragman is joined by a sidekick named Tatters, wearing a green tattered hoodless costume and mask. At first, he is seen confronting an alternate version of Green Arrow, a vigilante on the service of the wealthy who ignores the poor, and later, due to a chronal blast, is seen assuming Batman's position as premier vigilante of Gotham.[3]

"Battle For The Cowl"[edit]

Ragman briefly appears in The Network one-shot for the "Battle for the Cowl" storyline, assisting Cassandra Cain and the Huntress in tracking down a group of hostages around Gotham. After removing the duct tape from the mouth of a gagged woman, Ragman proceeds to berate her for her apparent drug addiction, telling her she'll never truly be free until she takes hold of her life.

"Blackest Night"[edit]

During the 2009-2010 "Blackest Night" storylines, Nekron completely shut down Ragman's suit by using the Black Lantern rings to reanimate all the souls attached to his body.

Suit of Souls[edit]

In October 2010, Ragman starred in the one-shot Ragman: Suit of Souls. It was written by Christos Gage and drawn by Stephen Segovia.[4]

Later, Ragman is later shown aiding the JLA during their mission into Hell, where he helps Green Arrow defeat the demon Anger.[5]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Ragman can draw upon the physical powers of any number of the corrupted souls that make up his suit. This way he can increase his strength, speed and stamina dozens or even hundreds of times over, though he has stated that it isn't easy to tap into a large number of souls at once (at the time, he commented that the most he had ever done was somewhere over a hundred). This also allows Ragman to avoid most wounds as he can use one of his other souls to take the damage for him, allowing him to continue to operate at peak efficiency while the souls he has trapped take the damage for him.

Most significantly, having defeated an enemy, he can acquire new souls by absorbing them with the suit, although he can only do this for truly evil souls; as an example, he was unable to absorb the soul of super-villain Blue Moon because she was regularly sent to prison as her powers only worked at night, her time in prison counting as her having 'served her time' and preventing Ragman 'punishing' her himself. This adds a new rag to the suit, and thus adds to the Ragman's power supply. However, Rory has mentioned that the process of acquiring a new soul gives him stomach cramps and nausea. Once a corrupted soul has helped him a certain amount of times, it is allowed to pass on to Heaven, having earned redemption for the sins it committed in life that would have sent it to Hell if it had simply died in the normal manner.

Also, the Ragman possesses a number of minor magical powers, such as kinetically controlling the suit (i.e. entangling Eclipso with his cloak while grappling with her). The suit will also automatically materialize whenever he is in danger, and will normally teleport him to wherever he's needed.

It has recently been revealed that the suit can take on other forms, such as weapons and still collect souls. Whether Rory will use this ability in the future is yet to be seen. To date, it has taken the forms of a cloak in ancient Egypt, a spear during the Roman Empire, and a dagger in 19th Century England.[2]

Other versions[edit]

Jay Garson Junior, who first appeared in Holyoke's Cat-Man #1 was the Golden Age Rag-Man. He first assumed his costumed identity when, after writing an article denouncing a gang of criminals, he is in a park and is shot at by one of them, only to have a tramp jump in front of him and save his life. After discovering that the tramp is his exact double, he switches clothes with him and makes it look like the criminals have succeeded in shooting him. Dressed in the tramp's tattered clothes, he then interrupts a meeting at the gang's hideout and apprehends them. Because Holyoke never renewed their copyright on him, the Rag-Man is public domain.[volume & issue needed]

Other media[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Ragman's Jewish heritage is discussed in the non-fiction book 'From Kraków To Krypton' [6]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Ragman
Ragman: Cry of the Dead (vol. 3)
Transparent bar.svg
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule vol. 1: Bi-monthly
vol. 2 & 3: Monthly
Format Both: Standard U.S., 4 color.
vol. 1: When published, ongoing.
vol. 2 & 3: Limited series.
Genre
Publication date vol. 1: August/September 1976 - June/July 1977
vol. 2: October 1991 - May 1992
vol. 3: August 1993 - January 1994
Number of issues vol. 1: 5
vol. 2: 8
vol. 3: 6
Main character(s) All: Ragman
Creative team
Creator(s) Robert Kanigher
Joe Kubert
  • Ragman issues 1 through 5, published from 1976 through 1977
  • Cancelled Comic Cavalcade issue 2, published in 1978
  • Batman Family issue 20, published in 1978
  • The Brave and the Bold issue 196, published in 1983
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths issue 5, published in 1985
  • Red Tornado issue 3, published in 1985
  • Ragman issues 1 through 8, published from 1991 through 1992
  • Ragman: Cry of the Dead issues 1 through 6, published from 1993 through 1994
  • Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight issues 51 and 100, published in 1993 and 1997
  • Batman issues 551 and 552, published in 1998
  • JLA: The Nail issues 1 and 3, published in 1998
  • Day of Judgment issues 1 through 5, published in 1999
  • Day of Judgment Secret Files issue 1, published in 1999
  • Martian Manhunter issue 28, published in 2001
  • Day of Vengeance issues 1 through 6, published in 2005
  • Day of Vengeance Special published in 2005
  • Justice League Unlimited issue 15, published in 2005
  • Robin issues 143 through 145, published from 2005 through 2006
  • Infinite Crisis issues 2 and 5, published in 2006
  • Shadowpact from issue 1-25, published from 2006 to 2008
  • 52 issues 1 and 18, published in 2006
  • Trinity issue 18, published in 2008
  • Battle for the Cowl: The Network issue 1 published in 2009
  • Azrael issue 5 published in 2010
  • Ragman: Suit of Souls one-shot 2010

References[edit]

  1. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Writer Robert Kanigher's origin of the frayed hero was pieced together into moody, coarse segments by Joe Kubert and Nestor, Frank, and Quico Redondo." 
  2. ^ a b Shadowpact #8 (February 2007)
  3. ^ Trinity Volume 2 (collecting Trinity #18-35, 424 pages, September 2009, Titan Books, ISBN 1-84856-301-9, DC Comics, ISBN 1-4012-2318-4)
  4. ^ DC Universe: The Source » Blog Archive » Ragman returns in SUIT OF SOULS
  5. ^ Justice League of America 80-Page Giant (2011)
  6. ^ Kaplan, Arie (2008). Krakow to Krypton: Jews and comic books. Jewish Publication Society. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-8276-0843-6. 

External links[edit]