Artwork for the cover of Ragman: Suit of Souls vol. #1, October, 2010
Art by Jesús Saíz
|First appearance||Ragman #1|
|Created by||Robert Kanigher|
|Alter ego||Rory Regan|
Sentinels of Magic
|Abilities||Enhanced physical attributes|
Skilled in the use of magic.
Ragman first appeared in the short-lived 1976-77 five-issue comic book series of the same name. 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.
Fictional character biography
This article needs to be updated.August 2017)(
A Vietnam veteran, Rory Regan 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 United States 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 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 free him from the wires. A final shock of power ran through the old men and grounded out at Rory, knocking him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, 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." Rory appeared to have gained the physical abilities of the men who were electrocuted as they were all touching as the final votlage of electricity flowed through them and into Rory. He gained an acrobat's agility, a strongman's strength, and a boxer's skills.
In his Pre-Crisis incarnation, Rory Regan was Irish, not Jewish, as explicitly stated in the letters page of Ragman #3.
Rory Regan is a junk man, 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 1991-92 eight-issue limited series, and currently each of the patches in the suit is made from the soul of an evildoer that 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 Rory'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
During the Day of Judgment limited series, Ragman is 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 mistakenly believe him to be dead.
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 that 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.
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 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 absorb people while in this form. 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.
Rory, along with Nightmaster and Nightshade, attempted to teleport to Washington D.C to break up a bank robbery. They were trapped in mid-transit in the Land of Nightshades.
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.
"Battle For The Cowl"
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 counsel her for her apparent drug addiction, telling her that she will never truly be free until she takes hold of her life.
Suit of Souls
The New 52
Rory Regan is the owner of the book and antique shop Rags 'n Tatters who moonlights as the costumed vigilante Ragman.
At his shop, Rory Regan appraised a Celtic amulet as being nearly 500 years old - and worth more than he could pay out. His customer's urgency and insistence in selling the amulet made him suspicious that it had been stolen, but the man insisted that it was just an heirloom. Reluctantly, Rory offered $750, and the man accepted, hurrying away. Despite getting a deal, Rory worried that he would regret the purchase.
Above his shop, Rory was roused from his sleep by a ghostly voice, warning that he was needed. He hurried down stairs to find a pair of thugs attempting to steal an ancient artifact from his safe in the shop. Angry, he followed them in the uniform of Ragman. Rory followed the thieves to their employer, where the remaining cultists intended to use Clayface and the stolen artifact to resurrect Morgaine le Fey.
At the cost of Clayface's discomfort, the Arthurian witch succeeded in returning to life in the present. While too late to prevent her revival, Ragman joined up with Etrigan and Batwoman to fight her, introducing himself as his alias. When Etrigan, desperate to destroy the witch, broke a gas main in the old house the ritual took place in and breathed his fire on it, Ragman, Batwoman, and the now-amnesiac Clayface had barely any time to get out of range of the resultant explosion, but managed it. According to Etrigan, who also survived, it was likely that Morgaine also managed to live through the explosion.
Knowing that Clayface belonged in Arkham Asylum, but that Morgaine could easily break him free on a moment's notice from there, Ragman offered to assuage Batwoman's worries thereof by taking Clayface into his own custody, hoping to help him find his memories. The group parted ways, and Etrigan promised that when next the time came to fight, he would be there.
Rory Regan dumped Clayface into his bathtub, for once thankful for being single and thus not needing to explain himself to anyone. Hungry, he checked his fridge and could not find anything appetizing, but was startled suddenly when Clayface appeared behind him and warned him that Morgaine would kill again.
Ragman returned to DC Comics in a six-issue series written by Ray Fawkes and illustrated by Inaki Miranda and colored by Eva de la Cruz, with covers by Guillem March.
Powers and abilities
Pre-Crisis, Ragman had the physical abilities of his father's friends: the strength of a circus strongman, the fighting ability of a heavyweight boxer and the agility of a world-class acrobat.
Currently, 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 is not easy to tap into a large number of souls at once (at the time, he made the comment that the most he had ever done was somewhere over 100). This also allows Ragman to avoid most wounds, as he can use one of his other souls to 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 supervillain 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 from 'punishing' her himself. He was also unable to attack Billy Batson as he was deemed "innocent", and thus couldn't be harmed. Taking a soul adds a new rag to the suit and thus adds to 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 number 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, 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 is needed.
It has recently been revealed that the suit can take on other forms, such as weapons, and still collect souls. 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.
Jay Garson Junior, who first appeared in Holyoke Publishing'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 in the public domain.
DC Animated Universe Comics
Ragman appears in Justice League Unlimited tie-in comic #15.
All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Ragman appears in All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #14 (February, 2012). After his father died, young Rory Regan inherited his family's antique shop, as well as the enchanted Ragman suit. Using the magical costume, Rory took up his family destiny to protect the Jewish community of Gotham from their enemies. Though he was considered a hero by his neighbors and by Gotham's other resident crime-fighters, Rory began to feel undervalued and unappreciated, feeling he could do better than protecting a few city blocks from muggers, vandals and the occasional skinhead. Rory began to openly resent his father for forcing him to remain in their neighborhood and look after the shop. One holiday season Batman pursued the super-criminal MacGuffin into Ragman's neighborhood. Over the course of the adventure, Batman helped Rory come to terms with his feelings toward his father and see the good he had done for his community.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
In Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three, Ragman teams up with John Constantine and Klarion the Witch Boy to spring a trap on the despotic Superman. Ragman first takes Raven's form after she is tricked into luring Superman to her binding place in Gotham City. Superman though supposedly frees "Raven", who is later revealed to be Ragman as he warns Superman that his senses can be fooled and then proclaims that he can feel his murdering soul. He then uses the rags from his suit to bind Superman. While Constantine brags to Superman about the process, Superman manages to free himself. While Ragman believes that he is too strong, Constantine tells him that Superman's soul belongs within his suit with the rest of the corrupted souls. Before he ensnares Superman again, Superman uses his communicator to call onto Shazam. Ragman though is unable to harm Shazam, due to him being innocent, as Shazam orders him to release Superman. Ragman tries to reason with Shazam, but Shazam calls down his lightning, freeing Superman and stunning Ragman. The Spectre then appears and proclaims punishment on the tortured souls within his suit and destroys part of his suit, freeing them as he declares that their time has come. He then removes Ragman's mask as Rory calls out to Constantine for help, but he refuses to do so. The Spectre then kills Rory as Shazam watches in horror.
In other media
- Ragman appears in Arrow, portrayed by Joe Dinicol. This version is the sole survivor of the nuclear destruction of Havenrock and wears ancient rags from the Devarim era. He first appears in season five episode "The Recruits", where he comes to Star City to seek vengeance by attacking Evan Wander and Janet Carroll, the Vice President and CEO of AmerTek, who developed the nuclear missiles that destroyed Havenrock. While contesting with Tobias Church/Charon, Oliver Queen / Green Arrow convinces him to let his quest for vengeance go to become a hero and he agrees to join Green Arrow's team. In "Bratva", when the team travels to Russia, Rory is willing to risk his life to stop a nuclear bomb by enclosing it within his suit. Though he survives, he reveals that his rags have lost their power. Considering himself a liability without his powers, Rory leaves the team, but tells Felicity Smoak that he will return. In season seven, Rory has a cameo appearance as part of the "Emerald Archer" documentary, where his identity is made public, and returns to Star City for Oliver Queen's funeral.
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 242. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Ragman's Jewish heritage is discussed in the nonfiction book From Kraków To Krypton, written by Arie Kaplan (Jewish Publication Society, 2008), p. 125 ISBN 978-0-8276-0843-6
- 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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Markstein, Don. "Ragman". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 304–305. ISBN 9780345501066.
- Shadowpact #8 (February 2007)
- 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)
- DC Universe: The Source » Blog Archive » Ragman returns in SUIT OF SOULS
- Justice League of America 80-Page Giant (2011)
- Abrams, Natalie (July 23, 2016). "Arrow books Blindspot star as Ragman — exclusive". Entertainment Weekly.