Signalman (comics)

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Signalman from Detective Comics vol. 1 #466,
artist Ernie Chan
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman vol. 1 #112,
(December 1957)
Created byBill Finger (writer)
Sheldon Moldoff (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoPhillip "Phil" Cobb
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
Notable aliasesBlue Bowman
AbilitiesSkilled hand to hand combatant
Wields various small, compact weapons

Signalman is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.

Publication history[edit]

Signalman first appeared in Batman vol. 1 #112 (December 1957), and was created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Phillip "Phil" Cobb was a gangster with big ideas. He came to Gotham City intent on hiring a gang of his own and making it big, only to be laughed at when he tried to recruit the gang because he had no reputation. Steaming with anger, he vowed to prove himself to Gotham's mobsters, and when he noticed how modern society was regulated by signs, signals and symbols, he found the inspiration for his criminal career. Becoming the Signalman, he went on a spectacular crime spree using those signs and symbols as his motif.

Ultimately captured by Batman and Robin, he returned for a rematch a year later in Batman #124,[1] and then switched gears and became the Green Arrow-copycat called the Blue Bowman in Batman #139.[2] After that, he remained unseen until 1976, when he resumed his Signalman guise in Detective Comics #466. This time, he actually managed to trap the Batman inside the Batsignal.[3]

In the years since then, Signalman has also been a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains and, in that capacity, did battle with the Justice League [4] and the Justice Society.

In the pages of Identity Crisis, it is mentioned that Signalman was kidnapped by Doctor Moon and Phobia, a fact confirmed in the pages of Manhunter, which depicts his torture and seeming death via a video recording.

During "One Year Later" however, he appears in Justice League of America #1 as a drug-addled informant for Black Lightning.[5]

He also appears being arrested in full costume in Final Crisis #1.[6]

The New 52[edit]

In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Signalman first appears as a member of the Secret Society. When Catwoman breaks out of Arkham Asylum, Signalman and Blockbuster confront Catwoman on the rooftop, which ended with Catwoman being knocked out.[7]

During the "Trinity War" storyline, Signalman is sent with Giganta and Vandal Savage into tracking Pandora. After Pandora successfully subdues Giganta, Signalman realizes that Pandora is more parahuman than originally thought.[8]

DC Rebirth[edit]

Signalman appears as Signal Man in the DC Rebirth reboot universe. He is one of the many villains taken down by Batman and Catwoman after he takes her along with him on an average night of his job.[9]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Signalman has no superhuman powers but he is a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant. He also carries items such as a knockout-gas gun, miniature flares that cause fires, electric "sparks" capable of controlling the signals to the human brain, and a remote-control device in his belt that alters signals of an electronic nature.

Other versions[edit]

  • In the Kingdom Come miniseries, there is a background character named Signalwoman. The left side of her face is completely covered in tattoos, including her shaved head (the tattoos match the symbols on the original's costume).
  • In the Batman Beyond comics, an elderly, retired and reformed Signalman is murdered in a manner reminiscent of Two-Face, stabbed twice in the heart and throat. After his corpse is discovered in his apartment by the new Batman, Terry McGinnis, Bruce Wayne mentions that he had gone to prison years earlier and had turned his life around upon his release.[10]

In other media[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Batman #124
  2. ^ Batman #139
  3. ^ Batman #466
  4. ^ Justice League of America #195-197
  5. ^ Justice League of America #1
  6. ^ Final Crisis #1
  7. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 3) #3
  8. ^ Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2
  9. ^ Batman (vol. 3) #14
  10. ^ Batman Beyond (vol. 2) #1

External links[edit]