Top 5 Superhero Ghosts

Villains Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance

Captain Barbossa: [revealing his skeletal appearance] “You’d best start believin’ in ghost stories, Miss Turner. Yer in one.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Death isn’t always the end. Eventually, everything passes away. That’s unavoidable. But even once you’re dead and buried, you don’t have to stay in your grave. Maybe we pass into an afterlife to face punishment for sins or spend eternity in paradise. But what about those lost souls who remain on Earth?

Perhaps there is some unfinished business keeping these souls tethered to the mortal plane. A last goodbye they never delivered or a goal they didn’t achieve. Maybe a murder victim remains until their killer is brought to justice. So who are the Top 5 Superhero Ghosts? Let’s find out.

#5 The Haunted Tank

Debut: G.I. Combat #87
Played by: Dee Bradley Baker

Ma Murder:Mother of Pearl! A haunted tank driven by the ghost of J.E.B. Stuart!
Stuart: “Ma’am, this known aggression has forced me to do you bodily harm!” [opens fire as she flees in a car]
Batman: [leaping onto the tank] “After her, general!
Stuart:That’s just what I aim to do, sir! [takes off in pursuit] She may be long in the tooth, but this fillie’s a mighty fine driver! …For a Yankee.

Batman: the Brave and the Bold “Menace of the Madniks!” (Season 2, Episode 20)

Most superhero ghosts rely on their ethereal abilities to stop evildoers, but The Haunted Tank doesn’t mind breaking out the heavy artillery.

At the height of World War II, a tank operator named Jeb Stuart and his friends were deployed to Europe. During their first battle, Jeb learned that he was haunted by his ancestor, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart. The spectral Stuart was one of many ghosts sent to aid their descendants in the war.

Jeb was the only person who could see J.E.B. and was often thought to be going mad when he talked to the ghost. The elder Stuart gave his descendant cryptic advice that would invariably save the tank’s crew in battle. J.E.B. was also able to affect the real world for brief moments, moving objects or giving commands through Jeb.

The war ended, but the Haunted Tank kept fighting. General Stuart has frequently aided heroes traveling through the afterlife or associated with the supernatural. He most recently appeared in a miniseries set during the Gulf War, where he struggled to cope with advances in warfare and his latest descendant being African American.

#4 Gentleman Ghost

Debut: Flash Comics #88
Played by: Greg Ellis, Alan Openheimer

Catwoman: [delirious] “B-Bat…?
Gentleman Ghost:Bat? No, no, no, my dear. Craddock… Jim Craddock. Gentleman Ghost! Surely you’ve heard of me? From what I understand we travel the same circles. Thieves and scoundrels and such, ha!
Catwoman:What the hell is going on?
Gentleman Ghost:We’ll get to that shortly. For now, lie still and allow me to see to your wounds. There is honor left yet among some thieves.

Catwoman Vol. 4 #5

Good manners are hard to find these days. You’d think they were a dying species. Fear not, lords and ladies, for there is one superhero ghost who you can always count on to be polite: The Gentleman Ghost.

James Craddock was a highwayman who presented himself as a gentleman thief. He eventually left his homeland of Britain for America, where he terrorized the wild west until an encounter with gunslingers Nighthawk and Cinnamon. Nighthawk mistakenly thought Craddock had raped Cinnamon and murdered him, bringing an end to “Gentleman Jim”. Or so he thought.

Craddock became a ghost and learned that he would not pass into the afterlife until Nighthawk did. Unfortunately, the gunslinger was cursed to reincarnate, meaning Craddock would never pass on. He eventually tracked down his reincarnated killer, now known as Hawkman, and sought a way to permanently kill him.

Gentleman Ghost is a thief and villain, but he is not opposed to aiding heroes against larger threats. He was even recruited for a supernatural-themed incarnation of the Suicide Squad. Gentleman Ghost is no slouch in a fight, wielding spectral flintlock pistols and a cane that channels ectoplasm. 

# 3 Secret

Debut: Young Justice: The Secret
Played By: Masasa Moyo

Zatanna: Thanks for the assist, but who are you?
Mysterious Girl:Secret.
Artemis: That won’t cut it. We need answers. Do you know Harm? Does he have any weaknesses?
Secret: [points at Harm sneaking up on them] “Secret.

Young Justice “Secrets” (Season 1, Episode 18)

Who is our number three superhero ghost? I’d tell you, but it’s a secret. Oops, my bad. I meant she is Secret.

Young Justice encountered a ghostly young girl seemingly made from smoke during one of their first missions. She aided them in a fight, earning their trust. The ghost couldn’t remember who she was, leading the team to call her Secret.

Secret discovered that she could shapeshift, fire smoke blasts, possess the living, and guide other ghosts to the afterlife. Unfortunately, she also struggled with an urge to fuel her powers by eating people. The team helped her cope with the hunger and tried to uncover her identity.

Young Justice eventually learned that Secret’s name was Greta Hayes. She had been an ordinary teenager until her brother, Billy, murdered her. He became a supervillain-in-training called Harm and fought the team before Secret defeated him. She would later be stripped of her powers, retiring her for superheroics, and was resurrected by Darkseid.

#2 Deadman

Debut: Strange Adventures #205
Played by: Raphael Sbarge, Michael Rosenbaum

Yakuza member: [in Japanese, advancing on Batman] “Now you die, trespasser!
Deadman: [possesses the Yakuza member] “So I was thinking, Mac. Maybe you were right about there being a reason I have these powers. Maybe I am supposed to find my killer… and have a little fun along the way.”
Batman:Good to have you back among the living, Deadman.”
Deadman: [frees batman] “Now we gonna stand here and twiddle or are we gonna get down to business?

Batman: the Brave and the Bold “ Dawn of the Dead Man!” (Season 1, Episode 7)

Step right up folks! You won’t believe your eyes. An aerialist of unparalleled skill becomes our penultimate superhero ghost: the immortal Deadman!

Boston Brand was an arrogant trapeze artist working in a circus. He wore a white mask while performing to look like a corpse and used the stage name Deadman. The name proved prophetic when Boston was murdered during a performance. 

Boston was resurrected as a ghost by a deity called Rama Kushna in exchange for working for her. She wanted him to help maintain the balance between good and evil by performing missions she gave him. Boston agreed and hunted his murderer, quickly learning to possess random people to interact with the world.

Deadman’s antics brought him into contact with the Justice League. While he wasn’t able to join them full time, he often worked with them and eventually joined the supernatural Justice League Dark. 

#1 Danny Phantom

Debut: Danny Phantom (TV Series)
Played by: David Kaufman

[a ghost is attacking a school]
Danny:Get behind me.
Sam:Wow, I feel safe.”
Danny: [transforming] “I’m going ghost!

Danny Phantom “Mystery Meat” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Many superhero ghosts are floating around, but most of them are only side characters or team members. Only one has been the star of their own TV show. Our number one superhero ghost is Danny Phantom.

Danny Fenton was the son of two paranormal researchers who believed ghosts existed. They created a portal to a hypothetical Ghost Zone, but couldn’t get it to work. Danny examined the portal while they were away and was zapped by a mix of electricity and ectoplasm.

The accident turned him into a Halfa, a human/ghost hybrid. He gained the ability to fire blasts of ectoplasm, turn intangible, fly, and sense other ghosts. The portal let several ghosts escape into the human world, leading Danny to hunt them down as a superhero called Danny Phantom.

Danny Phantom is about as close to Spider-Man as you can get without lawyers arguing about copyright infringement. He’s nerdy, constantly quips during battles, and is bullied at school by a character who is literally Spider-Man’s bully in all but name. Perhaps the similarity to a popular hero is what helped this superhero ghost stand out from the rest of his postmortem pals.

Who is your favorite superhero ghost? Is there one better than these? Tell us in the comments. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my grave.

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