About Me

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I started reading comics regularly after 'Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns'. Since then, I've become a co-host on 'The LanternCast' (a podcast dedicated to Green Lantern that's been on the air since 2008), started a new podcast covering the late 1980's DC series Action Comics Weekly (appropriately titled The Action Comics Weekly Podcast), and have been the curator of THE blog on the internet dedicated to the character of Ragman, created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert published by DC Comics starting in 1976 and currently appearing on The CW show 'Arrow' as portrayed by actor Joe Dinicol. I'm an avid fan of comics, classic rock, and speaking my mind. Welcome!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The GOLDEN Age Ragman?!

I know dear reader. I'm quite confused myself but, according to wikipedia, there was a Ragman long BEFORE Joe Kubert and Robert Kanigher took on that particular vigilante title. However, since wikipedia cannot always be counted upon for hard and fast facts, I took it upon myself to look it up. Lo' and behold tis true!

Way back in 1941 a publishing company known as Holyoke put out the very first issue of a comic called "Cat-Man" (Obviously this company's attempt at cashing in on their OWN version of "Batman"). Now, since I was searching for RAGMAN information and honestly don't give two wet farts about CAT-MAN, I didn't really bother to learn much about the character. This isn't like me but hey, I was in a rush.

What I DID learn is that the first appearance of Cat-Man went for a boat load of money not too long ago. Why is this important? Well, the first appearance of Cat-Man is ALSO the first appearance of the Holyoke Ragman! Who knew?! The final bid for the 9.4 CGC graded comic? $12,362.50. Nope, that's not a mistake on my part. See for yourself...

Now, it's worth mentioning that ANY golden age comic in this condition would probably sell for a hefty sum. For those of you NOT in the know, way back when, comics were under attack for being too violent, scary, gruesome, etc. for kids. Enter the parents (as they usually do) to "save" the poor children. The crusade against the comics (which eventually ended with the creation of the Comics Code Authority) did a number of things to get rid of comics, including multiple book burnings across the nation. This is why so many of the older comics are hard to find AND expensive. There just aren't very many of them LEFT anymore.

Now I COULD pretend to be all uber writer and pretend I wrote all of this for myself, but I pride myself on not resorting to plagiarism of any sort. So this next batch of information concerning the character is straight from Comic Vine.


The Ragman is really a reporter for the Daily Times named Jay Garson Jr. He had no superpowers and used two pistols to fight crime. He wore his rags to look poor and be unassuming to the criminal element. This allowed him to get a jump on thugs who believed there was nothing to fear. He also wore a bullet proof vest underneath his costume. He also had a sidekick like many Golden Aged heroes named Tiny. A couple of his villains were The Ghost and Stinger.


The Golden age Holyoke Ragman has nothing to do with the character in DC Comics. He was created in 1941 and first appeared in the comic Cat-man Comics. As it happens because of Copyright and trademark laws the Holyoke Ragman in now public Domain.

Rag-man: 1941, Catman #1 (Holyoke). Jay Garson, Jr is a reporter for The Sentinel as well as a millionaire. His articles get him targeted by criminals, but they kill a bum by accident. Realizing that he and the bum bear an uncanny likeness, he switches clothes with him and tus the Rag-man is born.He has no powers but wears a patched up suit and hat as his costume. He's assisted in his mission by his man Tiny, a powerful African who was in his employ. Tiny talks with an uneducated slang and calls Rag-man "boss", but most of the time he's not drawn in any caricature manner nor played for laughs, but presented as a straightforward African American, wearing a suit and as capable as any sidekick, sometimes moreso. He seems to backslide a bit whenever the case involves ghosts and such. Rag-man's name often switches being hyphenated or combined. The earlier issues seem to prefer hyphenated for him and Cat-man while the later issues have a tendency to combine them.. Rag-man is built upon a similar premise as the Spirit in that he lets the world think he's dead. However, he is only occasionally shown with a mask and in the first story sends in an article after his supposed death. He keeps Tiny as an assistant, but people only recognize or identify him as Rag-man without mention of Jay Garson. Like his fellow Cat-man comics star the Deacon, it is as if his previous life is easily forgotten and people readily accept the hero in their midst who seemingly has no outside real life anymore. In the later stories, his clothes are more often not patched or ragged and he has an executive office at the newspaper that he was once a reporter as if everyone just now knows or has always known since near the beginning that Jay Garson and the Rag-man are one and the same.

So apparently they just gave up on the whole dual identity thing after awhile for Jay. To me however, the most important thing about the Golden Age Ragman isn't the character himself. It's his sidekick Tiny. Way back in the golden age of comics, African Americans were always depicted to be "less than". They were drawn as caricatures of themselves. Take this panel from 'Sensation Comics' #8 (the title that featured Wonder Woman at the time)

Those two African Americans weren't drawn that way only by certain artists at certain times. The way you see them there is standard for the times. Same with how they spoke. Now Tiny did speak with an exacerbated "negro" accent, but not being drawn as a standard black character of the times nor being hidden in the background like a useless idiot and used only for comedy purposes was very surprising to see in a black character for the times.

In my searches I found a series of pages from 'Cat-Man' #20 which featured yet another backup tale concerning the Ragman. Click on the below images to see the characterization of Ragman and Tiny.

So that's it. That's everything I know about Golden Age Ragman. I'm honestly surprised I didn't know anything about this before. I'm also excited to learn that it was one of the few progressive comics of it's time in terms of it's presentation of African Americans. As far as I'm aware, these issues are not reprinted anywhere. But if you find any somehow, let me know.

Read, share, comment and subscribe!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Questing for Podcast Domination!

I swung by the 'Fire and Water Podcast' to guest host in place of Shag this weekend. Rob (of AquamanShrine.com fame) and I sat down to talk all about the Phantom Stranger. Seeing as how Phantom Stranger is one of my favorite characters in all of the DC Universe, I shoehorned Rob into letting me on the show to take over and drop a big steaming pile of info dump on the audience. Oh wait, Rob is a Phantom Stranger fan too! Heck, as it turns out, the man even has an entire BLOG dedicated to the mysterious Stranger! So while Rob prattled on and on about various historical significances concerning the Phantom Stranger, I led the talk in random tangents, Brent Anderson negativity and even managed to work in some Green Lantern and Ragman talk. You're welcome. So download the show and take a listen!

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 36 - The Phantom Stranger -

Fan the Flame! Ride the Wave! Light the Lantern! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ragman - Who's Who in the DCU!

In the last month of 1984, DC began publishing a series known as "Who's Who". This series cataloged each and every character, team and home base in the DC Universe. Now I don't pretend to be an expert on the series, especially seeing as how I just bought the whole original series at the most recent Austin Comic Con.

So really the only way you're going to learn anything at all about the series is by reading the Wikipedia entry online about the series. Typically I think Wikipedia entry's of almost any kind are something to avoid as they can sometimes contain false information. But something this basic is pretty much just an information dump. Plus it lists all of the other "Who's Who" updates and other related material.

Although I can also understand if you don't want a straight on information dump so perhaps it's better instead if you just listen to an awesome podcast for the information you want. Don't worry, you don't have to go searching for one on your own, I've got one FOR you! Shag of FirestormFan.com and Rob of AquamanShrine.com have joined forces to bring you "Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe." Now the show is part and parcel with the "Fire and Water Podcast" that the guys do regularly so if you're just in it for the Who's Who knowledge, then find the main show on iTunes and just download the specific Who's Who episodes you want. Although I'll make a point to say that you should absolutely take the time to listen to the main show as well.

There, now that that's covered, OFF TO THE RACES!

Even though I've already done two entry's for this blog, I've always wanted to make THIS post my first one. The way things worked out though, it just didn't shake out that way. First things first, I am in NO way, shape or form an expert on Ragman. I don't currently own every appearance (but I will) and I have not yet read all of the issues I DO own. But what I DO have is a passion for the character and, considering the current level of his popularity, I think he deserves far better than what he has. Hence the blog. So I don't claim to be an expert, but I WILL try to make this one of the most definitive stops on the Internet for Ragman information. I hope I can do that for you.

First stop though if there is going to be any MUST be a "Who's Who" entry. Ragman was created in 1976 by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. In the original five issue series, Ragman did NOT possess any sort of "soul purgatory" powers within his suit. It was merely a suit Rory Regan used to cover himself up as he fought crime. All of that changed in 1991. But that's neither here nor there. After his initial 5 issue series, Ragman popped up here and there a couple of times but didn't really play much of a part in the DCU. Then 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' hit. Who's Who ran alongside Crisis as it came out. It was AFTER Crisis that everything changed for Ragmans background.

Now, there's a lot more background information I could have just given you right there but I'd have to hop ahead and cover those issues in order to do it. I'm not going to do that. Each Ragman appearance will be reviewed on this blog so we'll get there in due time folks. But I mentioned all of that briefly just to explain to our dedicated Ragman fans why this issues entry on Ragman might be confusing to you, particularly the section that says Ragman HAS no powers. Because he didn't, at THAT time...

(click to enlarge)

Note the GORGEOUS work by Joe Kubert. The man wasn't splendid at Superheroes but I think Joe loved the idea of Ragman just enough to really put his effort into drawing him.

So that's Ragmans entry in "Who's Who". If you're interested in picking up the series, I'd definitely check out your LCS (local comic shop). If you don't have one around, check eBay. This series isn't all that sought after. Not because its not good, but because it just doesn't have any sort of collectability to it right now. You can absolutely find it for cheap.

But, before we wrap up, I've got to make sure this post is as definitive as I can get it. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is the BEAUTIFUL cover for "Who's Who XIX" by the incomparable Ernie Colon...

(click to enlarge)
Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment, share and follow!

Hmmm, I really should come up with a name for fans of Ragman and this blog. What do you guys think of "Rag's & Tatters" or just "Tatters"? Anyone got something better? Post it below!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ragman - Ripped to Shreds!

"The man forget not, though in rags he lies, and know the mortal through a crown's disguise. " - Mark Akenside

Alright folks, as if my 'Corps Conjecture' post wasn't enough to convince the worldwide masses that I was going to put in a tremendous amount of work for this 'Ghosts' annual themed Halloween cross over, I decided to involve my new blog about DC's Ragman. Or rather, I made the mistake of informing all my other cross over participants about the creation of my new blog and then was strong armed into posting something for the cross over on this site. But hey, the more content the merrier and let's face it, Ragman himself DOES suit the theme.

First of all, how do you like that mock up cover?! You better appreciate that damn thing. Took me forever to make it (I'm not that steeped in photo editing). Just to give credit where credit is due, the main image is taken from a cover from the 'Shadowpact' series. I won't be covering that issue. I'll actually be covering the Ragman one-shot from late 2010 entitled "Suit of Souls".

This one-shot was written by Christos Gage with art by Stephen Segovia. Rob Leigh manned the lettering duties followed by David Curiel on colors. Jesus Saiz did the original cover (not featured here) and Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri served as assistant editor and editor, respectively. Also featured in the credits are the words, "Ragman created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert". It always makes me happy to see the correct individuals given credit for their work in such a way. Good on you DC.

But anywho, we open up the issue with Rory Regan entering the office of a local Rabbi. The Rabbi asks Rory why he has come and Rory responds cryptically with a story of a KKK member who killed himself with The New York Times revealed that he was Jewish. He asks the Rabbi how an individual could hate himself so much. Confused, the Rabbi asks why Rory is troubled by this story and, as Rory attempts to explain himself and falls short, he decides to dispense with the pretenses and reveal his secret to the Rabbi.

As the patches swirl around Rory and attach to him, forming the suit of the Ragman, a look of shock combined with recognition washed over the Rabbi. Being an individual steeped in the history of his people, the Rabbi is familiar with the legend of the Ragman. Rory tells the Rabbi that he didn't know growing up that he was Jewish and wonders, "What kind of father doesn't tell his son where he came from?" Confused but willing to help, the Rabbi asks Rory to tell him more about himself and his father.

Rory proceeds to relay the entire history of the Ragman suit to the Rabbi. In the 1500's when the Jews were going through another round of persecution, a Rabbi named Loew created a Golem to the protect the Jewish people but, without a soul, the Golem tended to go too far, straying from it's original intention.So a council of Rabbi's was called and, using a variation of the spell that brought the Golem to life, the Rabbi's endowed a shuit of rags with power that could only be weilded by a human. The Rabbi's chose an individual and thus began the history of Ragman. We're then given a montage of moments throughout history where the Ragman was involved: a fight against a vampire in London, alongside Jonah Hex in the old west, etc. The story picks back up once more at Hitlers rise to power when Rory's father Jerzy Reganiewicz first wore the suit. Jerzy went across Europe helping where he was needed until 1943 when he was in the Warsaw Ghetto. 

Once the occupants of the Ghetto learned what was really going on at the Nazi concentration camps, they formed a resistance. The order was given to wipe out the ghetto before an uprising could organize. So they razed the ghetto, burning it to the ground and Ragman fled on May 15th, 1943, presumably because fire was the suits only weakness. The Rabbi stops Rory at this point and informs him (and the reader) that the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto didn't end until the 16th of May. It turns out, this is the information that has been plaguing Rory. He didn't know about the Ragman until after his father died so he could never ask him what happened. All of the history of the Ragman Rory learned secondhand. Rory said, as far as he was aware, his father never put on the suit again. He left europe and migrated over to America where he changed his name to a more Americanized Gerry Regan. Gerry opened a pawn shop in Gotham City and for years helped the people of the tough neighborhood by buying junk that no one needed and that Gerry could never sell. But he did it anyways to help those around him. Rory's mother died when he was a baby and Rory grew up just him and his father. Eventually he left home and lived his life for a little while, eventually returning home. One day, some thugs walked into the shop and asked Gerry if they could buy the store, and use it as a front to sell drugs. Gerry refused and they left, but they came back later and killed Gerry and beat Rory half to death.
By the time Rory got out of the hospital, they had already taken over the shop via some bogus paperwork so Rory snuck into the back lot of the shop to root around. He stumbled upon an old box containing the Ragman suit.

That's when everything changed for Rory. He became the Ragman and learned of it's special abilities. Among many other things, the suits main ability was to absorb the souls of evil individuals. By becoming part of the patchwork suit, they could lend their knowledge and strength to the wearer of the Ragman suit and thus hopefully earn their way into the afterlife. The suit is essentially a super-powered purgatory.

With hit story done, Rory finally asks the Rabbi the question that has been weighing on his mind for years, if his father was never ashamed of being a junkman, or poor, or old...then why was he ashamed of being a Jew? The Rabbi tells Rory that there is no point dwelling on this past becuase he should take solace in the knowledge that his father was a great man. Rory can't accept that. So the Rabbi bites and asks Rory if he can communicate with the souls in his suit, to which Rory responds in the affirmative. Then the Rabbi asks if any of the souls currently in the suit, were in there when Rory's father wore the suit.

Rory ducks into the astral realm of the suit and speaks with one of the souls in his suit named Jaegar Brandt, a Nazi who was present at the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising when Rory's father took him into the suit. Rory puts the question to Brandt and suddenly the truth of that night on May 15th, 1943 is revealed. Rory's father didn't flee Warsaw. The suit did. You see, occasionally the souls in the suit can override the wearer of the suit. That night, the souls sensed that Gerry was willing to stay to the end and die if he must but the souls, not wanting to be deprived of their possible redemption's, forced Gerry to flee. Gerry never knew the suit could exert such control and as a result, lived his live thinking he had failed the Jewish people. The explanation from Brandt sums up in one line about why Rory's father never again became Ragman, "Your father wasn't ashamed to call himself a Jew, he didn't feel worthy."

With his story told, Brandt begins fading into the ether having earned his redemption with this one final and simple act for the benefit of Rory. Satisfied, Rory "returns" back to his state in the "real world" and the office of the Rabbi. The Rabbi asks if Rory had learned any information, to which Rory replies...

And the end.

Typically, I'm not a fan of these origin retelling/exposition heavy stories in comics but this one was amazing. If you've never read a single appearance of Ragman, it is absolutely THE issue to pick up to become acquainted with the character. It also fits right along with our theme of the cross over and I just HAD to cover it. I mean they guy literally talks to a soul, only one of the hundreds that make up the suit he wears. It's tailor made for this kinda stuff.

But anyways, there you go. If you can find the issue, pick it up.

Don't forget to comment on the post or subscribe to the blog. And be sure to check out the other blogs participating in the cross over! Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ragman - In the New 52?

So, for a first post, I was debating about doing just a quick breakdown of why I decided to do this blog. But I figured, "You know what? That's pretty standard, how about I just jump right into it?" So here we go.

With the DC relaunch of their universe in the form of the New 52, we've seen a lot of reinventions of historic characters in both look and portrayal. However, one we have yet to see is a DC New 52 version of Ragman. Unfortunately there is no official word from DC on if they plan to bring this underused character back into the fold anytime soon. As of right now, it seems as if the best hopes for a Ragman appearance would rest with either 'Justice League Dark' or 'Phantom Stranger'. I shot Dan DiDio a Facebook message a little while back to pry for some Ragman hopeful information.

Unfortunately he had to pull the "publisher reveals NOTHING" card. I get the feeling though that he honestly has no (or is aware of no) plans currently involving Ragman. I had the opportunity for a brief one on one conversation with Dan at New York Comic Con recently and he seemed pretty sure there was no current plan. (if there is one the man has one hell of a poker face)

Other sources, such as this article I read from IGN, seem to confirm my suspicion though. Artist and co-plotter for 'Batman: The Dark Knight', David Finch, spoke with IGN concerning upcoming developments in his run on the series. Finch had the following response to this highly random question from IGN...

So that could mean DC as a whole or just his series (probably just his series). But, other than the two titles I mentioned earlier, having Ragman appear in an issue of a Batman series would be amazing and keep with that traditional aspect of his character.

So, seeing as how there are no CURRENT plans, I shall trudge on! I'll review the old stuff, maybe do some interviews, I'll feature Ragman artwork and cosplay and so on and so forth. So keep you eyes peeled for more content and thanks for reading!