Dr. Occult

Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Okay, I was wrong.

For years, I’ve speculated that hard-boiled private eye Slam Bradley was the earliest and longest runnung series character created by DC Comics, predating both Superman and Batman.

But it turns out I was wrong. That honour goes to private detective DOCTOR OCCULT, who made his debut on New Fun Comics #6 (October 1935).

But the Good Doctor, brought to you by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the same guys who gave us Superman and Slam Bradley, was cut from far stranger cloth than Bradley. In fact, despite his occupation and a hard-boiled fashion sense (trenchcoat, fedora, etc.) that would have been right at home in the pages of Black Mask and other detective pulps of the time, Occult was more of a wizard, a practitioner of magic (recalling at times the Phantom Stranger or Marvel’s Doctor Strange, with the power to astral project. He was also a wiz at hypnosis, illusion casting and telekinesis, and in a pinch could always count on the help of sometime-sidekick Rose Psychic.

He wasn’t shy about using any (or all) of these powers to crack a case. Which, perhaps not too surprisingly, usually involve the supernatural, and over the years he wove his way through the DC Universe, sometimes referred to as “The Ghost Detective” or “Dr. Mystic,” disappearing at one point for almost fifty years, before suddenly reappearing in the eighties as if by…MAGIC!

Of course, this being comics, continuity went out the window relatively early, and the doctor gained (and occasionally lost) various powers, and his back story came and went throughout the years, but since his reappearance, he’s teamed up with the likes of Batman, Katana, The Phantom Stranger, John Constantine, Detective Chimp, Rex the Wonder Dog, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Superman.


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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