Monday, January 9, 2012

If You Blinked You Missed...Ragman

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Today we're gonna rap Ragman, one of the most requested topics in the history of DotGK. That oughtta make a lot of ya happy!

Ragman was created by twin legends Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. Both men are acknowledged masters of the comicbook medium, having carved legends for themselves (both separately and together) throughout the Golden, Silver, and Groovy Ages of comics. In early 1976, they got together to create a new super-hero--a super-hero whose purpose was to bring justice to the ghetto. Rory Regan, poor, Jewish (but with a name like that didn't K&K mean him to be Irish? Hmmmmmm...), Viet-Nam vet had the unbroken, unflagging soul of a true hero, and his lot in life would make him perfect to take on the grimy, lowest-end of the underworld scum even too small for The Batman to fool with, Ragman was grimmer and gritter than most anything DC had yet tried. A decade later, this mag would probably have been a major hit.

As it was, Kanigher, Kubert, and the Redondo Studios (who inked/finished Kubert's roughs for most of the series) produced five issues (May 1976-March 1977) of a pretty hip super-hero mag, whose vibe was not wholly unlike the popular cop shows of the day (like Kojak and Baretta). Most folks who remember the series, though, will tell you--the art was what kept us coming back. The Redondo Studios are credited with the art for the first four issues, with Kubert providing the full art for the back-up tale in #4 and all of ish #5.

A Golden-Age style origin with the (then) modern ghetto grit! That's what we got when we read Ragman #1's "Origin of the Tatterdemalion"! Dig it!

And yeah, Ragman made one more Groovy Age appearance in Batman Family #20 (July 1978--which you can read here) and teamed with The Batman in a 1983 ish of Brave and the Bold before the infamous Crisis on Infinite Earths started putting him through all of those weird ch-ch-changes.


  1. Wow! What a great way to start my week! Thanks groovy one! I loved this series it was indeed way ahead of it's time. The White Tiger in Marvel's Deadly Hands of Kung Fu.

    It had this same gritty look & feel to it. Indeed like Kojak, Baretta & a 1980 movie the Exterminator. A flame throw carrying ex-Viet Nam vet. Who'd hold a Bar-B-Que for the street trash. Too bad he never teamed up with Charles" Death Wish" Bronson!Today's word: Flame On!

  2. I remember seeing this on the racks when it first came out, and passing. Then, on a whim, I bought it second hand a few years later, and tried to build the set, but couldn't. I prefer this version to modern day revamp that was deemed to be done to cater to the violence-loving fanboys of the period.

    I cannot stand the current version with the supernatural bent, that being the souls of past victims are in the cloak Give me a freakin' break.

  3. As stated in the lettercol, Rory WAS Irish, but his girlfriend Better was Jewish. I understand that a fifth issue was completed, but vanished in the "DC implosion of '78"---but has been listed in the "Canceled Comic Cavalcade" (whatever that was).

  4. I bought the whole series on a whim from a comic mail order catalogue in 1980 (think I paid a whopping $1.50 for it), and just loved it. Arguably the best title that fell victim to the implosion. And yes, Anonymous above is right: in a lettercol response to a query from a reader, the editors explained the ethnicity of the main characters, and Rory was indeed meant to be of Irish descent.
    One of my many dream reprint volumes would collect this series plus Ragman's later appearances in Batman Family and B&B.

  5. self-correction: girlfriend "Bette"

  6. Loved the idea, and look, of Ragman. Imagine what Steve Gerber would've done with him...

  7. I had this book when I was a kid, when it originally came out. Sadly it's long gone, and I'm looking for the first issue. Anyway, it was a very powerful story. Especially,the roof sequence and the electrocution scene. I instantly remembered the story when I started reading, and the same parts of the story "grabbed me" just like it did back in the day. Still stands up as a powerful story today. Great stuff!



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