Friends, I hope you weren’t alarmed by that signal in the sky today, I can assure you that all is well and that it just means we have a brand new Super-Blog Team-Up. That time when the finest collection of bloggers and podcasters unite to discuss a subject that is too large for just one site. In this case it happens to concern comic book, comic strip, movies, television series, and even music that relate to doctors. While some of my esteemed Super-Blog Team-Up members will be sharing articles relating to the likes of such characters as Marvel’s Doctor Voodoo and the tortured Dr. Bruce Banner – I have decided to discuss an interesting character from DC Comics. Dr. Thirteen the Ghost Breaker, a man who decided to take it upon himself to prove to those in the DC Universe that the supernatural doesn’t exist, that there is always a rational explanation. That is a big order to fill when you consider the likes of The Spectre as well as the Phantom Stranger are wandering around.
The creation of Dr. Thirteen the Ghost Breaker, who is also known as Dr. Terrence (Terrance) Thirteen is interesting to say the least, a mystery worthy of the character’s “…razor sharp powers of observation and his keen analytical mind.” The character made his first appearance in the pages of the November 1951 issues of Star Spangled Comics in a story entitled “I Talked with the Dead”. And while it is known that the character was co-created and illustrated by Leonard Starr (Little Orphan Annie) and that the editor-in-chief at the time was Whitney Ellsworth (Congo Bill) – it is not known who actually wrote that debut story for Dr. Thirteen.
The origin for Dr. Thirteen presented in “I Talked with the Dead” sheds some backstory on how Terrence Thirteen took an oath handed down by his Father before his untimely death, to embrace reason above all and rebuke the supernatural and expose them as being fraudulent. It turns out that the Thirteen family has something of a tragic history, as their ancestors were accused of witchcraft and sorcery for embracing of science, having said that though it appears as if members of the family are often murdered or die prematurely.
As part of that sacred oath though, Terrence agreed to return to his family home of Doomsbury Hall at midnight on New Year’s Eve to see if he could make contact with his late Father. Bringing his fiance Marie with him to visit Doomsbury Hall, calling out and asking questions that were supplied by his Father – the duo are shocked to hear the elder Thirteen’s voice answering them. Dr. Thirteen however is true to his word, and after a quick investigation discovers a tape recorder hidden in a grandfather clock. It turns out that this was a test, one helped along by Marie, who swore to the elder Thirteen that she would challenge his Son’s oath. Having passed the test, the two leave Doomsbury Hall and prepare to get to the bottom of the so called “Curse of Thirteen”.
Dr. Thirteen ended up marrying Marie and thanks to their investigations into supposed supernatural happenings, Terrence decided to set up operations in an office in the city as a professional “Ghost Breaker”. It would appear that the two had a successful career, one that once found Dr. Thirteen investigating Wayne Manor, a case that eventually revealed a connection to the Man-Bat. Another time he found himself trying to debunk the vengeful and extremely powerful Spectre, which seems like a really stupid thing to do. Things would change though when Terrence crossed paths with the likes of the Phantom Stranger, as he was unable to explain away the supernatural abilities of the paranormal hero – especially when the entity stepped in to save Terrence and Marie on a few occasions.
In the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths era, Dr. Thirteen would retire and begin a new career as a popular writer, detailing his adventures in debunking the supernatural. In addition, Marie and Terrence in the post-Crisis stories have a daughter named Traci… who happens to be a sorceress. It probably goes without saying that Dr. Thirteen the Ghost Breaker is less than thrilled about this situation, right?
Check in on the other Super-Blog Team-Up participants and their “THE DOCTOR IS IN” offerings:
Between The Pages Blog: The World’s Most Popular Football Holder & Psychiatrist – Lucy van Pelt
Daves Comics Blog – The Immortal Dr. Fate
Magazines and Monsters: Doctor Voodoo
Comics Comics Comics – The Power Of Podcasting and Doctor Who
Radulich in Broadcasting Network – Doctor Doolittle 1998 & 2001
Metal Hammer Of Doom: Motley Crew: Doctor Feelgood
Asterisk51- Doctor Bong: For Whom the Bell Tolls