The Golden Age Psycho-Pirate

Personal Data

Charles (Charlie) Halstead

Residence: Civic City
Occupation: Professional Criminal, former linotyper
First Appearance (Golden Age): All-Star Comics #23 (Winter 1944) 
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): Showcase #56 (June 1965)
Pre-Crisis Fate: Dead
Post-Crisis Fate: Dead
 

History

        Nothing is known of the life of Charles Halstead before he became a linotyper at the Daily Courier. A long-time employee, Halstead was a friend and favorite of publisher Rex Morgan. Secretly, however, Halstead was frustrated with his lack of advancement at the paper and at some point, snapped. He resolved to take what he had never been able to earn and his first target was the paper itself. He began to stage a series of crimes based on emotions (hate, greed, etc.), clueing the Courier with leads to his crimes. As time passed, Halstead, as the Psycho-Pirate, became bolder. He penned a letter to the Courier, challenging the Justice Society to stop a new wave of crimes based on a variety of emotions. For example, he engendered fear into the inhabitants of a city where he threatened to unleash a deadly plague until his plan was halted by Dr. Mid-Nite. Each JSAer was given an emotion and a task to solve. With the JSA dispersed and only the Atom to guard Halstead, the Psycho-Pirate began a campaign to demoralize the publisher with constant news of despair: business failure, divorce, foreclosure - a series of lies designed to crush the spirit of his employer. To remove the Atom, he convinced the hero that the JSA had been captured and sent the Mighty Mite to rescue them. The Atom discovered the ruse and defeated the criminal's henchmen disguised as JSAers. In doing so, the Atom discovered the true identity of the Psycho-Pirate, who shot him to preserve his secrecy. Wounded, the Atom made it to the Courier just as the JSA returned and exposed Halstead as the Psycho-Pirate. Halstead was subsequently sentenced to a length prison term (All-Star Comics #23).

    Two years after his initial arrest, the Pirate escaped from prison with the aid of cellmate "Big Mike" Carillo. Carillo, a petty hecnhman, had been captured by the JSA under as yet unrevealed circumstances and wanted revenge. Planting his wallet on the unsuspecting Johnny Thunder, "Big Mike" arranged for the JSA to be privy to the plans he and the Psycho-Pirate had laid. Again basing his crimes on emotion, the Psycho-Pirate plans led the JSA through a gamut of sensations from pride to anger. Unfortunate for the crime-master, his less the brilliant aide had planted a wallet containing not only the plans, but his address as well. After completing the various tasks, the JSA converged on the criminals' hideout and the Psycho-Pirate was once again sent to prison (All-Star Comics #32). The Psycho-Pirate is known to have had at least one more case against the Justice Society (unpublished All-Star Comics) before the dissolution of the group but the nature of this case or any other's he may have had prior to his death remain undisclosed as present.

    After some years in prison, Halstead's health began to fail. Spending the last years of his life obsessively researching the mysticism of emotions, the elder criminal became aware of the Masks of Medusa. The masks contained vast powers of emotional manipulation, allowing the wearing to project any emotion he could express. Determined to have a legacy, Halstead passed this information on to his cell-mate Roger Hayden, a gangster who eventually used the masks to become the second Psycho-Pirate (Showacse #56). Halstead died sometime in the late 1960's.

Power and Abilities: The Psycho-Pirate was a master criminal strategist who also possessed a intuitive knowledge of human behavior. He crafted his crimes to play to the most fundamental of human emotions, ensuring the maximal effectiveness.

Weaknesses and Limitations: The Psycho-Pirate was a normal human in poor physical shape and represented little physical threat.

Golden Age Appearances
All-Star Comics #23
All-Star Comics #32

Post-Golden Age Appearances
All-Star Comics Archives #5 - reprints All-Star Comics #23
All-Star Comics Archives #7 - reprints All-Star Comics #32
All-Star Companion TPB  - prints all known art of unpublished 3rd case of JSA vs Psycho-Pirate
Showcase #56

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