WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains


Personal information

Name: Hal Herman

Residence: New York City and surrounding towns
Occupation: Studio Technician, Professional Criminal
First Appearance (Golden Age): More Fun Comics #80 (June 1942)

Character History

   No information is available about the early life of Hal Herman before he entered the motion picture industry.  His first job was as a a color technician where he became infatuated by the effects of color on human perceptions.  He immersed him in the study of chromatics and their impact on human psychology.  He developed the ability to manipulate human behavior through color coding and a helmet that broadcast an array of colored lights.  He eventually became a gag-man at Bisbey Studios, producing animated shorts in color and in secret, developed the criminal identity of Spectrum.

He first came to public notice in the summer of 1942 when he piloted the use of his new technology at a concert in which organist music was played while a sound-sensitive color display appeared on the screen.  In attendance was Jim (The Spectre) Corrigan, his date Clarice Winston and his sidekick Percival Poplaski.  Initially sedate, the music suddenly became wild and strident and the photo-electric cells in the screen began to pulse with angry colors of red.  To Corrigan's shock, the audience erupted into a riot, angrily attacking each other, including Poplaski and Clarice.  The undead Corrigan was unaffected by the display and charged the stage to stop the music.  The organist was undeterred and a swift change to the Spectre left him unconscious on the stage.  As soon as the music stopped, the crowd returned to normal.

Lurking in the shadows, henchmen of Spectrum had witnessed the entire event and reported back to their employer than his technology worked as planned. He proposed to rob a charity ball next and when his men were hesitant to steal from charity, a quick display of black light changed their minds.   That night, the charity ball was again attended by Corrigian, Clarice and Poplaski.  When the men made their move on the charity's cache, Corrigan investigated as the Spectre.  Circumstantially, Hal Herman was also in attendance in case his men needed extra incentive but as Corrigan was interrupted by Poplaski, Clarice chose to dance with Herman.  When Corrigan attempts to interrogate Spectrum's henchmen, the delivery of a bright-red scarf renders them mute.

Herman became smitten with Clarice and began to plot earnestly to rid himself of Corrigan.  When Corrigan vanished to deal with Spectrum's henchmen, Herman offered Clarice a ride home. Told that she was true to Corrigan, Herman invited them to a studio tour where he tries to kill Corrigan and failing that, kidnaps them both as Spectrum and uses blue light to convince Clarice to elope with him.  As the make their escape, Spectrum unmasks and tells Corrigan that the light show he will activate will kill him through sheer madness.  Not realizing Corrigan is immune, he departs but when the coast is clear, Corrigan becomes the Spectre and pursues him.  Alarmed by the hero's appearance, Herman flees in his car but in his panic, loses control and crashes in a paint factory, where the Spectre finds him dead, drowned in colored paint

Whether Spectrum was truly dead and whatever became of his technology if so is unknown.

spectrum INKS resize


Powers and Abilities

The exact nature of Spectrum's technology is unclear.  It possessed a range of psychoactive properties, inspiring fear, rage, obedience or madness.  It effects could be immediate or delayed, to be activated when a specific color is seen.  The most obvious example is that embedded in Spectrum's helmet but he also incorporated into a number of projected and other smaller devices.  The full extent of these effects is unknown.

Weaknesses and Limitations

Without his technology, Herman was an ordinary human with no special abilities.  The limits and weaknesses of his technology have not been defined.  His undoing stemmed not from his lack of criminal acumen but rather from his infatuation with Clarice Winston, leading him to a series of tactical errors.

Multiversity Villains


No version of Spectrum has been documented in any other timeline but Earth-Two




Reprinted in

More Fun Comics #80

First Appearance, vs. The Spectre