Manhunter

Created by By Tex Blaisdell and Alex Kotzky
manhunter

NAME + ALIASES:
Donald "Dan" Richards (deceased)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Marcie Cooper (Harlequin II, granddaughter, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadron, Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Police Comics #8 (March 1942)

APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Squadron #31-32??
  • Infinity, Inc. #46-47, Annual ??
  • Manhunter v.4 #7-8
  • Police Comics #8-101 (March 1942–Aug. 1950)
  • Secret Origins v.3 #22 (1988)

SEE ALSO:

+ History

Manhunter's original uniform, from Police #8 (1942). Art by Alex Kotzky.
From Police #25 (1943). Art by Alex Blum?
Flanked by Harlequins old and new, Richards discovers that Thor is an android, from Infinity, Inc. #46 (1988); art by Vince Argondezzi.

Manhunter is a Quality character that is now deeply interwoven into the DC Universe mythology. As such, this profile begins with a DCU context, but after the character’s origin, his Quality adventures stand on their own.

In the DC Universe, the Manhunters were a race of androids created 3.5 billion years ago by the Guardians of the Universe. These Manhunters were conceived as a galactic police force, but over many millennia they came to resent their mission and their creators. For their impertinence, the androids were banished to all parts of the universe, where they gradually reorganized over the ages. The Guardians replaced the Manhunters with living agents, the Green Lantern Corps. In 1066, the Manhunters came to Earth, whose sector had no Green Lantern. When a Green Lantern finally debuted in the 1940s (Alan Scott, not a member of the Corps), the Manhunters recruited several new agents to monitor him. The first was Dan Richards. (Secret Origins v.3 #22)

Donald “Dan” Richards began his career in Empire City as a costumed hero after graduating from the police academy. Sadly, his name was called last, indicating that he’d finished last in his class. Richards’ excuse was that he’d spent much of his time profiling criminals and now could track anyone (this premise was quickly abandoned). His lady friend, Kit Kelly, was unimpressed by this and her brother, Jim, was also a policeman. When Jim was framed for ties to the mob, Richards resolved to use his special knowledge base to track the crook. (Police #8)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

DC

National’s (DC) Manhunter, Paul Kirk, first appeared one month after Quality’s, in Adventure Comics #73 (April 1942). When DC wrote the history of the android Manhunters in the 1980s, both Richards and Kirk were cast as secret agents of the androids.

Dan Richards retired his mask in 1950 but continued to serve as a police officer. There are no details regarding his personal life (only a couple of his Quality adventures included a love interest), but presumably fathered at least one daughter. Decades later, the android Manhunters reentered Dan’s life, asking to recruit his granddaughter, Marcie Cooper. Dan still wasn’t aware of their nefarious aims and he actually encouraged Marcie. Around that time, Cooper had become the girlfriend of the hero Obsidian and donned a costume herself, becoming the Harlequin III. But Marcie was truly evil and commanded Dan’s dog, Thor, to attack. Only then did Richards realize that Thor had been an android all those years. Cooper hunted her own grandfather, driving him off the road. (Infinity, Inc. #14, 46) He returned to confront Marcie, who shot him before she was taken down. (#47)

[ Q C. ]

Notes

The art on “Manhunter” was ever-changing, but it’s known that prominent artists such as Reed Crandall and Alex Kotzky drew a number of issues. Police #21 was a rarity, signed by John Cassone.

+ Powers

Manhunter had no superhuman powers. He relied on his physical ability, and police detective skills to find and capture his prey. Thor was an android with considerable super-strength, though this was not revealed until just before the dog’s destruction.