The Ray

Happy Terrill created by Will Eisner & Lou Fine
Ray Terrill by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada
Stan Silver created by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray

Ray I

NAME + ALIASES: Lanford " Happy" Terrill, Neon II

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Gayle Terrill (wife, deceased), Joshua Terrill (Spitfire, son), Nadine (ex-wife), Raymond C. Terrill (Ray II, son), Thomas H. Terrill (brother, deceased), Hank (nephew)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS: Freedom Fighters, All-Star Squadron

FIRST APPEARANCE: Smash Comics #14 (Sept. 1940)

APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Squadron #31-35, 50
  • Black Condor #10
  • Black Lightning v.1 #11
  • Canceled Comics Cavalcade #1-2
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #5-7, 10, 12
  • DC Comics Presents #62
  • DC Super-Stars #10
  • Freedom Fighters, 15 issues (1976)
  • Justice League of America #107-108
  • The Ray v.1 #1-6
  • The Ray v.2 #1-11, 27-28
  • Smash Comics #14-40 (September 1940–February 1943)
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters v.2 #6-8

The Ray II

NAME + ALIASES: Raymond C. Terrill

KNOWN RELATIVES: Langford "Happy" Terrill (Ray I, father), Nadine Terrill (mother), Joshua Terrill (Spitfire, half-brother), Thomas H. Terrill (uncle, deceased), Hank Terrill (cousin)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS: Justice League International, Forgotten Heroes, Young Justice, Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
The Ray v.1 #1 (February,1992)

APPEARANCES:

  • Black Condor #9-10
  • Freedom Fighters vol. 2 #1-9
  • Identity Crisis #1
  • JSA #49, 73
  • Justice League America #71-91
  • Justice League Task Force #0, 17-37
  • Justice League Quarterly #15
  • The Ray vol. 1, #1-6 (1992)
  • The Ray vol. 2, #1-28 (1994–96)
  • Resurrection Man #24-27
  • Teen Titans vol. 3 #21
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters vol. 1 #1-8 (2006)
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters vol. 2 #1-8 (2007) Young Justice #41-55

The Ray III

NAME + ALIASES:
Stan Silver

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
S.H.A.D.E., Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
DCU: Brave New World #1 (August 2006)

APPEARANCES:

Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters v.1 #1-8 (2006)

+ History

From Smash Comics #30 (1942). Art by Lou Fine.
Ray meets his father, the Ray, from The Ray v.1 #4 (1992); art by Joe Quesada.
Stan Silver, the Ray III. From Uncle Sam & the F. F. v.1 #6 (2007). Art by Daniel Acuña

The Ray is one of Quality’s most iconic and recognizable super-heroes, made so by the breakout artwork of Lou Fine. The character’s powers and costume were also fairly distinctive, and he has arguably enjoyed the most successful DC Comics reinvention of any Quality property—including Plastic Man. DC’s The Ray was an intensely personal series that delved into the character’s family life, but his Golden Age adventures did not. Happy Terrill only had a girlfriend for one issue. The Ray was created by Will Eisner and drawn by Lou Fine for nearly its entire run (through Smash Comics #34). This was just before Will Eisner went to war and Fine moved on to take over chores on “The Spirit.” Here (and on the sister strip “Black Condor”) Fine let loose and gave us some of his most dynamic and meticulous drawings. The Ray was featured on the cover (not drawn by Fine) every other month in Smash #17–27.

The Ray’s debut was promoted in Hit Comics #3 (Sept. 1940). His origin has been somewhat tweaked during the character’s DC lifetime. The essence remains the same, but many details were added to the early life of this hero in the pages of The Ray series. In both versions, cub reporter “Happy” Terrill was sent on an assignment to cover the launch of Prof. Styne’s “strato-balloon” into the upper atmosphere. Happy became a passenger on the balloon which encountered a “cosmic storm” that left him transformed into the Ray! (In his first adventure only, his legs were colored bare instead of yellow.) The balloon mission had also uncovered a powerful new gas, which was stolen by the thug, Anton Rox. (Smash Comics #14)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

The Ray II

Happy’s personal story at DC is one of the most extensive of all Quality characters. This is due to the success of the 1992 reinvention of the character in which Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada presented Happy’s son, Raymond: the new Ray. According to the series' editor, Christopher Priest, the series was modeled in part after his own pitch called "The Avenger."

The story of Happy Terrill’s sons began back during wartime. In 1946 he met his first wife, a woman named Gayle, and they had a son, Joshua Terrill, that same year. Joshua inherited his father’s powers and Happy chose to make him his sidekick, Spitfire. But his powers and mind were unstable and in a tantrum Joshua killed his own mother. Happy’s solution was to place eight-year-old Joshua in cryogenic suspension. (The Ray v.2 #28) Note: There was also a non-super-hero feature at Quality Comics called “Spitfire,” about U.S. Air Force soldier Tex Adams. He first appeared in Crack Comics #15 (Aug. 1941).

The story of Happy Terrill's sons began back during wartime. In 1946 he met his first wife, a woman named Gayle and they produced a son, Joshua Terrill, that same year. Joshua inherited his father's powers and Happy chose to make him his sidekick, Spitfire. But his powers and mind were unstable and in a tantrum Joshua killed his own mother. Happy's solution was to place eight-year-old Joshua in cryogenic suspension.Note: There was also a non-superhero feature at Quality Comics called "Spitfire," about U.S. Air Force soldier was Tex Adams. He first appeared in Crack Comics #15 (August 1941).


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

The Ray III

The third man to call himself the Ray was Stan Silver. He appeared as a part of Father Time’s metahuman strike force, S.H.A.D.E. (DCU: Brave New World) Silver was a handsome 26 year-old foreign correspondent for the Washington Sun who, similar to Happy Terrill, went into space and was exposed to radiation in space from a comet. This gave him the power to transform into solid light.


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

The Ray IV (Lucien Gates)

See separate profile.

+ Powers

The Ray could absorb light, heat and electromagnetic energies from outside sources, discharge these energies from his body, and modulate their intensities. The beams could be as harmless as regular light, or used as destructive laser blasts. He once used a “magni-ray” to allow him to take photographs with a miniature camera. The Ray was “charged” by the presence of light and could fly at super speeds.

His powers were not internally produced. If light was removed, he might fall from the sky until it was restored. The Ray could turn his body into immaterial light energy or conversely, create objects made of solid light. He once created a giant solid construct of himself. A similar application of power could be used to imprison him. Despite his fantastic powers, Happy often chose to fight his battles with his physical prowess. If he was not concentrating on his powers, he could revert to normal and be knocked out.

Ray Terrill inherited the same powers as his father. He requires the occasional “recharging” of his light powers from an external source. In the dark, he becomes powerless.

Appearances + References