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Comic Book / Ragman

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You keep talking ideology, Robin. The rest of us live in a very real world. In Gotham there are usually only choices between evil and lesser evil. While the gangs seek to protect what little is theirs, who is the real instigator of their violence? Who stands to gain the most[?]
Ragman, Robin

Ragman is a DC Comics character created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. He first appeared as the title character of his own series in 1976.

Rory Regan is Ragman, the latest in a long line of family members entrusted to wear the Suit of Souls and protect the Jewish community they are part of, and their community as a whole from those whose souls have been corrupted by their own evil actions. As a Gotham native Rory keeps plenty busy at home but has also found time to be part of several teams including Shadowpact and the Sentinels of Magic.

In his civilian life Rory runs a junkstore called Rags 'n Tatters which is another bit of inheritance from his father and is where he found the suit. He is entirely unaffiliated with Gotham's other patchwork hero Simon Dark.

Ragman appears in:

Notable Comic Books
  • Ragman Vol 1 (1976 - 1977)
  • Ragman Vol 2 (1991 - 1992)
  • Ragman: Cry of the Dead (1993 - 1994)
  • Day Of Judgment (1999 - 1999)
  • Shadowpact (2006 - 2008)
  • Ragman: Suit of Souls (2010)
  • Ragman Vol 3 (2017 - 2018)
Live-Action TV
  • Arrow (2016 - ) (played by Joe Dinicol)

The Character

  • Ambiguously Jewish: Rory was often thought to be Jewish by fans during the comic's original run in the 1970s — his status as the son of an impoverished immigrant who worked collecting old fabric, ownership of a pawn shop in a very Lower East Side-like neighborhood of Gotham and ambiguous appearance sealed the deal. The second run as a '90s Anti-Hero not only canonized his Jewishness, but made it central to the character.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: Rory once started losing control to the dammed souls in the suit.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The Suit of Souls is the source of Rory's powers.
  • Creepy Good: He even creeps out his allies and on occasion himself since he cannot prevent the suit from absorbing and killing his most vile foes.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He wears a suit of dammed souls and can steal the souls of the living turning them into empty husks, but he is one of the good guys.
  • Detect Evil: He can sense evil souls.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: He has vague precognitive dreams which don't contain enough information for him to use them in order to decide how to prevent or otherwise react to them.
  • Empathic Healer: He is a walking purgatory, taking the souls of killers. They get redemption by sharing his wounds. Distributed widely enough, they remain relatively unaffected. Some souls get 'permanent' injuries. Taking on enough injuries (or giving strength to Ragman) raises the Karma level, sooner or later, a Good Afterlife results.
  • Hearing Voices: Rory can hear the voices of the dead imprisoned in his suit.
  • Horrifying Hero: His suit turns him into a superpowered but terrifying protector.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Acquiring the memories of people’s deaths is not always very comfortable.
  • In a Single Bound: He can jump really high.
  • I See Dead People: He can speak with the dead and see their memories.
  • Legacy Character: In-universe, the suit (and its former forms) has been passed down since 1812 BC, and his father wore it before him.
  • Living Clothes: The Suit of Souls has a mind of its own.
  • Magnetic Medium: When wearing the suit Rory finds interactions with souls unavoidable.
  • Power Floats: His suit allows him to levitate.
  • Psychic Powers: As well as access to the memories of the souls inside the suit, and the dying memories of others if in contact with the clothes they were wearing when they died before the memories fade, he has vague precognitive dreams which don’t contain enough information for him to learn anything from them.
  • Psychometry: He can see events from late in someone's life including their deaths by touching the clothes they were wearing when they died.
  • Religion is Magic: He gains his powers from a Judaic artifact created as a replacement for the Golem of Prague.
  • Religious Bruiser: The suit was specifically built to help protect Jewish communities.
  • Superhero Sobriquets: "Tatterdemalion of Justice".
  • Super-Toughness: His suit gives him improved durability.
  • Telepathy: He can form a limited mental connection with the population of the neighborhood he is protecting over time.
  • Teleportation: His suit allows him to teleport and can also teleport him itself if it senses the situation is hopeless or that he is required elsewhere.
  • Weak to Fire: The suit's weakness to fire is a failsafe built in by the Rabbis who created it.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: He can steal souls and leave the person’s body an Empty Shell, and his suit will sometimes do this against his wishes.

Ragman Volume 1

  • Alliterative Name: Rory's reporter girlfriend is named Bette Berg.
  • Blind Black Guy: Teddy is a blind black boy.
  • Cute Mute: Teddy is a blind and mute orphan who Rory saves from being murdered for witnessing a crime and whom he and Bette discuss adopting.
  • Cut Short: The ongoing was canceled at issue five. The cover for the canceled issue six appeared later in the Cancelled Comic Cavalcade but there was no accompanying story.
  • Death by Origin Story: Rory's father Gerry and three of his friends were murdered by some gangsters but managed to pass on memories and strength to Rory as they died, prompting him to become the hero Ragman.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: After saving Teddy's life Rory starts visiting the boy at the orphanage and his girlfriend mentions wanting to adopt Teddy for real.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Rory himself was a veteran of the Vietnam War in his first outing.

Ragman Volume 2

  • Alliterative Name: Betty Boyg, a Regan family friend and Rory's employee at Rags 'n Tatters.
  • The Cameo: Batman pays a visit in a couple of issues.
  • Death by Origin Story: Gerry Regan gets killed in a drive by shooting, thereby motivating his son to act as a hero and passing down the family legacy.
  • Flawed Prototype: The previous Jewish defender the Suit of Souls was created to replace was called Golem and needed to be replaced because lacking a soul and having that kind of power turned the construct dangerous and monstrous.

Ragman Volume 3

  • Real Is Brown: Rory's suit in this continuity is leeched of the multicolored multi-patterned hodge-podge it was in the past, leaving him instead looking more like a bandage wrapped mummy to tone down the visual fantasy of it. He doesn't even wear his green cloak.