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Doctor Occult is a magic user in the DC Comics universe. Created by Superman's creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Doctor Occult is the earliest character created by DC Comics still currently in use in its shared universe fiction.
The character first appeared in New Fun Comics #6 in 1935. He was a supernatural detective, whose detecting style was very much in the style of Sam Spade, only with supernatural abilities. He was assisted by his butler Jenkins. Later in the series he acquired a girlfriend/partner called Rose Psychic.
He also appeared in Centaur Publications' The Comics Magazine #1 under the name Dr. Mystic. This was the same character because his story "The Koth and the Seven" began in The Comics Magazine and continued in DC's More Fun Comics #14-17 (issues also designated as vol. 2 #2-5). In this story, he travels to a mystic realm where he flies and wears a cape, making him the first caped comic book superhero. This story also introduced the Seven, a group of mystics who would later be retconned into having raised Richard Occult and Rose Psychic. Doctor Occult made his last original appearance in More Fun Comics #32 in 1938.
Fictional character biography
Doctor Occult is resurrected nearly fifty years later in All-Star Squadron, a World War II-set title written in 1985. Unlike some of the other Golden Age characters Roy Thomas resurrected in that book, this did not lead to a renaissance for the character, possibly because he was actually pre-Golden Age, and possibly because he joined around the time the book was being affected by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which he played a significant role. In his current look, Doctor Occult wears a trenchcoat and fedora and wields a magic multi-faceted disc, the Symbol of Seven, as his primary magic weapon.
In 1991 Neil Gaiman brought the character back to public awareness, when he featured him in the miniseries The Books of Magic. In the third issue he acts as Tim Hunter's guide to otherworlds. When visiting Faerie, he transforms into Rose, something that is not explained in the story. Tim learns many important things from Dr. Occult, mainly not to accept any gifts whatsoever. This is all to guide Timothy on the role to him becoming the most powerful magician ever. The other guides on this mission are Mister E, the Phantom Stranger and John Constantine, who nicknames the group the Trenchcoat Brigade. The four would return later at a summons from Timothy, who having lost everything at that point, needs a new direction in life.
Later stories would continue the idea of Occult and Rose Psychic being one. There were two origin stories given, by DC, to explain how they became one person. The first was in Superman Annual#7, this was a 'year one' story to explain how Superman and Dr. Occult met. In the story Dr. Occult explained that Rose had been severely injured battling a creature named Thahn. Occult leads Superman, and the reader, to believe that Rose had been killed. So Superman is very shocked to later come in contact with Rose alive, and wonders where Occult is. When the story concludes Superman and Occult defeat Thahn but Superman did not see the two switch back, although the reader does. It is then revealed that the Seven who trained them saved Rose by allowing them to ‘time-share.’ Later, in the miniseries The Justice Society Returns, a new version explained that Doctor Occult was killed in battle with an otherworldly entity, and Rose bonded their souls together to restore him.
Sentinels of Magic
He/She plays a vital role in the Day of Judgement incident, helping to protect Earth from a full demonic invasion. Hell itself has emptied of demons and Earth was in danger from Asmodel, a fallen angel who had stolen the power of the Spectre. Battling on ravaged city streets, Occult works with other heroes, such as Katana, Batman, Phantom Stranger and Ragman but he specifically tries to protect Madame Xanadu. She had stolen some of Asmodel's power, weakening him considerably, and was hiding it behind a forcefield.
He would later be affected by the Spectre again. Confused and hostless, the Spectre destroys the Rock of Eternity resulting in scattering of fragments all over Gotham City. Several dozen mystically attuned heroes, including Doctor Occult, Phantom Stranger, Detective Chimp and Rex the Wonder Dog work together to free Gotham City from it's influence. Occult is briefly possessed by one of the semi-sentient 'Seven Sins of Man', which had been imprisoned in the Rock for some time. Soon, Gotham, and Occult are both cleared of demonic influence.
In the limited series Black Baptism, (May - August 01) Doctor Occult assists the JLA in battling a group of demons who stylize themselves after American mafia/gangsters. Partly motivated by revenge, they go after the Sentinels of Magic and other entities who have assisted in the in the 'Day of Judgement' incident. Occult is forced to go on the run, hiding as Rose in a magical hangout, 'the Scrap Bar'. He is attacked by three of the Diablos, who take the opportunity to try and kill the other magicians. Wonder Woman and Green Lantern rescue him and subdue the demons. He soon helps heal Superman, who had been injured by a magical 'worm-bullet'.
Doctor Occult later becomes a JSA reservist.
- Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (35th ed.)