Let's play "Guess That Origin!"

That's right, kids, it's time for the game show sensation that's sweeping the nation, everyone's favorite super-villain costume design quiz we like to call "GUESS! THAT! ORIGIN!"


Judging from his costume, how did this unassuming "pool hall owner" (I'm not making that up) become the dreaded nefarious mildly irritating "Dr. Spectro"?

  1. Bitten by a radioactive "Lite Brite" set;
  2. Child of an unholy union between "The Dazzler" and "The Rainbow Rider";
  3. Body taken over by a sentient alien disco ball determined to make Earth dance to that funky beat ... til it is destroyed!! Or until they meet Olivia Newton John, one or the other.

You gotta love DC, the company whose mid-80's motto "No idea too ridiculous to publish" still serves as an inspiration to us all.

(Character and image © DC Comics, Inc. From "Who's Who in the DC Universe: Update '87".)

16 Responses to Let's play "Guess That Origin!"

  1. Anarchangel says:

    Became trapped under a fallen christmas tree and and melded with the lights.

  2. Niall Mor says:

    Fell into an oil slick and then collided with a gumball machine?

  3. Ulfgard says:

    A strange mishap at Studio 54 when the mirrored ball accidentally fell on an unsuspecting chiropractor. The electrical discharge,flashy bits, coupled with all of the “chemicals” that were present resulted in! (Dum dum DUM!!!) Dr.SPECTRO!

  4. William Brust says:

    A radioactive gumball machine.

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    @William Brust (#3) and Niall Mor (#2): And his catchphrase would be “Chew on THIS, hero!” I love it!

  6. Joshua says:

    Frank Conway was your basic run-of-the-mill “jack of all trades”, never quite finishing the 70’s, let alone high school. He dug in what few roots he had in the dried-up town of Dead River, Arizona, living from paycheck to pink slip through a variety of jobs, and then there was his passion: billiards. Which he managed to open his own game room with the help of taking out two mortgages on his trailer. Then in 1986, Frank took a custodian job at Perez Int.– a dummy corporation of LexCorp used to dump toxins and radioactive waste, or as Frank put it, “All I do is mop and scrub; I ain’t never seen nor heard nobody a’ dumpin’ any s*%# on my watch.”. That was until one night, while pouring out some Stygian mop water, Frank overheard some loaders scream obscenities and looked to see what was going on. As he turned the corner, he felt the splashback of uranium coolant coat his skin. And before the men in hazmat suits bothered to react, Frank left, cursing and wiping the poison from his eyes. He headed to Spruce’s Market for a beer and a Hustler, but the waste begun to take its toll. He collapsed onto a gumball machine, sending the spherical yum-yums all over him. When he awoke, he discovered two things that stayed with him for life: 1). He had gained flight and the power to alter his density, and 2). It burns when he pees now. Rather than naming himself, Jawbreaker (…which he mistook for the gumballs.) he named himself after his favorite band, Dr. Hook, and his favorite wrestler, Spectro. Now, he knew he would be laughed out of the Justice League, so he turned to crime. Yes, petty crime, like robbing convenience stores for beer and porn, but crime nevertheless!!

  7. TheNate says:

    The real story: He invented a series of prisms that can control human emotions.

    I’m not kidding. That’s the real deal:

  8. William A. Peterson says:

    Actually, the REAL origin is pretty silly…
    “Dr. Spectro” was originally a fictional villain who (supposedly) opposed Captain Atom, back before Cap had his real origin…
    So, the U.S. Military designed this charming outfit, to create a Villain to match their fictional backstory!

  9. Jeff Hebert says:

    I’m pretty sure their leaving out the part where he gets bitten by a radioactive Lite Brite set was just a typo.

  10. Kalkin says:

    Silly goons like this one are the reason why I stopped reading DC comics in late ’80s. (apart from few nice Other worlds stories)

  11. Dan Gonzalez says:

    A boy genius who was on TV to show off his mental acumen by simultaneously playing Simon for hours while successively solving Rubick’s cubes. A freak lightning storm super-energized the TV camera which created a reality vortex, momentarily transforming him and the Simon and the Rubick’s cubes into pure energy. When he came to, he was Simon Rubick.

    “Solve this, moron!”
    “Follow the blinking lights, Nancy-boy!”

  12. Jose Inoa says:

    [#6. Joshua] YOU friggin’ rocked it. Damn, that is funny!
    Now let’s see the Lite Brite fetish man cross the street at night…

  13. Al says:

    I’d say he was a disco dancer who was attacked by a group of highly-organized paintball warriors from space. The radioactive paintballs (hence the glowing) gave him the ability to make people’s eyes burn at the sheer horror of his poor fashion sense combined with their bright, neon colors.

    If not that, then I’d go for the Lite Brite.

  14. Rob Rogers says:

    Yeah, yeah. Hate if you must. But Captain Atom was one of the smartest, best written comics of the 80s, bar none. I miss the hell out of that comic and wish DC hadn’t screwed the Captain Atom character over so badly with crappy, out-of-character writing.

  15. Bael says:

    This is his punishment for trying to assassinate Santa Claus for not giving him a Lite Bright as a child. Those elves in the protective detail are all about the irony.

  16. Frankie says:

    Johnny “Coolspecs” Grumber was in a mood. He had to take money from a loan shark to save his pool hall, BALLS & BEERS. He had to think of a way to make money fast, so he wouldn’t loose his business and/or have his legs broken. He came to the conclusion that he would have to become a criminal, but not just any criminal, he would be a super criminal. His logic was, if a superhero is better at his job than a hero, than so would a super criminal be better than a criminal. He knew what he would do, now all he needs to do is figure out how he’d go about doing it. He needed a snappy name, a costume and superpowers. But, that would have to wait till later, it was getting late and he still had to get to the video rental store to buy a movie to watch with the kids.

    When Johnny got home and everyone had settled into the livingroom, he popped a tape into the vcr and pressed play. The movie was, NATIONAL LAMPOONS’ CHRISTMAS VACATION. It was a good choice, Johnny thought. The kids were loving it. Then it happened, johnny was intrigued by the chaos that was caused to the Griswald’s neighbors by the brightness of a shitload of lights that Clark had strung around his house. That’s it, Johnny thought. if I can distract the people that I rob with a lot of blinking, flashing lights, it will make my thievery easy, making me a super criminal without actually having any super powers. Plus, i can crank up the wattage blinding everyone, so that if i get caught, no one will be able to prove that it was me, so I’ll never get convicted.

    Johnny smiled gleefully, the BALLS & BEERS would be saved. And, he just came up with the perfect moniker, when his youngest kid asked for another Dr. Pepper.