5704 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon)

Space Ghost


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Space Ghost Saturday morning cartoon show which ran on CBS for two seasons, 1966-68. It was often known as Space Ghost and Dino-Boy in the Lost Valley since the show consisted of two “Space Ghost” episodes with an episode of “Dino-Boy in the Lost Valley” between them.

This profile is also based on the 1981 Space Ghost episodes that appeared on the Space Stars show. Those episodes are compatible with and reasonable sequels to the original episodes (as long as we only count the Space Ghost, Herculoids and Teen Force segments and leave out the Astro-Mutt stuff).

However, as much as I thought Space Ghost: Coast to Coast was funny, this writeup considers it to be a parody or spoof- which it clearly was- rather than canon.

Space Ghost was created by Alex Toth (visual design) and by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. He was voiced by Gary Owen. Jace was voiced by Tim Matheson, Jan by Ginny Tyler and Blip by Don Messick.

So, why write Space Ghost up? It’s not that complicated. I bought the Complete Space Ghost collection (online streamed version) from Amazon. So, since I was going to watch all the episodes through more than once anyway (it’s a tough job but somebody had to do it), I decided I might as well do a writeup.

At the time I started this, I did not know about the much older writeup by DCH community member Randy Patton. I’ve gone through and tried to draw a compromise on the stats between my image of Space Ghost and his. This profile is thus considered a co-op work.

Anyone interested in this profile may be interested in writeups about characters Space Ghost crossed over with. To my knowledge, such writeups that currently exist are the writeup on the Herculoids by Sean MacDonald; and the Mighty Mightor writeup.


Background

Space Ghost

  • Real Name: Unrevealed
  • Marital Status: Single (whether he was ever married is unknown and completely unaddressed)
  • Known Relatives: Jan and Jace (twins who are clearly his wards; whether he has officially adopted them is unrevealed)
  • Group Affiliation: His own group consisting of himself, Jan, Jace and Blip
  • Base Of Operations: The Ghost Planet
  • Known Associates: The Herculoids, the Teen Force and, possibly, the Galaxy Trio
  • One-time only acquaintances: Mightor, Shazzan and Moby Dick (although, technically, it was Jan and Jace who met the latter, not Space Ghost)
  • Height: 6’2” (from Alex Toth’s design sketches) Weight: 200 lbs. (estimated)
  • Hair: Unrevealed (as he is never seen without his cowl) Eyes: Unrevealed (as the coverings always are blank white)

Jace

  • Real Name: Jace (last name unrevealed)
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Jan (twin sister), Space Ghost (guardian or, possibly, adoptive father)
  • Group Affiliation: Space Ghost’s group
  • Base Of Operations: The Ghost Planet
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 140 lbs.
  • Hair: Red-Brown Eyes: Brown

Jan

  • Real Name: Jan (last name unrevealed)
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Jace (twin brother), Space Ghost (guardian or, possibly, adoptive father)
  • Group Affiliation: Space Ghost’s group
  • Base Of Operations: The Ghost Planet
  • Height: 5’4” Weight: 115 lbs.
  • Hair: Blonde Eyes: Blue

Blip

  • Real Name: Blip
  • Species: Space Monkey
  • Group Affiliation: Space Ghost’s group
  • Base Of Operations: The Ghost Planet
  • Height: 2 feet give or take, Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Fur: Brown Eyes: Brown


Video

The somewhat odd intro to Space Ghost. Spaaaaacce… ghoooosssst! (those are the lyrics).


Powers & Abilities

Strictly speaking, Space Ghost has no powers other than Invulnerability and a superhuman level of strength and durability. But he has an array of technology that is advanced beyond even the best technology of the space-faring culture he lives in.

The Ghost Planet itself contains an array of advanced computers as well as hangars for his starship, the Phantom Cruiser, and the space shuttles of his wards, Jan and Jace. It also contains numerous workshops.

Considering that the Phantom Cruiser seems to have been destroyed in one episode and yet shows up in the next one, it would be reasonable to assume he either has more than one or that he can build a new one rapidly.

In the second series, he had a new version of the Phantom Cruiser. Whether the changes were merely cosmetic or updated technology is unknown as the abilities appeared to be the same.

He also has a communications device capable of galactic distances worn at his throat and a belt that renders him invisible at the push of a button. But his greatest technological possessions are his power bands.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon) flying fists first

Their origin, like all of his technology, is unknown. The assumption at the time was that he invented them as no other explanation was ever given. Strictly speaking, no explanation of any sort was given for how he got them.

They are capable of firing beams of any sort of energy as well as constructing force fields, giving him flight powers faster than even his starship, emitting magnetic forces and so on. They seem to be keyed so that only Space Ghost and his allies (Jan, Jace and Blip) can use them.

Finally, he has his body suit that gives him the capacity to withstand the cold and vacuum of outer space.

Blip

Randy, in his original writeup, states: “Although a normal spider monkey to outward appearances, Blip clearly understood human speech and displayed enough intelligence to summon Space Ghost to the rescue whenever Jan and Jase were endangered. He manipulated buttons, switches and computer controls with ease, used standard Ghost Patrol equipment, and was shown at least once to be capable of piloting the Phantom Cruiser.”

To paraphrase from the original, Blip often seemed smarter than Jan and Jace and even Space Ghost. Or, it may be he was just more cautious. At the very least, he seemed to remember he could turn invisible and actually used the power. Although I haven’t kept a list, I think he saved Space Ghost by sneaking in and activating the power bands more times than Jan and Jace combined.


History

A “history” of a character like this is almost a contradiction in terms. Things are implied but never certain.

The man called Space Ghost is a galaxy spanning superhero that has a base on a desolate and isolated world called the Ghost Planet. Whether he has any legal authority or not is unknown though it is implied strongly that he does.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon) flying invisibly, with title

How long he has known the twins, Jan and Jace, is also unknown as is how they came to be his wards. By the time we first meet him, he has arrayed a huge gallery of rogues, almost all of them opponents he had encountered before the stories we see. It is not even clear what century the stories are taking place in and there is contradictory information.

The first adventure we see takes place on Jupiter and involves a “Heat Thing”, a monster of molten lava that emerges from the ground. It threatens Jan and Jace until Space Ghost arrives and drives it back into the ground. No explanation for how it came into existence is given.

The first of his arch enemies we encounter is Zorak. This locust-like creature escapes from prison and heads straight for Space Ghost to get revenge and promptly ends up right back in prison.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon)'s space cruiser in the night sky

He is followed by a long line of enemies Space Ghost has allegedly faced before:

  • Creature King who has a high tech helmet giving him control over animals
  • the scheming Black Widow (no relation to the Marvel character) who was sometimes instead called the Spider Woman (again, no relation to the Marvel character)
  • Metallus, seemingly an android who had developed a missile with which he threated to destroy Earth and the Sandman (no relation to any other character of that name) who sought to master mind control but Space Ghost always resisted (and, to be honest, the Sandman was not very good at it as mind control science and technology seemed highly experimental in the Space Ghost setting).

The Council of Doom

The second season of the show consisted of 6 segments over the first 3 weeks followed by reruns from the first season. These 6 segments set up the only continuing plot that ran from segment to segment and were mostly designed to have Space Ghost cross over with the new lineup of CBS Saturday morning superheroes.

Six of Space Ghost’s enemies (Zorak, Creature King, Moltor, Metallus, Black Widow/ Spider Woman and Brak) team up and each take a turn trying to kill Space Ghost. One attempt accidentally creates a time warp that sends Space Ghost into the prehistoric past (Hanna-Barbera version) where he meets the Mighty Mightor.

The time trip seems to mess up Space Ghost’s Power Bands for a minute. In modern vernacular, they need a minute to reboot. During that time, Mightor saves Space Ghost from an attacking monster. Although Space Ghost does not have the power to time travel, neither did his opponent who accidentally opened the time warp due to the conditions in that exact place.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon) in the cockpit with his friends

He is then able to tap the residual energy and reverse it, snapping himself back to his present.

In another segment, Space Ghost met the Herculoids. It was established later in the 1980s show that he met them many times and was friends with them.

In another segment, Jan and Jace met the Hanna-Barbera version of the Great White Whale, Moby Dick . Interestingly enough, they referred to Earth as simply “That planet down there” as if they were not familiar with it though earlier episodes had them on Earth.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon) episode title card for the Heat Thing

Also, presumably, the “Moby Dick” adventures took place in the present day (1960s) and yet there was no time travel involved in the meeting. The Moby Dick adventures could potentially be taking place in the future though.

No Powers versus Magic- sometimes

Perhaps the most interesting one was when one of his enemies intentionally banished Space Ghost to another dimensional reality. This was a version of ancient Arabia where he met the genie, Shazzan . Space Ghost’s power bands were portrayed as being completely ineffective against magic and magical creatures.

Shazzan defeated a dragon that attacked him and then sent him back to his own reality.

Despite the segment presenting Shazzan’s setting as another reality, the “Shazzan” show itself presented Shazzan’s setting as being in the ancient past. Also, the 1980s show presented Space Ghost’s powers as being effective against magic though magic was presented as a force possibly greater than anything else he went up against.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon) flying with the space patrol

The Shazzan setting could be explained as the ancient past of a different reality than Space Ghost’s. The magic of the setting could be different than that of the Space Ghost setting where magic was extremely rare.

The 1980s show brought a new gallery of rogues including space sharks, “The Sorceress” who somehow used technology to fuel her “magic” and a number of others. This second Space Ghost series was notable for toning down the fight scenes of pure fantasy “violence” that 1960s cartoons were so criticized for. It also added a bit of plot and characterization though not to any great degree.


Alternate Histories

Basic version

In order to have any real background on Space Ghost, it is necessary to delve into speculation. My personal and preferred background is one that does not require tremendous creation of background but works.

He was a prodigy, both physically and mentally, who was horrified by the injustice in the universe. As a “Warrior-Scientist”, he developed the Power Bands and his other technology. He arrived on the scene of a crime too late to save the parents of Jan and Jace but soon enough to save them. He soon adopted them. As any good father would, he got them a pet, a space monkey named Blip.

DC Comics version

A more developed origin is the one DC Comics did. In that version, his wife was murdered and he met a “monk” possessing secret technology beyond anything known in the galaxy. The “monk” mentioned that all Space Ghost wanted was revenge and that justice was not even a blip on his radar, an in-joke used to make it clear that he represented the one character that was otherwise missing.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon)'s space ship flying over a desert

Zorak was a hive mind and Brak emerged as Space Ghost’s greatest enemy as he was behind the murder of Space Ghost’s wife. Space Ghost’s real name was Thaddeus Bach in this version.

He found a pre-teenage Jan and Jace and, through some rough spots, took them in and started learning to be a father. Perhaps he later got them a monkey named Blip thereby making it genuinely a prequel leading to the adventures we know from the 1960s and 1980s.

However, we would have to squint a bit and pretend those old adventures were far more realistic than they really were. Much as modern DC comics present Silver Age  characters as being far more true to life than they really were in the Silver Age.


Description

Space Ghost is a tall, muscular man of probably middle age with a square jaw and a deep, resonant voice.


Personality

Space Ghost is the classic Silver Age hero. He speaks in clipped sentences, sharp and to the point. “Wanna play rough, eh?” is an example of his dialogue.

On the other hand, he jokes around with Jan and Jace. But he is also clearly their guardian. Confronted with an accident that was unintentional, “I know it was an accident. That’s why I’m taking away your space shuttle privileges for a week instead of a month.”


Quotes

“Oh, come now, Jan. You know there’s no such things as- ghosts.”

“There’s a lesson here- somewhere.”

Jace: “Jan’s his insurance that you won’t interfere.”
Space Ghost: “When he took Jan, his insurance ran out.”


DC Universe History

While DC did a Space Ghost mini-series, it was set outside of the DCU in its own setting. Since the Space Ghost of the original and 1980s shows is clearly the equivalent of a Silver Age character, I think the most logical way that he would exist in the Silver Age DCU or even a Post-Crisis or later update, would be as a Green Lantern.

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon) deflecting something in flight

Instead of making or receiving power bands, the guardians simply choose him as a GL. He could be from another space sector rather than Earth. Or, going with the idea he is in the future, he could be a future GL of Earth, keeping in mind that the idea that the Green Lantern Corps eventually would not exist was not always a Silver Age concept.

Or he could even be Space Ghost instead of a GL and be associated with the Legion of Super Heroes. He probably could not be on the team since he is older and uses technology, having no inherent powers let alone powers none of the Legionnaires have.


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Space Ghost

Dex: 08 Str: 12 Bod: 08 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 09 Wil: 08 Min: 08 Occupation: Galactic Superhero
Inf: 09 Aur: 07 Spi: 09 Resources {or Wealth}: Special (See Notes)
Init: 028 HP: 125

Powers:
Invulnerability: 10

Skills:
Charisma: 07, Gadgetry: 14, Martial Artist: 02, Scientist*: 09, Vehicles (Space): 10, Weaponry (Exotic)*: 08

Advantages
Area Knowledge (The Milky Way Galaxy), Buddy: Jan, Jace and Blip (aka the Ghost Patrol), Genius, Headquarters (Expansive (The Ghost Planet)), Iron Nerves, Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Luck, Omni-Connection, Popularity, Scholar (Space Villains and exotic space phenomena)

Connections:
Interstellar law enforcement (High)

Drawbacks:
Arch Enemy (Various – Zorak, Creature King, Moltor, Metallus, Spider Woman/ Black Widow, Brak), Minor Irrational Attraction toward Overconfidence, Public Identity

Equipment:

  • BODY SUIT [BODY 05, Sealed Systems: 15]
  • Inviso-Power Belt [BODY 10, Invisibility: 15]
  • Phantom Cruiser starship [BODY 16, Str: 15, Energy Blast: 15 (Cold Ray), Energy Blast: 15 (Heat Ray), Flame Immunity: 10 (Freeze Mist), Flight: 50, Force Field: 08, Invisibility: 15 (Inviso-Power), Mystic Freeze: 20, Radar Sense: 25, Radio Communication: 60 (Includes Visual: FC +1), Recall: 15 (represents the ship’s computer), Sealed Systems: 20, Snare: 15, Telekinesis: 10, Hardened Defenses]
  • Mask/Chest Insignia [BODY 01, Radio Communication: 50]
  • Power Bands [BODY 18, Energy Blast: 18, Flight: 50, Force Field: 10 (Attacks can be channeled through. FC +1), Magnetic Control: 30, Snare: 15, Telekinesis: 10, Paralysis: 15, Power Reserve: 08 (this can be used for any power in the power bands), Hardened Defenses. The power bands have a limitation that Space Ghost must have his hands free to push the buttons in order to activate the powers or an ally can push them for him.]

Space Ghost (Hanna Barbera cartoon) caught in webbing


Jan

Dex: 04 Str: 01 Bod: 02 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Sidekick
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: NA
Init: 012 HP: 025

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging)*: 04, Detective (Police Procedure): 05, Gadgetry (Identify): 03, Martial Artist: 02, Vehicles (Space): 02

Advantages
Area Knowledge (Milky Way Galaxy), Buddy (Jace and Blip)

Connections:
Space Ghost (High), Interstellar law enforcement (High)

Drawbacks:
Age (Young), Public Identity

Equipment:

  • Body Suit [BODY 05, Sealed Systems: 15]
  • Inviso-Power Belt [BODY 10, Invisibility: 15]
  • Chest Insignia [BODY 01, Radio Communication: 50]
  • Jet Pack [BODY 02, Str: 02, Flight: 06, R# 02]
  • Space Shuttle [BODY 11, Str: 12, Flight: 15, Flame Immunity: 05, Radar Sense: 20, Sealed Systems: 20, Hardened Defenses, R# 03]

Space Ghost's planet (original version)

The Space Ghost’s planet


Jace

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 02 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Sidekick
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: NA
Init: 011 HP: 025

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging)*: 03, Detective (Police Procedure): 05, Gadgetry (Identify): 04, Martial Artist: 02, Vehicles (Space): 02, Weaponry (Exotic – Laser): 02

Advantages
Area Knowledge (Milky Way Galaxy), Buddy (Jan and Blip)

Connections:
Space Ghost (High), Interstellar law enforcement (High)

Drawbacks:
Age (Young), Public Identity

Equipment:

  • Body Suit [BODY 05, Sealed Systems: 15]
  • Inviso-Power Belt [BODY 10, Invisibility: 15]
  • Chest Insignia [BODY 01, Radio Communication: 50]
  • Jet Pack [BODY 02 STR 02, Flight: 06, R# 02]
  • Space Shuttle [BODY 11, STR 12, Flight: 15, Flame Immunity: 05, Radar Sense: 20, Sealed Systems: 20, Hardened Defenses, R# 03]
  • Laser Pistol [Body: 04, AV: 03, EV: 04, Range: 06, Ammo: 10, R# 02]

Space Ghost' planet (in the Space Stars version)

The Space Ghost’s planet (version seen in Space Stars)


Blip

Dex: 07 Str: 00 Bod: 02 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 02 Wil: 03 Min: 02 Occupation: Sidekick
Inf: 01 Aur: 03 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: NA
Init: 012 HP: 015

Powers:
Cold Immunity: 01, Extra Limb (Prehensile Tail): 00, Shrinking: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:
Shrinking is always on and Already Factored In

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 07, Thief (Stealth)*: 07, Vehicles (Space): 02

Advantages
Attractive (for simians only), Buddy (Jan and Jace), Lightning Reflexes

Connections:
Space Ghost (High)

Drawbacks:
Serious Physical Restriction (Can only speak intelligibly to other monkeys); Miscellaneous (thought of by most people as a pet though he clearly has an intellect that rivals the average human)

Equipment:

  • Body Suit [BODY 05, Sealed Systems: 15]
  • Inviso-Power Belt [BODY 10, Invisibility: 15]
  • Chest Insignia [BODY 01, Radio Communication: 50]
  • Jet Pack [BODY 02 STR 02, Flight: 06, R#02]

Space Ghost's space cruiser (Space Stars version)

The version of the Phantom Cruiser seen in Space Stars


Design Notes

I could have given Space Ghost a Wealth of 21 or more but his resources are basically incalculable. He has sole control of an entire planet with massive facilities.

The Strength score of the Phantom Cruiser represents its carrying capacity, as usual.

Gadgetry is a judgement call. In the original cartoons from the 1960s and the 1980s as well, there was never any explanation for Space Ghost’s origin or how he got his Power Bands, other equipment or the Ghost Planet. Even if he did not design and build them all himself, he seems the only one to fully understand their functions and be able to repair them.

So I find the Gadgetry skill justified regardless of whether or not he is the designer of the technology he possesses, technology that clearly seems to be above everything else even in his high tech setting.

The Energy Blast power of the Power Bands is really an endless variety of energy blasts. Space Ghost calls them by a variety of names: Energy Bolts, Energy Force, Energy Power, Force Energy Power, Force Ray, Freeze Force, Heat Field, Megaton Force and Stun Ray among others. Basically, he can fire any kind of energy from his Power Bands.

The Power Bands seemed to be keyed so that Space Ghost, Jan, Jace and even Blip could use them but no one else. There were several episodes where he was captured and the Power Bands taken. Yet, despite their being the most powerful weapons in their known universe, his enemies never used them. In one case, an opponent even wore them as a trophy of victory but never tried to use them even when the tables were turned.

Space Ghost's space cruiser (Space Stars design)

The version of the Phantom Cruiser seen in Space Stars

Yet there were countless times when Jan, Jace or even Blip hit the buttons and activated their powers when Space Ghost was restrained. Granted that writers and audiences did not think in terms of computers and programming when the show was on, but the most reasonable assumption was that they were programmed to be usable by those four individuals.

Regarding his body suit that grants him the “Sealed Systems” power, this was a running joke because it seemed that, in the Hanna-Barbera superhero universe, there was air in outer space and atmospheric pressure. By default, everybody in the universe had infinite “Sealed Systems”. But, for purposes of this writeup, I will assume they really always had some sort of device on them to protect them.

Regarding the Overconfidence drawback, as Randy put it, “With stats like these, wouldn’t you be, too?”

Paraphrasing Randy, the Flight power level may seem ridiculous but Space Ghost routinely crossed vast galactic distances, sometimes the entire length of the Galaxy, within minutes to hours. Combining his Flight and Power Reserve, he has few limits on his travel speed.

I decided to go with Public Identity rather than Secret Identity. Though he wears a mask, there is no evidence that Space Ghost ever tried to maintain any sort of other existence outside of being Space Ghost. Also, his enemies regularly launched attacks on the Ghost Planet as they knew where he lived and who his loved ones were.

The Genius advantage slants towards my view that Space Ghost invented his tech. Randy seems to share that opinion.

One of the practical reasons within the stories for Space Ghost needing to push the buttons on the power bands was that he was so powerful that the only means his enemies had of beating him was either to take hostages and get him to remove the bands or take advantage of his overconfidence (he would regularly stride into situations without activating his defenses first though, with his inherent durability and strength, that’s understandable) and snare him so he could not reach the buttons.


Design Notes for Blip

Blip can lift a maximum of 50 pounds, hence effective Strength is zero. Rumors that he also has Dark Secret (exiled ruler of simian planet) are unsubstantiated.

By Doug Mertaugh and Randy Patton

Helper(s): Amazon for the Complete Space Ghost (1966-68) collection including his crossovers with other heroes, the Gogo cartoons site  for access to the 1981 Space Stars episodes, Wikipedia because Wikipedia is always in there somewhere, William Chamberlin, Butch Rosenbalm and Roy Cowan.

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.