Mark Preston was born with a silver spoon in his mouth… a lost child. On a lark, following his path to enlightenment, he flew to Tibet to study martial arts from the ancient Masters. While there, strange, unusual powers suddenly began to manifest themselves within him. The Tibetan Masters called it a gift from the gods, and with the help of their greatest mystics he began to control them. Summoning the Yin of darkness and negative Chi, he now calls himself Black Spectre and battles injustice and evil wherever he finds it. “My teachings have taught me that the greatest fear of evil men is that of the unknown. Therefore, I will transform myself into a living mystery. A man hardly real, barely seen. A dark shade. A Black Spectre…”

Upon returning to his home, Mark Preston began the painstaking job of rebuilding his old life as a wealthy dilletante while creating the persona of Black Spectre. Not soon after, a long time friend, confidant and hero named Star Tzar suggested that Black Spectre's talents could best be used in the service of Paragon City to fight the encroaching evil that has begun there -- and that will undoubtledly spread to the rest of the world if not checked.

     The road has been hard and difficult, with many setbacks, and the fight against evil only grew as time passed. Yet also with the changing phases of the moon came more control over his powers, and the discovery and development of new powers. But perhaps most importantly has been the unlikely yet growing friendship he has struck with a number of heroes in Paragon City. Invited by the alluring Temptress and electrifing Voltanic, "Black" joined his first supergroup, The Patriots of Paragon. Later, he ran across The Cockroach, a mystically mutated insect and great hero. Although an official member of the Patriots of Paragon, Black also considered himself a concurrent member of The Roachbuddies, the Cockraoch's supergroup. Heroes from both supergroups worked together for many years. Through twists of fate and sorrowful tragedies, the membership of the Patriots of Paragon slowly dwindled away, like leaves blown in the wind, and the supergroup has all but become a relic. Only the leader of the group, Temptress', remains to keep the group's name alive. Black Spectre's honorary membership in the Roachbuddies grew into full membership and he now hangs his cape with the Bugs. Cokcaroach, Obsideon Zealot, Blueray, Zerotemp, Rough, Dorn, Lissandra, and Temptress constitute the core of heroes who band together with Black Spectre almost daily to strike fear into the heart of evil throughout the City of Heroes.




Newspaper Clippings


Black-Out Hour Radio Show

Genesis of the Character

Original drawings for Black Spectre

Black Spectre was actually invented way back in 1982 for a great super-hero role playing game called Champions. The original conception for the character was as a martial artist with some dark powers, but even in that game the character quickly evolved to rely more on his super powers than martial skills.

Black Spectre's "look" in the on-line computer game City of Heroes is not too different from his original conception. The main difference being the flowing cloak on the original rather than the more typical super-cape the character has in CoH. (There's an even earlier, and suckier costume but I haven't been able to find the drawing yet.)

The origin of the character was a bit different too, originally... and much darker. Instead of a mutant, Mark Preston acquired his powers through demonic means, and those means were not initially known to him. While on vacation as a child in Tibet, his parents were mysteriously killed and he was taken into a cult to be raised, trained in the martial arts, and eventually sacrificed to their god. Luckily, the human sacrifice ceremony was interrupted, but the disrruption caused Mark to absorb "dark energy." Later it was revealed that he was actually possessed by a demon who was constantly fighting to take control over Mark's being. It was a very tragic character.

Ultimately, the character became so tragic and depressing that he was simply no longer fun to play. However, initially, before the true origin of Black Spectre's powers was known, the character was a blast to play. Thus the character is reborn in CoH not as a man who owes his powers to some mystic source attempting to exert control over him, but as a mutant. He still has ties with both the martial and mystic arts, but they are much looser and farther removed, and his general origin is, thankfully, a bit less tragic and dark. Still, although his powers are the result of his genetic makeup, the dark energy he is tapping into is doubtlesssly connected in some mysterious way to the outter dark that serves evil as well... Bru ha ha ha ha ha!!!


Black Spectre's Tips for City of Heroes:
   °   Building a Dark Defender, suggestions and comments
  °   Dark Mastery Epic Power Pool Guide
°   Advanced Bind Guide
  °   Black Spectre's Binds
  °   Black Spectre's G-15 Keyboard Binds
  °   Phase Shift -- An Alternative Look


  Global Tell: @blackspectre