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…”
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
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
"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
with the Bugs.
Cokcaroach, Obsideon Zealot, Blueray, Zerotemp, Rough,
with Black Spectre almost daily to strike fear into the heart of
throughout the City of Heroes.
Genesis of the Character
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!!!