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Little is known about Simon Culp. He was probably born sometime in the late 18th or early 19th centuries, and possibly raised in the East End of London. He claims gypsy heritage, from which he apparently acquired knowledge of the dark arts. Using this knowledge, he began to seek out ways to fulfil his desperate need for power. He settled on a ritual involving the pagan deity Scathach, for which he required the presence of goods importer Richard Swift. The ritual he attempted went wrong, and Swift was imbued with the shadow powers that Culp coveted, becoming the Shade. Culp was also gifted with shadow-manipulation abilities, and became a constant enemy of Shade's until his death in 1941, dying in a bomb blast during the Blitz.
Culp was created by writer James Robinson and artist Peter Snejbjerg. He first appeared in Starman #63.
Major Story Arcs
Culp is revealed to have survived his apparent death, the bomb blast having caused him to meld with Shade, occasionally able to exert his influence over his unknowing host. This comes to a head when Culp takes full control of Shade's body and uses their combined shadow powers and the Black Pirate's curse to encase the entirety of Opal City in a shadow dome. He recruits villains from Starman's past and incites a crime spree that nearly destroys the city. He is also able to manifest his own body for the first time in decades, and steals all of the Shade's powers. He captures Jack Knight and nearly kills him, but is disrupted by the solution of the Black Pirate's case, destroying the lynchpin of his scheme. Shade, whose powers have been recovered, draws all of the shadow matter into himself, leaving Culp to be murdered by the villainous Mist.
Powers and Abilities
Culp has the ability to manipulate shadow-matter to a variety of effects, including teleportation. He is learned in the area of dark arts. He possesses a great deal of cunning, and is a persuasive and manipulative leader. He was immortal due to his connection to the shadow-matter, but this was apparently eliminated when his shadow powers were removed.