Ritchie Simpson was created by writer Jamie Delano and artist John Ridgway for Hellblazer #7 dated July 1988.
Major Story Arcs
Ritchie was part of John's "Newcastle Crew" of amateur magicians who would bring tragedy when summing the demon Nergal, killing the young girl Astra Logue.
Ritchie in the years since Newcastle had become a supremely proficient techno-mage, able to use magic to access electronic systems and dimensions. He was even able to develop a device which would allow him to download his consciousness onto a computer and travel through virtual networks, as well as claiming to have discovered a whole new plane of virtual existence, which he dubbed the "Fifth Dimension".
Later, John turns to Ritchie for help in Hellblazer #7, needing his help to find information on the Resurrection Crusade cult. Ritchie downloaded himself into his computer and began searching. During his search he learned of a splinter group known as the "Tongues of Fire", after which he proceeded to hack into their files. This failed however, and an electrical surge was fired back at him, burning his physical body to ashes as a horrified Constantine watched on.
Ritchie's consciousness, still in the computer and communicating through the speakers, attempts to re-enter the physical world, but John hasn't the stomach to explain that his body is gone and he is trapped forever. As Ritchie pleads for John to explain whats going on, John simply pulls the plug on him in a mercy killing.
Actor Jermey Davies plays Ritchie Simpson in the NBC series Constantine, first appearing in the pilot episode "Non Est Asylum". He is depicted with a Southern American accent and a professor at Ivy University, proficient in computer hacking. When John comes to visit him, we learn he is making liberal use of medication to help deal with the emotional trauma of the Newcastle incident and his anxious for John to leave as soon as possible. He has also been tracking various occult phenomena appearing all over the United States.
John blackmails him into helping him fight the electrical demon Fercifer by threatening to tell the police of Ritchie's presence in Newcastle. Ritchie agrees to help John during his fight with Fercifer by hacking into the electrical grid of Atlanta and causing a power outage, taking away Fercifer's electrical sources.