Beware the Gray Ghost

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"Beware the Gray Ghost"
Batman: The Animated Series episode
Title card for the episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 32
Directed byBoyd Kirkland
Written byDennis O'Flaherty (story), Tom Ruegger (story and teleplay), Garin Wolf (teleplay)
Original air dateNovember 4, 1992
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Dreams in Darkness"
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List of Batman: The Animated Series episodes

"Beware the Gray Ghost" is the eighteenth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It was directed by series regular Boyd Kirkland and was first aired on November 4, 1992. The episode features guest star Adam West, best known for his portrayal of Batman in the 1960s Batman television series. West plays the Gray Ghost, a character who bears a strong resemblance to Batman antecedent The Shadow.


The episode opens with a flashback of a young Bruce Wayne watching an episode of a black-and-white television show called The Gray Ghost after the titular character of which Bruce is a fan, the episode titled "The Mad Bomber". The episode continues on to cut back and forth between the flashback and events in the present day, where a crime takes place in Gotham, the events of which mirror those of the episode: a whirring sound is heard, an explosion goes off, the Gray Ghost goes into action in the episode while Batman does the same in reality, and the police have received a ransom letter claiming responsibility from someone who is calling himself "The Mad Bomber".

In the present day, Batman makes the connection between the explosion and the television episode, but cannot remember what happened in the episode as he fell asleep before it was over. He tracks down Simon Trent, the actor who portrayed the Gray Ghost, now unemployed and short of money. In an act of desperation after trashing his display cases of Gray Ghost memorabilia in frustration, Trent sells his Gray Ghost costume to toy collector and toy shop owner, Ted Dymer. The next morning, Trent awakens to find his display cases restored and his costume back in his apartment, with a letter from an anonymous person to meet in an alley. When Trent and Batman finally meet, Trent is unable to recall the details of the episode featuring the Mad Bomber and states that he does not want to help Batman and just wants to be left alone. After a second explosion at the Gotham Bank, Trent relents and gives Batman a copy of the episode from his personal archive (all production copies were destroyed in a vault fire twenty years before).

Bruce watches the episode; learning that the source of the whirring noises was a remote-control toy car, he realizes that the next target will be the Gotham Library. Batman alerts the police to the threat and is able to defend the library against a wave of toy cars armed with explosives, capturing one of them in the process, but finds himself trapped by three of them. He is rescued at the last moment by Trent, who has donned his Gray Ghost costume one last time.

Batman and Trent fend off a large wave of explosive-armed toy cars and travel to the Batcave. Trent remarks it bears a strong resemblance to the "Gray Ghost Lair" from the television show, and Batman explains that he was a fan of Trent's character, seeing the Gray Ghost as his hero. They identify the unarmed toy car which Batman captured as an authentic Gray Ghost toy, and find Trent's fingerprints on them. As Trent convinces Batman of his innocence, he realizes the Mad Bomber is Dymer. Batman and Trent confront Dymer, who reveals he is carrying out the attacks as it happened in the show to raise money to buy more toys. Though Dymer explains that selling and buying toys can be expensive, his motive is more than enough proof that he is truly insane. Batman and Trent capture Dymer and in the process, to his absolute horror, his toy store, along with all of his weaponry, is destroyed.

In the aftermath of Dymer's capture, Trent is hailed as a real-life hero, which prompts a resurgence in popularity of the Gray Ghost character. His archive of the entire Gray Ghost television series is released on home video, providing him with fresh income and a revitalized career. Bruce visits him at the product launch and asks for an autograph, explaining the Gray Ghost was, and "still is," his childhood hero; in realization, Trent smiles as Bruce leaves.



"Beware the Gray Ghost" has been very positively received by critics. The A.V. Club gave the episode an A and called it "smartly written and gorgeously animated".[1]

Other appearances of the Gray Ghost[edit]



  • The Gray Ghost made a return appearance in an early issue of Batman: The Gotham Adventures in the late 1990s, and turned up again years later in the most recent Batman Adventures series in 2004, in a story about the making of a Gray Ghost film.
  • The “Grey Ghost” (Grey, not Gray) appears in Batgirl vol. 2, #15 in 2011; he attempts to become the sidekick of Batgirl. His attire is similar to Dr. Mid-Nite, but in shades of gray, and he also wields a shotgun. His real identity is Clancy Johnson.
  • In 2015, Simon Trent is introduced to the mainstream comic book canon in Gotham Academy, where he is a famous director and playwright who decides to become a teacher at Gotham Academy. He has a rivalry with Clayface.[2]
  • The Gray Ghost is a tribute to pulp/comic book hero The Shadow, in fact his name is a reference to the titular villain from a 1936 issue of The Shadow's pulp magazine series.[3] The Gray Ghost poster featured in the episode is based on the cover of "Shadowed Millions", one of The Shadow's novels, illustrated by Jim Steranko. Batman meets an aged Shadow in issues #253 and #259 of the comic series.


  • In Batman Beyond, one of the original costumes for the Gray Ghost hangs in the Batcave. In the episode "Black Out", Bruce Wayne dons the hat and goggles of the Gray Ghost to hide his identity from Inque, who had infiltrated the Batcave.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue", Terry McGinnis and his family are shown leaving a theatre playing "The Grey Ghost Strikes" while the Phantasm is waiting to murder his parents. This indicates that the Grey Ghost franchise continued to thrive well after the release of the television series. Although the Phantasm does not follow through, this scene parallels the traditional origin of Batman, where Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered as he and they leave The Mark of Zorro. The Justice League Unlimited comic series also referenced the Gray Ghost in the Christmas-themed issue #28. Superman mentions that he had also watched the show as a child, and he was terrified by it but still loved it. The Gray Ghost toys play a key role during the issue.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^,52759/ The A.V. Club, retrieved January 18, 2012
  2. ^ "Gotham Academy". 1 (5). DC Comics. March 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^

External links[edit]