Take DC’s Spectre, subtract every ounce of menace the character possesses and you have The Duke Of Darkness.
Although the two share similar origins – both are cops murdered before their respective times – the Duke takes to crime-fighting much more cheerfully than DC’s personification of vengeance. He even hangs out at his old police station to pick up leads on crime and antagonize the comically inept Sheriff a la Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson.
It all makes sense if you apply Golden Age logic, however, and you’ll never hear a complaint from me regarding fun super-heroes – even if the character in question is a spirit from the great beyond.
Observant Time Bulleteers may notice that the villain in the following story, Mr. Slumber, bears a suspicious resemblance to Doctor Strange’s first and oldest foe: Nightmare. Perhaps Steve Ditko had read a Duke adventure or two …
From the first and only issue of Triple Threat Comics (Gerona, Winter 1945), here’s the Duke Of Darkness’ legendary battle against Mr. Slumber. The art is by John Giunta under the pseudonym of “Jay Gee.”