Created by Jack Kirby

The Original Universe


Real Name: Jim Harper
Full Name: James Jacob Harper
Identity: Secret
Occupation: Project Cadmus head of security; formerly Police officer, Metropolis PD.
Place of Birth: Suicide Slum
Citizenship: American
Marital Status: Presumed single
Known Relatives: Mary Harper (sister; deceased), unnamed brother, Will Harper (nephew; deceased); Roy Harper (nephew; presumed deceased), Roy Harper (great-nephew), Lian Harper (great-grand niece, deceased), Roberta "Famous Bobby" Harper (grand-niece)
Base of Operation: Suicide Slum, Metropolis; later Project Cadmus
Group Affiliation(s): Project Cadmus; formerly All-Star Squadron; formerly Metropolis Police Department
Gender: Male
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 203 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown
First Appearance: Pre-Crisis: Star Spangled Comics #7 (April 1942)
Modern: Superman Annual Vol. 2 #2 (1988)
Creators: Jack Kirby


Jim Harper and his family grew up poor in the roughest neighborhood in Metropolis. Nicknamed "Suicide Slum", the ghettos and tenements of the Depression Era gave little hope. Running the streets with his gang and his friend Leo, Jimmy Harper lived of opportunities and petty robberies, until a stranger proposed him to change the course of his life. The stranger who presented himself as Nat Milligan (who was later revealed to be Joe Morgan) persuaded young Harper that physical fitness and education would give him the lift out of the slums he needed. "Milligan" hoped the young boy would become an athlete and as his trainer, his unorthodox holistic training methods would be recognized as better than the ones currently used.

Under Milligan's guidance and intense training, Jim Harper became a strong gymnast. After several months, Jim was ready to start his professional athletic career but on a return trip to the old neighborhood, he ran into Leo, who had become a hoodlum. On the run from other gangsters, Leo was shot in a drive-by shooting and died in Jim's arms. Deciding that he could do more good trying to help the community Jim decided to become a police officer and applied to the police academy.

After graduation, Jim Harper requested to be assigned to Suicide Slum. The life of the rookie cop changed the day he was ambushed and roughed up by some gangsters in an alley in front of a costume shop. Making his way to the shop, he chose a blue jump suit, a golden helmet and a golden shield, roughly shaped like a policemen's badge, and decided to pursue his attackers. Stopping the crooks, Jim was ready to get rid of his disguise, when he suddenly ended up in a battle against a possessed and crazed Joe Morgan, along with Wildcat II and Atom I who had also been trained by Joe as well as several members of the All-Star Squadron. After having defeated Joe Morgan, Jim Harper figured he could also do good as a costumed mystery-man and fight crime in areas where the law was powerless and he began his second career as The Guardian.

Later, police officer Harper stopped a gang of orphaned kids from robbing a local merchant. The kids, who went by the name The Newsboy Legion, were ready to be sentenced by a judge to a reformatory. Seeing how Nat had taken him and molded him into a useful member of society, he offered the court to become their legal guardian and tutor when he testified at their trial. He found them a job as Newsboys and took care of them, keeping them out of trouble as a guardian angel. The Newsboy Legion, as the youngsters liked to call themselves, became an important part of Jim's life and, over the following years, he felt more and more like a father for them and the Newsboys and The Guardian became a force for reform in the Slum, helping the poor and needy, fending off the preying evil of crime and greed that washed over the downtrodden citizens of Suicide Slum. Sometime after the war the Guardian retired and Harper became a police detective and the Newsboys became successful adults and leaders in their fields of science and medicine and they were eventually reunited as department heads of the facility known as The Project (or Project Cadmus). Jim Harper did such a good job as a police detective that Intergang eventually put out a contract on Harper and he was mortally wounded. His former wards didn't want to see him die, so along with the DNAlien known as Dubbilex they tried a technique that would grow him a new body, younger and stronger than before, but replace/overlay his memories onto that body. Successful, the revitalized Guardian (sometimes called The Golden Guardian), became head of security of Project Cadmus.

This was later revealed to be a lie; Jim Harper had actually gone to Project Cadmus to stop them from cloning him against his wishes, where he was shot and killed by Codename: Assassin.


For a definitive list of appearances of Guardian in chronological order click here


Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #9 (November 1985)

Superman: Secret Files 2009 (October 2009)