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Spender has a flair for being over-dramatic (if not downright corny) in an attempt to appear cool and mysterious, like when he failed to jump off of Francisco's Dojo roof correctly or the many times he uses his ability to make his sunglasses shine.
He also has a tendency to be frustratingly vague when answering spectral-related questions, occasionally forgetting to mention particularly important points (such as that as a spectral, Max cannot exit Mayview due to its barrier). Despite this, he has shown himself to care deeply for the club and Mayview as a whole, given his agenda to solve the town's mysteries and to stop some hidden enemy therein. His sense of duty is enough for him to ask Francisco to stop him should he go "too far towards darkness" in his task. Furthermore he is shown to grow increasingly angry with Forge after he maims the Ghost Train because of how it endangered the kids on board.
Spender has an affinity for puns, often making light-based jokes while heading the Activity Club, embroidery, and DDR.
Rick Spender was a student under Francisco Guerra's Dojo in Mayview as a Consortium agent. He attended school at Mayview Academy. At some point around 13 years ago, Spender was extracted from a lake by his spirit Lucifer. In his adulthood he began an agenda to protect the town and solve its mysteries, all while becoming a teacher at Mayview Middle School, where he founded the Activity Club to train newly realized spectral children in order for them to adjust to their new found senses, including Francisco's granddaughter Isabel Guerra and her friend Edward Burger.
Isaac informs him that the new kid in school, Maxwell Puckett, could be a spectral, though he would not meet Max until he sees him entering his history classroom. After his lecture, Spender asks Max to see him after school under the guise of giving him his textbooks to "get [him] up to speed" in Room 313.
He later ordered Ed and Isabel to take care of the Ravenous Gobbledygook eating spirits on the second floor, with himself and Isaac arrived at the scene in time to witness Max awakening his spectral abilities and using a bat to deal the final blow. He took Max back to the Paranatural Activity Room after he lost consciousness, explaining how spectrals could see ghosts and spirits and introduced themselves to him.
The next day, Mr. Spender informs Max further about spirits and his tool, informing him about the state he had entered the previous night and cautioning him that while holding the bat, his spirit can hear everything as well as he can.
During a meeting in the Consortium with Agent Walker, he is confronted and messed with by his superior, Boss Leader, who informs that she would be sending an agent to Mayview to overlook concerns given by the Cousinhood of Man, and that he and the children were to meet up with the agent outside Mayview via the Ghost Train. While picking up Isabel and Ed, he has a talk with his former mentor, Francisco Guerra, to warn him about another agent coming to Mayview and asks for Francisco to stop him if his quest regarding Mayview leads him on a dark path.
When he and the kids arrive at their location, they're greeted by the train's tamer, his close colleague Mina Zarei, who calls the Ghost Train to take them through the barrier provided they finish sweeping the train of rogue spirits. After splitting the group up for their sweep of the Train, Spender, Isabel, and Max encounter vile Pixelhounds that intended to kill them. Following one outside he encounters the spirit Forge, whom he mistakes to be in league with the dark hounds after he speaks their language. After Forge damages the Ghost Train, they proceeded to fight with each other, exchanging their views on justice until Spender narrowly defeats Forge. Hearing Max cry out, he fuses with his tool's spirit and rushes to the scene, only for the fusion to result in a dangerous spirit releasing itself from his body. The Train makes short work of the spirit and it re-enters Spender's body.
The next day, he fails several attempts to open the locket left behind by Forge until the Doorman accidentally opens it in his hand before swiftly closing it. Later on, he consults Lucifer about the newest threats they had encountered the previous night. The conversation eventually turns to Spender's wound, with his attempts of brushing it off angering Lucifer, who is then further angered by his refusal to collaborate with Mina Zarei. Lucifer then goes on an aggressively pointed rant towards Spender and how his emotions were conquering his judgement before pleading him to prove him wrong. Spender leaves his classroom in a hurry towards the teacher's lounge, unknowingly letting Hijack in, and proceeded to seclude himself to wallow in his pain. Afterwards, Isabel calls him to let him know of the situation before they needlessly barged into the lounge, embarrassing themselves.
He and Boss Leader appear to get along pretty fairly. Nonetheless he is still aware of her manipulation of him; outwardly deducing her sly involvement in a turn of events that forces an internal examination of Mayview on him.
Spender does not get along well with Walker and vice-versa, with Walker's rather coarse demeanor and attempts to bring The Cousinhood of Man into Mayview angering Spender, along with Walker's belief that Spender keeps too many secrets.
As a former mentor, Spender entrusted him with every secret he has regarding his quest in Mayview. Though the elder concedes to not being a threat to his quest, he will not prevent Spender from meeting his end from the hands of another if he feels it would be just. Francisco also laments that they would have done great things as a team if he weren't such a lone wolf (and such a nerd).
Spender has known Zarei from their time at Francisco's dojo. They are close enough that Spender freely talks with her about his activities and BL's involvement without need to be secretive, to the point where she'd be insulted if he was cautious around her. Despite this, however, due to a past event he does not have the initiative to collaborate with her. Because of Agent Day's proclamation of hearing their story, it's assumed she is also in league with Spender.
Lucifer is the spirit possessing Spender's sunglasses and the one who saved him from the bottom of a lake thirteen years ago. The two are amiable towards each other, as both desire to protect the world from The Shadow. However, Lucifer will not hold back his disapproval when he finds Spender's actions unacceptable to their ultimate duty, such as losing his temper with Forge and willfully overusing his powers and his unwillingness to team up with Dr. Zarei. Though Lucifer feels that Spender's progression is held back by his emotions, he wishes Spender can prove him wrong.
The specifics of their relationship are unknown, however they seem to work closely in regards to spectrals, as Garcia told Isaac that "...Spender should let me talk to you little freaks." It was also implied that they are romantically involved. 
As a student of Francisco, Spender has proficient control over his spectral energy and can shape it into different forms. However, he lacks physical strength, as evident in his battle with Forge when many of his attacks failed to break through his iron shell. Spender is also capable of speaking High Spirit albeit with a notable accent. He is able to stretch spectral energy into a fine thread for use as a restraint, having learned the technique from Zarei.
Spender's sunglasses allow him the power to control light in all its forms. His powers grant him such abilities as illuminating himself, to solidify light, and the ability to magnify or dismiss other sources of light, such as the Ghost Train's headlight. Spender also has a technique called Spirit Fusion, allowing him to fuse with Lucifer, granting him abilities such as super speed and flight. This comes at the cost of using too much of Lucifer's power, which can allow the dark spirit in Spender to escape. At risk of letting said spirit loose, Spender must be in contact with his sunglasses at all times.
Along with Lucifer, Spender is also possessed by a spirit made of darkness. Though incredibly risky, he is able to draw power from the spirit to manipulate shadows, allowing him to use it in tandem with his light manipulation. This gives him the ability to hold cast shadows in his hand, or open up a chasm wherever a shadow is cast.
- In June 2015, Zack Morrison hosted an in-character Q&A session as Richard Spender, which revealed (amongst other tidbits) the following:
- Spender was mentored by four different individuals during his internship at the Activity Consortium.
- Spender lived in Francisco's Dojo for a time as a young adult.
- Spender's favorite meme is teamwork.
- Spender has known Isabel since she was a baby.
- Spender became a spectral via supernatural exposure, specifically to a tool which would become his first.