Richard "Rick" Spender is a history teacher at Mayview Middle School in Paranatural. He is a former disciple of Francisco Guerra and student at Mayview Academy. He currently acts as the supervisor and leader of the Activity Club, as well as a member of its parent organization, the Activity Consortium.
Spender has short, blonde hair with face-framing bangs and constantly wears the pair of sunglasses possessed by one of his spirit partners, Lucifer. During his fight with Forge, he receives a scar running across the side of his cheek and a footprint mark burned onto his chest, which he covers with a band-aid and some bandages, respectively (though the former is later blown away).
While at school throughout the first three chapters, Spender wears some variation of a white dress shirt, a tie, a dark brown belt, and slacks. In Chapter 1, he wears a red tie and beige slacks. In Chapter 3, he wears a blue tie and grey slacks. In Chapter 4, he wears a black tie and grey slacks.
While visiting the Dream Hub in Chapter 4, Spender slicks his hair back and wears the standard Consortium uniform with a yellow tie. During the night mission, he wears a brown jacket with a black collar, blue jeans, and black shoes, as well as black driving gloves. During his spirit fusion, he wears what appears to be a black bodysuit, a tan coat with a white fur collar and a rib cage-like torso area, red drapes around his legs, and Groucho glasses resembling Lucifer's face. Upon returning home, he wears a plain black t-shirt.
Throughout Chapter 5, Spender wears a grey vest over a blue dress shirt and dark grey tie, beige slacks, and black shoes.
Spender has a flair for being over-dramatic (if not downright corny) in an attempt to appear cool and mysterious, exhibited in situations such as failing to jump of Francisco's roof properly and his frequent use of Lucifer's power to create artificial glints in his sunglasses. He has an affinity for puns, often making light-based jokes while heading the Activity Club.
He has a tendency to withhold information from others for seemingly no real reason outside of habit, occasionally forgetting to mention particularly important points (such as how, as a spectral, Max Puckett cannot exit Mayview due to its barrier). According to Isaac, he teaches in "sparse little prose nuggets" and regularly only reveals information once the level of danger makes it absolutely necessary, a sentiment later echoed by Boss Leader. He has a strong sense of pride, leading him to become angry once humiliated as well as defer and go silent when scolded by those he views as his superiors.
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. However, Spender easily becomes absorbed in himself his mission to protect Mayview at the expense of others; he fails to notice Isabel mention losing Eightfold's tool and her resulting grief over it, neglects to properly deal with Isaac's growing alienation with the club, and refuses to seek his old friend Mina Zarei's help against the advice of Lucifer.
Richard Spender was a student under Francisco Guerra's Dojo in Mayview as a Consortium agent. Thirteen years prior to the start of the series, Spender was involved in an incident regarding a disorganized enemy and was extracted from a lake by his spirit, Lucifer. When he was younger, Spender was close friends with Mina Zarei, whom he drifted apart from sometime around the time of the incident. He also attended school at Mayview Academy.
In his adulthood, Spender began an agenda to protect the town and solve its mysteries, all while becoming a teacher at Mayview Middle School. There, 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; her friend, Ed Burger; and another student named Dimitri Danger.
Around two or three years prior to Max's arrival, Isaac O'Connor joined the club and was forbidden from being told about any Consortium-related activities by Spender's boss, Boss Leader. Despite the ban only extending to Consortium information, Spender began frequently withholding unrelated information from Isaac and the other members seemingly without reason. During his first mission, Isaac accidentally harmed Dimitri, leading him to quit the club.
While checking the room for night lamps, Spender is interrupted by Isaac O'Connor, who informs him that the new kid in school, Max Puckett, could be a spectral. Despite Isaac's protests, Spender tells him to hold off from contacting him, telling him that "there's a good chance this 'kid you'd never seen before' will be coming straight to [him]" while holding a teacher's memo regarding Max's arrival. During his fourth period history class, Spender holds Max back after class and asks 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. After Max becomes woozy due to lack of nutrients, Spender takes him and the club back to the Activity Clubroom, where he explains how spectrals could see ghosts and spirits and introduces the club to him. After Max leaves upon being frightened by the club's demonstration of their powers, Spender sends Isabel to exchange her contact information with Max outside school along with Ed.
After they arrive at the clubroom via Doorman's powers, Isaac and Max hide and eavesdrop on Spender having an argument with Texas Walker over the Cousinhood of Man. After Max makes their presence known, Spender informs Max further about spirits and his tool, telling him about the state of heightened perception he had entered the previous night; that a spirit shares its host's senses as long as it's in close proximity; and that said spirit can physically harm him if it chooses to do so, causing Max to become traumatized.
After Isabel and Ed return from morning patrol, Max asks Spender whether a ghost would be "more likely [to be found] where it died or where she was buried" before leaving the room; afterwards, Spender groans over his lack of subtlety before asserting that they'll help him however they 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 Agent Day to Mayview to overlook concerns given by the Cousinhood of Man and to escort her in 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, then 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 spirits 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.
- For the events that occurred during Hijack's possession, see Hijack#Chapter 5.
The next day, he fails several attempts to open the locket left behind by Forge until Doorman accidentally opens it in his hand before swiftly closing it. Later, upon finishing his third period history class, 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 and refusal to collaborate with Mina Zarei angering Lucifer. 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, where he encounters a Hijack-possessed Jeff Flavors entering at the same time. While holding the door for him, Spender is taken over by Hijack, who proceeds to control his actions during lunch.
After the bell rings and Hijack exits his body, Spender jolts awake without any memory of his possession, praising the group for taking him down and introducing himself to a nervous PJ. He then notices and asks about Isabel's new umbrella containing Flipflop; after she tells him it's her new tool, he asks where her book went, causing her to follow the rest of the club to their next classes. Spender asks Lucifer about the events that transpired while he was out, to which Lucifer lies and states that he lost consciousness with him.
While teaching his history class at the end of the day, Spender can be seen being poked and prodded at by a curious PJ. After school, Spender finds Day exiting Agent Savage and Griggs' car and offers to show her around Mayview; after she lies about having a boyfriend, Spender he states that he does as well, to the embarrassment of both and the surprise of a nearby Mr. Garcia. As they make plans to get drinks, Spender notices the Activity Club and apologizes for not noticing Max's broken arm earlier, to Isabel's quiet resentment. After they leave, Spender is scared by Mr. Garcia, who offers to walk home so Mr. Spender can drive the kids. Mr. Spender reassures him that they're fine on their own; when Mr. Garcia expresses doubt, Mr. Spender responds, "I'm sure. They're together. They'll be just fine."
- Max Puckett - Max and Spender haven't known each other as long as the other Activity Club members due to Max being new in town. Spender's habit of withholding information nearly gets Max killed, as Max had planned to leave Mayview in a vehicle to visit Baxborough without knowing about the barrier around town that would have blocked his exit. Combined with information from Boss Leader concerning Agent Day's investigation, this leads Max to distrust the club advisor.
- Isabel Guerra - Isabel used to admire Mr. Spender as her mentor figure and leader of the club, trusting that his constant secrecy and distance from others was for a good reason. Despite knowing him her entire life as one of her grandfather's former students, she admits she doesn't know much about him beyond what little he reveals. While waiting outside Ms. Baxter's room, Isabel vents to Mr. Spender (who, unbeknownst to her, is possessed by Hijack) that she feels frustrated by his constant refusal to work with others and hiding his injury from her, and he proceeds to comfort her over Eightfold's loss. After learning of Hijack's possession and that the real Mr. Spender had never noticed Eightfold's absence, Isabel becomes disillusioned with him and decides to break from his rule about keeping information from Isaac, declaring herself their leader in his place.
- Isaac O'Connor - Isaac is displeased with Spender's teaching methods, as he tends to only give out information in sparse bits when he's in mortal danger. Spender's information ban on Isaac without giving an explanation for doing so has led to Isaac fostering a deep grudge for the advisor. This comes to a head when King C. amplifies Isaac's small incapacitating shock to humongous levels, forcing Lucifer to take action and dissipate the lightning.
- Ed Burger - Being one of the two oldest members of the club, Ed seems to be friendly with Mr. Spender and jokes with him often. However, Ed apparently does not view Mr. Spender as a mentor figure.
- Mina Zarei - 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, they do not have the initiative to collaborate with each other due to a past event. Because of Agent Day's proclamation of hearing their story, it's assumed she is also in league with Spender.
- Boss Leader - Boss Leader and Spender have a relatively friendly relationship, with the former referring to him by the nickname "Rick" and having "great affection for the boy". Despite trusting that he has good intentions, she worries over Spender's increasing secrecy, and decides to conduct an internal investigation on Mayview involving the bringing of his activities to light in order to ensure that they're morally sound. Spender appears to be on guard around her due to her enjoyment of lying to see how he reacts and frightening him with dream constructs, and quickly deduces her plan to use the Cousinhood's complaints as an excuse to send an investigator into Mayview.
- Texas Walker - 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.
- Francisco Guerra - 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).
- Mr. Garcia - Mr. Garcia and Mr. Spender are heavily implied to be in a romantic relationship. Upon ensnaring Isaac in one of his traps, Garcia tells him the nature of their relationship off-screen, causing Isaac to intensely blush and exclaim "YOU'RE WHAT? HIS WHAT?!" as Garcia asserts that it's "casual" and "a secret". While speaking with her after school, Spender tells Day that he has a boyfriend, causing Garcia to look over in surprise and blush. After school, Garcia offers to walk home to allow Spender to drive the kids to their houses, indicating that they live in the same area. According to Garcia, Spender prevents Garcia from speaking with Isaac and the other club members for reasons unknown.
- Ms. Baxter - Ms. Baxter appears to express pity towards Mr. Spender due to believing he's being beaten up by children, though not enough to want to discuss his issues with him.
- Lucifer - 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 act amiably towards each other, as Spender believes they share a common goal in protecting 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. While confronting Hijack, Lucifer reveals that he believes "evil [winning]" is inevitable due to Spender lacking the power required to stop it alone and describes himself as simply "[going] through the motions".
- The Shadow - Spender is medium to a powerful spirit whom he describes as "extremely dangerous". Lucifer devotes his energy to preventing it from escaping, though it can do so should Spender use Lucifer's powers too excessively. Spender keeps this spirit hidden from other Consortium and Activity Club members, and Lucifer refers to the Shadow as their "darkest secret".
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.
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.
|Click to expand/collapse.|
- Spender has a newspaper clipping pinned next to his mirror whose title appears to read "THE DAILY - MAYVIEW MAELSTROM" over a photograph of a vortex.
- In June 2015, Zack Morrison hosted an in-character Q&A session as Richard Spender, which can be read back here. During the session, they revealed (amongst other tidbits) the following:
- Spender has known and been friends with Lucifer for years and years. He also pleads the audience to not send this information to his parents out of context, which, combined with a similar quote on  , may indicate that Spender's parents are religious.
- Spender was mentored by four different individuals during his internship at the Activity Consortium.
- During his fight with Forge, Spender also reveals that he was once mentored by a pyrokinetic spectral.
- Spender lived in Francisco's Dojo for a time as a young adult.
- Spender's driving gloves are rentals.
- Spender's favorite meme is teamwork.
- Spender started learning High Spirit by studying old tomes with "crude phonetic transcriptions".
- 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.
- Prior to Hijack, Spender has been possessed by another spirit which could pilot his body in the past.
- Prior to its reveal, there were several hints towards Mr. Spender's relationship with Mr. Garcia:
- On , Max says that he'd quit the club if Mr. Spender gave his car a woman's name. Mr. Spender whispers under his breath "se llama Giancarlo", or "it's called Giancarlo" in Spanish.
- On , Mr. Spender is shown studying a book in his home while a shadowed figure stands in the kitchen. The book at the center of the shot is entitled "Queer Happenings".
- On , Mr. Spender is shown carrying a lunchbag with "Rick ❤️" written on its front.
Official Artwork Edit
|Click to expand/collapse.|