Friday, June 19, 2020

Forgotten Heroes A to Z: The Hangman

Before the Punisher, there was the Hangman. Of course, before the both of them was Batman, and before Batman was the Shadow. I can keep going, but pulp and adventure fiction has a long tradition of heroes whose definition of justice doesn't always mean putting criminals behind bars.

The Hangman first appeared in Pep Comics #17 (July 1941), published by MLJ Comics, a forerunner of Archie Comics. The Hangman's story begins with the Comet. Chemist John Dickering gave himself super powers of flight and eye beams through a chemical he injected into his body. In Pep Comics #17, the Comet was gunned down by a criminal, a tragedy witnessed by his brother Bob. Vowing vengeance, Bob became the Hangman and tracked down the murderer. 

Unlike his brother Bob, the Hangman had no superpowers, but he was a skilled fighter and used a hangman's noose silhouette symbol to strike fear into his targets. He never seemed to outright kill criminals, but drove them to confess out of fear or accidentally die due to their panic. 

In some stories, the Hangman barely appears, showing up later in the story to deal justice to a hapless murderer. In some respects, the Hangman points the way to the pre-code crime books by EC. 


For the Hangman miniature, I started with a Red Guardian Heroclix, and added a cape and a rope belt. 

Though the heroic brothers never had a chance to work together, here they are side by side. The Comet was a much earlier project, an easy repaint of a Cyclops 'clix. 

The Hangman and Comet's golden age comics are in the public domain can be found at the Digital Comics Museum. Next time, a magician and his assistant. 


  1. Very cool, Alan. One of the advantages of Golden Age characters is that their costumes are relatively 'simple' by today's standards, so are reasonably easy to convert - as long as your painting skills are up to scratch. And I was right! I'm pretty certain that my guess for 'I' is right too...

  2. Right you are, it's fairy easy to find the components for most any character - but as I've plotted out the rest of the forgotten heroes alphabet I am struggling to find starting points in a few cases. I really want to put together the Veiled Avenger for the "V" entry but finding a female figure with anything close to the dress and pose is difficult. No female gauchos out there, heroclix or otherwise, I guess.

  3. As I have a bit of reputation for finding figures, I looked up the Veiled Avenger to see if I could help. Looking at the images, I would suggest using Vamp from the Deadpool booster. Right sort of pose, just needs a skirt, waistcoat and hat. These could be fashioned with foil for the skirt and waistcoat and cut off the top of her head, circle of card and snaller circle of foamcore or similar for the top of the hat. Small length of wire for the whip. The veil...hmmm.. . Plastic tea strainer/sieve mesh possibly?