The Hangman is a Golden Age superhero who first appeared in Pep Comics #17, published in July 1941 by MLJ Magazines (later known as Archie Comics). The character was created by writer Cliff Campbell and artist George Storm.
The Hangman, also known as Robert “”Bob”” Dickering, is a crime-fighting vigilante whose brother, John Dickering, a.k.a. The Comet, is killed in action. Bob decides to avenge his brother’s death and dons a costume with a hangman’s noose as a symbol, adopting the superhero identity of The Hangman. He uses his intelligence, fighting skills, and intimidation tactics to fight crime and protect the innocent.
Pep Comics was an anthology series that featured a variety of adventure, mystery, and superhero stories. The Hangman was one of the many characters that appeared in the series, sharing the pages with other heroes like The Shield, The Black Hood, and The Comet.
The Hangman’s adventures continued in several issues of Pep Comics throughout the early 1940s, and he eventually starred in his own self-titled series, “”Hangman Comics,”” which ran for eight issues from 1942 to 1943. The character also appeared in other MLJ titles such as Top-Notch Comics and Special Comics.
While The Hangman is not as well-known as some other Golden Age superheroes, his dark and grim persona, as well as his connection to The Comet, make him an interesting character in the history of comic books.
In the shadow of his older brother John, Bob Dickering had always struggled with feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. Despite his genius intellect, he was constantly overshadowed by John’s ambitions and charisma. When John sought to become a superhero to pave the way for a successful political career, Bob saw an opportunity to help his brother and himself by devising a serum using a rare, extraterrestrial element to grant John superpowers.
John injected himself with the serum, gaining the power of flight and the ability to emit powerful laser beams from his eyes, becoming the superhero known as Comet. As John’s fame grew, so did Bob’s jealousy and resentment.
In a misguided attempt to undermine his brother and gain power for himself, Bob struck a deal with a dangerous criminal named Big Boy Malone, planning to deliver Comet in exchange for a share of Malone’s influence. However, the scheme went awry, and Malone brutally murdered John, leaving Bob devastated and wracked with guilt.
Determined to avenge his brother and make amends for his betrayal, Bob decided to create a new serum for himself. Driven by his anger and grief, he used the same extraterrestrial element as the base but altered the formula to manifest powers that would embody his intense emotions.
Upon injecting himself with the new serum, Bob discovered he had gained the powers of fear inducement, rage empowerment, and fury constructs. Embracing these abilities, he channeled his immense anger and newfound powers into a persona known as Hangman.
As Hangman, Bob harnessed his fear inducement to strike terror into the hearts of criminals, making them vulnerable to his relentless pursuit. His rage empowerment allowed him to grow stronger and more powerful in the heat of battle, fueled by his desire for justice.
Utilizing his fury constructs, Hangman created weapons and barriers from his raw emotional energy, taking down criminals with a creative and versatile arsenal. With these powers, Hangman embarked on a quest for redemption, using his intellect and determination to avenge John’s death, bring down Big Boy Malone, and honor Comet’s memory as a relentless protector of the city.
Emotion Manipulation, Energy Constructs – Fear inducement, rage empowerment, fury constructs (weapons and barriers).
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