Super-Heroes
on Film

Other Super-Heroes
A - F


Greatest Super-Hero Films
(chronological by time period and film title)
Introduction | Flash Gordon | Buck Rogers | Superman | Batman | Spider-Man | X-Men
Marvel Cinematic Universe | The DC Extended Universe
Iron Man | Hulk | Thor | Captain America | The Avengers | Guardians of the Galaxy
Others: A - F | Others: G - N | Others: O - Z

Greatest Super-Hero Films: A - F
Other Super Heroes and/or Comic-Book Adaptations/Characters
(chronological by time period and film title)

Akira - an anime comic titled Akira by director Otomo was a Japanese manga serialized in Young Magazine (1982-1990). It was first published in an English-language version by the Marvel Comics imprint Epic Comics (from 1988-1995) - one of the first manga works to be translated in its entirety. Otomo's work was collected and published as a series of six volumes by publisher Kodansha.

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Akira (1988, Jp.)

Director Katsuhiro Otomo's animated sci-fi thriller was about life in a cyberpunk dystopic neo-Tokyo in the year 2019. Although not technically a super-hero tale, it remains one of the greatest comic-story collections.

In the future, Warner Bros. may produce a live-action movie based on Katsuhiro Otomo's classic cyberpunk anime film.

American Splendor - since 1976 to at least 2008, Harvey Pekar's autobiographical comic book series American Splendor appeared. American Splendor was originally an independent autobiographical comic series published by creator Harvey Pekar. In the earliest issues, Pekar was the writer/publisher, while the artists included Gary Dumm, Greg Budgett, and Robert Crumb. Yearly issues of American Splendor # 1 - 17 covered the years 1976 to 1993 (the year 1992 was skipped).

Pekar later brought the series to Dark Horse Comics in 1994. DC Comics (under the imprint Vertigo) also published a four-issue limited series (November 2006 to April 2007). In addition, Pekar co-authored the 1994 book-length Our Cancer Year with soulmate Joyce Brabner (Hope Davis in the film).


American Splendor # 1
January 1976

American Splendor # 2
January 1977

American Splendor # 1

November 2006
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American Splendor (2003)

The original comedy biopic from directors/screenwriters Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, starred Paul Giamatti as Harvey Pekar, a real-life comic book writer. It was a documentation of his life in Cleveland, Ohio, presented with live-action, video, and animation.

The screenplay was based on Pekar's comic book series American Splendor, which he had been writing since 1976, and the 1994 book Our Cancer Year, written by both Pekar and Brabner.

Ant-Man - (aka Hank Pym or Scott Lang) was one of the co-founders of Marvel's The Avengers in the Marvel Comics Universe. In the comics, Ant-Man made his first appearance in Tales to Astonish # 27 (January, 1962), in a story titled: "The Man in the Ant Hill." Scientist Hank Pym was able to become Ant-Man after discovering a formula for a chemical serum or substance (Pym Particles) that allowed him to shrink or enlarge objects, including himself. Some of the villains that Pym battled were a mad scientist named Egghead, a mutant named Whirlwind, and the robot Ultron-1. Then, ex-criminal Scott Lang, Pym's successor, took on the name Ant-Man after stealing the Ant-Man suit or costume technology. Another individual named Eric O'Grady became the third "Ant-Man."

Debut of Ant-Man

Tales to Astonish # 27
January 1962

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Ant-Man (2015)

This was the twelfth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Paul Rudd starred as the title character, ex-con Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man).

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

The thirteenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Paul Rudd reprised his role as Scott Lang (Ant-Man), who had acquired a suit that allowed him to shrink or grow in scale while also increasing in strength.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

A sequel to the previous Ant-Man (2015), again directed by Peyton Reed.

The 20th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Aquaman - aka The King of Atlantis, Arthur Curry and Orin. Aquaman made his debut in More Fun Comics # 73 (November 1941) in a story titled "The Submarine Strikes." The superhero character was created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger. Later, he became a founding member of DC's Justice League of America.

In his first adventure, his foes were Nazi U-boat commanders and various Axis villains. Other foes included pirates and sailors in subsequent stories. In a flashback within the 1941 story, Aquaman spoke about his father ("a famous undersea explorer") and about his own abilities underwater:

"...a famous undersea explorer...My mother died when I was a baby, and he turned to his work of solving the ocean's secrets. His greatest discovery was an ancient city, in the depths where no other diver had ever penetrated. My father believed it was the lost kingdom of Atlantis. He made himself a water-tight home in one of the palaces and lived there, studying the records and devices of the race's marvelous wisdom. From the books and records, he learned ways of teaching me to live under the ocean, drawing oxygen from the water and using all the power of the sea to make me wonderfully strong and swift. By training and a hundred scientific secrets, I became what you see — a human being who lives and thrives under the water"

Aquaman (accompanied by AquaLad!) acquired his own comic and cover, in Aquaman # 1 (February 1962). Aquaman and Aqualad battled against three Fire-Trolls that escaped from an undersea volcano.

Aquaman also appeared in the second season of the TV series The New Adventures of Superman (1966-1970), retitled in 1967 as The Superman-Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967), and also made appearances in the related Super Friends (1973-1985) TV series.

Debut of Aquaman
Aquaman

More Fun Comics # 73
November 1941


Aquaman # 1

February 1962
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Also Jesse Eisenberg as the bald, smart villain Lex Luthor.

Jason Momoa made a brief appearance as Aquaman, and was scheduled to star in his own solo film in 2018.

Barbarella - was a science-fiction, inter-planetary traveler-heroine based on Jean-Claude Forest's French Barbarella comics. The character was serialized in V-Magazine (Fr.) in the spring of 1962. There was also a stand-alone book by Eric Losfeld in 1964.


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Barbarella (1968, Fr./It.)

Roger Vadim's futuristic camp classic was a European-styled sex comedy (sometimes compared to a sci-fi version of Alice in Wonderland).

It starred Jane Fonda as the sexy Queen of the Galaxy comic-strip heroine, in the 41st century.

Black Panther - was the first black superhero created by Marvel comic book writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1966 (appearing in Fantastic Four # 52 (July 1966)), three years before another African-American superhero, the Falcon. The Fantastic Four comic book was notable as featuring the first appearance of the Black Panther, who would become an Avenger, a friend of the Fantastic Four, and a major character in the Marvel Universe. The character also made an appearance with Captain America as an Avenger in Tales of Suspense # 97 - 99 (January to March 1968).

Black Panther was a supporting character for the Fantastic Four, which included Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Invisible Girl (Susan Storm), Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), and Thing (Ben Grimm). In 2016, the character celebrated its 50th anniversary as the first black comic-book superhero.

The noble, fearsome ruler character, whose real name was T'Challa, was a prince from the fictional reclusive African nation of Wakanda. Wakanda was home to the nearly-indestructible metal vibranium, the strong yet versatile woven material used for the Panther's black armor-suit.

The Black Panther's first solo cover, in Jungle Action # 5 (July 1973), was a reprint of an Avengers issue (# 62) from 1969. The Black Panther appeared in 24 issues of Jungle Action (until November 1976), and then the character attained its first self-titled series beginning with Black Panther # 1 (January 1977).

Milestones in Black Panther Comic-Book Appearances
Fantastic Four # 52
July 1966

Tales of Suspense # 98

February 1968

Jungle Action # 5

July 1973

Black Panther # 1

January 1977
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Black Panther (2018)

This future 2018 film from director Ryan Coogler is scheduled for release as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chadwick Boseman would play the character of Black Panther, the first black hero in the series to be the title character of a film. The Panther's black shiny metallic, armor-suit was made of strong, woven indestructible vibranium.

It was the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The character first made a brief appearance in Captain America: Civil War (2016).

 

Blade - was a third-string Marvel Comics' character, a superhero and vampire slayer-hunter in Detroit, created by writer Marv Wolfman and illustrator Gene Colan. Blade originated in the comic book The Tomb of Dracula # 10 (July 1973).


The Tomb of Dracula # 10
July 1973
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Blade (1998)

Director Stephen Norrington's violent and superb hit film Blade (1998) was partially an origins story. It starred Wesley Snipes as the black leather-clad, super-human vampire hunter with kung fu skills, and located in Detroit.

Blade was born as Eric Brooks, an isolated individual filled with self-loathing and hatred, due to being cut out of his mother's womb. He was mentored by Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), and his love interest was hematologist Dr. Karen Jenson (N'Bushe Wright).

The half-human, half-vampire character was opposed by the half-breed, arch-nemesis vampire Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff).


Blade II (2002)

This marked the first sequel for a big screen Marvel movie.

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's bloody sequel, Blade II (2002) had expensive special effects.

It featured Wesley Snipes reprising his popular role, allied with vampire overlord Eli Damaskinos (Thomas Kretschmann) to defeat a powerful new breed of vampire called Reapers led by Jared Nomak (Luke Goss).

Blade III (2004) (aka Blade: Trinity)

Director David S. Goyer's Blade III (2004) (aka Blade: Trinity) was a second sequel. Wesley Snipes continued to star in the series.

Bulletman - was an early Fawcett Comics superhero whose costume was designed like a bullet. He was created by Bill Parker and Jon Smalle, and first appeared (with an origin story) in Nickel Comics # 1 (May 1940). He was first known as scientific criminologist James Barr, who was rejected as a police officer. With his chemistry skills, he discovered a germ-destroying serum which transformed him into a smart, super-strong giant, who could fly with an artificial-gravity helmet, and deflect bullets. He became Bulletman, the Robin Hood of Crime. His sidekick and later wife was Susan Kent, known as Bulletgirl. The two superheroes were Fawcett Comics' second most popular characters after Captain Marvel, although they made no appearances in TV or film media.


Nickel Comics # 1

May 1940

Captain Marvel (aka Shazam) - first appeared in Whiz Comics # 1 (February 1940) (published by Fawcett Comics), and continued to be in the comic book series until 1953. The character was created in 1939 by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. The character had aliases: Shazam and Billy Batson.

Captain Marvel was one of the most popular superheroes of the 1940s, and his comic books actually outperformed Superman in sales. Captain Marvel was, in reality, a young boy named Billy Batson, who could transform himself into the do-gooder superhero by saying the word "SHAZAM" - the ultimate in wish fulfillment for a young comic-book reader.

[Note: SHAZAM stood for the powers of these six magically-powered figures: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.]


Whiz Comics # 1
February 1940

DC Comics sued Fawcett Comics (during a legal battle that lasted 12 years), alleging that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman, and Fawcett ended their publications of Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953.

In the early 1970s, Captain Marvel's family of characters was licensed and revived (and ultimately purchased) by DC Comics. Recently, the character was rebranded and known as Shazam.

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Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) - Theatrical Serial

The comic book superhero Captain Marvel was adapted into this Republic Pictures serial, with 12 chapters or installments, each with a cliff-hanger, first airing on March 28, 1941, and programmed to run in weekly segments. Some consider it the best serial ever made. Tom Tyler starred in the title role as Captain Marvel and Frank Coghlan, Jr. portrayed his secret, young alter ego Billy Batson. It was the first superhero comic-book adaptation for Republic Pictures, and the first depiction of a comic book super hero ever on film.

It appeared two years after DC Comics' Superman, and thereby became a point of contention in a plagiarism dispute. The main hooded-masked criminal villain intent on world domination was The Scorpion, who wished to acquire a powerful ray weapon (also called The Scorpion), that could concentrate sun-rays and disintegrate things, or transform base metals into gold.

  1. "Curse of the Scorpion" (30 min.)
  2. "The Guillotine" (16 min.)
  3. "Time Bomb" (17 min.)
  4. "Death Takes the Wheel" (16 min.)
  5. "The Scorpion Strikes" (16 min.)
  6. "Lens of Death" (16 min.)
  7. "Human Targets" (17 min.)
  8. "Boomerang" (17 min.)
  9. "Dead Man's Trap" (16 min.)
  10. "Doom Ship" (16 min.)
  11. "Valley of Death" (16 min.)
  12. "Captain Marvel's Secret" (16 min.)

In the mid-1960s, the serial was re-released as a 4-hour movie compiling all 12 chapters.



The Comet - this superhero debuted in Pep Comics # 1 (January 1940), published by Archie Comics (also known as MLJ Comics). The cartoonist/artist was Jack Cole. The Comet was actually a secondary superhero, overshadowed by Pep Comics' lead cover star hero -- The Shield.


Pep Comics # 1

January 1940

Pep Comics # 17

July 1941

 

The Comet's alias was a young scientist named John Dickering. His super-abilities included "Dissolvo-Vision" (his beams of vision, when crossed, caused objects to disintegrate), although he usually wore a visor shield (goggles) to protect against unintentional damage. The Comet also had the ability to fly (although he first began with super-human leaps similar to Superman). Flight was derived from injections Dickering gave himself of a very light-weight gas ("fifty times lighter than hydrogen").

Shortly later, in Pep Comics # 17 (July 1941), the Comet became the first superhero to die while serving as a crime-fighter. In the same issue, his brother The Hangman, was introduced as his vengeful kin.

However, the Comet would be revived several times by Archie Comics in the 1960s and then in the 1980s.

Condorman - was based on 1965's The Game of X by Robert Sheckley. Sheckley also wrote the novelization of the film. A comic book adaptation (in three parts) of Condorman was published by Whitman Comics at the time of the film's release.

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Condorman (1981)

Walt Disney Production's poorly-received comic-book adventure-comedy film was about a comic-book illustrator named Woodrow "Woody" Wilkins (Michael Crawford).

He was recruited by a CIA friend to rescue a beautiful Soviet KGB defector Natalia Rambova (Barbara Carrera), while assuming the persona of his comic-book character: the flying "Condorman."

Daredevil - was based upon the popular Marvel Comics' character (first appearing in Daredevil # 1 (April 1964)) of Matt Murdock, aka "Daredevil - The Man Without Fear!" created by writer-editor Stan Lee, artist Bill Everett and Jack Kirby. Daredevil's costume was a skin-tight combination of black, yellow, and red colors.


Daredevil # 1
April 1964

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The Origin of Daredevil
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Daredevil (2003)

Director Mark Steven Johnson's sci-fi action thriller starred Ben Affleck as lawyer-by-day Matthew "Matt" Murdock - a blind (but superhuman sense-enhanced) crime-fighting masked super-hero at night.

It also included the appearance of Jennifer Garner (TV's Alias star) as female assassin Elektra Natchios - a future spin-off character.

 

Marvel's Daredevil (2015-16) (TV series)

The next appearance of Daredevil (alias lawyer Matt Murdock) was in a live-action streaming TV series, premiering in April of 2015 on Netflix, with Charlie Cox in the lead role as the masked vigilante.

The storyline occurred after the events of The Avengers.

Darkman - was a comic-book styled character, based on a short story that director Sam Raimi had written. It paid homage to Universal's horror films of the 1930s. Darkman was a hybrid of pulp heroes like The Shadow and classic movie monsters. Eventually, Darkman was a trilogy of films from 1990-1996.

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Darkman (1990)

Director Sam Raimi's comic-book style action-horror film was adapted from the director's own short story. It was Raimi's first big-budget Hollywood studio film.

It starred Liam Neeson as vengeful burn victim scientist Dr. Peyton Westlake/Darkman, a tormented hero with synthetic skin after he almost lost his life in an explosion. The tormented anti-hero sought revenge on his enemies.

Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1994)

In this first direct-to-video sequel directed by Bradford May, Arnold Vosloo replaced Liam Neeson as Darkman/Dr. Westlake.

He again battled surviving archenemy mobster Robert Durant (Larry Drake).

Darkman III: Die Darkman Die (1996)

Also directed by Bradford May, and another direct-to-video production.

Diabolik - was a fictional, comic-book, criminal character (a masked, villainous master thief) that was featured in Italian comics. The first issue, Il Re del Terrore (translated "The King of Terror") first appeared in print on November 1, 1962. Diabolik was created by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962. The stories were printed in black and white, pocket-sized booklets released monthly. Diabolik's lover and accomplice was Eva Kant.


Il Re Del Terrore
The First Issue
November 1, 1962
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Danger: Diabolik (1968, It./Fr./US)

Director Mario Bava's action film starred John Phillip Law (as the anti-hero Diabolik - a super-criminal and thief) and Marisa Mell (as Diabolik's girlfriend Eva Kant).

The film's poster described the protagonist: "Meet Diabolik. Slick. Suave. Gentle. Brutal. Wild. Out for all he can take, caress or get away with..."

Dick Tracy - was a detective who first appeared in Chester Gould's early 1930s action-adventure comic strip - it became an enduring and popular newspaper comic strip that was drawn by Gould until 1977. The strip simply titled Dick Tracy debuted on Sunday, October 4, 1931 (as a Sunday-only strip) in the Detroit Mirror. The daily strip began to run on October 12, 1931. The Sunday and daily strips operated on completely separate storylines until May 29, 1932, when they were finally merged. Dick Tracy originally appeared in four action-packed Republic Pictures' serial films from 1937 to 1941 (all starring Ralph Byrd), then in four RKO feature films, and a short-lived TV series and pilot. There was also a popular 1940s radio program, and a major attempt to revive Dick Tracy in 1990 with a Warren Beatty film.


Dick Tracy Comic Strip
Sunday, October 4, 1931
Detroit Mirror

Dick Tracy's first comic-book appearance was in February, 1936, as a feature in the first issue of Dell's Popular Comics # 1 - a publication that was known for republishing "America's Favorite Funnies." The comics were reprints from the newspaper comic strip. This marked a third major print medium expansion for the character. The Dick Tracy strip became a regular feature in the publication for 27 issues (until July-Sept. 1948).


Popular Comics # 1
February 1936

Dick Tracy Feature Book
May 1937

The first comic book that exclusively featured Dick Tracy was a feature book titled Dick Tracy, The Detective, published by David McKay Publications in 1937. Between 1937 and 1938, four Dick Tracy Feature Books were published. These were the pre-cursors to modern-day comic collections:

    1. Dick Tracy (# 0, May 1937)
    2. Dick Tracy the Detective (# 4, August 1937)
    3. Dick Tracy the Detective (# 6, October 1937)
    4. Dick Tracy and the Famon Boys (# 9, January 1938)
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Dick Tracy (1937) - Theatrical Serial

Republic Pictures released a 15-installment serial (290 minutes in length) that followed the police procedural cases of detective Dick Tracy (Ralph Byrd). Byrd starred as Dick Tracy in four serials, two full-length feature films and a short-lived TV series before his death in 1952.

The square-jawed G-Man's main criminal opponent was the Spider Gang, led by the masked, club-footed villain The Spider/The Lame One, aka Walter Odette (Edwin Stanley). The gang's goal was to collapse San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge with a secret sonic machine, then steal plans for a new high-speed airplane and later spread counterfeit money.

Except for the first episode or chapter, which was about 30 minutes in length, each episode was about 16-20 minutes in length:

  • Chapter 1 - The Spider Strikes
  • Chapter 2 - The Bridge of Terror
  • Chapter 3 - The Fur Pirates
  • Chapter 4 - Death Rides the Sky
  • Chapter 5 - Brother Against Brother
  • Chapter 6 - Dangerous Waters
  • Chapter 7 - The Ghost Town Mystery
  • Chapter 8 - Battled in the Clouds
  • Chapter 9 - The Stratosphere Adventure
  • Chapter 10 - The Gold Ship
  • Chapter 11 - Harbor Pursuit
  • Chapter 12 - The Trail of the Spider
  • Chapter 13 - The Fire Trap
  • Chapter 14 - The Devil in White
  • Chapter 15 - Brothers United

The serial was also released in an abridged feature-length version (73 minutes) in late 1937.





Dick Tracy Returns (1938) - Theatrical Serial

The popularity of the 1937 serial led to this Republic Pictures 15-installment serial-sequel (254 minutes in length) the next year, also starring Ralph Byrd.

Dick Tracy's main criminal opponent was Pa Stark (Charles Middleton) (based on real-life Ma Barker) and his five criminal sons (Champ, Trigger, Dude, Kid, and Slasher).

Except for the first episode or chapter, which was double the normal length, each episode was about 15-16 minutes in length:

  • Chapter 1 - The Sky Wreckers
  • Chapter 2 - The Runway of Death
  • Chapter 3 - Handcuffed to Doom
  • Chapter 4 - Four Seconds to Live
  • Chapter 5 - Death in the Air
  • Chapter 6 - Stolen Secrets
  • Chapter 7 - Tower of Death
  • Chapter 8 - Cargo of Destruction
  • Chapter 9 - The Clock of Doom
  • Chapter 10 - High Voltage
  • Chapter 11 - The Kidnapped Witness/The Missing Witness
  • Chapter 12 - The Runaway Torpedo
  • Chapter 13 - Passengers to Doom
  • Chapter 14 - In the Hands of the Enemy
  • Chapter 15 - G-Men's Drag-Net

The serial was also released in an abridged feature-length version. Two more Dick Tracy serials (also with Ralph Byrd) followed in 1939 and 1941.






Dick Tracy's G-Men (1939) - Theatrical Serial

Dick Tracy's (Ralph Byrd) main opponent in this Republic Pictures 15-part serial (263 minutes in length) was international master spy Nicolas Zarnoff (Irving Pichel). The serial was re-released in 1955.

Except for the first episode or chapter, which was double the normal length, each episode was about 16 minutes in length:

  • Chapter 1 - The Master Spy
  • Chapter 2 - Captured
  • Chapter 3 - The False Signal
  • Chapter 4 - The Enemy Strikes
  • Chapter 5 - Crack-Up!
  • Chapter 6 - Sunken Peril
  • Chapter 7 - Tracking the Enemy
  • Chapter 8 - Chamber of Doom
  • Chapter 9 - Flames of Jeopardy
  • Chapter 10 - Crackling Fury
  • Chapter 11 - Caverns of Peril
  • Chapter 12 - Fight in the Sky
  • Chapter 13 - The Fatal Ride
  • Chapter 14 - Getaway
  • Chapter 15 - The Last Stand




Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc. (1941) - Theatrical Serial

Dick Tracy's (Ralph Byrd) main opponent in this Republic Pictures 15-part serial (263 minutes in length) was the fiendish Ghost/J.P. Morton (Ralph Morgan), who could become invisible, with the goal of destroying NYC with a giant tidal wave. The serial was re-released in 1952, with the title Dick Tracy vs. Phantom Empire (1952).

Except for the first episode or chapter, which was double the normal length, each episode was about 16 minutes in length:

  • Chapter 1 - The Fatal Hour
  • Chapter 2 - The Prisoner Vanishes
  • Chapter 3 - Doom Patrol
  • Chapter 4 - Dead Man's Trap
  • Chapter 5 - Murder at Sea
  • Chapter 6 - Besieged
  • Chapter 7 - Sea Racketeers
  • Chapter 8 - Train of Doom
  • Chapter 9 - Beheaded
  • Chapter 10 - Flaming Peril
  • Chapter 11 - Seconds to Live
  • Chapter 12 - Trial by Fire
  • Chapter 13 - The Challenge
  • Chapter 14 - Invisible Terror
  • Chapter 15 - Retribution






Dick Tracy (1945) (aka Dick Tracy, Detective)
Dick Tracy vs. Cueball (1946)
Dick Tracy's Dilemma (1947)
Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947)

RKO Pictures released four B pictures - all feature-length Dick Tracy films, from 1945 to 1947.

The first two starred Morgan Conway as the detective, while the two 1947 films returned to serial star, Ralph Byrd.

The villains in the four films:

  • Dick Tracy (1945)
    - Alexis "Splitface" Banning (Mike Mazurki)
  • Dick Tracy vs. Cueball (1946)
    - Cueball (Dick Wessel)
  • Dick Tracy's Dilemma (1947)
    - The Claw (Jack Lambert)
  • Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947)
    - Gruesome (Boris Karloff)

Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947) was considered the best of the four films.

Dick Tracy (1950-1951) - TV series

This short-lived, low-budget, live-action Dick Tracy TV series, featuring Chester Gould villains and storylines from the comic strip, ran from one season on ABC-TV from 1950-1951 and starred Ralph Byrd as the famous detective. It was reported that the show first aired on September 11, 1950. In all, 22 half-hour episodes were aired by ABC between 1950 and 1951. Telescriptions, Inc. took over production of Dick Tracy in mid-1951, this time for first-run syndication.

Season 1 (1950-1951): 22 episodes (from September 11, 1950 to February 12, 1951)
Season 2 (1951-1952): 26 episodes (syndicated) - these were additional episodes intended for first-run syndication that continued to be produced into 1952.

Its future was curtailed with the sudden heart attack-death of its star, Ralph Byrd, in 1952.

Famous villains included Flattop, Shaky, the Mole, Breathless Mahoney, Heels Beals and Influence.



Dick Tracy (1967) - TV series Pilot
The Plot to Kill NATO

A second live-action Dick Tracy series pilot film, modeled after the successful Batman (1966) live-action TV series, was produced in 1967. NBC considered picking up the series as a mid-season replacement during the 1966-1967 season and then later as a fall entry for the 1967-1968 season, but then declined (partially due to falling ratings for Batman).

The pilot, starring Ray MacDonnell in the title role, was titled The Plot To Kill NATO. The "Special Guest" villain was Mr. Memory (Victor Buono).

 

Dick Tracy (1990)

Co-writer/director/star and producer Warren Beatty's stylish film featured cartoonist Chester Gould's Gotham City detective Dick Tracy (portrayed by yellow-garbed Warren Beatty).

Dr. Strange (or Doctor Strange) - was a Marvel Comics fictional character, created by Steve Ditko.

The character first appeared in Strange Tales # 110 (July 1963). [Note: The same issue also introduced Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.] Dr. Strange's eight-page origin story appeared in Strange Tales # 115 (December 1963). In the issue's story, "The Origin of Dr. Strange," it told how Stephen Strange first sought out the legendary 'Ancient One' and why he chose to become "Dr. Strange...master of Black Magic!" - to defeat the Ancient One's pupil, his rival Baron Mordo. A more detailed origin of Doctor Strange was next presented in Doctor Strange # 169 (June 1968).

Although born as a normal human being named Stephen Strange and trained as a surgeon, he was destined to become the next Sorcerer Supreme. As a boy, he was tormented by demons sent by a resentful apprentice sorcerer named Karl Mordo. Strange was ultimately rescued by Mordo's master, the Ancient One - a mystic protector of the Earth-realm as the then-current Sorcerer Supreme. Strange was mentored to become a "Master of Black Magic."

In Dr. Strange # 177 (February 1969), writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan debuted Strange’s new form-fitting blue costume, complete with a full-head mask. Strange even received a new secret identity as Doctor Stephen Sanders.


Strange Tales # 110

July 1963

Strange Tales # 110

July 1963
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Strange Tales # 115

December 1963

Strange Tales # 115
The Origin of Dr. Strange

Doctor Strange # 169

June 1968

Dr. Strange # 177

February 1969
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Dr. Strange (1978) - TV pilot

Dr. Strange, a 2-hour pilot for a proposed TV series, aired on CBS-TV on September 6, 1978. It was the first live-action on-screen representation of one of Marvel's DC Comics' villains. It marked Marvel's third attempt to move into live-action. CBS failed to pick up the series for TV.

In the story, former neurosurgeon and psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Strange (Peter Hooten) (trained by the Ancient One to be the next Sorcerer Supreme of Earth) battled against Morgan Le Fay (Jessica Walter), an evil sorceress based on Arthurian legend.

In one of the TV show's advertisements it described the plot:

BATTLE OF THE SORCERERS Burns the Screen With Electric Flame
Dr. Strange, magical champion of good over evil, battles seductive and sinister Morgan Le Fay while a girl's life hangs in the balance. From the creators of "The Incredible Hulk." Starring Peter Hooten, Jessica Walter, Eddie Benton, Clyde Kusatsu and John Mills.
A SPECTACULAR ADVENTURE SPECIAL - "DR. STRANGE" 8PM.

Doctor Strange (2016)

The 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role as Doctor (Stephen) Strange, a surgeon who learned mystic arts of the Ancient One after a serious car accident.

Elektra - was a fictional character, a female ninja assassin of Greek descent, appearing in publications from Marvel Comics. The character was created by artist/writer Frank Miller, and first appeared in Daredevil # 168 (January 1981), with the spelling 'Elecktra'. This issue was Miller's first step in becoming a comics legend. The issue headlined: "ELECKTRA - Once He Loved Her. Now She Is His Most Deadly Enemy!" Her love-interest was superhero Daredevil, after she realized that he was her old lover Matt. After her death at the hands of Bullseye in Daredevil # 181 (April 1982), she was brought back years later in Daredevil # 324-327 (January to April 1994).

There was also a limited, eight-issue comic book series titled Elektra: Assassin, published monthly by Epic Comics (division of Marvel), from August 1986 to March 1987. The adult-oriented series was written by Frank Miller and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz. With her psychic powers and ninja skills, Elektra battled against an opponent known as the Beast..


Daredevil # 168
January 1981

Daredevil # 181
April 1982

Elektra: Assassin # 1
August 1986
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Elektra (2005)

Director Rob Bowman's martial-arts ninja comic-book action film spinoff flop starred Jennifer Garner as the Greek title character assassin Elektra Natchios. The tagline described Elektra: "Born to Fight. Trained to Kill."

Both Daredevil (2003) and Elektra (2005) were box-office bombs.

Falcon - was one of Marvel's first black superheroes (alias Sam Wilson), making his debut appearance in their mainstream comics in Captain America # 117 (September 1969). [Note: This was three years after the Black Panther, and three years before black super-hero Luke Cage, aka Power Man.] The story was titled: "The Coming of The Falcon!" The Falcon was a NYC based superhero, a long-time friend of Captain America (Steve Rogers), with the ability to fly with mechanical wings, communicate telepathically with other flying creatures, and a desire to enforce justice. Originally, he was used as pawn by the Red Skull, but was rescued and de-programmed by Captain America. Later, when Steve Rogers retired, Sam Wilson became the newest Captain America and leader of the Avengers.

The Falcon first starred in his own four-issue miniseries in The Falcon # 1 (November 1983).


Captain America # 117

September 1969

The Falcon # 1
November 1983

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Anthony Mackie portrayed the Falcon in a number of superhero films, including:

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
 

The Fantastic Four - was based upon the Marvel Comics comic book super-team, created by writer/editor Stan Lee and artist/writer Jack Kirby (their first co-production). They were created in response to the popularity of rival DC Comics' team, the Justice League of America. They were Marvel Comics' first superteam.

The team of superheroes first appeared in The Fantastic Four # 1 (November 1961). The original four members were:

  • The Thing - a group of orange, rock boulders (with blue eyes) known as "The Thing" (Benjamin Grimm) with tremendous endurance and strength - caused by a blast of cosmic radiation, and often spouting the trademark expression: "It's clobberin' time!"
  • Mr. (or Mister) Fantastic - the group's genius scientist leader and inventor (Reed Richards), with a stretchable, pliable body
  • Human Torch - (Johnny Storm, younger brother of Sue), with the ability to fly and become a flaming torch
  • Invisible Girl (Woman) - (Susan "Sue" Storm) with the ability to project and command powerful force fields, also the power of invisibility and flight

The 1994 film by producer Roger Corman combined the superteam's origin from The Fantastic Four # 1 issue and villainous Doctor Doom's origin from Fantastic Four Annual # 2 (1964) with other original elements.


The Fantastic Four # 1
November 1961

Fantastic Four Annual # 2 (1964)
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The Fantastic Four: The Animated Series (1994-1996) - TV animated series

This was a two-season animated series (of a total of 26 episodes about 26 minutes in length each), part of The Marvel Action Hour (with one half-hour segment about Iron Man, and another half-hour segment on the Fantastic Four).

Season 1: (1994) September 24, 1994 to December 17, 1994 (13 episodes)
Season 2: (1995-1996) September 23, 1995 to February 13, 1996 (13 episodes)

This series featuring Marvel's first 'family' or group of superheroes provided the origin stories of the Fantastic Four: Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and The Thing.

Their main opponent was dastardly Doctor Doom and his legion of villains (the Skrulls, the Mole Man, and the Puppet Master), and other superheroes including Daredevil, the Black Panther, Thor, and the Hulk. Animation in the second season was regarded as improved over the first season. Stories were often taken directly from the comic books of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby and John Byrne.

The Fantastic Four (1994)

Producer Roger Corman's low-budget film explained the origins of the 'fantastic four' who were given superpowers when exposed to cosmic rays from a passing comet, while in an experimental spacecraft. The film was never theatrically released nor available on home video, although there have been bootleg recordings.

The 'fantastic four' individuals who battled against Doctor Doom (Joseph Culp) were:

  • Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic (Alex Hyde-White)
  • Sue Storm/The Invisible Girl/Woman (Rebecca Staab)
  • Johnny Storm/The Human Torch (Jay Underwood)
  • Ben Grimm/The Thing (Michael Bailey Smith)

The film's poster described that it was "From The Pages of the World's Greatest Comic Book Fantasy." The tagline was: "Part Muscle. Part Elastic. Part Fire. Part Invisible. Together, It's Clobberin' Time!"

 

Fantastic Four (2005)

20th Century Fox's and director Tim Story's film, derived from Stan Lee's and Jack Kirby's comic characters, was about a group of four super-powered astronauts (due to cosmic radiation exposure to a passing comet) who opposed enemy Doctor Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon). The tagline was: "Prepare For the Fantastic."

The four included:

  • Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) - a stretchable and rubbery Mr. Fantastic
  • Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) - the Invisible Woman
  • Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) - cocky Human Torch
  • Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) - the rock-hard The Thing

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

This was a sequel also directed by Tim Story. The same four characters (and performers) comprised the superhero team Fantastic Four.

It additionally introduced Doug Jones as Norin Radd/The Silver Surfer (with Laurence Fishburne as the voice of the Silver Surfer).

Fantastic Four (2015) (aka Fant4stic)

This was the next (fourth) superhero film, a reboot of the franchise, that was based on the Marvel Comics superhero team - in 2015.

It was the third theatrical Fantastic Four film from 20th Century Fox (and a sequel was already in the works for 2017). The main Fantastic Four characters were portrayed by a new cast:

  • Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) - Miles Teller
  • Susan Storm (Invisible Woman) - Kate Mara
  • Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) - Michael Jordan
  • Ben Grimm (The Thing) - Jamie Bell

Fantomah - was one of two female comic-book superheroes who claimed to be the first. She was an imaginative character created by Fletcher Hanks. [Note: The other was The Woman in Red - see later.] Fantomah first appeared in Jungle Comics # 2 (February 1940). Fantomah was known as the mystery woman of the African jungle, almost revered as godlike. Her magical powers varied, depending upon the plot, although she was super-fast, super-strong, and had the ability to shape-shift.


Jungle Comics # 2
February 1940

She could transform herself into a frightening blue phantom/skeleton creature (blue skinned with a skull face) as well as a floating skull with blonde hair.

The Flash - was the DC Comics superhero character described as "the fastest man alive" and also known as "The Scarlet Speedster" or "Crimson Comet." The Flash first appeared in Flash Comics # 1 (January 1940), created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert. [Note: This issue was notable - it also featured the first appearance of two other superheroes, The Hawkman, and Johnny Thunder.]

The original Flash (up until the mid-1950s) was actually Jay Garrick - a college student in Keystone City who developed incredible superspeed after he fell asleep in a science lab and accidentally inhaled the hyper-charged atoms of a radioactive liquid. He was costumed with a red, lightning bolt-branded shirt, blue and yellow pants and a distinctive silver winged helmet. The scarlet-dressed speedster helped form the Justice Society of America.


Flash Comics # 1

January 1940
Showcase # 4
October 1956

The Flash # 105
March 1959

Crisis on Infinite Earths
April 1985

Police forensic scientist Barry Allen, the second incarnation of the Flash from 1956-1985, has generally been considered the first hero of the Silver Age of comic books. The new updated version of Flash debuted in Showcase # 4 (October 1956), created by writers John Broome and Robert Kanigher and artists Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert - this date has usually been regarded as the beginning of the Silver Age of Comics.

Forensic scientist Barry Allen in Central City was empowered when a bolt of lightning struck him in his lab where he was surrounded by chemicals. His costume was distinctive - a red body suit and cowl, with yellow boots and gold detailing. After several more appearances in Showcase comics, Allen's character was given his own stand-alone comics title, The Flash # 105 (March 1959), and he starred in issues of The Flash comics until Crisis on Infinite Earths # 1 (April 1985), when Barry gave his life to save Earth from the Anti-Monitor. Barry Allen preceded another version of Flash, named Wally West.

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The Flash (1990-1991) - TV series
The Flash (1990)

This adventure-fantasy, live-action TV series was broadcast on CBS-TV from Sept. 20, 1990 to May 18, 1991 (it was composed of one season only with 22 one-hour episodes). Actor John Wesley Shipp portrayed the dual role of Central City's police forensic chemist Barry Allen, who was transformed into the masked crime-fighter superhero - dubbed The Flash - by a lightning bolt that struck some chemicals in his lab. Costumed in bright-red, Flash's main attribute was super-speed.

The first show was a 2-hour pilot, later released as a TV movie, titled The Flash (1990).

Two other TV movies (released on video) were created by combining two of the series' episodes:

  • The Flash II: Revenge of the Trickster (1991)
    - Episodes: "The Trickster" and "The Trial of the Trickster"
  • The Flash III: Deadly Nightshade (1991)
    - Episodes: "Ghost in the Machine" and "The Deadly Nightshade"

The Flash (2014-2015) - TV series

This was another live-action US TV series featuring the DC Comics character Barry Allen / Flash (a police investigator who became a costumed superhero crime-fighter with super-human speed after being struck by lightning in a forensics lab) (portrayed by Grant Gustin).

It was a spin-off from The Arrow (another US TV series based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, a costumed crime-fighter).

The Flash began airing on the CW Network on October 7, 2014. 23 one-hour episodes were broadcast in the first season, and it was renewed for a second season beginning in the fall of 2015.


First Season

2nd Season - 2015


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