In late 1939, MLJ Magazines began producing comic books. The "MLJ" came from the first names of the company's founders, Maurice Coyne, Louis Silberkleit and John L. Goldwater. This company still exists, but it is now called Archie Comics! And it's doubtful that they'd expose their audience to a hero known as The Hangman!
One of the superheroes in MLJ's Pep Comics was John Dickering, better known as The Comet. In 1941's Pep Comics #17, John's brother, Bob, was introduced, and The Comet himself was killed!
"Yeah, so?" you may be saying. "Characters die in comics all the time!" Well, not then they didn't. Hard to believe perhaps, but The Comet was the very first comic book superhero to be killed in the line of duty!
(And yeah, I know, the art kinda sucks...!)
Bob Dickering became The Hangman to take The Comet's place, and get revenge on the gangsters who killed his brother John.
With such an original -- dare I say innovative -- plotline, it's too bad that The Hangman -- well, his creators -- had to resort to a little theft when showing the origin of his costumed identity.
Sound familiar? If you're a comic fan, it should!
See? (Just so you know, Batman's origin was first shown in 1939's Detective Comics #33! So he definitely pre-dated The Hangman!)
Oh, well, imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery.
Thanks for your time.