Doctor Occult (DC)(01 - Earth-2)
Real Name: Richard Occult
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Unspecified mystical abilities, at least on a par with Dr. Fate and Zatara. Like Fate, his magical abilities are linked to a talisman. Instead of wearing a helmet or amulet, though, he focuses his energy through the Symbol of Seven, a disc that he often merely holds in his hands. This disc is representative of the Seven, a group of mystics who, in the late pre-Crisis era, would be explained to have raised Richard Occult from childhood.
Though often depicted as a virtual look-alike to Dick Tracy, Richard Occult donned a cape in More Fun Comics #14, making him the first "caped and costumed superhero" in American comics history.
A more contentious claim is that he is the first truly super-hero, regardless of costume, in American comic books. He was certainly the first published super-powered hero in [what would become] DC's stable.
A claim to the simpler title of "first super hero", though, is complicated by several factors. First is the fact that the claim is somewhat difficult to actually pin down. Information on pre-Golden Age titles is often more speculative than is admitted by comic scholars. There have been very few comprehensive studies across all active publishing houses to establish any real facts in the matter. It may well be that a super-hero appeared in a minor title prior to the publication of New (later, More) Fun Comics #6. It's a little hard to say with absolute precision that there were no super-abled characters in American comics prior to New Fun Comics #6. But at least the issue gives a kind of marker from which to begin investigating.
An even bigger obstacle to the claim that Doctor Occult was the "first super hero", though, comes from the character's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. In truth, there's no question but that the first completed Superman story predated the first completed Doctor Occult story. (In fact, at least two Superman stories pre-date Doctor Occult's first story, including the most complete Golden Age origin tale that was not published until 1939.) One of these Superman stories was even published before the Doctor Occult story, albeit not professionally.
Put most simply, Superman was created (and even revised by a second story) first. It was clearly what Siegel and Shuster wanted to sell first, but when they had difficulty finding a buyer, they presented the more palatable Occult story. More Fun (1936)
First Appearance: New Fun (1935) #6
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
All-Star Squadron (1981)
#7 More Fun Comics (1935)
- 'More Fun: The Big Comic Magazine'#8
New Fun (1935)
Pulp Fiction (1997)
The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)
HC Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (1985)
- 'The DC Comics Encyclopedia'HC
- 'The DC Comics Encyclopedia: Updated And Expanded'
All-Star Squadron (DC)(Earth-2 - Pre Crisis)
Justice Society of America (DC)
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