In “When We First Met”, we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, “Avengers Assemble!” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.
Today, based on a suggestion from reader Jorge O., we take a look at the first character to die in the DC Universe.
Obviously, we’re talking the publication history of DC, and not chronologically, as there were plenty of stories set in pre-historic periods. So we’re just talking about the first time that a DC character was killed.
It’s clearly not the answer, but hey, isn’t it fun how, in his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (by Bill Finger and Bob Kane), Batman‘s all chucking dudes off of roofs…
and knocking dudes into vats of acid and saying pithy stuff like, “A fitting end for his kind”….
This just shows you how deadly early DC comics were.
Anyhow, here’s the tricky thing – what do you consider the “DC Universe”?
The first time that a character was killed in a comic book published by the company that would eventually be named DC was in New Fun Comics #5, in the debut of the Bob Merrit feature by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and artist Leo O’Mealia, where a mystery plane shoots a guy in the head from the sky…
Later in that same issue, in the Wing Brady feature by Henry Kiefer, Wing is captured by the Bedouins and one of the Bedouins is killed…
The issue, of course, is that you really can’t say that Bob Merrit or Wing Brady are really part of the DC Universe, right?
It wouldn’t be until Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster introduced Doctor Occult in New Fun Comics #6…
That we actually had a character introduced in a DC comic that would actually be part of what we consider the “DC Universe.”
And in the fourth part of that feature, in the re-titled More Fun Comics #9, the villainous Vampire Master is killed…
So that would be the first character in the DC Universe to be killed.
Thanks for the question, Jorge!
If anyone has a suggestion for a notable comic book first that they’d like to learn, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In their latest spotlight on notable comic firsts, CSBG reveals the first person to be killed in the DC Universe.