The Hanged Man

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The Hanged Man
© Juke Box Productions


Status: Active
Earliest (in world) Appearance: late 1800s
Origin: While certain details of Hanged Man's past are mentioned in Astro City No.39, the full sordid tale surrounding Hanged Man's dark beginning has yet to be told.
Base of Operations: Shadow Hill

Personal Data

Aliases: The Dark One

Kerem the Wise


Appearances (in Publication Order): Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.1 #4

Wizard Presents: Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1/2
Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 #1, 6, 9
Astro City #13, 39

Event Timeline


A strange and mysterious being, the Hanged Man stands a nightly vigil over the neighborhood known as Shadow Hill. He wears a burlap bag over his face and a badly frayed rope around his neck. The shadowy remnants of a ghastly execution.


K.O. Carson tells tales of olden times and the Hanged Man. Some of those tales pre-date World War I and the arrival of Air Ace. The earliest stories originate in mystic European folklore from the Middle Ages, but his first appearance was in Picardy, France, in 1748. Stephane Mesnier was found guilty of crimes, and sentenced to death, but at the moment of death, he was offered a chance to serve the world, by giving up his body to a being that needed it in order to act. He accepted this chance, and the Hanged Man was born. Afterwards, The Hanged Man promised his aid to anybody of that family who needed it.

The Hanged Man, along with the migration of large groups of Eastern Europeans, is believed to have settled into the area now known as Astro City in the later half of the 19th Century. There are no specific details, just ghostly fragments of events from an ancient past.

Recent history provides more abundant information, starting with police database files detailing Hanged Man's activities protecting the residents of Astro City. One of his most revered incidents involved the mysterious murders plaguing Shadow Hill during the Great Enelsian Invasion. That case baffled authorities who originally felt that the Confessor, a rather ruthless vigilante, was somehow tied to the killings.

Instead, the Hanged Man discovered the real culprit turned out to be an extremely horrendous and bestial entity. On a very dark night shortly following both the death of the Confessor and the defeat of the Enelsians, an eerie light emanated over the old buildings inhabiting Shadow Hill. It was a projection filling the skies, mingling with the starlight. A vision made large by the Hanged Man so all the restless citizens of Astro City could witness the final life moments of a horrific killer that had caused so much grieving. That was the relief needed and in the end, the Hanged Man brought closure for the victims and the city.


More recently, he directed the Dancing Master to return to a place known as the Old Lands. The two beings recognized each other, and the Dancing Master remembered three of the hundreds of names that the Hanged Man had used before he "wore a sack upon his head." It is unclear how the two know each other.


  • The Hanged Man's vast powers seem to be supernatural. He is known to fly, although it is more a wispy floating, like that of a apparition.
  • He can manipulate his size to tower above buildings.
  • He possesses mysterious awareness of alternate time-lines.
  • He uses dead bodies a a vessel to operate in the realms of the physical world.

Speculations, Theories

The possibilities seems strong that the Hanged Man and his fate are somehow tied into the history, rituals, and superstitions that cling to Shadow Hill.