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Greatest 12 Characters of the 1840's

Who is on this list, what this list is about and how they got on the list!



This is one of a set of lists I made showing a progression of the greatest characters in a heroic style throughout time. Focusing for the most part on one decade at a time. The heroes that we know and love today were inspired by heroes before them. Some are even real people who moved into folklore. Before comics there were pulp magazines. Before that there was dime novels and before that was the penny dreadfuls. There were many others as well like Gothic novels, story papers and yes even a real novel.  

The List 

This is the list of the greatest characters in comics from 1840 to 1849.    These would be characters who will go on to be the biggest influences in comics either directly or indirectly.  In other words these will become great inspirations to future comic characters and stories. Right now they are in order of year.  

New Stuff

 Honorable Mention
 Honorable Mention
Believe it or not this was one of the hardest lists.  There were several I wanted to put in but because I wanted to limit it to twelve I was forced to cut at least four characters who would have been staples in later decades.  For example I had a harder time finding twelve characters for the 1850's, 1860's and 1870's than I did for this particular decade.

Here is the past list

Greatest 12 Characters of the 1830's

Here is the next list   

Greatest 12 Characters of the 1850's

List items

  • Spring Heeled Jack was a legend that was suppose to have been really seen. However no one was able to catch him. He first appeared in literature in a play in 1840 called Spring Heeled Jack the Terror of London. Even Jack the ripper was named after him. Take a look at the above image printed in 1904 and tell me Spring-Heel Jack is not a predictor to Batman.

  • C. Auguste Dupin is the detective in perhaps the first detective story ever written in the Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841.

  • Natty Bumppo was the star of many novels, films and comics. He first appeared in the novel the Deerslayer in 1841.

  • The Mask of the Red Death or The Masque of Red Death is a manifestation of a disease. It can kill as a matter of touch. It is a grim Reaper in red. The character fist appeared in The Mask of Red Death in 1842.

  • Ebenezer is depicted in a different way or version of the same classic story over and over again he is also the inspiration behind Scrooge McDuck or Uncle Scrooge from the Disney Cartoons. At the time I wrote this Scrooge McDuck was listed as fourteenth over all on appearances on the Vine. He has nearly 4,000 Ebenezer. He first Appeared in Charles Dickens' 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol.

  • Although I probably could have added all these characters separately but they are all equally important. Not only that I had a real hard time narrowing the list down to twelve and this helped. D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, all had their first appearance in 1844 in the novel the Three Musketeers.

  • The Little Match girl is not a hero or villain exactly but more of a victim of our shadowed planet. She is an odd one to have on this list but she is a great and sad character of the 1840's I could not resist having her on this list. Her dreams of a better life in a dark world touch people and shows a real humanity or lack there of in her story. Her first appearance was in a danish novel Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne, meaning The little girl with the matchsticks written in 1845.

  • Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood was a mid-Victorian era serialized gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer (alternatively attributed to Thomas Preskett Prest), which first appeared 1845–47 as cheap pamphlets of the kind then referred to as "penny dreadfuls". That is right more than 50 years before Dracula.

  • Sweeney Todd is a criminal who murders his victims that are later baked into meat pies by his partner in crime. He first appeared in a serial called The String of Pearls: A Romance that started in 1846.

  • Montresor murders a friend for a perceived insult and gets away with his crime. He buries his friend alive behind a wall in a torture greatly outweighing the initial transgression. Montresor first appeared in The Cask of Amontillado in 1846.

  • A real man whom now one knows for sure who he really was first fictionalized in The Vicomte of Bragelonne in 1847. This story was part of the Three Musketeers trilogy.

  • Kit Carson was a real person who became a legend in his own time due to dime novels. The precursor to comic books. His first appearance was in Prince of the Gold Hunters in 1849.