Many people have wondered and have asked me,”What is the first masked hero to appear in comics?” As you can imagine, this can be a very tricky question that often leads down a deep rabbit hole. The character that is considered the 1st Masked Hero in American comics first appeared in 1936 and appears to have simultaneously been released in two different comics, but only one is considered the premiere of this hero.
The first of the two issues is Funny Picture Stories #1, where he is clearly depicted on the front cover in his crime fighting attire: mask, fedora, 3 piece suit and trusty cane.
The second is Funny Pages #6, with a very unassuming cover of two children playing. The character we are discussing is known as “The Clock.” Though he is not depicted on the front cover, he is still recognized by both CGC and Overstreet to first appear in Funny Pages #6.
The introduction to this character's origin came slowly and in subsequent issues, and through time it changed and developed. Eventually, we learn that the alias of our hero is Brian O’Brien, a wealthy member of society with a secret lair (a must for any hero). He is a master of disguise, an inventor of gadgets, and he has a penchant for justice. He battles crime with his trusty cane (it has a head that fires off as a weapon), gas-filled diamond stud cuff links, a gun, a detective's wit and a skill for fighting. Lastly, there was his famous trademark of leaving his calling card behind that had an image of a clock with the words “The Clock has struck”. He was not the most famous of characters, but will still be remembered as American Comics' First Masked Hero.