Real Name: Nicolai Vardoff

Identity/Class: Human (World War II Era)

Occupation: Scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: His bodyguards

Enemies: Bucky (James Buchanan Barnes), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Dino Cardi, Major Crane, a "gun moll", Ludwig

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: An unidentified town in the USA (possibly in Virginia)

First Appearance: Captain America Comics I#6 (September, 1941)

Powers/Abilities: The Hangman wielded ropes fashioned from "super-silk," a slender material which was as strong as steel. He demonstrated great ability in hurling the rope as a lasso to strangle people to death.

He also invented a device which sprayed acid that could dissolve a human within moments.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 6'0")
Weight: unrevealed (approximately 190 lbs.)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: White

History: (Captain America Comics I#6/4) - With his assistant Ludwig, Dr. Vardoff created a super-silk which was as strong as steel. However, Vardoff felt entrapped by both his investors who had sunk $100,000 into his research and by the various parties interested in buying the formula. First, he was visited by businessman Dino Cardi, who wanted to know the price for the formula. Vardoff refused to sell but Cardi threatened he would be sorry if he didn't; at this, Vardoff angrily ordered Ludwig to show Cardi out. Mere minutes later, a gun moll representing a criminal gang offered "protection" to Vardoff in return for 50% of his profits. Vardoff again refused and ordered her from his laboratory.

Dr. Vardoff's final visitor was Major Crane from Camp Lehigh, who wanted the super-silk for army parachutes. Vardoff promised to have a sample parachute ready for that evening and Major Crane sent his subordinate Steve Rogers to collect it. However, that night, Cardi snuck into Vardoff's laboratory and attempted to break into Vardoff's safe so that he could steal the formula while wearing one of Vardoff's smocks. Vardoff, now dressed as the Hangman, entered the laboratory, flanked by bodyguards he had hired to defend himself from the gun moll's allies. They caught Cardi in the act and one of Vardoff's henchmen struck Cardi over the head. To fake his own death, Vardoff left Cardi in his smock and hung him from the ceiling using the super-silk then set his laboratory on fire so that the remains of Cardi would be assumed to be his own. Captain America and Bucky fought the Hangman and his men as they fled the scene and the Hangman ended the fight by lassoing both heroes around their necks then striking their heads together. Captain America and Bucky tried to retrieve what they assumed was Vardoff's body from the blaze but could not reach it through the flames.

The next evening, Ludwig returned to the laboratory to find evidence of who had killed "Vardoff." Captain America and Bucky were also investigating the scene and Ludwig began to share his suspicions. Fearing that Ludwig knew he was the Hangman, Vardoff lassoed Ludwig around the neck and swiftly strangled him to death. Chasing the Hangman, Captain America and Bucky ran into the gun moll, who was also investigating Vardoff's "death." When some of the gun moll's allies intervened to attack the two heroes, the Hangman killed the gun moll and hung her body and Ludwig's from the ceiling, thereby having his revenge on her for threatening him.

By now, Captain America suspected Vardoff was not dead and went to the city morgue with Bucky to investigate "Vardoff"'s body. Discovering a glass eye in the right socket, Captain America realized the dead man was Cardi. Just then, the Hangman and his guards entered and caught the two heroes in a lasso. The Hangman and his men brought the costumed duo to another laboratory on the edge of town, where he intended to kill them both using a device which would dissolve them with acid. However, the acid fell on Captain America's bonds, enabling him to escape and free Bucky. Captain America and Bucky quickly defeated the bodyguards then unmasked the Hangman as Dr. Vardoff.

Dr. Vardoff confessed his crimes and explained how he had left Cardi's body in his laboratory. He explained that he was tired of being annoyed by gangsters and businessmen so he faked his death to continue his work alone. To redeem himself, he turned over the super-silk formula to Captain America, asking him to deliver it to the U.S. government as "a last gesture from Doctor Vardoff before he pays for the Hangman's crimes." So saying, Vardoff flung himself beneath the acid spray gun and in mere moments was dead, his body dissolved by the acid.

Comments: Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Thanks to Ron Fredricks for cleaning up the main image.

Profile by Prime Eternal.

This Hangman should not be confused with:

Dino Cardi

Dino Cardi was a businessman with only one eye; his right eye had been replaced with a glass eye and he wore a monocle to disguise it. For that reason, he was dubbed "the Man with the Monocle" by those who didn't know his name.

Hearing of Vardoff's super-silk invention, Cardi visited his laboratory to inquire about the invention's price. He also hinted that Vardoff would be "sorry" if he didn't cooperate. Outraged, Vardoff had Ludwig send him from the building. His exit was noticed by Steve Rogers and Bucky. That night, Cardi broke into Vardoff's laboratory and tried to access Vardoff's safe. Vardoff, guised as the Hangman, had his gang club Cardi over the head. To fake his own death, Vardoff hung Cardi with a rope of his super-silk then set fire to his laboratory so Cardi's body would be thought to be his own. However, Captain America latter discovered that "Vardoff's" supposed corpse had a glass eye, proving the dead man was not Vardoff.

--Captain America Comics I#6/4

Major Crane

Major Crane was a US Army officer at Camp Lehigh who commanded Steve Rogers. Major Crane met with Dr. Vardoff after hearing of his super-silk invention. Major Crane asked Dr. Vardoff to use his silk in the creation of parachutes. Dr. Vardoff agreed and told Major Crane he would have a sample for him that evening. However, that evening, Dr. Vardoff killed Dino Cardi and left his corpse to seem to be his own. When Steve Rogers informed Major Crane of Vardoff's apparent death, he requested permission to investigate further; Major Crane refused to give Rogers permission but he continued the investigation as Captain America.

--Captain America Comics I#6/4

"the gun moll"

An unidentified gun moll was sent by her gang to deal with Dr. Vardoff and offer the gang's services to him as part of a protection racket, demanding 50% of his profits. Incensed, Vardoff refused and ordered the gun moll out of his laboratory. Her exit from the laboratory was noticed by Steve Rogers and Bucky. After Vardoff was seemingly killed, the gun moll was ordered to investigate his laboratory and learn the identity of the killer. She was caught there by Captain America and Bucky, who both assumed she was working for the Hangman. When some of her gang stepped in to defend her from the two heroes, the gun moll ran into the Hangman himself, who killed her, hanging her body from the ceiling next to the body of Ludwig.

--Captain America Comics I#6/4


Ludwig was a Dutchman who served as Vardoff's laboratory assistant in the invention of his super-silk. Vardoff demonstrated the super-silk by tying up Ludwig, who couldn't break the slender bonds. When Dino Cardi tried to purchase the super-silk from Vardoff, Vardoff had Ludwig usher him out. That night, Vardoff was seemingly killed by the Hangman.

The next day, Ludwig went to the laboratory to search for clues. When Captain America and Bucky arrived, searching for the Hangman, Captain America accused Ludwig of being the criminal. Ludwig insisted he was not and that Dino Cardi, "der man mit der monocle," was the Hangman but suddenly, the Hangman lassoed Ludwig around the neck with his super-silk and strangled him to death. Later, the Hangman hung Ludwig's corpse from the ceiling next to the body of the gun moll.

--Captain America Comics I#6/4

images: (without ads)
Captain America Comics I#6/4, page 2, panel 1 (main)
Captain America Comics I#6/4, page 2, panel 1 (face)
Captain America Comics I#6/4, page 1, panel 1 (Cardi)
Captain America Comics I#6/4, page 9, panel 4 (Crane)
Captain America Comics I#6/4, page 1, panel 1 (gun moll)
Captain America Comics I#6/4, page 2, panel 1 (Ludwig)

Captain America Comics I#6/4 (September, 1941) - Joe Simon (writer, artist, editor), Jack Kirby (writer, penciler)

First posted: 06/03/2022
Last updated: 06/03/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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