The Hangman is a DC Comics superhero, who first originated from MLJ Comics, later known as Archie Comics. He was to follow the motif and style of Batman, but in a even more deeper tone. The version appearing in Pep Comics #17-47, Special Comics #1, Hangman Comics #2-8, and Black Hood Comics #9-10 is in the Public Domain.
Origins (MLJ Comics)
The Hangman first appeared in Pep Comics #17, in 1941, and was, at first, Robert "Bob" Dickering, brother to John Dickering, who himself was a minor hero known as The Comet. Bob found this out by pure coincidence. After graduating with a Master's Degree, he went to visit his brother. As soon as he realized that his brother John was the Comet, he introduced his girlfriend, newspaper reporter Thelma Gordon, (not to be associated with Commissioner James Gordon's family). After Comet arrested "Big Boy" Malone, he was attacked in his own residence by Malone's henchmen. What the henchmen didn't know, however, that the person they attacked was Bob, not John. The real Comet came to Bob's rescue, and proceeded to save Bob, but was slain by the henchmen in the process. Grieving for the loss of his brother, Bob swore an oath of revenge against all criminals, and undertaking the name of The Hangman.
Since he embarked in his crime-fighting career, he has met and worked with several other heroes, like The Shield, the Boy Buddies, and has fought some villains, namely Madam Satan. He last appeared in Pep Comics #47, in March, 1944.
First Revival (Archie Comics)
Archie Comics brought him back from obscurity in Fly Man #33, in September, 1965. This time, however, it wasn't mentioned the previous oath he made against criminals, and turning into a criminal altogether. He constantly fought The Mighty Crusaders, then returned to being a hero in Mighty Comics, before going back to being shelved.
The mantle of The Hangman found itself a new bearer, in the form of Steve Dickering, the son of the previous Hangman, Bob. He appeared in The Comet #1, in 1983, as a man wanting to prove to his father that he can honor the name of The Hangman. This version was not as influential as his father was, and promptly got shelved, just like his father.
DC's !mpact Line
Eric Adams was a lawyer working on behalf of Native American rights when white locals who opposed his work attacked him, beating and blinding him and leaving him for dead. The tribal shaman found and healed him as best he could, giving him two gifts in partial recompense for his loss: a bag of magical charms, and a raven through whose eyes Eric could see again. Now Eric Adams fights corporate corruption in both the courtroom and (in his persona as the Hangman) on the streets.
DC Comics Revival
Since the reality-bending events that occurred in Final Crisis, the MLJ characters have been acquired by DC Comics, and merged into current DCU continuity. The story of Robert Dickering starts as this; as a Lieutenant and a doctor tending to the soldiers in the United States Army in the Civil War against the Confederate States of America, he was constantly irate at the ineptitude of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Drake, and his subsequent loss of the battle of Marks' Mills. After pondering on the lives of the wounded of not just in the Union, but in the Confederate forces as well, he was ambushed by a group of thieves, and stripped of his money, left for dead. As he awakes from this attack, he realizes that the group he was with left him behind the lines, and needed to get back with the Union. Just as he hurried, he was stopped by a blind, wounded Confederate soldier asking for his help. After improving his condition temporarily, the soldier warned him of General Fagan being nearby. Hickering then ended up being arrested by General Fagan, under the accusation of spying behind enemy lines. He was then sent to serve the penalty of dying by the noose f or spying. Dickering continuously kept pleading his innocence, but to no avail. In his final minute of life, he was approached by a mysterious form offering to help him out of his current predicament.
Dickering was cautious, for he thought that this form offering him help, was either The Devil or God. The shadow's offer to Dickering was that Dickering is to hunt all those who won't repent at the evil deeds they committed, forever until he's destroyed by methods equal to the shadow's power, or until the end of the world. Seeing no other choice, he accepts, and survives his hanging, giving birth to the legend of The Hangman.
For a hundred years after surviving his execution, he has answered the cry of the innocent, and punished the guilty, but every time he hears the cries of the innocent, it hurts him as well when he transforms. After answering the cry for justice, he comes to his hospital in San Fransisco, to encounter a man who can't remember who he is, save for remembering the name of Frank Verrano...
After talking with Lieutenant Barker regarding how Verrano came to be from a cruise ship that killed all the 247 passengers that boarded it, he tends to Verrano, calming him down from his apparent amnesia that couldn't permit him to remember his own name. After hearing the commotion caused from seeing flames engulf the hospital Dickering was in, he changed into Hangman in order to stop this current calamity.
He detours Inferno's current plans to leave, and engages into a fight with Inferno, quickly gaining the upper hand by taking away the air that fuels his fire. He was ready to end the fight by hanging Inferno, but Inferno pleads to Hangman that they must work together or people will die otherwise. Inferno was then proven right when an attack helicopter interfered in the fight by shooting at both Hangman and Inferno, to which Hangman disposes of the helicopter. They next see another cruise ship in which Inferno encounters another bomb, similar to the bomb that killed the previous cruise ship. With a quick improvisation from Inferno, Hangman tows the bomb away from the cruise ship with his noose, averting a tragedy from being reality.