Public Domain Super Heroes
Grant Gardner

Real Name

Grant Gardner

First Appearance

Captain America (February 5, 1944)

Original Publisher

Republic Pictures

Created by

Royal Cole, Ronald Davidson, Basil Dickey, Jesse Duffy, Harry Fraser, Grant Nelson, Joseph Poland


District Attorney Grant Gardner and Police Commissioner Dryden were asked by Mayor Randolph to investigate suspicious suicides among scientists and businessmen, all found holding a small scarab.

The costumed hero was really Grant Gardner!

They discover that all of the suicide victims were members of a Mayan expedition. Professor Lyman was one of the last survivors and turned to his friend and fellow survivor, Dr. Maldor, for help. However, Maldor (as the Scarab) was behind the "suicides" which he planned as revenge for his lack of recognition in organizing the expedition. He killed them using "Purple Death", a hypnotic chemical. Maldor decided to force Lyman to give him the location of plans for a "Dynamic Vibrator" - a device intended for mining operations but one that can be amplified into a devastating weapon.

Grant stopped Scarab's minions from stealing the plans for the Dynamic Vibrator. So, Scarab tried to get a working device with several failed attempts.

Grant's love interest was Gail Richards.

Public Domain Film Appearances

  • Captain America


  • "Captain America" is copyrighted and trademarked by Marvel Comics however, this serial debuting the new character of "Grant Gardner" is no longer copyrighted meaning "Grant Gardner" (and anything else original to this serial) is in the public domain.
    • Notable differences between the serial and the comic are:
      • His secret identity is District Attorney Grant Gardner rather than U.S. Army Private Steve Rogers.
      • The "Super-Soldier Serum" origin is not used.
      • His famous shield does not appear, replaced by a standard gun.
      • The costume was grey, white, and dark blue as these colors photographed better in black and white.
        • The costume also lost the wings on the head, the boots became high shoes, miniature flags were added to the gloves, and the belt buckle became a small shield.
      • Despite the fact that this serial was made in 1944, and Captain America regularly fought Nazis in the comics, the Nazis are not part of the story in any way.
      • His sidekick, Bucky, does not appear.
  • In Captain America vol. 1 #219 (March 1978), it is revealed that a "Captain America" serial also exists within the Marvel Comics continuity. In this version, Captain America himself plays the role (in secret), taking the place of the stunt man who was shot during production due to the prop master being the Nazi spy, Lyle Decker. Like the real-life serial, Cap's shield is replaced with a standard gun, his identity is changed, and his sidekick, Bucky, is absent.
    • In the early '60s, this issue's writer, Don Glut (who was born in 1944), came upon the costume from the serial and used it to make some of the very first fan fiction movies.
  • In 2007, "Captain America" was (seemingly) killed off by Marvel Comics. News channel, CNN, produced a special which mistakenly showed images of "Grant Gardner," though it was "Steve Rogers" who was believed dead.
  • The character was portrayed by Dick Purcell.

See Also