Public Domain Super Heroes
Professor James Moriarty
Pd moriarty by Signey Paget

Real Name

Professor Robert/James Moriarty (see "Notes" section)

First Appearance

"The Adventure of the Final Problem" in The Strand Magazine (December 1893)

Original Publisher

George Newnes Ltd.

Created by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Professor Moriarty was "The Napoleon of Crime" who protected all of the criminals of England in exchange for their obedience in the late 19th century. He orchestrated complex and subtle criminal conspiracies, while pretending to be a humble professor of mathematics at the university. He was, in fact, considered an upstanding citizen, despite the fact that he was essentially the brain of the entire underworld.

When the great detective, Sherlock Holmes began to disrupt the operations of his vast criminal network, Moriarty decided to hunt him down. Moriarty hunted Holmes to Reichenbach Falls, where the Professor apparently met his end when the two great enemies fell over the falls in battle.

Professor Moriarty was highly educated, and possessed a genius level intellect, particularly for mathematics, on par with that of Sherlock Holmes himself. He used a weapon called an "air rifle" which could fire bullets silently, and could be disguised as a cane. Moriarty was unmarried, had a younger brother in the military, and was described as having dark criminal tendencies in his blood.

Public Domain Appearances[]


  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893)
  • The Adventure of the Final Problem (1893)
  • The Valley of Fear (1914)
  • The Lost Special (1908) (features a criminal genius who could be Moriarty and a detective who could be Holmes, although neither is mentioned by name)
  • The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1903) (mentioned only)
  • The Adventure of the Empty House (1903) (mentioned only)
  • The Adventure of the Norwood Builder (1903) (mentioned only)
  • The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter (1904) (mentioned only)
  • His Last Bow (1908) (mentioned only)


  • Four Color #1169


  • Sherlock Holmes: A Drama in Four Acts (1899)


  • In the stage play, Moriarty's first name is Robert. In The Adventure of the Empty House, it's James.

See Also[]