Public Domain Super Heroes
William Tell
William tell jumbo comics.jpg
From Jumbo Comics #37

Real Name

William Tell

First Appearance


Created by



Wilhelm Tell by Ernst Stückelberg (1880)

William Tell (in the four languages of Switzerland: German: Wilhelm Tell; French: Guillaume Tell; Italian: Guglielmo Tell; Romansh: Guglielm Tell) is a folk hero of Switzerland.

His legend is recorded in a late 15th-century Swiss chronicle.It is set in the period of the original foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century. According to the legend, Tell—an expert marksman with the crossbow—assassinated Gessler, a tyrannical reeve of Habsburg Austria positioned in Altdorf, Uri.

Along with Arnold Winkelried, Tell is a central figure in Swiss patriotism as it was constructed during the Restoration of the Confederacy after the Napoleonic era.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

  • Tellenlied (folk song), 1470s.
  • White Book of Sarnen, by Hans Schreiber, 1400s.
  • Chronicle of the City of Lucerne, by Melchior Russ, 1482.
  • Chronicle of the Swiss Confederation, by Petermann Etterlin, 1507.
  • Urner Tellspiel (play), 1513.
  • Chronicon Helveticum, by Ægidius Tschudi, ca. 1570.
  • Tellenlied (song), by Hieronymus Muheim, 1613.
  • Guillaume Tell (play), by Antoine‐Marin Lemierre, 1766.
  • Tellenlied (song), by Johann Kaspar Lavater, 1767.
  • History of the Swiss Confederation, by Johannes von Müller, 1780.
  • Guillaume Tell (opera), by André Grétry, libretto by Michel‐Jean Sedaine, 1791.
  • William Tell; or, Switzerland Delivered, by Jean‐Pierre Claris de Florian, 1794.
  • William Tell (play), by Friedrich Schiller, 1804.
  • Deutsche Sagen, vol. 1, by the Brothers Grimm, 1816.
  • “William Tell,” A Garland of New Songs, 1800s.
  • William Tell (play), by James Sheridan Knowles, 1825.
  • William Tell (opera), by Gioachino Rossini, libretto by Étienne de Jouy and Hippolyte Bis, 1829.
  • William Tell: The Hero of Switzerland, ca. 1845.
  • An Overture to William Tell, by William H. McElroy, 1892.
  • William Tell Told Again, by P. G. Wodehouse, 1904.
  • William Tell: A Drama of the Origin of Swiss Democracy (play), by Arthur Dougherty Rees, 1908.

Public Domain Movie Appearances

  • Adventures of William Tell, dir. Georges Méliès, Star Film Co., 1898.
  • Guillaume Tell, dir. Lucien Nonguet, prod. Pathé brothers, 1903.

Public Domain Television Appearances

  • The Adventures of William Tell (1958 - 5 episodes)

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Jumbo Comics #37
  • Kid Eternity #1
  • Real Life Comics #15
  • Cyclone Comics #5

See also