Captain Ironfist in Action Comics (Superman enemy, 1942)

Captain Ironfist

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


This obscure character encountered Superman but once, in 1942. I don’t think he’s been seen since, or even mentioned.


  • Real Name: Stanley Finchcomb.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: “Dad” (first name unrevealed, deceased) and piratical ancestors including Black Ned, One-Eyed Tom, Jolly Jack and Cut Throat Dick.
  • Group Affiliation: Leader of his own piratical party, arrr.
  • Base of Operations: Pleasure Island amusement park near Metropolis. The Atlantic Ocean nearby aboard the Merry Anne.
  • Height: 5’8″ Weight: 150 lbs.
  • Eyes: Unrevealed Hair: Brown (Black as Ironfist).


Powers & Abilities

Captain Ironfist was competent at being a ruthlessly piratical menace. He thus knew his way about ships, weapons, and leadership.

His armament included :

  • A cutlass.
  • What appeared to be a flintlock pistol tucked into his belt. It seemed mostly decorative.
  • A submachinegun looking like a MP18 with a drum magazine.
  • His “ironfist”. It seemed to be some sort of reinforced glove – perhaps simply a thick black leather glove with brass knuckles.
  • An ordinary-looking 1940s transport ship that could somehow turn into a twin-masted Age of Sail frigate, complete with black powder lateral cannons. This is reminiscent of the ship Commander Kraken would use decades later – the Albatross.
    Unlike with the Albatross, the transformation takes a while and is mostly done through manual labour. The masts, rigging, railing, etc. can be taken apart and stored by the crew, there are numerous revolving panels, etc..


Stanley Finchcomb was born during the 1910s. As he grew up, he realised that his father was hiding a secret – and was easily angered by mentioning pirates. Eventually, his father admitted that they were descended from a long succession of bloodthirsty pirates, with the worst having been Captain Ironfist.


Mr. Finchborn feared that heredity would have his descendants become pirates too. Seeing that the boy was deeply impressed by this, Mr. Finchborn attempted to get rid of the collection of piratical relics hidden in the attic. But the enormous portrait of Captain Ironfist fell atop him, fatally wounding him.

As a wealthy youth, Stanley developed the Pleasure Island amusement park – a decidedly un-piratical pursuit. It looked a bit like Coney Island, thought the name likely was a subconscious allusion to the Treasure Island classic novel .

However, his repressed obsession deepened. Stanley increasingly spent time with the familial piracy artefacts.

One day, the ghost of Captain Ironfist emerged from the portrait. It convinced/intimidated Stanley into dressing up like him, then started possessing him into becoming a modern-day pirate.

Is this the real life, is this just fantasy ?

Though the story is ambiguous, it leans toward Stanley having been delusional. Thus, the ghosts are but figments of his imagination, as the saying goes. This is helped by 1930s American notions of heredity, eugenics and genetic predisposition.

There’s no genuine argument in favour of supernatural involvement in this specific story. Stanley’s father death is an odd coincidence, but by the standards of a 1940s comic book story it’s tame.

Caught in a landslide…

Now “possessed”, Stanley — as the new Captain Ironfist — recruited thugs, whom he paid to act as old-time pirates. He somehow had the Pleasure Island transport boat refitted to be able to transform into an Age of Sail pirate ship. This ship was called the Merry Anne, after the historical Ironfist’s.

Captain Ironfist in Action Comics (Superman enemy, 1942) ancestor advisor

Ironfist and crew plundered several ships. After raiding the Jacksonian, the bloodthirsty cap’n insisted upon sinking their prey with cannon fire.

As Ironfist was alternating between Stanley’s meek behaviour and the “ghost’”s ferocity, there was an attempt at mutiny. However, the “ghost” convinced Stanley to gun down the ringleaders, squashing the rebellion.

Meanwhile, Superman saved the Jacksonian, and Lois Lane was — obviously — kidnapped by the pirates. Ironfist had Lane walk the plank, but she was — obviously — saved by Superman. The Man of Steel confronted Captain Ironfist.

… no escape from reality

Stanley was deserted by his “ghost”, who was afraid of Superman. Back to his much meeker self, Stanley fled in a panic. But he then had a vision of his father threatening him for having given in to his piratical heritage.

Startled by this second “ghost”, Stanley fell to his death from the rigging.


Stanley would disguise himself into a convincing likeness of his ancestor, including a fake moustache.

He also kept his gloved hand clenched into a fist. It seems that this was to imitate a misshapen hand of his ancestor’s, but it’s unclear.


Ironfist is a brutal killer who talks like a comic book pirate, arrr.

Stanley is a meek upper-class lad, with a vivid imagination.


“Landlubbers ! By the whiskers o’ my ancestors I’ll show those mutinous rascals the fury o’ Captain Ironfist !”

“Blast my soul if’n I ain’t got me a mess o’ pantywaists fer a crew. Very well, me fine buckos — I’ll do me own dirty work !”

“She’ll walk the plank for this spying ! Bind her arms behind her — blindfold her — get a plank..! Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! Haven’t had this much fun in centuries !”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Captain Ironfist

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Power
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Business owner, retro pirate
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Wealth: 006
Init: 011 HP: 010

Vehicles (Sea): 03, Weaponry: 04

Familiarity (Business management, History of piracy), Financial Backer (Pleasure Island amusement park, Filthy Rich), Headquarters (Expansive – a hidden den under Pleasure Island, and the Merry Anne).

Underworld (Low).

Minor Rage, MPR (patch over his right eye).


  • Cutlass [BODY 04, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 05), Descriptor: Slashing, Blunt].
  • IRONFIST [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 04), Descriptor: Blunt].
  • Flintlock pistol. Never used, even when that would have been a good idea. Prolly BODY 02 EV 04 Range 02 Ammo: 01 Very Long Reload Drawback, or something close to that. It likely isn’t loaded if not expecting combat.
  • MP-18 w/Snail-Drum Mag [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 10, R#05, Advantage: Autofire]. The 32-round parabellum was high-cap, but temperamental.
  • I’M ON A BOAT [STR 11 BODY 13, Swimming: 04, Limitation: Swimming is Surface Only]. The cannons likely have Projectile weapons: 08, but with Ammo: 01, R#04 and Long Reload. It doesn’t quite have Insta-Change, so I guess it has Artist (Actor) to modify its appearance. 🙂

Design notes

These are lowballed stats, being as usual based on what we actually see him doing. His actual stats may be higher.

Had he faced a 1940s mystery man instead of Superman, I suspect Ironfist would have been able to fight a duel. Which requires higher scores than the ones above.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Action Comics Vol. 1 #54.

Helper(): Ethan Roe.

Writeup completed on the 18th of May, 2018.