Lost hero:  The search for DR. OBSIDIAN


“Before shadows were cast…before knights became dark…before there were men of bronze, or steel, or iron to protect us…one man stood against the forces of darkness…

Dr. Obsidian”

Publicity Stills from the original serial

In 1938

the “Poverty Row” studio Brazen Pictures released the first Dr. Obsidian serial.  It was a hit, with a masked hero, innovative special effects and plenty of action.  There was enough science fiction and eye candy to bring the men, and enough romance to interest ladies as well. 

With their coffers full for the first time, Brazen Pictures immediately began work on a sequel with a vastly increased budget, and actually shot in exotic locations overseas. Unfortunately, the shooting was finished roughly the same time as World War Two beg
an to break out in earnest.

In an attempt to get the footage back to Hollywood, the films were smuggled onto a missionary ship  and sent on a circuitous route  back to America.  The ship was torpedoed by a Nazi submarine, and while no lives were lost (the missionaries were captured and returned to Europe,) the footage was considered forever lost at sea.

The loss put Brazen into a spiral of bankruptcy.  The character faded from view during subsequent lawsuits and copyright battles.  But after 10 years a new invention looked to bring new life back to the character.


was new and looking for content to fill the broadcast hours. 
Many serials were being repackaged for the new format, and Brazen saw a way to revive their most successful property.  Toy contracts were written up and commercials were shot (“When fighting crime, I like to light up to steel my nerves!”) before the scandal broke. 

It seems that during the lean years, the actress who played the Scorpion had turned to posing for “figure studies,” “French postcards” and “art magazines” to pay the rent.

While this was shocking enough, it was the emergence of the “stag film” featuring the sweet and innocent Betty that caused the Senate inquiry, witch hunt and subsequent “disappearing” of Dr. Obsidian from the public eye.

The character lived on,however, occasionally popping up in short stories and pulp magazines.  The success of the campy “Batman” TV series in the 60’s inspired a wild, psychedelic pilot.

However, it was  never actually broadcast - much to the relief  of most of the participants.   But in the 1990’s, during the comic book boom, the character was optioned by a break-off comic studio, returned to his dark, noir inspired roots, and captured the imagination of fans to become a cult figure once again.


over the decades, tantalizing rumors persisted that the Dr. Obsidian sequel footage had survived, and in fact had been captured by the Nazis and returned to Germany.  Decades later, as the Berlin Wall fell, secret information was released about the USSR and their spy operations during the final days of WWII.  Contained in this was captured Nazi records, and the final secret of Dr. Obsidian.

This new revelation, along with the success of many pulp and comic based heroes in recent times has whetted Hollywood’s appetite for Dr. Obsidian once more. 

Before this character is given a 21st century revamp, a $200 million budget, and the box office clout of modern CGI, we want to first explore the past, history and influence of the Greatest Hero You’ve Never Heard Of : Dr. Obsidian!.



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