Public Domain Super Heroes


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The Hatter

Real Name


First Appearance

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

Original Publisher


Created by

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (as "Lewis Carroll")


The Hatter explains to Alice that he and the March Hare are always having tea because, when he tried to sing for the Queen of Hearts at her celebration, she sentenced him to death for "murdering the time," but he escapes decapitation. In retaliation, Time halts himself in respect to the Hatter, keeping him and the March Hare stuck at 6:00 forever. The tea party, when Alice arrives, is characterized by switching places on the table at any given time, making short, personal remarks, asking unanswerable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry, all of which eventually drive Alice away. He appears again as a witness at the Knave of Hearts' trial, where the Queen appears to recognize him as the singer she sentenced to death, and the King also cautions him not to be nervous "or I'll have you executed on the spot."

Mad hatter pep

Mad Hatter from Pep Comics #23.

When the character makes his appearance as "Hatta" in Through the Looking-Glass, he is in trouble with the law once again. This time, however, he is not necessarily guilty: the White Queen explains that, quite often, subjects are punished before they commit a crime, rather than after, and sometimes they do not even commit it at all. He is also mentioned as being one of the White King's messengers, and the March Hare appears as well as "Haigha", since the King explains that he needs two messengers: "one to come, and one to go."

Public Domain Literary Appearances

Public Domain Film Appearances

  • Alice in Wonderland (1903)
  • Alice in Wonderland (1915)

Public Domain Comic Book Appearances

  • Pep Comics #23: Danny in Wonderland encounters a villainous version of the Mad Hatter.
  • The Mad Hatter #1-2: Grant Richmond adopts the crime fighting persona of the Mad Hatter because he felt that the legal system made as much sense as the work of Lewis Carroll.
  • Santa Claus Funnies #2: Alice gives Santa Claus a tour of Wonderland where he encounters characters such as Humpty Dumpty, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter.
  • Adventures of Alice #1-2: Modern day adaptations of Lewis Carroll's stories Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
  • World's Greatest Stories #1: Fairly faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll's story,Through the Looking Glass.


  • He is often referred to as the Mad Hatter, though this term was never used by Carroll.
  • The card or label on the Hatter's hat reads "In this style 10/6", which refers to 10 shillings and six pence (or a half guinea), the price of the hat in pre-decimalized British money. The figure acts as a visual indication of the hatter's trade.
  • In the chapter "A Mad Tea Party," the Hatter asks a much-noted riddle: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" When Alice gives up, the Hatter admits: "I haven't the slightest idea." Lewis Carroll originally intended the riddle to be without an answer; but after many requests from readers, he gives the explanation of: "Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer: "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is nevar [sic] put with the wrong end in front!" This, however, is merely an afterthought; the riddle as originally invented had no answer at all." Note that "nevar" is "raven" spelled "with the wrong end in front" (that is, backwards).
  • While the original character is in public domain, the version of the character used by Disney and other later adaptations published after 1923 are NOT in the public domain.

See Also

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