Public Domain Super Heroes


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Real Name

Phoebus de Châteaupers

First Appearance

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831)

Original Publisher


Created by

Victor Hugo


In the original novel, Phoebus is an antagonist. Despite being of noble birth and very handsome, he is also vain, untrustworthy, and a womanizer. He saves Esméralda from Quasimodo and she falls in love with him. Phoebus makes a convincing show of returning her affections, but merely wants a night of passion. Esméralda arranges to meet Phoebus and tells him of her love for him, and he convinces her that he feels the same way about her. He is in fact engaged to another woman, the spiteful socialite Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier. Not only that, he has agreed to let Claude Frollo spy on his meeting with Esméralda. This decision proves his undoing, since as the couple prepare to have sex, the jealous Claude Frollo attacks Phoebus by stabbing him in the back. Frollo makes a quick get-away and Phoebus is presumed dead by homicide. Esméralda, being the only one present, is presumed to be the killer. Phoebus, however, is not dead and soon recovers from his injury. But this does not stop Esméralda from being tried and sentenced to death for his murder. Phoebus could have proved her innocence, but he remained silent. In the end of the novel, he marries Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier, and watches Esméralda's execution with apparently little or no remorse. Whilst being one of the few characters to survive the novel, Hugo hints that Phoebus' marriage will not be happy.

Public Domain Appearances


  • The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831)


  • Jumbo Comics #1-8,10
  • Four Color Comics #854



  • La Esmeralda (1836)
  • Esmeralda (1847)
  • Esmeralda (1883)
  • Notre Dame (1914)


  • La Esmeralda (1844)
  • Gudule’s Daughter, or Esmiralda (1902)


While the original character is in public domain, the version of the character used by Disney and other later adaptations published after 1923 ( with the exception of the silent film starring Lou Chaney which was not renewed) are NOT.

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