Public Domain Super Heroes


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Rotwang, a mad scientist
Rotwang 001
Rotwang (note the mechanical hand) and his robot, Maria

Real Name

C. A. Rotwang

First Appearance

Metropolis (film, 1927)

Original Publisher

Created by

Fritz Lang; Thea von Harbou

Golden Age Origin

Rotwang is a brilliant inventor, whose greatest achievement is the creation of a robot made in the form of a woman (the Maschinenmensch).

He originally intends to make it into a replacement for his wife, Hel, who left him for the now-master of the city, Joh Fredersen, and who died while giving birth to Fredersen's son, Freder. Rotwang then uses the robot to get revenge against Fredersen and Freder, while pretending that he is using the robot for Fredersen's benefit. During the ensuing citywide riots and power blackout, Rotwang goes mad and chases Maria through Metropolis, believing her to be Hel. Freder pursues him to the roof of the city's cathedral, where the two fight and Rotwang falls to his death.

Rotwang lives in a strange old house in the middle of Metropolis; its rough exterior design contrasts sharply with the futuristic elegance of the city. In its basement is a trap door that leads down into a network of underground catacombs, where Rotwang and Fredersen eavesdrop on a secret meeting of the workers and Maria, their spiritual counselor. He lost a hand while developing the Machine-Man and now wears a fully functioning prosthesis in its place.

Golden Age Appearances


  • Rotwang is an early example of the mad scientist character.

See Also

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