WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains

The Buzzard

Personal information

Character History

Real Name: Hugo van Beck


Residence: Mobile 
Occupation: Criminal
First Appearance (Golden Age):Adventure Comics #73 (April 1942)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): None 

Little is known of the early like of Hugo van Beck prior to his appearance in the "Empire City"of New York in 1942.  He is known to have been destitute, surviving by panhandling until he caught onto the idea of adopting an identity as a costumed criminal - the Buzzard.  He formed a gang developed a modus operandi of taunting his adversaries as a distraction or to goad them into making mistakes.

In a sense, he created the Manhunter who had yet to adopt his costumed identity.  Hosting a party upon his return from a grand African safari, Paul Kirk (stage name Rick Nelson) was entertaining a group of friends including Detective Richard Donovan who was regaling with stories of a bizarre criminal known as the Buzzard.  As they speak, a newsflash about the Buzzard comes on and the announcer update is cut short by an interruption from the Buzzard himself.  The bizarre criminal declared his days of settling for scraps were over, taunting the police to stop his next crime.

Donovan overhears the broadcast and becomes enraged.  He calls an APB on the Buzzard and orders his men to converge on the station.  When they do, they see the Buzzard leaping to the rooftops and give chase.  Cornering him on a remote rooftop, they are taunted by the criminal into closing in on him but as they do, he touches a switch the reveals the roof is over an empty shell of a building and the men fall several stories to their deaths.

the buzzard inks colors resize

Hearing coverage of his friend's death infuriates Kirk.  He develops a new identity as  the Manhunter and resolves to bring the Buzzard to justice.  Several days later, the Buzzard hijacks the police radio to challenge the police to stop his jewelry theft on the west side of town.  The Manhunter is also monitoring and suspects the Buzzard is too craven for a direct confrontation and heads east.  He happens upon a group of street urchins who claiming to have seen a large creature lurking about.  Questioning the kids, he becomes convinced the Buzzard is nearby and soon sees the criminal leaping cross the roofs. 

Giving pursuit, the Manhunter see the Buzzard heading for a wealthy home and takes a shortcut to snare a trap.  When the Buzzard arrives, he is snagged and suspended from the ceiling but he goads the Manhunter into a direct fist fight.  Requesting witnesses for "fairness", he tricks the Manhunter into being surrounded by the "witnesses" - his henchmen.  They dog-pile Manhunter and tie him up for later,  They then drag in the homeowner, the widow Marston.  The Buzzard threatens the widow if she does not change her will to leave everything to "Hug0 van Beck".  The feisty widow refuses, knowing that the Buzzard will kill her once the will is signed.  As the Buzzard argues with her, the Manhunter, having slipped his bonds, quietly subdues one henchman after another. When the Buzzard leans to close, the widow snatches off his mask, revealing that he is Hugo van Beck, a tramp that she once showed charity.  When the Buzzard threatens to kill her, the Manhunter attacks, thrashing him around the room.  With no backup, the Buzzard is not match for  the enraged hero and is quickly subdued.  He and his men are left in a cage outside the police station (Adventure Comics #73).

The later activities of the Buzzard are not recorded.

Powers and Abilities

The Buzzard's primary strategy involves scheming and distraction. He is a shameless provocateur, often successfully goading his adversaries into participating in their own defeat.  He is lacking in remorse and uninhibited by conscience.  The duration of his career is unknown but he seems to have had enough success to finance parts of his criminal operations and recruit henchmen.

Weaknesses and Limitations

The Buzzard was an ordinary human with no super-human abilities.  Confronted with overwhelming force, he could be captured or injured.
Multiversity Villains


The general history of the Buzzard in this timeline is thought to be essentially identical to the Earth-Two version.  In this timeline, additional information about van Beck's history is known, that he was an investor wiped out by the crash of 1929 and in poverty, turned to crime.  Whether this is also true on Earth-Two is unknown (Secret Origins Vol. 2 #22).




Reprinted in

Adventure Comics #73

First Appearance, vs. Manhunter

The New Gods Vol. 1 #4