The Masked Raider
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939)
Created byAl Anders
  • Jim Gardley (Masked Raider I)
  • Dirk Mehler (Masked Raider II)
  • Carlo Zota (Masked Raider III)
Masked Raider

The Masked Raider is an alias of several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original character went by the name of Jim Gardley and appeared in comic books published during the 1930s and 1940s period known as the Golden Age of Comic Books, he was created by writer and artist Al Anders. Jim Gardley was a gunslinger and former rancher active during the American frontier.[1] He was one of the few individuals that held the Eternity Mask for a short period, and succeeded by Dirk Mehler. In Marvel Comics #1000, it was revealed how the Golden Age Masked Raider died and a new character, initially unnamed but later unidentified as Carlo Zota, had taken up the name, also in possession of the Eternity Mask.

Publication history

Created by writer-artist Al Anders, Jim Gardley first appeared in the Timely Comics' anthology series Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), and ran through issue #12 (Oct. 1940) of the by-then retitled Marvel Mystery Comics.[2]

The first Western character published by Timely, the predecessor of Marvel Comics, the Masked Raider is Jim Gardley, who with his horse Lightning dedicates his life to fighting the lawless and bringing justice to the oppressed.

He is unrelated to the Charlton Comics series Billy the Kid, which for its first eight issues was titled Masked Raider.

In the milestone issue Marvel Comics #1000, the comic aimed to celebrate the long history of Marvel Comics, in which it was shown that the long-forgotten original character had died and a new legacy character had taken up the Masked Raider mantle and was in the possession of Eternity Mask, a powerful mask that various characters over the course of history have worn (Jim Gardley wearing the Eternity Mask instead of a normal mask was a retcon in Marvel Comics #1000, to tie various disparate parts of Marvel continuity together). The yet-unnamed superhero reappeared in the Incoming! one-shot.[3] Marvel Comics announced in 2019 that a new Masked Raider series would be published in 2020 with the new hero.[4] In 2022, his name was revealed to be "Carlo Zota".[5]

Fictional character biography

Masked Raider I (Jim Gardley)

Jim Gardley was a cattle rancher in Arizona who in 1849 was falsely accused of cattle rustling, forcing him to go on the run. He took up the mantle of the Masked Raider to clear his name.[6] Under undisclosed circumstances, Gardley found the Eternity Mask, a fragment of the cosmic entity Eternity which grants those who wear it powers equal to whoever they face.[7] In 1880, Gardley is attacked and mortally wounded by unknown assailants. He is found by Dr. Matt Masters, who is also the masked hero Black Rider, and dies in front of him, when he retired the mask from his face, trying to assist him medically. Masters takes the Eternity Mask and decides to search for the killers.[8]

Masked Raider II (Dirk Mehler)

Masked Raider III (Carlo Zota)

In the modern day, an unidentified individual finds the Eternity Mask. Operating anonymously, he approached and interacted with several superheroes, while investigating the activities of the mysterious Enclave,[9] such as their efforts to revive Korvac.[10]

In his investigation, the Masked Raider finds a mysterious murder case, but determining it to not be the Enclave's work he instead draw New York's superheroes attention to it.[11] IN a 2022 storyline, his name was revealed to be Carlo Zota


In American Comic Book Chronicles, Kurt Mitchell and Roy Thomas write that the Masked Raider is "a lifeless Lone Ranger imitation."[12]


  1. ^ Howe, Sean (2013). "Chapter 1". Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0061992117.
  2. ^ Nevins, Jess (2013). Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes. High Rock Press. pp. 175–176. ISBN 978-1-61318-023-5.
  3. ^ Matadeen, Renaldo (January 6, 2020). "Marvel Transforms a C-List Hero Into a Badass New Watcher". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 7, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Johnston, Rich (July 16, 2019). "After 80 Years, Marvel to Publish "Masked Raider" Comics Again". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  5. ^ Johnston, Rich (October 21, 2021). "Marvel's Masked Raider To Be Revealed In 2022". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  6. ^ Marvel Mystery Comics #1 (Oct. 1939)
  7. ^ Marvel Comics #1000
  8. ^ Marvel Comics #1000
  9. ^ Marvel Comics #1000
  10. ^ Marvel Comics #1001
  11. ^ Incoming! one-shot
  12. ^ Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 978-1605490892.