< previous character
< previous character (alphabetically)
< previous manifestly non-religious character
Religion: manifestly non-religious
Name: "Big Boy" Chaney
First Appearance: Action Comics (vol. 1) #15 (Aug. 1939): "Superman on the High Seas"
Creators: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
Number of Appearances: 1
Enemy of: Superman
Occupation: gang leader
"Big Boy" Chaney was introduced as a "ruthless gang leader." He read Clark Kent's article about sunken Spanish treasure in an inaccessible spot in the ocean and decided to go after it. Clark Kent was trying to retrieve the same treasure in order to provide rescue funding for a noble charity, the Kidtown reform boarding school. "Big Boy" Chaney competed with Clark Kent's effort using violent, illegal and potentially murderous methods.
To go after the treasure, Chaney actually had his men commandeer a moored submarine from a government naval yard.
After arriving at their destination, Chaney sent two unnamed henchman in diving suits down in the sunken ship to investigate. Clark Kent, as Superman, was already there, having found the long-lost Spanish gold.
The unnamed gangsters were "frightened half out of their wits" when they saw a "ghostly figure from some era past floating weirdly toward them, hand outstretched." The henchmen thought they had seen a ghost. It was actually Superman, who had donned the uniform and helmet of one of the long-dead Spanish sailors and intentionally scared the gangsters.
Back on board the submarine, one of the gangsters told Chaney, "I tell ya-- It was a ghost! An' he's after us for disturbing his restin' place! Let's clear outa here!"
Chaney said, "Are you guys going nuts? Expect me to believe that cock-and-bull story? What're ya trying to pull?"
Little was revealed about Chaney's background and his personal beliefs. But in addition to being a "ruthless" gangster, he was apparently not inclined to believe in the supernatural.
But nor was he completely unwilling to believe in such things. One of the divers looked through the submarine's periscope and blurted, "Look! -- He's coming!"
Chaney, still disbelieving, looked through the periscope himself. He said, "G'wan, you're-- Ohmigosh! It's true! An he's-- He's-- Start the engines full speed ahead!"
What Chaney had actually seen was Superman himself, not even wearing the Spanish sailor's uniform. This was so early in Superman's career that people did not instantly recognize the hero's distinctive costume. Seeing a man rapidly swimming toward the submarine deep under water, Chaney apparently finally believed they were under attack by a ghost, or at least under attack by something that frightened him into retreat.
Superman caught up with the submarine, disabled its propeller, and then pushed it up to the surface to a U.S. battleship which was looking for it. Chaney and his gang surrendered themselves and the stolen sub to the battleship.
Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: