Comic Book Characters and Chess

I have found about 200 comic books that feature chess on its cover or has a chess story.  Here are some comic book characters that play chess.  Are there any more?

Aladdin - Disney’s Aladdin plays chess.  He appears on the Cover of Disney’s Aladdin #10 (1995) playing chess.

Alice – Alice (from Alice through the Looking Glass) appears in several comic books playing chess

Archie – Archie Andrews appears on a few comic book covers and in a few comic strips playing chess.

Batman – Batman appears on one comic book cover (Batman #24, June-July 1944) playing the Joker in chess.  He has a giant chess set in the bat cave.

Betty – Betty and Veronica are on the cover of an Archie comic book (1950) playing chess

Bizzaro – plays chess.  Beat Lex Luthor in a game of chess.

Black Panther – The Black Panther (T’Challa) plays chess with Dr. Doom.

Brainiac 5 – plays chess against Marshall Lorca of the Khunds

Captain Comet – Fictional DC Comics superhero who plays chess.  The Guardians of the Universe send Captain Comet (Adam Blake) on a mission to win a chess tournament.  He holds his own with Xtnal from Venus.  He defeats Pyg-Gar, a grandmaster from Pluto.  He is able to see 200 moves in advance. (Strange Adventures, ‘The Cosmic Chessboard,’ 1953)

Casper – Casper the Friendly ghost appears on a cover (Casper #117, 1968) playing chess.

Cerebus the Aardvark – Plays chess with his friend Po.

Chequerians – Masters of the checks and balances of the universe.  They play chess with entire planets as chess pieces.

Chessmen, The – Team name of personal assassin of Millionaire industrialist Obadiah Shane, who is trying to eliminated competitor Tony Stark (Ironman).  Shane was brought up with a great respect for chess, so he patterned his actions associated with the game.  Members include the King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, and Rook.

Chess Set, The – Super-powered criminal individuals named Brass Bishop, Dark Tower, King Coal, Killer Queen and Over-Knight.  They first appeared in Marvel’s Alpha Flight #121 (1983).

Despero – Villain who first appeared in Justice League of America #1 (1960).  He likes to play chess for the fates of his enemies.  He defeats the Flash in a game similar to chess by cheating.   He also plays the Martian Manhunter in a game of chess.

Donald Duck – appears on a comic cover playing chess.

Dormammu – a mystical entity who plays chess with Odin.

Dr. Doom – Dr. Victor von Doom likes to play chess.  He plays chess against the Prime Mover in which real people are pitted against robots constructed by Doom.  He also plays chess with the Black Panther (T’Challa) and the Sub-Mariner.

Dr. Fate – Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson) takes part in a chess game in which humans take the roles of chess pieces in a huge board. (‘King of Crime,’ More Fun Comics #76, 1942)

Dr. Mid-Nite – forced to play chess with Mr. Terrific.   The loser would be electrocuted.

Dr. Wrath – All who oppose this chess master die (‘King of the Chess Killers,’ The Blue Beetle #11, 1942).

Flash – plays Despero in a game of chess and loses because Despero cheated.

Hulk – makes a blunder in chess and the game is stalemated against Galactus.

Galactus – Devours worlds.  Plays chess with the Avengers after being challenged by Storm.  The game ends in a stalemated due to a blunder by Hulk.

Grandmaster, The – one of the ageless Elders of the Universe who has mastered most civilizations’ games of skill and chance, including chess.

Green Arrrow – plays chess (‘The Human Chess game,’ Adventure Comics, 1955)

Joker – plays Batman in chess.

Kang – Kang (Nathaniel Richards) plays chess with the Grandmaster for the life of Ravonna.

Karno the Chessman – a villain who plays chess.

Kingpin – Kingpin (Wilson Fink), a villain, plays chess with The Foreigner

Lex Luthor – plays chess.  Got beat by Bizarro.

Manhunter from Mars – plays cosmic-level chess with Despero using Justice League of America figures as chess pieces.

Mister Mxyztptlk – impish villain from the 5th dimension.  Learned how to play chess from Superman’s advice.

Mr. Terrific -  forced to play chess with Dr. Mid-Nite.   The loser would be electrocuted.

Odin – plays cosmic chess with Dormammu

Prime Mover – Robot employed by Doctor doom to play chess.

 Prince Valiant - plays chess

Rathcone – Nazi operative operating in the United States in the 1940s who played chess.  He plotted murders using a chess board with chess pieces that resembled real people. 

Richie Rich – played chess with his expensive chess set

Sabrina – plays chess

Seaguy – plays chess with Death in New Venice

Sub-Mariner plays chess with Dr. Drrom.

Superman – plays chess on a few comics covers.

Thor – Appeared on some comic covers playing chess.

Veronica - Betty and Veronica are on the cover of an Archie comic book (1950) playing chess

Wizard – The Wizard (Bentley Wittman) was a child prodigy and chess champion who became a supervillain.

Yugi Muto – plays chess against Mokuba in a Capsule Monster Chess game and wins.

Here is a list of comic books that featured chess.

In January 1940, Wonderworld Comics No. 9, published by Fox Publications, introduces a villain called Karno the Chessman. He is also featured in the next issue of Wonderworld Comics, No. 10, in a story called The Return of Karno. The stories were written by Bob Powell.

In May 1940, Black Book Detective Magazine, vol 11, published by Thrilling, featured a cover of two men playing chess with guns in front of them. One player is stabbed in the hand.

In February 1941, Action Comics, Vol 1, #33, published by DC Comics, ran a story called “Human Chessmen,” written by Gardner F. Fox (1911-1986).

In March 1941, Captain America Comics No. 1, published by Timely Comics (later Marvel), had a story called “Captain America and the Chess-Board of Death.” The story was written by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. A villain named Rathcone has carved wooden chess figures of people who must be killed before he launches the mightiest blitzkrieg the world have ever seen. Two of those figures are Captain America (Steve Rogers) and his friend Bucky.

More Fun Comics, No. 76, was published by DC in February 1942. On the cover, Green Arrow is knocking out a few tough guys on a chess board with a few chess pieces scattered about as Dr. Fate looks on. The inside story is called The King of Crime. Dr. Fate plays chess.

In February 1942, The Blue Beetle No. 11, by Fox Publications, featured a story called “King of the Chess Killers.” All who oppose the Chess Master, Dr. Wrath, die. The story was written by Pierce Rice featuring the Gladiator vs. Dr. Wrath.

Batman, No, 23 was published by DC in June-July 1944. Batman is playing the Joker as Robin looks on. The chess pieces are the Joker in the corner with Batman and Robin chess pieces about to mate. The cover art was done by Bob Kane.

In November 1944, Dynamic Comics No. 12, published by Dynamic Publications, shows some tycoon (Harry Chesler) playing chess with a police officer. The cover art work was done by Gus Ricca.

In February 1945, Popular Comics No. 108, by Dell, had a story called, “I chess jumped over to play a game of checkers with Smokey.” Chief Cash U. Nutt plays chess with Smokey Stover. The story was by Bill Holman.

In 1945, Adventures of Alice No. 2, published by the Civil Service and Pentagon Publications, shows Alice, through the magic looking glass, on a chess board with other characters. The art work was done by George Muhlfield.

In January 1946, Shadow Comics, Vol 5, No. 10, published by Street & Smith, is entitled “The Shadow meets the Crime Master.” The cover shows the Shadow stopping the Crime Master playing chess and knocking over the chess pieces. The story was written by Walter Gibson, and artwork by Charles Coll.

In July 1946, Sports Stars #3 (Parents Magazine) featured chess champion Arnold Denker.

In October 1946, Shadow Comics, Vol 6, No. 7, shows Nick Carter, world famous detective, interrupting a chess game played by some villain. The artwork was by Charles Coll.

In December 1946, Shadow Comics, Vol 6, No. 9, has a story called “Chess Master.”

In January 1947, Target Comics, vol 7, No. 11, by Novelty Press, featured a story called, “Giant ‘Mouse’ Bowers is so taken up with his beloved chessboard…” The story was written by Nina Albright.

In July-August 1947, Boy Commandos No. 22, published by DC, shows a chess board on its cover with chess pieces as treasure, with a spotlight on the people and treasure by Crazy Quilt. The artwork was by Curt Swan.

In the summer of 1947, International Comics No. 2, published by EC Comics, had a story called “The Chessman,” written by Gardner Fox. The chessmen are King, Bishop, and Rook. Rook summons King to the Thames River where a body has been recovered. Bishop removes a clue from the victim’s hand that helps solve the murder.

In September 1947, Action Comics, No. 112, by DC, shows Superman as a chess piece knocking over Mr Mxyztplk as a chess piece on a black and red chess board. The feature story, by John Sikela, is called “The Cross-Country Chess Crimes.” Mxyztplk returns and is causing trouble in Metropolis. Superman convinces him to take up chess. Mxyztplk then kidnaps two chess champions and builds a gameboard using castles and statues as pieces. Superman comes by and returns the stolen landmarks. He then challenges Mxyztplk to a chess game. They go to the Sahara Desert where superman creates giant pieces including a surprise pieces called a Klptzyxm (Mxyztplk spelled backwards). When Mxyztplk speaks the name of the piece, he is sent back to his own dimension.

In October 1947, All-American Comics No. 90, by DC Comics, features a story called “The Haunted Chessboard,” featuring Dr. Mid-Nite (Charles McNider). The story is by Arthur Peddy.

In December 1947, International Comics #5 (EC Comics) features The Chessmen in a story called The Earl’s Valuable Paintings. The story was by Gardner Fox.

In the March 1948, Land of the Lost Comics No. 9, published by EC Comics, shows a chess board and a battle in front of a castle, featuring knights and kings and other pieces battling it out. The story is called “The Battle of the Chessmen.” The cover was done by Olive Bailey and the story was by Isabel Hewson.

In December 1948, Phantom Lady No. 21, published by Fox, had a story called, “Case of the Criminal Chessmen.” The Chessman (Algemon Blackwood) is the villain. The story was by Ruth Roche.

In December 1948, Sub-Mariner Comics No. 29, produced by Timely Publications (later Atlas Comics and Marvel), features a chess game on the cover, with some evil person saying, “It’s your move sub-mariner.” The story is called “The Deadly Game of Captain Black.” The artwork was by Ken Bald.

In April 1950, Detective Comics No. 158, by DC, shows a chess board and knight with a gun, rigged by Dr. Doom, trying to shoot Batman and Robin at their Hall of Trophies. Artwork was by Winslow Mortimer.

In June 1950, Betty and Veronica No. 2, published by Archie Publications, shows Betty and Veronica playing chess with Archie, Jughead, and Reggie as chess pieces. Veronica says, “Boys and cute, we must confess, but they’re just like a game of chess.” Betty says, “The way we make ‘em jump just proves that it’s us girls who make the moves.” Artwork was by George Frese.

In December 1951, Eerie Adventures No. 1, published by Ziff-Davis, features the Grim Reaper playing chess with a lady in chains on the cover. Artwork was by Bernie Kingstein and story by Al Carreno.

In February 1952, Star Spangled Comics No. 125, by DC, had a story called “Murder on the Chessboard,” written by David Vern and featuring Robin.

In February 1952, The Hand of Fate #9, by Ace Comics, has a story called “Strange Rendezvous at 17 Rue Noir,” featuring a chess champion called Nicola. The story was by Ken Rice.

In June 1952, Adventure Comics No. 177, by DC, featured a story called “A great invention! Now for a nice game of chess.” Professor Eureka builds a new robot, but then dismantles it after the robot beats him in chess. The story was written by Henry Boltinoff.

In September-October 1952, Wonder Woman No. 55, by DC, had a story called “The Chessmen of Doom!” The Chequerians play chess with entire planets as chess pieces. The story was by Robert Kanigher.

In October 1952, The Beyond No. 16, by Ace Comics, shows the grim reaper playing on a chess board with humans as pieces. The grim reaper says, “A brush of my hand and three more people are eliminated from the chessboard of humanity. Now, who will be next?” The artwork was by John Chilly.

In March 1953, House of Mystery No. 12, by DC Comics, had a story called “The Devil’s Chessboard,” by Leonard Starr.

In April 1953, Black Cat Mystery No. 43, featured a story, called Black Knight, about a man who wanted a chess set so badly, he was willing to kill for it. After he does, he is forced to play a game of chess with death for his life. The story was by Moe Marcus.

In May 1953, Our Army at War No. 10, by DC Comics, had a story called “Chessmen of War,” written by Hal Kantor.

In August 1953, Strange Adventures No. 35, by DC, shows Captain Comet, who becomes a human pawn, playing chess on the cosmic chessboard. The story is called “the Cosmic Chessboard,” written by John Broome and drawn by Murphy Anderson.

In September 1953, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Magazine No. 1, published by Harvey, featured a story called, “History Was Changed In a Chess-Game.” The story is of Thomas Paine and Robespiere and written by Bob Powell. A lady (perhaps Robespiere’s wife) is disguised as a man, wearing a wig. When she beat him, Robespierre reached for his wallet and asked his opponent how much he owed him for the defeat. The player responded, “Yes, you lost the game, but all I claim is the life of an innocent man.” She then handed Robespierre a release note for Thomas Paine, who had recently been condemned to death by guillotine. Robespierre admired her courage and signed the release note that freed Thomas Paine.

In November-December 1953. The Haunt of Fear No. 22, published by EC Comics, had a story called “Chess-Mate,” written by Albert Feldstein and drawn by George Evans. Townspeople try to convince an eccentric local genius to take part in a chess tournament that will put the town on the map. A genius chess player finally shoots himself after the townspeople hold a parade and he is expected to remove his top had to salute the flag. The top hat hides a Siamese twin head that accounted for his superior abilities at chess.

In July-August 1954, Haunted Thrills No. 16, published by Ajax Company, shows a skeleton playing chess with a lady, saying, “Check-mate! You really didn’t expect to win from me, did you? Even with your cheating, I am destined to win…every time!”

In March 1955, Uncanny Tales No. 30, published by Atlas (later Marvel), shows two people playing chess with strange chess pieces. The story is called “Too Human.” Famous chess wizard Blanik just can’t seem to win. So he invents a set of thinking chess pieces, which are so human they can think for themselves. Unfortunately, at the end of the game, his king can’t kill the opposing queen…he has become too human. The story was by Dick Ayers.

In October 1955, Baffling Mysteries No. 26, published by Ace Comics, shows chess pieces checkmating a human. The king chess piece says, “There’s no further place to move! You are checkmated!” The art work was by Louis Zansky.

In December 1955, a story appeared in Adventure Comics No. 219, by DC, called “the Human Chess Game,” featuring Green Arrow and Speedy (Red Arrow). The artwork was done by George Papp.

In June 1956, Batman No. 100, by DC, was published as the 100th batman issue. This commemorative issue showed the cover of Batman playing chess with the Joker from an earlier issue.

In March 1957, Strange Suspense Stories No. 36, by Charlton Comics, shows chess pieces cornering a human on a chess board and being pushed over the edge. The cover was done by Maurice Whitman.

In July 1957, Felix the Cat No. 85, published by Harvey Comics, has on its cover Felix the Cat riding a knight chess piece, calling it the mysterious white knight. The cover was done by Joe Oriolo.

In August 1957, Spunky the Smiling Spook No. 1, by Ajax-Farrell, shows the ghost playing chess with an upside down bat.

In December 1957, Century Comics No. 10, by KG Murray comics, had a story called “Lefty and prison visitor play chess,” featuring Casey the Cop. The story was by Henry Boltinoff.

In March 1958, Man in Black No. 4, published by Harvey, shows the man in black playing chess with humans, calling it “Pawns in the hands of Fate.” The cover was done by Bob Powell.

In March 1958, Wilbur Comics No. 77, by Archie Publications, features a story called, “Mrs. Lewis left her chess playing husband.” Laurie Lake and Linda discuss a woman who left her chess-playing husband.

In August 1958, House of Mystery No. 77, by DC, shows a giant playing chess with humans. The cover tagline is “I was trapped on the chessboard of giants!” The cover was done by Bob Brown. The story centers around an expedition that is shipwrecked on an island inhabited by giants. The giants force the crew to act as chess pieces in a game for their freedom.

In September 1958, Mad Magazine No. 41, published by EC, featured a story called “The Chess Game,” written by Don Martin. Fatal results can come from cheating at chess.

In August 1960, Archie No. 112, has Archie playing chess with himself on the cover, drawn by Dan DeCarlo.

In November 1960, Justice League of America No. 1, by DC, shows Flash playing chess with an evil villain called Despero, with chess pieces in the shape of the Justice League (Aquaman, Batman, Green Latern, Martian Manhunter, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash). The board is set up wrong (the dark square is to the right instead of the light square). The story is called “World of No Return.” Despero offers the Flash a chance to save his friends by planning a version of chess. Each chess piece represents a different JLA member. If they move on a free square, that member is set free and Despero will leave Earth and give up his conquest. However, if the pieces were to land on a disaster square, the Flash would have to leave Despero alone. Flash eventually loses because Despero tampered the board, while each JLA member was transported to a different world. They eventually escape and reunite to track down and stop Despero, who was stopped by an energy absorption machine built by Jasonar, an honorary member of the JLA.

In February 1961, Batman #137 features giant chess pieces.

In May 1961, Four Color No. 1175, published by Dell Comics, features MGM’s Mouse Musketeers playing chess on top of two chess knights.

In October 1962, Checkmate No. 1 was published by Gold Key. In December 1962, Checkmate No. 2 was published by Gold Key. The cover says, “On a Hollywood movie set, Checkmate investigates a series of near-fatal accidents that aren’t in the script!” The cover has a picture of Anthony George, Sebastian Cabot, and Doug McClure with a silhouette of a knight. The two issues were published at the end of the TV series’ run with the same name. The story was by Eric Ambler.

In November 1962, Strange Tales No. 102, published by Marvel, introduces the villain called The Wizard (Bentley Wittman). He is a chess champion who becomes a criminal mastermind. The story is by Stan Lee.

In January 1963, Unusual Tales No. 37, published by Charlton, has a cover that shows the hand of fate over humans on a chess board. The artwork was done by Charles Nicholas and Vince Alascia.

In April 1963, Mad Magazine #78 had a chess story called Modern Chess. The story was by Al Jaffee.

In April 1965, Blue Beetle, Vol 3, No. 5, by Charlton, shows Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett) on a chessboard challenging the Red Knight (Lew Coll) and trying to save Regina White. The feature story is ‘The Capture of the White Queen.” The story was written by Joe Gill.

In November 1965, Dennis the Menace No. 81, published by Hallden-Fawcett, had a story called “The Chess Mess.” Dennis plays his father Henry Mitchell in a game of chess. The story was by Fred Toole.

In June 1966, Archie Giant Series Magazine No. 139, features a story called “Chess Chatter.” Archie plays chess by phone. The story was by Bill Yoshida.

In May 1967, Stupendous Series No. 10, by Fleetway, had a cover called The Chessman and a man battling chess pieces. The cover tagline says “The Spider faces a fantastic King of crime!” The story, “A Man Fighting Chess Pieces,” was written by Ken Mennell. The cover artwork was done by Aldo Marculeta.

In September 1967, Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #79, has a story called “Checkmate for Lois!” The story was written by Nelson Bridwell and Kurt Schaffenberger. Lois Lane investigates a millionaire who has converted an aircraft carrier into a castle. Lois fails to get an interview, but Lana Lang succeeds. Then several people who share similarities with chess pieces disappear. Lois tracks them and Lana back to the aircraft carrier where she unmasks the millionaire as Professor Lang, Lana’s father. Lois is then taken prisoner, because Lana, her father, and the others have been taken over by a ancient sorceress, two kings, and their followers whose spirits had been trapped inside magical chess pieces. The sorceress Lediv, inhabiting Lana, then lures Superman to the castle and arranges for his mind to be taken over.

In April 1968, Strange Tales No. 167, published by Marvel, shows Dr. Doom and the Prime Mover playing chess. The story was by Jim Steranko.

In May 1968, The Friendly Ghost Casper No. 117, published by Harvey, has a cover that shows Casper playing chess as all the chess pieces run away. The art work was done by Ernie Colon.

In October 1969, The Mighty Avengers No. 69, by Marvel, introduced The Grandmaster. The story, “Let the Game Begin,” was written by Roy Thomas.

In September 1970, Bunny #16, by Harvey Comics, has on its cover dancing chess pieces. The artwork was done by Hy Eisman.

In December 1970, Twilight Zone No. 35, by Gold Key, shows a chess scene with the tagline “It’s a special game of chess – death to the loser.” The story is called “To the Death,” written by Len Wein. The cover artwork was done by Ed Robbins.

In July 1972, Avengers #101, by Marvel, has a story called “Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow.” It is man vs. machine in a chess match. Sporadik, a Russian chess champion, during his match against a chess playing computer called Nimrod, dies of a heart attack. The Avengers were supposed to have been his body guards. Taking on the guise of Dr. Donald Blake, Thor reports that Sporadik was poisoned and the Avengers soon learn that his chess pieces were coated with a poison that could be absorbed through the skin. That night, the man responsible, Leonard Tippit attempts to sneak out, after spending the day hiding inside the Nimrod computer. There he is confronted by the Vision who stayed behind to look for suspicious people. Tippit suddenly exhibits super-human powers and easily defeats the Vision but is soon discovered by Captain America (Steve Rogers) who easily knocks him out. However, Tippit’s powers allow his unconscious form to escape. The story was by Roy Thomas and Harlan Elison.

In August 1972, Eerie No. 41, by Warren Publishing, has a story called “Chess.” Dax, the Warrior, fights the battle of the ages on a cosmic chessboard. His father and friends and pawns. The story was written by Esteban Maroto.

In February 1973, House of Mystery No. 211, by DC, featured a story called, “Across from me is a guy who claims to be the chess champ of the world…” The story was by Joe Orlando.

In April 1973, Richie Rich Diamonds No. 5, by Harvey, shows on its cover, Richie Rich playing chess with an expensive chess set with jewels. Art work was by Ernie Colon.

In May 1973, Laugh Comics No. 266, published by Close-Up (Archie Publications), features Archie playing chess on stage with a demo board in the background. The board they are playing on is set up wrong (black to the left), but the demo board is correct.

In August 1973, Bugs Bunny No. 151, published by Gold Key, has a story called “Chess Chump,” featuring Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Jo-Jo, the friendly Gorilla.

In October-November 1973, Wonder Woman, Vol 1, No. 208, by DC, shows Wonder Woman on a chessboard. The cover story says, “The Chessmen of Death!” The story was written by Robert Kanigher. The cover was done by Ric Estrada and Vince Colletta.

In November 1973, Prez: First Teen President No. 2, has, on its cover, “The final chess match – Russia vs. USA. Winner take all!” The villain seems to be Robby Fishhead saying “Your Move.” The cover is entitled, “They’re Here! In the White House! The Deadly chess Men!” The story was written by Joe Simon. The cover artwork was by Jerry Grandenetti.

In December 1973, Weird Mystery Tales No. 9, by DC, had a story called “Checkmate!” They have played chess to a draw for many years, the vicious Squire Kent’s rage knows no bounds when he his beaten by his friend Deacon Fitzugh. The story was written by Robert Kanigher and John Jacobson.

In December 1973, The Witching Hour No. 37, by DC, has a story called “The Devil’s Chessboard,” written by George Kashdan (no relation to Isaac Kashdan).

In February 1974, Horror Tales Vol 6, #1, has a chess story called “The Grotesque Checkmate,” by A. Reynoso. A game of chess ends in blood-curdling horror when the jaws of a crocodile snap shut on a chess player, splitting flesh and bone.

In May 1974, Ghostly Haunts No. 38, published by Charlton Comics, had a story called “the Devil’s Chessman,” written by Nick Cuti. Al Kline makes a deal with Satan and finds that his new pieces have trapped Kline’s soul.

In June 1974, Dr. Strange No. 1, by Marvel, has a chess-playing caterpillar. The story, “Through an Orb Darkly,” is by Steve Englehart.

In August 1974, House of Mystery #226 reprinted “The Devil’s Chessboard,” which first appeared in thr December 1973 issue of The Witching Hour #37.

In November 1974, in The Human Torch #2, by Marvel, a story called “Prisoner of the Wizard” appeared. The Wizard is a chess champion. The story was written by Stan Lee.

In January 1975, Giant-Size Defenders No. 3, published by Marvel, shows the Hulk, Fantastic-4, and Flash battling on a chessboard. The tagline is “When the Grandmaster plays – the prize is Earth.” The story is called “Games Godlings Play.” The Defenders and Daredevil are selected by the Grandmaster and the Prime Mover to participate in their latest game, in which the Grandmaster pits them against beings from different eras and planets selected by the Prime Mover to do battle. The winner get’s Earth as their prize. Pitting two of Grandmaster’s champions against at least one of those of the Prime Mover, the Defenders still manage to win, even though some of their numbers are killed in the battle. However, when the Grandmaster wins, he revives those who were killed. Having lost, the Prime Mover shorts out of breaks down and the Grandmaster prepares to take ownership of the Earth. However, Daredevil challenges him to a coin toss, to which Daredevil wins thanks to his heightened senses. Losing it all, the Grandmaster returns the Defenders to Earth. The story was was written by Stever Gerber and Len Wein.

In November 1975, Dark Shadows No. 34, by Gold Key, shows a chessboard and pieces being stabbed. The art work was done by Joe Certa.

In December 1975, Weird War Tales No. 43, by DC, shows army men fighting on a chess board. The cover was done by Ernie Chan.

In 1975, International Master John Watson wrote The Incredible Adventures of Chessman as a comic book, published by The Chess House.

In the Spring of 1976, Arcade No. 5, published by Print Mint, featured a story on the Great Ajeeb, the chess playing automaton. The story was written by Kim Deitch.

In June 1976, in Superboy, vol 1, #217, the cover shows the Legionaires as chess pieces on a chess board. The story is called “The Charge of the Doomed Legionaires,” written by Jim Shooter. Brainiac 5 plays a chess game against Field Marshall Lorca of the Khunds, with the Legion members (Superboy, Colossal Boy, Shadow Lass, and Timber Wolf) as game pieces.

In August 1976, Marvel Spotlight No. 29, by Marvel, shows Ironman battling chess pieces. The bad guy says, “You are but a pawn in Conquer Lord’s master play!” Ironman replies, “And a pawn is doomed to die!” The cover artwork was by Jack Kirby and Al Milgrom. The story, “The Deadly Gambit of Conquer-Land,” was written by Doug Moench. Moon Knight is dumped into a chess board-themed battle arena where he is forced to fight the Conquer-Lord and his gigantic trick chess pieces. Although the Conquer-Lord tries to escape, Moon Knight manages to stop him and save Marlene, leaving the unmasked Conquer-Lord for the authorities.

In July 1977, the cover of Unknown Soldier No. 206, by DC, shows a battle on a chessboard with the words, “Your struggle is hopeless, unknown soldier…you’re just a pawn in the hands of the Black Knight.” The cover was drawn by Joe Kubert. The story, “Glory Gambit,” was written by Bob Haney.

In December 1977, Detective Comics No. 474, by DC, has a giant chess in the Batcave. Batman and Robin are standing on a giant chessboard.

In January 1978, Master of Kung Fu No. 60, by Marvel, shows a battle on a chessboard, with the title, ‘Doom Game.’ The story, “End Game,” was written by Doug Moench. The cover artwork was by Ernie Chan. Dr. Doom is playing chess with the Prime Mover.

In 1978, Ghosts of Terror #7 has a story called, “The Grotesque Checkmate.”

In December 1978, Battlestar Galactica comics featured a story called “Chess-Players of Space.”

In February 1979, The Pink Panther No. 61, by Gold Key, had a story called “The Cheating Chess Player.” The Inspector cheats at chess.

In July 1979, in Fantomen #684, the cover shows a chessboard and pieces, drawn by Jaime Vallve.. The story, The Russian Chess Game,” is by Donne Avenell.

In December 1979, Archie’s Joke Book No. 263, by Archie Comics Group, the cover shows Archie losing chess to a kid.

In May 1980, Justice League of America No. 178, by DC, shows a chess game played by an evil villain and the Manhunter from Mars, with trapped JLA members as chess pieces. The story is called “The Chess-Master of Mars.”

In May 1980, Star Wars No. 35, by Marvel, has Darth Vader playing chess against the star warriors. The feature story is called Dark Lord’s Gambit.

In December 1980, The Mighty Thor Annual #9, by Marvel, featured Thor on its cover in battle on a chess board. One of the stories is called “The Godwar Gambit.”

In January 1981, Savage Action No. 3, by Marvel, had a story called, “The Chessmaster.”

In February 1982, Brave and the Bold No. 183, by DC, shows Batman being cornered on a chessboard by villain chess pieces. The villains are called the Chessmen (Rook, Knight, Bishop, and Pawn). The story was written by Denny O’Neill.

In July 1982, Star Rider and the Peace Machine No. 1, by Star Rider Productions, has a story called, “The Chess Game of Death,” written by Ric Estrada.

In October 1982, Iron Man No. 163, by Marvel, shows Iron Man (Tony Stark) fighting on a chess board. The title tagline says, “The Challenge of the Chessmen.” The story is called Knight’s Errand.

In November 1982, Iron Man No. 164, by Marvel, shows Iron Man in a fight with a chess bishop. The cover says, “Beware the Bishop! He may look like a man of the cloth…but he’s really a deadly chessman.”

In April 1983, Epic Illustrated No. 17, published by Marvel, had a story called “The Chess Game,” by Pepe Moreno.

In January 1988, Millennium No. 1, published by DC Comics, introduced The Grandmaster.

In 1992, Cold Equator (Le Froid Equateur) by Enki Bilal introduced chess boxing. In 2003, chess boxing became a real sport directly inspired by how it appeared in this graphic novel.

In June 1993, Alpha Flight No. 121, by Marvel, features a villain group called The Chess Set. They include the Brass Bishop, the Dark Tower, the Killer Queen, and King Coal, and the Over-Knight. The story is called “The Return of the Brass Bishop.”

In August 1994, Shanda the Panda No. 5, by Antarctic Press, has a story called, “Chesspieces.”

In Janaury 1997, Star Wars: Tale of the Jedi No. 4, has a story called “Pawns of the Sith Lord.” Naga Sadow plays a deadly game of chess and the Daragon siblings are his pawns.

In November 1997, Humongous Man No. 2 , by Harrison and Stepp, was published with a story called “Chess and the Crooked Hat.” It also featured a story called “The Politics of Chess.”

In September 1999, Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated No. 8, by Quantum Cat, featured a story called “The Chess Game,” written by Joe Pruitt.

In March 2001, Simpsons Comics No. 56 shows Mr. Burns playing chess with Simpsons pieces on the cover.

In 2002, Captain Britain, by Marvel, featured a story called “Merlin at his Chessboard.”

In 2003, Smax No. 3, Death (Lionel) plays chess, who happens to be terrible at chess. He plays against the “wily peasants,” but the peasants always win.

In July 2005, Smoke No. 3, by IDW publishing, has a story called “The Men on the Chessboard.”

In August 2005, Rakan: The Lone Warrior No. 5, has a story called “ChessMaster.” Rakan has become a player in a deadly chess match. The chess pieces are living men.

In September 2008, Marvel Adventures Avengers No. 26 featured the Avengers challenging Galactus to a chess match. The Avengers are the pieces. Thanks to a blunder by Hulk, the game is stalemated.

In April 2009, Seaguy, vol 2, Slaves of Mickey Eye, Seaguy plays chess with The Gondolier (Death) in New Venice, and wins. The graphic novel is by Grant Morrison.

In 2009, Eerie Arhives, vol 8, had a story called “Chess” written by Esteban Maroto.

In April 2010, chess was on the cover of New Mutants #10 (Marvel) with Cyclops playing chess.

In June 2010, there is a chess story in Avengers the Contest #1. The story, called Contest of Champions, has a Grandmaster using people as pieces.

In 2011, the Captain America 70th Anniversary Edition #1 features the story “Captain America and the Chess-Board of Death.”


  • 2 years ago


    Click either image above for my Marvel/DC chess set.

    Here is another link as well: 




    Kerry Lawless

  • 3 years ago


    Just a friendly correction: I believe Batman and the Joker play chess on the cover of Batman #23, not #24. A classic Batman cover. Would love a framed poster of it.  As a lover of both chess and comics, I appreciate your starting this fun thread!

  • 4 years ago


  • 4 years ago


    I suppose this is "cheating" as it's from the daily comic strip, BUT Zippy has appeared in many comic books as well!
  • 4 years ago


    Tintin plays chess with general Alcazar in "the broken ear" and with captain Haddock in "Tintin in Tibet"

  • 4 years ago


    @ Pavrey: Sounds like something very similar to one of the wonderful films made by Satyajit Ray, "The Chess Players" [original title: Shatranj ke Khilari]

  • 4 years ago


    A movie was made in India called Shatranj meaning chess. The King in the movie was obsessed with chess, even at the cost of his kingdom being raided and defeated

  • 4 years ago


    Their is a character in ultimate muscle (a japanese anime) called Checkmate. He appears in the Manga also, naturally, and has the power of the Rook and Knight.

  • 4 years ago


    Did chess in movies years ago.

    Needs to be updated for movies the past 2 or 3 years.

  • 4 years ago


    Interesting article. Now how about chess in movies? Here's one to get you started: Independence day -  Jeff Goldbloom plays against his father near the start of the movie.

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    Not a comic book, but an incredible webcomic by the author of "Understanding Comics":

  • 4 years ago


    DenverHigh, Yes I had seen that one and had Flash on my list.  will need to add Prince Valiant.

    So far, I have seen chess in: Action Comics #33 and #112, Advance Comics 91, Adventure Comics 83, 105, 177, 219, Aliens/Predator #10, All-American Comics 90, Alpha Flight 121, Amazing Spider-Girl 13, Amazing Spide-Man 289, Arak #40, Arcade 5, Archie 132, Archie Giant Series 139, Archies Girles 2, Archie's Joke Book 263, Arion the Immortal, Avengers 101, Avengers the Contest 1, Aztec Ace 14, Baffling Mysteries 26, Batman 23, 100, 619, Batman Lagends of the Dark Knight 126, Batman Gotham Knights 40, Battlestar Gallactic Annual, Beauty & the Beast #4, Beyond Wonderland #5, Black Cat Mystery 43, Plack Panther Vol 3 #27, Blue Beetle Vol 4 #5, Boy Commandos 22, Bugs Bunny 151, Bunny 16, Captain America #1, Captain Britain, Caption Thunder 8-10, Century Comics #10, Cerebus 158, 166, Checkmate 1-33, Countdown #44, Cthulhu Tales 1, Dai Kamikazi 11, Dark Shadows 34, Dennis the Menace 81, Detective Comics 158, 474, Disney's Aladdin #10, Dr Strange #1, Dynamic Comics 12, Eclipso 10, Eerie 41, Eerie Adventures 1, Epic 17, Fantoman 684, Felix the Cat 85, Four Color 1175, Fran Frazetta 8, Gambit, Ghostly Haunts 138, Giant-Size Defenders 3, Haunted Thrills 16, Horror Tales vol 6 #1, House of Mystery 12, 211, 226, Humongous Man 2, International Comics 2 & 5, Invisibles Vol 3 #7, Iron Man 163 & 164, JSA Secret Files 2, Jughead vol 2 #184, JLA 1, 61, 178, Kingpin #7, Land of the Lost Comics #9, Laugh Comics 266, Mad Magazine 41, Man in Black 4, Marvel Adventures the Avengers 26, Marvel Spotlight 29, Mast of Kung Fu 60, More Fun Comics 76, New Mutants 10 & 68, Our Army at War 10, Phantom Lady 21, Popular Comics 108, Prez #2, Prof Coffin #21, Rakan #5, Ripley's Beleive it or Not #1, Sabrina vol 3 #25, Savage Action 3 & 4, Seaguy #2, Shadow Comics  Vol 5 #10 , vol 6 #7 and #9, Shanda the Panda #5, Simpsons #56, Smax #3, Smoke #3, Sports Starts #3, Spunky #1, Star Rider #1, Star Trek #71, Star Wars #35, Star-Spangled Comics #125, Strange Adventures #35, Strange Suspense Stories 36, Strange Tales #102 & #167, Stupendous Series #10, Sub-Mariner #29, Superboy 218, Superman Vol 2 #137, Superman/Wonder Woman #4, Lois Land #79, Target Comics Vol 7 #11, Wilkin Boy #46, The Beyond 16, The Blue Beetle #11, Brave and the Bold 183, Casper #117, Hand of Fate 9, Haunt of Fear 22, Mighty Avengers 69, Thor #9, OMAC Project 5, Pink Panther 61, Rook Magazine, Uncanny X-Men 299, Witching Hour 37, Twilight Zone 35, Uncanny Tales 30, Unknown Soldoer 206, Unusual Tales 37, Vamirella #1, Weird Mystery Tales #9, Weird War Tales 43, Wilbur Comics 77, Wonder woman 55, 208, Vol 2 122 and 218, Wonderworld Comics #9 and #10, and Yu-Gi-Oh! #3.

    Kerry Lawless did some chess covers.  You can see the chess covers at:

  • 4 years ago


    blog be so much better if we could see the covers

  • 4 years ago


    Prince Valiant:

    It's a draw:

    It could be how the game ended:

  • 4 years ago


    From the Italian series, Dylan Dog:

  • 4 years ago


    Hi Bill:

    Here is the picture of the one I got. The chess board is going the wrong way. I will start looking for more. I didn't know there were that many.

    You can add the Justice League of America to your list.


  • 4 years ago

    NM flashboy2222

    lol :D

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