The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Harlan Dyce

dyceDyce, Harlan. Harlan Dyce was created by Arthur J. Burks (Professor Barter, Black Falcon, Duff Braden, Jack Brady, The Guillotine, David Haslup, Eddie Kelly, Josh McNab, Dorus Noel, Allan Swain) and appeared in “It Doesn’t Take Much Dynamite” (Clues, Nov. 1936) and “While Chinatown Slept” (Clues, June 1938). Harlan Dyce is a misanthropic and venomous private detective.

“Dyce had brains, taste, money, ambition, and a total lack of physical or spiritual fear. But—

“Dyce was thirty-three inches tall and weighed sixty pounds.

“That was all the world could ever hold against him. That was what had made the world, most of it, in all the countries of the world, stare at Harlan Dyce, billed in the big show as “General Midge.””

Dyce has an “amazingly handsome face,” and the aforementioned brains. But all anyone sees is his stature, and he hates that and turns his cold eyes and acid tongue on them. The only person Dyce likes and gets along with (besides his dwarf wife, a former client) is his assistant, Nick Melchem, a six-foot tall former p.i.’s assistant with bleak eyes and a strong body. Melchem ignores Dyce’s stature and treats Dyce normally, which Dyce responds warmly to.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Paula Dupree

paula dupreeDuPree, Paula. Paula DuPree was created by Ted Fithian and Neil Varnick and appeared in the films Captive Wild Woman (1943), Jungle Woman (1944), and The Jungle Captive (1945). Dr. Walters, an ordinary, average Mad Scientist, is interested in using a gorilla for his work. He doesn’t have one at hand, so he steals one, Cheela, from a circus’ animal trainer. Walters injects hormones into Cheela and performs a brain operation on her, turning her from a primate into a human woman, who he names “Paula DuPree.” He teaches her to be a human, but when he brings her to the circus from which he stole her, he discovers that she has a Superhuman hypnotic ability over animals. She goes to work in the circus, and is attracted to Fred, the animal trainer from whom Walters stole her, but she discovers that Fred is engaged, and she reverts to being Cheela, leading to a violent ending. In the first sequel it is revealed that she was not killed in the first film, but was nursed back to health in a sanitarium, only turning back into a gorilla and killing people very occasionally. In the second sequel she is brought back to life by another Mad Scientist.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Duende


Duende. The Duende was created by Rosalía de Castro and appeared in the Spanish novel El Caballero de las Botas Azules (1931). The Duende is a dashing hero of mysterious background, notable for his fabulous blue boots, who charms every woman he meets and creates fans of every male in he meets. At length he reveals himself to be an elf, “un duende—un mal espíritu,” and begins bedeviling those in a position of power. His ultimate goal is to purify Spanish literature, which he does by destroying every Spanish book which is unworthy.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Nita Duboin

duboinDuboin, Nita. Nita Duboin was created by Kirk Mashburn and appeared in “Placide’s Wife” (Weird Tales, Nov. 1931) and “The Last of Placide’s Wife” (Weird Tales, Sept. 1932). Sometime during the 19th century, in New Orleans, there is a fetching, olive-skinned, black-haired “wench from a street-fair” named Nita Duboin. She beguiles Placide Duboin, a local Cajun, into marrying her–perhaps for his money, perhaps for something else. He doesn’t treat her well, and beats her, and she hates him. Her only companion in the marriage is her giant, yellow-eyed black cat, who also hates Placide. Placide shoots the cat, but it does not die. Placide then shoots and buries Nita, but she comes back. Placide dies, and then is found alive and well, and Nita reveals herself to be not just a Femme Fatale but a loup-garou and vampire.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Sar Dubnotal

dubnotalDubnotal, Sâr. Sâr Dubnotal and appeared in Sâr Dubnotal, der Große Geisterbanner #1-9 (1909); the series was translated and then expanded by Norbert Sévestre in Sâr Dubnotal #1-20 (1909-1910). The series was reprinted in Spain and Portugal. Sâr Dubnotal is a Superhuman Occult Detective. He is the “Conquistador of the Invisible Ones,” the “Napoleon of the Immaterial,” “Great Psychagogue,” the “grand spirit guide”—in other words, a psychic investigator. Dubnotal also refers to himself as himself as “El Tebib,” “the Doctor,” to emphasize his learned nature; he is medically trained and is a top psychologist. He is also trained in the Lombroso method, and can recognize the criminal “type” by simply looking at them.

However, the Rosicrucian Dubnotal is better known as a master of “psychognosis.” He has a wide range of powers, including hypnosis, telepathy, and levitation. He is an expert, and there is “no phenomenon of somnambulism, of telepathy, of `telepsychics,’ of levitation, hypnotism, magnetism, suggestion and autosuggestion” which is beyond him. Though a Westerner Dubnotal was “instructed in the school of the brahmins and the most famous Hindu yogis” and has “victories without number over the battle champions of the invisible.” He is even capable of speaking to the spirits of the deceased.

Dubnotal, who wears a Hindu turban and affects a Hindu air, lives in a spacious apartment in the rooms below his laboratory. His best assistant is the delectable Gianetti Annunciata, a “petticoated” medium who combines, in her manner, the “gay working girl” and the “high priestess.” Annunciata translated the raps of the invisible world into French, and vice-versa, thus enabling Dubnotal to communicate with the dead. (Annunciata is assisted in this task by a small “spiritual telegraph” machine)

Dubnotal takes on a wide range of enemies, including Tserpchikopf the Hypnotist (who is actually Jack the Ripper) and Azzef, a Russian terrorist (very loosely based on Evno Azef). In Dubnotal’s final appearance he buries himself alive in order to dispel his lethargy. Dubnotal appears in stories with titles like “Dr. Tooth’s Turning Table,” “The Madwoman of the Rimbaud Passage,” “The Sleepwalker of the River of Blood,” and “Azzef, the King of the Agents Provocateurs.”

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Dr. Duarte

duarteDuarte, Dr. Dr. Duarte was created by José Bohr and Xavier Davila and appeared in the Mexican film Herencia Macabre (1939). Dr. Duarte is an Evil Surgeon. Dr. Duarte is a famous plastic surgeon with a theory: ugly people are evil, pretty people are good, so that when Duarte improves someone’s looks, their personality changes as well. Unfortunately, his wife cheating on him with his assistant makes him…tetchy…and he injects his wife with a disfiguring virus, and then keeps her prisoner in his lab. Duarte then gets vengeance on his philandering assistant before he dies.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Valerie Drew

valerie drew

Drew, Valerie. Valerie Drew was created by “Adelie Ascott,” the pseudonym of John William Bobin (Derrick Brent, Don Darrel, Lila Lisle, Sylvia Silence, Top-Gear Tempest), and appeared in a number of stories in several English story papers from 1933 to 1940. Valerie Drew is a slim, pretty, red-haired schoolgirl detective. She is stylish and wears slit skirts and slacks. She begins as a girlish amateur detective but eventually becomes a sophisticated and skill crime-solver who pilots her own airplane and owns an apartment on Park Lane. She has whatever skills are required for her by each story, from sign-language to piloting yachts. Her arch-enemy is the French Lupin Marcelle Dauphine, but Drew helps reform Dauphine and she becomes Drew’s friend and ally. Drew is assisted by her clever Alsatian, Flash.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Sheridan Doome

doomeDoome, Sheridan. Sheridan Doome was created by “Stephen Gould,” the pseudonym of Steve Fisher (Red Brennan, Danny Garrett, Homicide Johnny, Tony Key, Mister Death (II), Mark Turner), and appeared in fifty-four stories and three novels from 1935 to 1943, beginning with “Tattooed Skipper” (Shadow Magazine, May 1935). Sheridan Doome is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy who was injured during World War One. He was maimed and his body could only be reconstructed with the help of numerous steel plate implants. These have made him bullet-proof, but he’s no looker:

He was six feet two inches tall; had a chalk-white face and head. It appeared as though it had once been seared or burned. For eyes, he had only black blotches; glittering optics, that looked like small chunks of coal. His nose was long, the end of it squared off rudely. He had no lips, just a slit that was his mouth. His neck was long, as white and as bony as his face….

Sheridan Doome looked more like a robot than a human being. He was tall and ghastly; his uniform fitted him in a loose manner. Long arms hung at his sides; his face was a perfect blank….

Sheridan Doome scrutinized him without emotion. He had no control of his facial muscles; consequently, his countenance was always without expression, chalky and bony.

Doome, “the ace of the Naval Intelligence” is bright and a skillful investigator, and speaks in a brittle, short, clipped, terse manner.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Doctor Satan

doctor satanDoctor Satan. Doctor Satan was created by Paul Ernst (The Avenger (II), Dick Bullitt, Anthony Lance, Seekay, Perry Westbrook) and appeared in eight stories in Weird Tales in 1935 and 1936, beginning with “Doctor Satan” (Weird Tales, Aug. 1935). Doctor Satan, the “world’s weirdest criminal,” is a nameless young man. He is wealthy and is from a very famous family. He became so jaded at the thrills his money could buy that he began studying advanced science and the occult so that he could become the world’s foremost criminal. He succeeded in this, in large part by mixing SCIENCE! and the occult. Dr. Satan has a number of weapons at his command. He uses the “death shrub,” an Australian thornbush, to kill enemies. He uses a voodoo flame first created 5000 years ago in temples along the Nile. He uses electricity bombs, Cretan voodoo dolls [sic], a time diverter, magic dragons, an atomic ray, and a crystal lightning tube. Dr. Satan is assisted by Girf, a “monkey-man,” and Bostiff, a legless giant. Doctor Satan’s nemesis is Ascott Keane, a Great Detective who is said to have “raised a hobby of criminology into an art that passes genius.” Keane is assisted by his beautiful “secretary and companion” Beatrice Dale.

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The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Doctor Death!

doctor deathDoctor Death. Doctor Death was created by “Edward P. Norris,” the pseudonym of Harold Ward (Nibs Holloway), and appeared in four stories in All-Detective Magazine from 1934 to 1935, beginning with “Doctor Death” (All-Detective Magazine, Jul. 1934). Doctor Death is a Mad Scientist who wants to CONQUER THE WORLD! Rance Mandarin is a scientist, the “world’s greatest occultist” and the former Dean of Psychology at Yale. But he feels that the potential of mankind has been stifled by the material benefits brought about by civilization. Therefore, he reasons, the best thing for mankind is for civilization to be destroyed and humanity to be reduced to the Stone Age. Mandarin, also known as “Dr. Death,” is an elderly, white-haired, “cadaverous” man who does not want any power for himself—his aims are strictly altruistic. Dr. Death is a magician, a practitioner of voodoo, necromancy and black magic, and controls a wide range of supernatural forces, everything from zombies to elementals. He also makes use of SCIENCE!, including technologically advanced weapons, anti-gravity aircraft and “dissolution rays.” Mandarin’s headquarters is underground, a mile from Lake View cemetery.

Doctor Death is opposed by James Holm, a wealthy young criminologist with more than a passing acquaintance with the supernatural. (Holm, orphaned at a young age and adopted by the mayor of New York City, is also an expert in chemistry and psychiatry), Teamed with Holm is John Ricks, the Chief of Police for the city. Holm is also aided by Nina Fererra, the lovely niece of Dr. Death; she loves her uncle but knows that he is insane. Holm and Nina Fererra eventually fall in love and marry. Much later on, FDR himself forms the “Secret Twelve,” an organization of twelve important men, led by Holm, who are dedicated to fighting against Dr. Death. They succeed, but Death continually comes back from seemingly certain death to plague Holm and the Twelve.

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