The best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Ciclón


Ciclón. Ciclón was created by “Avilés Balaguer,” the pseudonym of Manuel Vallvé López (Hércules), and appeared in the Spanish pulp Ciclón #1-6 (1942-1943). Ciclón is an air ace modeled on Bill Barnes. “Ciclón” is Fernando Aguirre, a Spanish pilot from the city of Santander who fights evil in the skies over Europe, although his headquarters is in Spain. Aguirre is assisted by his team, which included Santi Echetorena, a Basque, Conrad Kroeger, a German, Mootar Bin, a Hindu, two Andalusians, and an Argentine. Ciclón appeared in stories with titles like “The Winged Dragon,” “Wind of Insanity,” and “Golden Wings.”

Ciclón was one of a quartet of Spanish pulp heroes who were overtly modeled on successful American pulp heroes: Ciclón on Bill Barnes, Manuel Vallvé López’s Hércules on Doc Savage, Guillermo Lopez Hipkiss’ Yuma on The Shadow, and José Mallorquí’s 3 Hombres Buenos on Pete Rice. I’m including Ciclón et al. in the Pulp Encyclopedia not only because they are foreign pulp heroes (though admittedly that’s a big lure) but because each of them overcame their American models to become singular figures in their own right. The Spanish enthusiastically embraced the American pulps and turned out numerous pulp heroes and heroines of their own, figures who may have owed their ultimate inspiration to American pulps but which were definitely Spanish in style and content while still being successfully pulpish. The Spanish knew how to do the pulps right, and Ciclón was a part of that.

Too, these pulps came out during the Spanish Civil War and afterwards, when the fascists took power, which meant that the writers and artists of the pulps were working under restrictive conditions (not just from the fascists, but from the Church), and it’s a tribute to their fecund imaginations and skill as writers and artists that they managed to succeed as well as they did.

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