The best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Sir Ralf Clifford

RalfCliffordClifford, Sir Ralf. Sir Ralf Clifford was created by Martin Winfried and appeared in the German pulp Sir Ralf Clifford, Der Unsichtbare Mensch oder Das Geheimnisvolle Vermächtnis des fakirs #1-192 (1921-1925); the series was reprinted in Italy as Sir Ralf Clifford #1-192 (1929-1930). Ralf Clifford, an American, had studied under a fakir in India and, when the fakir was dying, received from him the mummified head of a cobra. When Clifford presses the cobra head against his breast, he is injected with a poisonous fluid which scars him but also leaves him invisible for seven minutes. If Clifford should be dosed 217 times, he will die. (Fortunately, the series was cancelled before the 217th dose was applied). Clifford uses the mummified cobra head to fight for good. His adventures are on the fantastic side; he takes on secret cults, vampires, subterranean masterminds, werewolves, and living Buddhas, both in Italy and around the world. Clifford’s arch-enemy is Pitt Potter, a notorious murderer who is continually trying to steal the secret of invisibility from Clifford. Clifford appears in stories with titles like “The Secrets of the Temple of Lhasa,” “The Black Priest of Notre Dame,” and “In the Empire of the Black Diamonds.”

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