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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