Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Black Mask (III). Black Mask (III) was created by the Canadian author Michel Darien and appeared in Les Exploits Policiers du Domino Noir #1-62 (1944-1947), Éditions Montréal Détective #1-42 (1944-1949), and Les Exploits Policiers du Domino Noir #1-966 (1948-1965).
Black Mask (III) is a Costumed Avenger. He is Alain de Guise, a Québécois adventurer who is passionately devoted to seeing justice done. (In his first appearance he is the wealthy young rogue Simon Antoine, but that changed with the second issue). Toward that end he puts on a black domino mask and goes after criminals and evil men. The only man who knows his identity is Benoit Auger, a journalist who sometimes helps de Guise on cases.
Black Mask (III)’s stories often verge on the fantastic: he fights Thievery, Incorporated, “the Wizards of Hell,” Femme Fatale assassins and belly dancers, vampires, a werewolves, the Society of Hunchbacks, the Faceless Men, the Headless Men, the Devil’s Horse, the Brotherhood of Blood, a Superhuman mesmerist, Mad Scientists who kill with radioactivity or bio-engineered giant mosquitoes, a museum of horrors, The Pirates Club, the Red Devil, an Evil Surgeon, a haunted house, a crooked doppelganger, Yellow Peril crimelords in Montreal’s Chinatown, voodoo priests, the Mummy Millionaire, a Canadian Bluebeard, cursed Indian gems, murderous native Canadians who use tomahawks to kill whites, Hugo Scarface, an android crimelord called “the Automatic Professor,” a murderer called “Satan,” a yogi criminal mastermind, gigolos, orgies, and the Golden Lizards. The Black Mask (III) is also notable for taking on a killer focusing on gays, which may be a first for the pulps of any nation.
He appears in stories with titles like “The Dance of the Skeletons,” “Cigarettes, Whiskey, and a Colt .45,” and “Night of the Sadist.”
* I'm including Black Mask (III) in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of its historical importance and because of the ideasplosions within the three pulps he appeared in. Historically, Black Mask (III) appeared in high-quality pulp stories non-stop for 1070 issues and 21 years, which puts Doc Savage and the American pulps to shame and easily outstrips nearly all the German heftromane. Black Mask (III), in other words, was a cultural constant for those 21 years, a hero pulp that people could rely upon to always be there and always have some gloriously over-the-top pulp concept within its pages. The closest thing Americans had to that was Doc Savage, and Black Mask's pulps lapped Doc Savage's pulps twice. The writers of Black Mask (III) also new to continually pump fresh high concepts into their stories--hence the high degree and quality of ideasplosions in the Black Mask (III)'s stories. Great, imaginative, colorful, pulpy fun.
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