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Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Captain Mors. Captain Mors appeared in the German dime novel Der Luftpirat und sein Lenkbares Luftschiff #1-165 (1908-1911); the series was reprinted in Italy, Poland, and Russia through 1912. Der Luftpirat was one of the first space operas in 20th century science fiction as well as one of the first science fiction magazines.
Captain Mors is a Costumed Avenger. Mors is a figure similar to Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo. Mors is a brilliant German inventor whose family was killed, years ago, by a group of evil men who wanted to use Mors for their own wicked ends. He creates an armored, technologically-advanced airship and uses it and other advanced crafts and weapons to take vengeance on those who killed his family and then on those who oppress the innocent, both on Earth and in the planets of the solar system.
Mors wears a domino mask and is assisted by a crew of Indian and European men who he rescued from oppression. Mors comes into conflict not only with humans, including Yellow Peril Japanese airshipmen, but with a variety of aliens, including Venusians, Martians, crystal robots (who use "strange devices"), and various “slimy” and “terrifying” monsters. Mors also discovers new planets; in Der Luftpirat #42, “In the Deadly Crater of the New Planet,” a small planet, orbiting between the Moon and the Earth, is discovered. Mors and his crew land on the new planet and find it to be in an evolutionary stage similar to Earth's Jurassic era, full of volcanic activity and dinosaur- and snake-like monsters. The latter are fought with the swords, knives, and axes that are the crew's weaponry.
Through all the stories shines Mors' love of "Mother Earth," which must be defended by the unending threats of a hostile universe. As the issues go by, his Nemo-like alienation from human society fades and he becomes a more uncomplicated hero than the misanthropic figure seen in Der Luftpirat #1. Mors never loses his capacity for bloodshed and war, but his distaste for humanity is replaced, despite his personal history, with a more humanitarian love, although he remains capable of great violence when necessary.
Captain Mors appears in stories with titles like, "The Explosives of the Ancient Mongolian Wizards," "The Battle with the Natives of the War Planet," and "The Temple in Moon Crater Plato."
* I've included Der Luftpirat und sein Lenkbares Luftschiff and Captain Mors in my Best of the Encyclopedia category because their historical importance and archetypal natures. Basically, without Der Luftpirat there would have been no heftroman science fiction. Der Luftpirat lasted 165 issues during the first phase of pulp expansion in Europe--few of those first phase heftromane would last anywhere near that long--and created the model for future German heftroman and even mainstream science fiction writers for Robur-plus science fiction heroes and adventures--a model that would be widely emulated. Moreover, Der Luftpirat's influence was such that it became a touchstone for other heftroman writers to use and to refer to.
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