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Chameleon. The Chameleon was created by Herman Landon (Rufus Brent, Gray Phantom, Picaroon, Godfrey Usher) and appeared in a number of stories in Detective Fiction Weekly, beginning with “The Man Who Didn’t Exist” (Detective Fiction Weekly, Nov 26, 1932).
The Chameleon is a Lupin. Valentine Brent, a wealthy fop, was sent to Blackwater for peddling gold-bricks which may or may not have been entirely gold or even gold-ish. (For that matter, Brent might not have been guilty of the crime, although on that matter he is coy). While in jail, Brent befriended the hunchback Marsden, a man with a genius for making disguises for others. Once they both got out of jail, Marsden opened a costume business, and Brent began frequenting it, requesting various costumes. Whether or not Marsden knows that Brent uses these costumes to become the Chameleon–and Marsden remains ambiguous on this–he is happy to oblige Brent. As the Chameleon, Brent steals and enriches himself while also helping innocent men and women and sending guilty people to jail. He’s a sportsman, though, and warns his victims and even the police ahead of time. “An almost legendary glamour attached to The Chameleon’s name. people had an almost superstitious regard for his knavish talents. Locked doors and secrets guarded in shuttered minds were no mysteries to The Chameleon. When he said he would do a thing, he nearly always did it. and he did it in ways that were dark and inscrutable.” He always leaves behind a coin painted twenty-five percent varying colors. Brent is friendly with Commissioner Murdock, who knows that Brent is Chameleon but can’t convict him of it.
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