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Clifford, Sir Ralf. Sir Ralf Clifford was created by the German author Martin Winfried and appeared in 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. He fights evil Jesuits, the Black Priest of Notre Dame, the vampiric “Bride of the Catacombs,” Yellow Peril Mandarins in the Forbidden City of Peking, the “werewolf of Amsterdam,” Communist nihilist terrorists, a cursed Pharaonic mirror, “the Wandering Jew of London,” “the Amazon of Hyde Park,” an evil Ent-like “living tree,” an Italian jailer who has created the real-life equivalent of Piranesi’s “Carceri,” Dr. Coletti, a Moreau-like Evil Surgeon Mad Scientist, a city of Lost Race Inca, and even solves the mystery of the Marie Celeste. 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."

* I've included Sir Ralf Clifford, Der Unsichtbare Mensch in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of the ideasplosions within it. Sir Ralf Clifford is a wonderful example of classic heftroman ideasplosions. The list above is a short one--I could have gone on at twice that length and not repeated myself. Colorful, imaginative, vivid, adventurous in the best pulp tradition--Sir Ralf Clifford had it all. 

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