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Clifton, Leon. Leon Clifton was created by the Czech author Jaroslav Pulda and appeared in Z PamÄ›tí Amerického Detektiva Léona Cliftona #1-275 (1906-1910); the series was reprinted in 1926 and 1936. Leon Clifton is a Great Detective modeled on Nick Carter (I).

Clifton is famous, capable, and welcome wherever he goes, America and Europe, for he solves crimes and defeats the most evil wrongdoers everywhere. A Czech-American, Clifton was orphaned at a young age and found abandoned in Nebraska, where he grew up. Some of Clifton’s cases verge on the fantastic, as when he discovers the cursed belt buckle of Cagliostro lying in the street, or in the appropriately-titled “Gorilla ex Machina.” Clifton takes on the Black Company, the Human Beast, the “Mad Doctor” (an Evil Surgeon), an evil robot, the Death’s Head of Cleveland, the communist Red Spider, an “Arab magician,” the Brotherhood of the Dark Eyes, and the Femme Fatale Devil Woman. He also meets Harry Ward. Clifton dies in the last issue of his series.

Clifton appears in stories with titles like “Torn Apart By Wolves,” “The Shadow Without a Head,” and “The Lady of the Death’s Head.”

* I've included the Leon Clifton stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of their historical importance and because of the ideasplosions within them. Historically, the Clifton stories were important because they provided Czech detective and mystery writers with a homegrown icon to emulate, a Nick Carter (I) but one who was Czech-born in real life and Czech-blooded in fiction and whose adventures were published in Czech. (The allure of #ownvoices representation is not to be underestimated). In terms of ideasplosions, Jaroslav Pulda was obviously aware of the Nick Carter (I) stories and the imaginative elements within them, and was determined not to be outdone by any upstart American. Pulda's ideasplosions--"Gorilla ex Machina" is a particularly lovely one--are on par with the best imaginative concepts to be found anywhere during the Pulp Age. 

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