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Darvel, Robert. Robert Darvel was created by the French authors Gustave Le Rouge (Charley Colmes, Doctor Cornelius Kramm, Todd Marvel) and Gustave Guitton and appeared in Le Prisonnier de la Planète Mars (1908) and La Guerre des Vampires (1909).

Robert Darvel is a Planetary Romance Hero. Darvel is an American engineer who is approached by a Hindu prince for a special project. The prince uses the psychic energy of thousands of fakirs, gathered in an isolated monastery, to send Darvel to Mars, which Darvel discovers is inhabited by a number of strange and inimical races, from flying octopi to man-sized crustaceans with antennae and claws to the Erloor, a hostile race of bat-winged vampires who rule over a small race of human slaves. Darvel overthrows the Erloor and then discovers an invisible breed of Erloor which exist in subterranean cities. These invisible Erloor are in thrall to the Great Brain, an enormous Brain in a Jar who claims to rule the entire planet. The Brain eventually sends Darvel back to Earth, but in the sequel a group of invisible Erloor, which are on Earth, threaten Darvel’s fiancee and force him to return to Mars to kill the Great Brain.

* I'm including the Robert Darvel stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of the ideasplosions within the stories. Like the best French science fiction, the Darvel stories start out with a normal premise and keeping adding fantastika to them until they reach full-blown awesomeness--in this case, the point at which the Great Brain, a classic pulp creation, appears. Great stuff, very imaginative, and more or less without peer in 1908 and 1909. 

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