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Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Dubnotal, Sâr. Sâr Dubnotal appeared in the German dime novel Sâr Dubnotal, der Große Geisterbanner #1-9 (1909); the series was translated and then expanded by the French author Norbert Sévestre in Sâr Dubnotal #1-20 (1909-1910). The series was reprinted in Spain and Portugal.
Sâr Dubnotal is a Superhuman Occult Detective. He is the "Conquistador of the Invisible Ones," the "Napoleon of the Immaterial," "Great Psychagogue," the "grand spirit guide"—in other words, a psychic investigator. Dubnotal also refers to himself as himself as "El Tebib," "the Doctor," to emphasize his learned nature; he is medically trained and is a top psychologist. He is also trained in the Lombroso method, and can recognize the criminal "type" by simply looking at them.
However, the Rosicrucian Dubnotal is better known as a master of "psychognosis." He has a wide range of powers, including hypnosis, telepathy, and levitation. He is an expert, and there is "no phenomenon of somnambulism, of telepathy, of `telepsychics,' of levitation, hypnotism, magnetism, suggestion and autosuggestion" which is beyond him. Though a Westerner Dubnotal was "instructed in the school of the brahmins and the most famous Hindu yogis" and has "victories without number over the battle champions of the invisible." He is even capable of speaking to the spirits of the deceased.
Dubnotal, who wears a Hindu turban and affects a Hindu air, lives in a spacious apartment in the rooms below his laboratory. His best assistant is the delectable Gianetti Annunciata, a "petticoated" medium who combines, in her manner, the "gay working girl" and the "high priestess." Annunciata translated the raps of the invisible world into French, and vice-versa, thus enabling Dubnotal to communicate with the dead. (Annunciata is assisted in this task by a small "spiritual telegraph" machine).
Dubnotal takes on a wide range of enemies, including Tserpchikopf the Hypnotist (who is actually Jack the Ripper) and Azzef, a Russian terrorist (very loosely based on Evno Azef). In Dubnotal’s final appearance he buries himself alive in order to dispel his lethargy.
Dubnotal appears in stories with titles like "Dr. Tooth's Turning Table," "The Madwoman of the Rimbaud Passage," "The Sleepwalker of the River of Blood," and "Azzef, the King of the Agents Provocateurs."
* I've included Sâr Dubnotal in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of his archetypal nature. Dubnotal's stories are fun enough, and there's a certain active imagination behind the Rogues Gallery and the events within the stories, but it is Dubnotal himself who is the archetype--the iconic Westerner-gone-to-the-East-to-gain-powers. It's all out of the Theosophist playbook, of course, and Dubnotal didn't exactly break ground with that plotline, but the Dubnotal stories transcend their origin and become great pulp. Dubnotal's powers are continually being added to, as are the elements of Theosophy and psychicism in the stories, so that by the last issue in the series Dubnotal no longer belongs to the world outside the reader's window, but to a pulp superhero world.
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