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Johnny Forty-Five. Johnny Forty-Five was created by “Andrew A. Griffin,” a Street and Smith pseudonym used in this case by Paul S. Powers (Kid Wolf, King Kolt, Freckles Malone, Sonny Tabor), and appeared in forty-four stories in Wild West Weekly from 1929 to 1943, beginning with “The Fighting Poet” (Wild West Weekly, July 20, 1929).

Johnny Socrates Forty-Five is a United States Deputy Marshall. He is brash, cocky, and short, and is always seen in a faded flannel shirt and aging leather chaps. He is a poetaster and has the habit of rolling cigarettes and throwing them away unsmoked. He is accompanied by one of the most memorable characters in the pulps, the Falstaffian George Krumm. Krumm is a large man with a larger personality who boastfully (and yet not unlikably) describes himself as “Iron Man Krumm, Fearless Krumm, the Terror of Evildoers.” In one story Johnny Forty-Five meets Sonny Tabor.

* I'm including the Johnny Forty-Five stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they are, surprisingly, a lot of fun. One doesn't usually look to Wild West Weekly for fun stories; the pulp's contents were usually pretty formulaic and bland. But Paul S. Powers was a better-than-average writer, and his creation of George Krumm was a bolt of genius that lit up the Johnny Forty-Five stories. Krumm makes the stories enjoyable, and deserves the compliment of the adjective "Falstaffian." (I've a pet theory that George Krumm, or a vague memory of Krumm, was on Stan Lee's mind when he created Volstagg, the Lion of Asgard). 

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