Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
King, Ken. Ken King was created by “Frank Richards,” the pseudonym of Charles Hamilton (Billy Bunter, Arthur Augustus d’Arcy, Sheerluck Jones, Len Lex, Ferrers Locke, Herlock Sholmes, Harry Wharton), and appeared in hundreds of stories from 1928 to the early 1960s, beginning with “King of the Islands” (Modern Boy #1, Feb. 11, 1928).
Ken King is a South Seas Adventurer. King is "King of the Islands," a trader in the South Seas and the skipper of the ketch Dawn. King trades and adventures across the Pacific, encountering every possible variation of South Seas Islands In The 1930s & 1940s enemies: cannibals, pearl thieves, ruthless whites (like the bloodthirsty Wolf Williams) who enslave whole islands, rascally traders and thieves like Jabez Wild and Dandy Peters, cursed pearls of Gola, and so on. The two-fisted, square-jawed, patriotic, pro-Empire, pro-imperialistic colonization, and pro-benign racism King is assisted by his Australian first mate Kit Hudson, his native Hawaiian bo'sun Kaio-lalulalong, a.k.a. "Koko," and the racist stereotype Danny, the cook.
* I'm including Ken King in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of his archetypal nature. On the one hand, Ken King appeared in, probably, over a thousand stories in his 35+-year career; Hamilton churned stories out with rapidity, as a way to lessen his gambling debts. This redoubtable body of work, combined with their steady, regular appearances in the story papers and with Hamilton's facility at making even the oldest South Seas Islands scenarios and opponents feel fresh and new, made the Ken King stories popular enough to reach archetypal status; following Ken King, every story paper South Seas Adventurer would be under his influence.
On the other hand, Charles Hamilton was a racist in favor of imperialism and colonization, and those ugly elements showed up repeatedly in the King King stories, not just as background elements but as messages voiced by Ken King himself. So I can't really recommend the Ken King stories to modern readers, archetypal though they were.
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