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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Lee, Terry. Terry Lee was created by Milton Caniff (Dickie Dare) and appeared in the comic strip “Terry and the Pirates” (1934-1973), the film serial Terry and the Pirates (1940), and the radio serial Terry and the Pirates (1941-1948). For fifteen years “Terry and the Pirates” was the greatest adventure comic strip in print.

Terry Lee is a blond American boy whose grandfather left him a map of an abandoned mine in China, and Lee goes to China to find the mine and make his fortune. While there he meets Pat Ryan, a pipe-smoking, two-fisted adventurer, and the two become best friends. They have a classic series of adventures across China, where they take on everyone from pirates to evil bandits to the Japanese invaders. They also encounter a set of classic Femmes Fatale, from Lai Choi San, the “Dragon Lady,” a Yellow Peril who becomes Pat Ryan’s Loving Enemy, to the Carole Lombard-like Burma.

* I'm including "Terry and the Pirates" in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because it's a well-drawn, well-written, tremendously enjoyable comic strip of significant historical importance. Milton Caniff was one of the trio of comic strip gods during the 1930s and 1940s (the other two were Alex Raymond (see Flash Gordon & Jungle Jim) and Hal Foster (see Prince Valiant). Caniff's art was influential on everyone from Jack Kirby to Hugo Pratt. "Terry and the Pirates" was influential on everyone who read it. As much as "Flash Gordon" and "Prince Valiant," "Terry and the Pirates" deserves the label "classic." Apart from its racism toward the Japanese, the strip hasn't aged at all and provides 2020s readers with all the thrills it did its 1930s and 1940s readers. It's wonderful, basically. 

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