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The Man in Purple. The Man in Purple was created by Johnston McCulley (The Avenging Twins, Bat (II), Black Star, Jim Bodney, Crimson Clown, Captain Goodwin, Green Ghost, Richard Hughes, Mongoose, Peter Noggins, Peanut Pete, Spider (I), Thubway Tham, Thunderbolt (I), Terry Trimble, Whirlwind, Zorro) and appeared in three stories in Detective Story Magazine in 1921, beginning with “The Man in Purple” (Detective Story Magazine, Oct. 1 1921).

The Man in Purple is a Costumed Avenger Lupin. He is a heroic thief. He does not steal for pleasure or personal profit, but to avenge wrongs done to others–in his own words, he is a "collector of back pay for the swindled." The Man in Purple is Richard Staegal, a handsome, wealthy young man of mixed past whose fiancée, Betty Halyer, is quite taken with the Man in Purple. The Man in Purple customarily sends cards to his targets or phones them, before he steals from them, saying something like "The man who steals should expect to be the next victim of a thief in his turn. You have stolen money from the public treasury on your last paving contract. I intend to collect part of that sum. You cannot escape."

Staegal is assisted by Broph, a failure as a crook who was saved by Staegal and who is devoted to Staegal. Staegal is pursued by Detective Troman, who is quite accommodating to Staegal’s goals, although Troman still tries to capture the Man in Purple. As the Man in Purple Staegal dresses all in purple, in a costume made of a special cloth that will dissolve instantly when doused in acid. (Staegal carries a vial of acid with him wherever he goes, just so that he can quickly dispose of his costume).

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