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
Mayen, Jan. Jan Mayen was created by “Lok Myler,” the pseudonym of the German author Paul Alfred Müller-Murnau (Sun Koh), and appeared in Jan Mayen, Der Herr der Atomkraft #1-120 (1936-1938), #1-10 (1949-1950).
Jan Mayen is a detective and adventurer. He grew up on an icy, fog-wrapped island in the North Sea. When Jan was young his father, the German industrialist Dietrich Hartmann, disappeared, and as an adult Mayen spends his free time looking for him. But Mayen discovers that there are dark forces opposing him, and he is forced to use all of his intellect, fighting skills, and advanced technology, including his atomic-powered plane, to defeat these enemies. Mayen discovers that his arch-enemy is the vile South American financier and conspirator Micero, who at one point kidnaps Mayen’s love interest, Ursula, forcing Mayen to pursue Micero and Ursula from Amsterdam to Australia to Florida to Canada. Mayen is assisted by his racist stereotype servant Clive, who works in Mayen’s labs in Amsterdam, and Mayen’s grandmother, the formidable Myfrouw van Leeuwen.
Mayen eventually discovers that his father has been living in the United Sates under the name “Ricky Hatman” and been working with the Hudson Bay company on a secret project. This project is the raising of Greenland, or Thule, from the ocean. This brings Mayen into contact with Sun Koh, and the over-arching plot of Jan Mayen is revealed to be a sequel to Sun Koh, with Mayen eventually discovering that he is the heir of Thule. In some of the stories Mayen and Sun Koh venture into the Hollow Earth via a tunnel in Greenland. In others Mayen and Koh work toward a racially pure, Aryan utopia by turning Greenland into arable land through the use of an orbiting solar mirror and raising Atlantis from the sea.
Mayen is tall and slim, “steel hard and full of pliant power.” He appears in stories with titles like "Atom Fire in Greenland," "The Invisible Fire," "The Diamond Sun," and "The Green Dragon."
* I'm including Jan Mayen, Der Herr der Atomkraft in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of its imaginative content. Not, God knows, because of its inscribed morality; Jan Mayen is pro-Nazi, pro-eugenics, and deeply racist (unsurprising in that Jan Mayen is a kind of sequel to Sun Koh's series), and anyone trying to read the series for pleasure in the 2020s has fascist worms in their head. All that being true, it's also the case the Paul Alfred Müller-Murnau was competent at telling sfnal adventure stories, that Jan Mayen really isn't a sequel to Sun Koh as much as the second half of the story whose first half is told in Sun Koh, and that Müller-Murnau was pretty good at doing an epic sf pulp saga chock full of imaginative concepts. But you can't say that Jan Mayen would work without the racism and antisemitism and Nazism; the point of the entire two-series story is to turn Greenland into arable land and then raise Atlantis through the sea, which will cause millions of "impure" humans to die. The Nazism is an inherent part of Sun Koh and Jan Mayen; without it, the series don't exist. And non-existence is the best thing for both these pulps.
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