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Monje Negro. Monje Negro was created by the Mexican creators Jose G. Cruz (AdelitaBrenty, Juan Sin Miedo, Letty Lou, Gerald Meldrick, Nancy) and Guillermina González and appeared in comic strips in Chamaco and Pepin from 1937 to 1951?, beginning with “El Monje Negro” (Pepin, Apr. 19, 1937).

Twenty years ago the Monje Negro (Black Monk) was an ordinary man. But one day he discovered his pregnant wife kissing his best friend, so the Monje Negro killed his best friend. The Monje Negro’s face began to change over the course of four years, as divine punishment for the murder, and when his dying wife reveals that the kiss was chaste, just as the Monje Negro is about to kill their daughter, the Monje Negro goes a little mad, leaves his wife, and becomes a full-time villain. His face becomes even more distorted, so he wears a mask of synthetic flesh. He lives in a cave full of the skeletons of women who have fallen in love with him and who he has killed for that sin. Eventually Monje Negro meets Brenty and tries to use him to resuscitate his dead wife. Much later, Monje Negro meets Adelita, now an actual vampire, and falls in love with her and is ultimately redeemed by her.

* I'm including the Monje Negro comic strips in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they're fun. Look, we all know that a Redemption of the Villain plotline is the best pulp plotline, but underrated, significantly, is the Corruption of the Heroic plotline, such as in the Monje Negro comics. The comics in fact make up a more-or-less coherent storyline that completes itself quite satisfactorily: Monje Negro becomes corrupted and then insane and then a full-blown villain. He threatens a woman like a good Gothic villain should, and then gets redeemed through True Love while also saving the soul of the vampire he fell in love with. The whole Jose G. Cruz Comic Universe is a good time, but Monje Negro's story is the most compelling and satisfying of them. 

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