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
Octopus (II). The Octopus (II) was created by “Randolph Craig,” the pseudonym of Norvell Page (Dick Barrett, Bill Carter, Ken Carter, Death Angel, Dunne, Feargod Peace, Scorpion (II), Spider (II), Jules Tremaine, Wan Tengri), and by Edith & Eljer Jacobsen (Nat Perry, Scorpion (II)) and appeared in The Octopus v1 #4 (1939).
The Octopus (II) is a Mad Scientist who plans to CONQUER THE WORLD! His appearance might explain his desire to dominate mankind: he is sea-green, with four "suction-cupped weaving tentacles" set above "hideously malformed" legs. He wears a small mask, and behind it can be seen two enormous, luminous, purple eyes. He is the leader of the Purple Eyes, a cult bent on world domination and mass destruction. The Octopus’ chosen method is an "ultra-violet ray" which devolves men and women and turns them into deformed, life-hating monsters hungry for human flesh and glowing with “ultraviolet purple.” The Octopus’ headquarters is a hospital in a big city. Against the Octopus is set Jeffrey Fairchild, a young millionaire philanthropist. Fairchild has three identities. The first is Jeffrey Fairchild, hospital administrator. The second is kindly Dr. Skull, the old man who makes a practice of helping the poor in the slums. The third identity is the “Skull Killer,” a Killer Vigilante who leaves the imprint of a skull on the bodies of his enemies. Fairchild is assisted by Carol Endicott, Dr. Skull’s nurse.
The unofficial sequel to The Octopus was The Scorpion (see: Scorpion (II)).
* I'm including The Octopus in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because it's just darn fun to read. Norvell Page was a professional writer of pulps, and a competent (if rarely inspired) one. But something about The Octopus and the titular character brought out the best in him. He gave us a memorably ghastly mad scientist supervillain, a memorably violent supporting cult of killers, and a more-violent-than-usual hero, a Killer Vigilante who copies The Phantom (III) in leaving his imprint on the bodies of his victims. It's all at a height of pitched emotion, not unlike the Spider (II) stories, but unlike them The Octopus simply didn't last long enough--mystifyingly poor sales--for readers to have gotten more of the Octopus (II) than a single issue. More's the pity.
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