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Zigomar (I). Zigomar (I) was created by the French author Léon Sazie (Martin Numa, Tony Pacot) and first appeared in a serial in Le Matin (Dec. 7, 1909-May 22, 1910); he later appeared in the pulps Zigomar #1-28 (1913) and Zigomar contre Zigomar #1-8 (1924) as well as in another serial, “Un Nouveau Coup de Zigomar” (Le Petit Parisien, 1938). Zigomar also appeared in four silent films from 1910 to 1912.

Zigomar (I) is a masked crime lord, similar to but anticipating Fantômas. Zigomar is a suave but brutal man who ranges across the Continent and into England while carrying out his nefarious schemes. Zigomar is the leader of a band of Romany (Gypsy) thieves. "Zigomar" is, alternatively, "ramogiz" spelled backwards ("ramogiz" being a name in Romany for the Rom) or derived from "tzigane" or "zingari," which are also terms for the Romany. Zigomar's organization is named “Z,” and the group's password is "Z is the life! Z is the death!" accompanied by a hand sign in the shape of a Z. Zigomar's nemesis is Paulin Broquet, a dedicated Parisian police officer who is unflagging in his pursuit of Zigomar and has the requisite martial skills, including jiu-jitsu, to deal with him. Broquet catches and kills Zigomar several times, or so he thinks, but Zigomar always emerges unharmed. In the film Zigomar Contre Nick Carter (1911) Zigomar jousts with Nick Carter (I).

* I'm including the Zigomar (I) stories and films in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because they are historically important and because of Zigomar's archetypal status. Without Zigomar (I), there'd be no Fantomas, no Satanik, no Killing, and no Joker; without Zigomar (I), about a quarter of the supervillains of superhero comic books would never have come into existence. Zigomar (I) isn't as well-known as Fantomas and the others, but he was the trailblazer that all the rest of those characters followed without necessarily being aware of his existence. Fantomas is the archetype of modern mass murder, without a doubt, Zigomar (I) was the archetype as well--he's just a faded and forgotten one, now. 

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