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
Zorro. Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley (The Avenging Twins, Bat (II), Black Star, Jim Bodney, Crimson Clown, Captain Goodwin, Green Ghost, Richard Hughes, Man in Purple, Mongoose, Peter Noggins, Peanut Pete, Spider (I), Thubway Tham, Thunderbolt (I), Terry Trimble, Whirlwind) and appeared in eighty-one stories in All Story Weekly, Argosy, and West and two short story collections from 1919 through 1951, beginning with “The Curse of Capistrano” (All-Story Weekly, Aug. 9, 1919). In 1939 he appeared in an unauthorized Polish sequel, Jezdziec w Masce. Zorro #1-40, written by “Luigi Micuno,” the pseudonym of Ludwik Mickun-Micinski.
Zorro is a Costumed Avenger. He is Don Diego de la Vega, an aristocrat of Spanish descent in California in the early years of the 19th century. Almost all those who know de la Vega believe he is a foppish coward, but in reality this is only a pose. When necessary he will put on a black mask and become Zorro, “the fox,” to challenge wicked Mexican and American men and to see that right is done and wrong is defeated.
* I'm including the Zorro stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of Zorro's archetypal status, because of the stories' historical importance, and because they are a lot of fun to read. Out of relatively meager materials Johnston McCulley crafted a character who spoke to so many readers (because that's what the best superheroes do, and Zorro's a superhero) that he became an archetype quite quickly. McCulley wrote a lot, but often not well; in the Zorro stories he combined his speed with all of his talent and produced a classic for the ages. The Zorro stories became modern myths, cultural touchstones that resonated with the culture at large and continues to do so. Historically Zorro was not the first superhero of the 20th century--not by a long shot--but he was arguably the most important, especially when his films became so outrageously popular. Without Zorro, the creation of superhero comics would have been delayed in coming and degraded and stunted when it did arrive, for so much of Zorro--the dual identity, the foppish pose of Zorro's alter ego--was incorporated into superhero comics and became basic parts of the genre.
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