The best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Heinz Brandt
























Brandt, Heinz. Heinz Brandt appeared in the German dime novel Heinz Brandt der Fremdenlegionär #1-332 (1913-1921). Heinz Brandt der Fremdenlegionär was the most popular of the Foreign Legion heftromanes (German dime novels/pulps). Heinz Brandt is a Legionnaire. Heinz and his brother Fritz are a pair of patriotic Germans who join the French Foreign Legion for undisclosed reasons. They enjoy the adventures that serving in the Legion brings them, and because they are good, decent men they try to help the indigenous peoples they travel among. But the French commanders of the Legion are brutal sadists, to the point where one of them is willing to use Heinz Brandt as a living target in order to test out a new weapon. With the Legion the Brandts travel across North Africa, go to Asia, and then to Southern Africa, in stories with titles like “Battle of the Elephants,” “The Secret of the Sunken City,” “The Amazons of Dahomey,” and “The Gluttons of Kitumbo.” When World War One began the focus of the stories shifted, and the Brandts travel to Belgium to fight the evil, cruel, barbarous, atrocity-loving French Army. The Brandts are made Corporals in the German Army and win the Iron Cross, fighting in every famous battle in France, Russia and the Balkans. When the war ends the Brandts re-enlist in the Legion and resume service in North Africa. In 1956 a sequel to Heinz Brandt der Fremdenlegionär appeared: Fremdenlegionär Brandt #1-5, about Rolf Brandt, the son of Heinz Brandt and a Legionnaire just like his father.

French Foreign Legion stories were popular in the American pulps, but even more popular and long-lasting in the German heftromane, with several Legionnaire characters having good long runs. None as long as Heinz Brandt, however, who really was the archetypal German Legionnaire character, enough so that over thirty years later a sequel could be published.

And of course, as a World War One-era pulp, there’s a lot of good, interesting political material in here, not only before WW1 but during and even after the war itself–Heinz Brandt, post-WW1, is an attempt to redeem German manhood by making the titular character the most manly and accomplished of that most manly of groups, the Foreign Legion.

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