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Don Q. Don Q was created by Hesketh Prichard (Hayden, Geoff Heronhaye, November Joe) and appeared in thirty-six short stories, four novels and short story collections, and one movie from 1897 to 1927, beginning with “The Parole of Gevil-Hay” (Badminton Magazine, September 1897); an unauthorized French continuation of the Don Q stories was written by Georges Clavigny (Air Pirate) and appeared in Vautour de la Sierra #1-25 (1923-1924).
Don Q is a grim, vengeful Spanish bandit active in the mid- and late-19th century, operating with his gang in “the Andalusian highlands, stretching from Jerez to Almeria and beyond.” Don Q is known to the locals as “Don Quebranta Huesos,” or “Don Bone Smasher,” the local name for the “bone-breaking” vulture whose features Don Q seems to share. Don Q is no ordinary thief or bandit chief, however. He is a sequestrador, one who kidnaps and holds for ransom, what Don Q describes as “the noblest rank of brigand.” When his men discover a traveler making his way across the “magnificent desolation” which is Don Q’s home, they capture the traveler and escort him to the mountain headquarters where Don Q resides. Don Q then chats with his victim, usually cordially, for Don Q is an aristocrat to his bones and thoroughly believes in the duties of the host, which include a kindly courtesy. Don Q then disposes of “the disagreeables of business,” the setting of the ransom, which is always what he believes his victim, or the victim’s friends and family, or the victim’s country, can afford to pay. If the ransom is not paid, “regrettable consequences” follow. If not all of the ransom is paid, the consequences are equally regrettable; if only 75% of the ransom is forthcoming, only 75% of the kidnap victim will return to freedom.
Don Q is of noble descent but has a tragic background. He sympathizes with the poor and protects them, never holding any of them for ransom and punishing those who do. He is greatly disliked by the Governor of his province.
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