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Preston. Preston was created by “Murray Leinster,” the pseudonym of William Fitzgerald Jenkins (Black Bat (I), Burl, Malay Collins, Kim Rendell), and appeared in four stories in Argosy in 1929 and 1930, beginning with “The Darkness on Fifth Avenue” (Argosy, Nov. 30, 1929).
Preston is a Mad Scientist. He is an electro-physicist who uses his inventions to create meteorological disturbances, including making the air “opaque, black, as horribly black as the ocean’s deepest abyss.” After Preston demonstrates the effects of his inventions, he issues blackmail threats to the world. He is opposed by New York City Police Inspector Hines, who is assisted by Professor Albert Schaaf, a German scientist who was formerly Preston’s lab assistant. Preston has an organization of assassins and gangsters who help him. Preston is “small and dapper,” with “a neat Vandyke beard,” and looks like a civilized man except for his eyes, which are “blank and hard and triumphant, precisely the eyes of a madman with paranoiac delusions of grandeur.”
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