Safety First Club. The Safety First Club was created by William T. Nichols and appeared in the three book "Safety First Club Series," which ran from 1916 to 1923 and began with The Safety First Club. The Club members (I don't know their names) fought fires and floods and the like, being civic minded young lads.
Sage, Malcolm. Malcolm Sage was created by Herbert Jenkins and appeared in John Dene of Toronto (1919), Malcolm Sage, Detective (1920), and The Stiffsons and Other Stories (1928). During WW1 Sage had been a top intelligence agent for Britain's Division Z, but after the war is over he is set up as a the head of the Malcolm Sage Detective Bureau by his old chief. Sage has a secretary and an office boy who reads detective fiction and acts as comic relief for Sage. Sage is in a "high-tech" office, making use of phone lines, buzzers, and other such wonders of technology. Sage is serious, and even haughty, and will turn away customers if he has too much business.
Sail, Oscar. Oscar Sail was created by Lester Dent and appeared in Black Mask in 1936. Sail was an extremely tall (7' and more, by Dent's description) hard man who lived in Miami on a 45 foot boat. (Shades of Travis McGee, eh?) He dresses all in black, is laconic, has a sense of honor and abides by his word once it is given, and does what he has to to make money.
The Saint. Simon Templar, one of the few true immortals to emerge from this era, was created by "Leslie Charteris," née Leslie Charles Bowyer Yin (I didn't know he was English-Chinese--did you?), and debuted in Meet the Tiger (1928), appearing in lots of novels and at least two movies since then. Templar, the very definition of joie de vivre and injustices avenged, is a thief and law-breaker, but one dedicated to helping people and taking care of the wronged. He keeps a percentage of what he takes, but gives all the rest to those who truly need it. He lives a good life, with a luxurious apartment and powerful automobile. His background is mysterious, and he has never revealed it, but it is known that he began poor. He is accompanied by the toothsome Patricia Holm, and pursued by Inspector Teal of Scotland Yard, who never manages to quite catch that demmed Saint. For more information on the Saint, go to the site listed below:
Leslie Charteris' Simon Templar
The best Saint site on the 'Net. The FAQ is particularly good.
St. Claire, Maisie. Maisie St. Clair was created by Nell Martin and appeared in Top-Notch Magazine in 1927 and 1928. Maisie was a child of a pair of circus performers, but she had bigger things in mind and went to work for the law firm of Judge George Dorsey. Maisie's relationship with the Judge is an uneasy one. She is not a highly skilled office worker, being too liable to mix up the files, to tell off surly or uncooperative customers (or the Judge himself), and to act in all ways unprofessionally (she's a spunky flapper, after all, with little time or patience for the sobriety of law work). The Judge fires her roughly once a week. However, she inevitably proves herself too useful to him to stay fired for long. When, for example, the Judge gets fooled by a pretty swindler, it is Maisie who rescues him by revealing her crookedness. Maisie is unprofessionally, but can move in a hurry when she needs to and is nobody's fool.
Sallowby, Matthew. Matthew Sallowby's creator was John Harris-Burland, and he appeared in Flynn's in 1925. Sallowby is a used book dealer, a tall, forbidding old man whose used book store is in London and who is assisted by his niece Joan, who provides all the brightness that Sallowby and the stories themselves lack. The crimes Sallowby investigates are book related, and not particularly interesting, like Sallowby himself.
Sally the Sleuth. Sally was created by Adolphe Barreaux and appeared in the pages of Spicy Detective, Speed Detective, and Crime Smashers from 1934 through 1953. Sally was a plainclothes policewoman in an unidentified big city who worked for the "Chief" and often went undercover to fight crime. Unfortunately for her (but fortunately for the no doubt all male audience of the pulps and comic books she appeared in) her plainclothes/undercover outfits never stayed on for long, as she ended up mostly nude, or in only bra and panties, in nearly every case. The strip was all about t-and-a, but apart from the shapely Sally's curves held little of interest.
Sambu. Sambu was created by Devan and appeared in the Indian magazine Anar Da Vikatan starting in the early 1940s. Sambu was a short, ugly, fat, balding man with a huge nose who had failed at being a bank clerk. Purely by accident he began investigating crimes, and through luck began solving them. Those he helped gave him money, and he became an official thupariyum (detective). His luck continued—he had no real skill as an investigator and was not particularly intelligent, but he was very lucky—and he quickly became rich, successful, and beloved by the local police and the public. After a few years, when his fame had sufficiently spread, he was invited to New Scotland Yard, where he solved a case which had stymied the Yard’s best men for two years. Sambu caught murderers, robbers, jewel thieves, kidnapers, and a number of other criminals; nobody escaped him.
Sambu, as mentioned, was not a handsome man, nor did he dress well, usually wearing a tattered dhoti and overcoat and using a very worn umbrella. But his many successes made him rich; his happy clients gave him bungalows, necklaces, gold rings and cash.
Samiyar, Digambara. Digambara Samiyar was created by Vaduvur Duraisami Iyengar and appeared in Manjal Araiyain (Mystery of the Yellow Room), Ratta Sottu (Blood Drops), and Digambara Samiyar (Sky-Clad-One Healer), which were published in the 1940s. Samiyar was a sanyasi, a holy hermit (usually living in a forest) who had sworn a great and mighty oath to fight crime. To do so he used many different disguises (he was good at it) and tracked the criminals across India’s geography and society, without regard to caste or social class. He was not skilled in the ways of detection, but was brave, intelligent, and had the assurance that devout faith brings.
Sanders. Sanders of the River was created by Edgar Wallace, a name which is seen on more than a few of these pages. Sanders first appeared in Adventure in 1913 and ran in several magazines through 1948. Sanders is actually Commissioner Sanders, Great Britain’s representative of its Foreign Office in…well, somewhere in West Africa, along the banks of an enormous river. It’s not the Congo, though, nor is the location Nigeria or Uganda; Wallace, when pressed, provided an inaccurate longitude and latitude. But the location of Sanders’ operations really isn’t the point. It suffices to say that he works in a sweltering section of Africa along a great river. Sanders’ brief is to enforce and maintain the peace of the territory, which is inhabited by two million of the Ochori tribe in sixteen or twenty-three nations. Sanders’ task is even less simple than it might seem, for the only things that Sanders has going for him, in addition to his official position, are the hundred Houssa troops that make up the 9th Regiment, two small gun boats, an army of spies, and the loyal friendship of Bosambo, the chief of the Ochori tribe, who calls him “Sandi.” (Just to clear this up now: “Bosambo” is named after the Bosambo River, which happens to be real. No racism, as far as I can tell, was meant by Wallace) Sometimes helping Sanders is Lieutenant Francis Tibbetts of the 9th Regiment, more commonly known as “Bones;” he can be a ninny, full of affectation and immaturity, but also cool under fire and clever in emergencies. Opposing Sanders…well, besides the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, there was the jungle and the river.
Sanders is up to this thankless task, however. He’s not physically prepossessing, being only of medium height and thin, well tanned but yellow skinned from fever and quinine. His hair is gray, and his manner intemperate. He swears. Often. And he has no use for women, being married to the land, the people, and his job. He’s actually called, by the Ochori, a name that translates as “The Man Who Has A Faithless Wife,” said wife being his people. This should not be taken to mean that he’s a fool, or that he can’t do his job. He has a second name among the Ochori: “The Little Butcher Bird Who Flies By Night.” He is feared and honored by this name, as it is more indicative of his personality in a certain aspect of his job. His job, again, is to maintain the peace, and he usually sits in judgment, dispensing milder punishments when they are suited but hanging without compunction or scruple when necessary. (“Sanders sent word to the chief that the revival of the bad old custom of blinding would be followed by the introduction of the bad new custom of hanging.”)
And it is necessary. Surprisingly often. There are escaped convicts to deal with, murderers and kidnapers and blackmailers, both European and African. There are evil witch-doctors and chiefs, plotting against their own people and against the British occupiers. There are wars, sprung from good motives and bad. In all these situations Sanders deals with the problems and problem-makers, sometimes simply by hanging or shooting them, sometimes with the help of Bosambo and ten thousand Ochori spears. Sanders retires and returns to England, but is called back by the Foreign Office.
Sanders of the
Woo-hoo! Sanders e-texts!
Sanderson, Maxwell. Maxwell Sanderson debuted in "All But His Hands," in the 17 January 1925 issue of Detective Story Magazine; he was created by John Jay Chichester, a pulp writer, and ran through 1932. Sanderson is the "Noiseless Cracksman," the American version of Raffles, albeit not nearly so annoying. Sanderson is a man about town, rich from an inheritance, young and handsome, and generally seen as a wastrel by society. When a desperate thief tries to break in to his apartment he is caught by Sanderson. The thief, Mr. Clark, discovers not only that Sanderson is a thief like him, but that Sanderson's lifestyle emptied his coffers and drove him to crime. Sanderson, flat broke and out of ideas, was at a performance of La Boheme when he noticed the woman sitting in front of him was wearing a $250,000 necklace. When the lights came up, the necklace was gone. Sanderson sold the necklace in Paris and began studying crime techniques, especially safe mechanisms. He began drilling safes left and right, becoming known to and sought by the police as "the Driller." Unfortunately, Sanderson spends so much of his money that despite his success he remains almost broke.
Clark appears, and the pair become a team. In their first heist a butler is killed, and Sanderson is forced to cover for Clark. They have a fairly successful career, despite being pursued by "Bulldog" Blodgett, a rather dogged (get it? Bulldog? Dogged? HA!) detective hired to catch Sanderson by another jewel thief. Sanderson also takes on Magnus, a paralyzed genius and crime king, and foils his plans. Sanderson does time, of course, but inevitably breaks out.
Sanderson, as mentioned, is handsome and smooth. He doesn't mind violent crime, and uses a gun when he needs to, but keeps his word no matter what. He is, of course, vain, but not unbearably so.
Santro, Dr. Dr. Santro was created by George B. Seitz and Frank Leon Smith and appeared in the fifteen-part serial The Sky Ranger (1921). Santro is a Mabuse-like mad scientist with hypnotic skills who creates a superplane; the plane is noiseless, can climb at a greatly accelerated rate, and can circle the Earth for hours at a time. Santro’s rival, the upright and virtuous Professor Elliot, discovers a beam weapon that can send signal to Mars and can lock on to objects no matter how high they fly. Santro realizes that the beam can be used to destroy him, and so tries to destroy it. Unfortunately, Santro’s daughter is not quite so evil as Santro, and he helps Elliot’s daughter and the boyfriend of Elliot’s daughter to bring down Santro and his plane.
Sars, Dr. Lao. Dr. Lao Sars was created by the Australian writer Bernard Cronin and appeared in a number of stories and novels, the first of with was From the Case-Books of Dr. Sars (1930). Dr. Lao Sars is a Chinese criminologist living in Melbourne who solves crimes in Melbourne, Sydney, and the outback. He is assisted by Brian Tembalt (reporter) and Detective Sergeant (later Inspector) Smythe of Russell Street.
Saumarez, Sir John. Sir John Saumarez was created by the Australian writer Helen Simpson and appeared in three books, beginning with Enter Sir John (1931). Sir John is a prominent, olde r actor in London who solves crimes in his spare time.
Savage, Doc. Doc Savage, one of the two or three most famous pulp heroes, was...well, there are so many other good web sites on Doc that I just don't feel like doing, poorly, what so many others have done well. So, as with a few other, major figures, like The Shadow, I'll limit myself to a brief recap and then send you on your way to other, better sites devoted solely to Doc.
Doc Savage was created by Henry Ralston, John Nanovic, and most especially Lester Dent, and appeared in a large number of novels, short stories, radio shows, and movies, beginning with "The Man of Bronze" in Doc Savage Magazine #1, in March 1933. He is a "man of superhuman strength and protean genius, whose life is dedicated to the destruction of evildoers." Doc is in the best physical shape possible for humans and knows everything about everything; in the words of one critic, he is a "walking compendium of mankind's total knowledge."
Clark Savage was raised by his widower father to be the perfect human, taught by a series of experts in every field ranging from "Indian fakirs to Yale physicists, from circus acrobats to jungle trackers." He was especially trained in surgery, and became the world's best (hence his nickname). His headquarters and home was his Fortress of Solitude, a superfortress located on a desolate island in the far north, beyond the Arctic Circle. The Fortress was packed with his technologically advanced equipment and weapons, and served as a place for Doc to periodically retire to, to meditate and invent.
His New York headquarters was the 86th floor of "one of New York's tallest buildings," in all likelihood the Empire State Building. From there, and from a warehouse on the Hudson River, owned by the "Hidalgo Trading Company," Doc and his assistants fought a never-ending war on crime, funded by a massive supply of gold hidden in a lost valley in Central America guarded over by the descendants of the Mayans. He was assisted by six people, all of whom were exceptionally capable in their own right. Monk Mayfair is one of the world's foremost chemists and a millionaire with a penthouse lab near Wall Street; he is also an ugly, ape-like man with a taste for the ladies (he never forgets a pair of legs once he sees them). Brigadier General Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks, a British-acting American (thanks to Win Eckert for correcting my error here), is one of the best lawyers in the world, a Harvard graduate with a sharp tongue. He is also a sharp dresser, he's tall, handsome and slender, he carries and uses a sword cane, and he carries on a long-running feud with Monk. John "Renny" Renwick is a top civil engineer, a tall man (almost as big as Doc) with enormous fists and great strength. Major Thomas J. "Long Tom" Roberts is an "electrical wizard," always looking pale and unhealthy and always as vigorous as any five men. William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn is an expert archaeologist. And, finally, there's Patricia "Pat" Savage, Doc's cousin and a stalwart adventurer her ownself.
Doc was not superhuman, but was at the peak of human ability, not just physically but mentally. In addition to his physical skills and expertise in every field imaginable, Doc was also a great inventor, capable of coming up with just about any sort of weapon or instrument or air/sea/land craft. Doc was also so good at surgery that he'd created a crime college to which he brought criminals so that he could operate on them and remove their evil impulses.
Doc's Rogues Gallery was not quite so memorable as the Shadow's but he did have one very memorable enemy: John Sunlight, the only man to survive a bout with Doc and return for a second try, and the only man to ever break into the Fortress of Solitude.
All of that said, go to these sites for better treatments of Doc and his assistants:
Good information and illustrations
Lots of information on 11 of the novels
More good info, including short synopses of each novel
Slow to load, but worth it.
A really cool set of Doc Savage e-texts
Fifteen Doc Savage links.
The NebulaSearch.Com encyclopedia article on Doc.
Sawyer, Buz. Written and drawn by the immortal Roy Crane (of Captain Easy fame), Buz Sawyer debuted on 1 November 1943 and ran through 1989. Lt. John Singer "Buz" Sawyer was a pilot for the U.S. Navy, flying a fighter-bomber during the War from the aircraft carrier Tippecanoe. His tailgunner was Rosco Sweeney, a tough, streetwise guy. Buz and Rosco were opposites in many respects; Buz came from a background of wealth and was handsome and clean-cut and a hit with the ladies, while Rosco was unshaven, ugly, potbellied, and clumsy around women. The pair fought and killed lots and lots of Japanese during the war (and lots of people in various wars and places after WW2, but I'm not concerned with that right now), getting involved in a number of operations across the Pacific, included one extended sequence in which they were marooned on an island, just the two of them, one bikini-d native, and many Japanese troops.
Saxon, Simeon. Simeon Saxon was created by Norbert Davis and appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly starting in 1936. Saxon worked in the corrupt town of "Bay City," the traditional name for Santa Monica. Saxon prowled the mean streets of Bay City, and there were some, investigating kidnappings and drug rings. Although Saxon wasn't as wise-cracking or as violent as some of Davis' other characters, he was certainly capable of both.
Scaramouche. Scaramouche was created by Rafael Sabatini and debuted in Scaramouche (1921). A hero of France in the days before the French Revolution, Scaramouche is Andre-Louis Moreau, who believes himself to the be illegitimate son of his godfather, the Lord of Gavrillac. He goes to Paris to study law, but when he is 26 his friend is provoked into a duel and slain. Andre-Louis vows to carry on Philippe's work of fighting for the downtrodden and oppressed in France. Unfortunately, he shows too much talent at rallying the mobs, and The Man comes down on him, forcing him into the life of a fugitive. He joins an acting troupe and plays the role of Scaramouche in their plays. He studies fencing and becomes so skillful that he's asked by a rebel to join the French Assembly, where the nobles are accustomed to challenging less skillful swordsmen from the lower classes into duels, killing them and and strengthening themselves and their class. Andrew-Louis does and begins carving his way through the nobles. Andre-Louis finally faces the man who killed his friend, a Marquis, and discovers that the Marquis is actually his father. He allows the Marquis to leave France, and then marries Aline, who was his friend's sweetie but was betrothed, after his death, to the Marquis.
Oh, and the novel has one of the best first lines in all of literature: "He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."
Scarbrand. Scarbrand appeared in Bullseye in the 1930s. He was a respected barber by day and a daring cracksman by night.
Scarfe, Derek. Derek Scarfe was created by A.M. Burrage and appeared in various stories which were collected in Burrage's Some Ghost Stories (1927). Scarfe is an occult detective and is described as being more likable than Francis Chard, Burrage's other occult detective.
Scarlet Fox. The Scarlet Fox appeared in Black Mask during 1923, beginning with "The Trail of the Scarlet Fox" in Mask's 1 January issue, and was created by Eustace H. Ball (1881-1931), an author of mysteries and screenplays. The Scarlet Fox (neé John Smith), a handsome grey-eyed aristocrat, is almost the perfect crook. Never suspected by the police, he steals from the rich and gives to the needy poor; one story calls him "the Prince of Robin Hoods" and notes that he gives his money to "every poor crook he knows, sending them straight." (Actually, he was arrested and convicted once, but he did the time for another crook who couldn't stand another stint in jail. It is this sort of act that wins him the admiration of the underworld as well as society at large) He had served in both the French Foreign Legion and in the American Expeditionary Force in World War One, becoming one of General "Black Jack" Pershing's best espionage officers. He fought in the Argonnne Forest and was made a Captain. On returning to the United States he found that his father had died and that the Smith, his inheritor, was now financially secure. Smith then met Jem O'Brien, a petty crook whose life he'd save in the Argonne Forest and who he again helped out. (O'Brien idolizes Smith, who he only knows as the Fox) They team up and, working out of New York City, begin a life of crime.
And rather good crime it is, too. Fourteen sacred emeralds are stolen from an Indian Nadir, and a race war in India threatens unless the emeralds are recovered. The Fox is put on the case, and after a number of complications, violent exchanges, escapes, alarums and complications, the emeralds are recovered, and it is revealed that Smith had been commissioned to hunt down the emeralds and that he'd been made an agent of the Secret Service, working under the Department of Justice. (The SS usually works under the Treasury Department back here in the real world, but never mind)
Besides O'Brien, the other constant character in the series is police Detective Lieutenant Peter Brady, a bog Irish stereotype cop who idolizes the Fox as much as he wants to put him away. Brady's wife Mary similarly looks up to the Fox.
Scarlet Pimpernel. The demmed elusive Pimpernel was created by the Baroness Emmuska Orczy and appeared in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905) and its ten sequels, as well as a number of films and appearances in other media. As most everyone knows (or should know), the Pimpernel is Sir Percy Blakeney, one of the ten richest men in England during the years of the French Revolution and a silly, brainless fop, a "nincompoop," an utter tit. He's languid, logorrheic, and a ninny. Or, at least, that's his cover. Blakeney, in the guise of the Pimpernel, is a brave, dashing hero who specializes in rescuing the imperiled French aristocrats from their sentences of death-by-guillotine, often from Paris and under the noses and eyes of the French guards. The Pimpernel is a master of disguise, a top-notch swordsman, and a cunning strategist who with the help of his League of the Pimpernel (a band of devoted English noblemen who implicitly follow the Pimpernel's orders) and his wife Marguerite ("one of the most clever women in Europe," and a devoted, loving and courageous wife) has foiled the plans of the French and their "Satanic" agent Chauvelin on any number of occasions.
Interestingly--at least, interestingly to me--The Scarlet Pimpernel, while showing some dubious politics (Ghu knows that Madame Guillotine and her followers, like Robespierre, weren't good guys, but the French aristocrats were hardly on the side of justice either), also shows some teeth, and puts an edge into what is nominally the romantic relationship. For the better part of the novel Marguerite and Sir Percy loathe each other--she because he treats her coldly, he because she was responsible, somewhat inadvertently, for sending an innocent (more or less) French aristo couple to Mme La Guillotine. (Also because, early in their relationship, she betrayed his trust and treated him badly, because of her misplaced and stupid pride) This loathing culminates in a fight in which neither side pulls their punches and the venom and bile flows freely. The fight is bracing in its rawness, and injects a welcome tone of cruelty into the novel.
The e-text, from Project Gutenburg.
The Scientific Club. Created by Ray Cummings, the Scientific Club debuted in the March 15, 1919 issue of All-Story Weekly. Cummings went on to have a successful career writing for Argosy and other fiction magazines. The Science Club consists of six men, whose names are given in the stories but who are called according to their profession: the Chemist, the Banker, the Alienist, the Astronomer, the Big Business Man, the Very Young Man. The Science Club stories are about science and crime, and the six Club members using their knowledge of science and detection to find the malfeasor and bring her or him to justice. The science involved is not always greatly advanced, and sometimes is rather simple, but it is the simple application of ordinary science that allows the Club to bring criminals to justice. Among their deeds: they make First Contact with the inhabitants of a sub-atomic world and eventually visit it; they help a man who was the victim of a blood transfusion that "mentally paralyzed" him; they make contact with another world which is "interpenetrating" ours; they help a man deal with his "pseudomemories;" and they look into the future.
The Scorpion. The Scorpion was the Octopus, only for whatever reason the publishers of the Octopus decided to publish it under the name “The Scorpion” and rename the main character. (This was in The Scorpion #1, in 1939, two months after Octopus #4) He’s essentially the same character—mad scientist who leads the Purple Eyes and fights the Skull Killer. (I've been informed that the Scorpion is visually different from the Octopus, and judging from the illustration I've seen of what the Octopus looks like, that's a good thing) In the second appearance the Scorpion is using hypnotic drugs and machines to turn ordinary men and women into kill-crazed, purple-eyed monsters. The Scorpion’s new hq in this novel is underneath a garbage incinerator, and he uses garbage trucks for his transportation, rightly thinking that no one would ever suspect those. Again, the Skull Killer stopped the Purple Eyes but did not manage to kill the Octorpion—I mean, the Scorpius.
Scott, Ted. Ted Scott, the greatest pilot of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and one of the most famous (in his day) of the boys' fiction heroes, was written by Edward Stratemeyer and someone else (who I've not been able to discover) and debuted in Over the Ocean to Paris, or, Ted Scott's Daring Long Distance Flight (1927). He appeared in 19 more novels, his last coming in 1943.
Ted was a foundling who did not remember his biological parents, who died before he was two. He was found by James and Miranda Wilson, a poor but honest Midwestern couple whose hearts were touched by the sight of the goo-goo-gooing little Ted. When Ted was ten, the Wilsons died, putting Ted in an orphanage. There he was found by Eben and Charity Browning, who welcomed him into their home. They kept a hotel in Bromville, Ohio, but where the hotel had once been great it was now rundown and being forced out of business by the evil Brewster Gale. Ted, seeing that his foster parents needed money, left school and got a job at the Devally-Hipson Aero Corporation plant. Luckily for all concerned, his skill at mechanics and general work ethic got him noticed, and he advanced rapidly through the company. He was inspired to learn how to fly by seeing a flying circus, and with the help of his friends--Paul Monet and Walter Hapworth, both financially well-off--he made it through flying school. From there it was in to the airmail service and then, after a grueling trip, victory in a contest to become the first man to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. (Ted built his own monoplane, the Hapworth, with the financial help of Paul and Walter) Ted then returned to Bromville and helped Eben and Charity redeem themselves.
From that point on it was adventure, adventure, adventure for Ted, occasionally dogged by Gregory and Duckworth Gale, the flabby, yella, evil sons of Brewster Gale. Ted worked for the Red Cross, rescued flood victims in Arkansas, won the "great Trans-Pacific Race from San Francisco to Honolulu," set a record for the flight to Australia, met Presidents and Kings, and become known and beloved around the world as the "Lone Eagle."
The Complete Ted
Scott Home Page
A bibliography, with promised summaries of the books.
The Ted Scott
A bibliography of the series along with an amusing "Guide to the Plot of Every Ted Scott Book Ever Written."
Scout Patrol Boys. The Boys (don't know their names, sorry) were created by Jack Wright and appeared in the four book "Scout Patrol Boys Series," which appeared in 1933 and began with The Scout Patrol Boys at the Circle U Ranch. The Boys were Boy Scouts and followed the Scout way, oppressing gays and non-whites and adventuring in the Yucatan and the Arctic Circle.
Sea Spider. The Sea Spider was created by the German writer Peter Matthews and appeared in Seespinne am abend; eine gangster-geschichte (The Sea Spider At Night; A Gangster Story, 1938). The Sea Spider is a German gangster (haven’t found his name yet, sorry) who with his gang and his armed ship terrorizes the North Sea and the coasts of Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Seaton, Richard. Richard Seaton was created by E.E. Smith and debuted in "The Skylark of Space," in Amazing Stories in August 1928. Seaton is raised in northern Idaho by a backwoodsman. He grows up an avid reader and athlete, and takes his doctorate in "physical chemist." While working at the Rare Metals Lab in Washington, D.C., he discovers Metal X, an antigravity element, and he uses Metal X to set up a corporation, with his friend Martin Reynolds. Together they build a spaceship, the Skylark. Unfortunately, rival scientist "Blackie" DuQuesne steals Seaton's plans, builds his own spaceship, and kidnaps Seaton's girlfriend, Dorothy Vaneman. They take off, and two days later Seaton and Martin follow him. DuQuesne's ship malfunctions, and all aboard are taken on to the Skylark. They search through various systems for copper, the source of their power, encounter various aliens, and then become entangled in a war in the far-distant world of Osnome. They return to Earth, but DuQuesne bothers them again in future episodes; Seaton, Reynolds, and the Skylarks Three and Four stop DuQuesne as well as an alien race bent on destroying the Earth.
Sebastián. Sebastián was created by Enrique López Alarcón and José Ignacio de Alberti and appeared in the Mexican magazine Sebastián el Bufanda o el robo de la calle de Fortuny in 1916 and was then serialized in La Novela Policíaca in 1918. Sebastián is a suave, daring jewel thief who is a master of disguise and who runs rings around Aguirre, the dull if ploddingly efficient policeman assigned to capture him. Sebastián's assistants include a thug, Revilla, a corrupt policeman, and Schulze, a jeweler-by-day, fence-by-night.
Secret Agent K-7. Apart from the fact that there was a radio show in 1938 and 1939 called "Secret Agent K-7 Returns," that a character named "Secret Agent K-7" appeared in Miracle Comics in 1941, and that K-7 apparently took on international assignments, I haven't been able to find out anything about this character. Further information about him would be welcome.
The cover to a Big, Little Book about K-7.
Secret Agent X. The nameless Secret Agent X, created by Paul Chadwick and appearing in an eponymous magazine beginning in 1934 and continuing through 1939, was an operative for the American government. His handler was K-9, located in Washington, who X never saw and knew nothing of. X was an expert of disguise, to the point where his true face was known to only one person. X's mastery of concealment came from his experiences "in the war." His disguises while on the job were always perfect, and he always chose a deep cover assignment. His funds came a special account in Washington, and X operated entirely on his own, although he occasionally got suggestions from K-9. He is an expert at disguises, knows many languages, is an ace pilot, and is one of the world's best at cracking codes and ciphers. Although he's quite good in a fight (he knows "jujitsu") and with his automatics, he also has a number of objects by which he delivers anesthetic gas, from pens to guns to shoes. Likewise, his car is heavily armed, James Bond-style. X did have two friends, the spunky journalist Betty Dale, who was his girlfriend, Woman Who Must Be Rescued, and the only person to see his real face, and the brutish Harvey Bates, who helped him on certain cases. (There were other assistants--Jim Hobart and Thomas McCarthy--but they weren't important)
Secret Agent X-9. Created by Dashiell Hammett and drawn by Alex Raymond, Secret Agent X-9 debuted on 22 January 1934 and continues today. Naturally, with artistic heavyweights like those two working together, you'd expect a quality product, and that's what Secret Agent X-9 was, at least while Hammett and Raymond worked on it. (Hammett left in February 1935 and Raymond in November 1935, but let's not dwell on what happened after that) X-9 (called "Phil Corrigan" much later on, but X-9 is his real name) was an agent for an anonymous government department. Unlike most comic strip and pulp secret agents, however, X-9's brief was domestic. He was to deal with crime, large and small, in high society or in the back alleys, in every city in America. And X-9 did just that, taking care of "crooks, shysters, racketeers, chiselers, gunsels, and treacherous females of all classes," dealing with conspiracies in the highest circles of society and Washington, air pirates, murders, blackmail, counterfeiting, and kidnaping. X-9 was of course tall, dark, and handsome, skilled with fists and guns, able to move among crooks and "high society swells" with equal ease; he lives in a ritzy apartment and has a Filipino valet. During the War he took on German spies and saboteurs; he'd started busting German spy rings in 1938.
Secret Six. The Secret Six (who were created by Robert J. Hogan and appeared in The Secret Six, from 1934 to 1935) were a group of men who were sought by the police for crimes they did not commit. The Six were actually crime fighters who waged war on the Underworld but whose enemies were more often strange and even supernatural beings. The Six consisted of: King, a former pilot sent to the electric chair for a murder he never committed; Luga, King's servant and the man who led the other members of the Six to rescue King from the chair; the Doctor, the Key (the safecracker and burglar of the group), the Bishop, and Shakespeare (the intellect of the group). Besides their contacts in the underworld they also were assisted on occasion by a mute criminal known as the Dummy. Their enemies were on the unusual side, from a man whose size doubled every day to an enormous, intelligent, golden alligator living in the Everglades.
Seekay. Seekay was created by Paul Ernst and debuted in Strange Detective in October 1937. Seekay was the first deformed/”defective” detective characters--that is, those crime-solvers who had some form of physical defect or deformity. The most notable thing about Seekay is that he
Selby, Doug. I'm indebted to Dennis Power for this entry. He wrote:had no face. Where a face should have been there was a blank curve of something pink and softly shining, like celluloid, extending from the hairline down to a point just under where a chin should be…through this half cylinder of plastic substance that shielded Seekay, stared black eyes that were like jet with little fires in them. Over the gruesome shield was thick, virile black hair shot with gray streaks. Under it was a tall, powerful body immaculately clad in gray spring flannels.
The creator of Perry Mason, fiction's most famous defense lawyer, wrote nine novels showing what life was like for the lawyer on the other end of the indictment. Doug Selby was elected District Attorney of fictional Madison County in California, and this alone causes trouble. The county seat is still in opposition hands, and he frequently gets less than perfect cooperation from the chief of police there. He has to count on the sheriff, who was elected when he was. Further complications are caused by other lawyers recently come to town. One is Inez Martin, whose schoolgirl crush on Selby led her to get her own law degree and who is back home trying to catch him, and big city mob lawyer Alphonse Baker Carr (Old A. B. C.) who has moved to Madison County for unclear reasons.Seltrup, Herr. Herr Seltrup was created by Hans Heuer and appeared in Herr Seltrup Braucht Gelt (Herr Seltrup Needs Gold, circa 1940). I wish I knew more about the character, since he sounds interesting. Herr Seltrup is a Dr. Mabuse-like German crime lord seeking to corner the world market in gold.
Selby is dedicated to his work, young, handsome, and single. He fills idle hours in the company of Sylvia Martin, a beautiful reporter for the local paper and a handy unofficial investigator.)
Doug Selby books by Erle Stanley Gardner: The D.A. Calls It Murder (1937); The D.A. Holds a Candle (1938); The D.A. Draws a Circle (1939); The D.A. Goes to Trial (1940); The D.A. Cooks a Goose (1942); The D.A. Calls a Turn (1944); The D.A. Breaks a Seal (1946); The D.A. Takes a Chance (1948); The D.A. Breaks an Egg (1949).
Semi-Dual. Semi-Dual, known as Prince Abduel Omar of Persia, was created by J.U. Giesy and J.B. Smith and debuted in "The Occult Detector," in a three-part serial that ran in Cavalier from February 17 through March 2, 1912. From such small beginnings long careers are made; Prince Omar's adventures appeared in a variety of magazines through the mid-1930s. Giesy (1877-1947) and Smith (1883-1944) were pulp writers, with Giesy also a practicing physician and Smith an attorney. Dual is roughly in the genre of the occult detective, whose most notable members were Dr. Silence and Carnacki the Ghost Finder. Dual, though, was far more popular in his time than either.
Prince Omar was, variously, an astrologer, a mystic, a telepath, and a psychologist. His name came from his habit of solving problems "by dual solutions--one material for material minds--the other occult, for those who cared to sense a deeper something back of the philosophic lessons interwoven in the narrative." Most of all, though, he is an astrologer, and a damn good one. He fervently believes in the "many other esoteric angles of thought and the application of higher laws of force," and that astrology can be used to precisely predict a person's actions. Based on the time of birth, he can accurately predict (with the help of very complicated math--"a blending of Old World superstition and modern mathematical precision") what and when a person will do.
It must be emphasized that Prince Omar's predictions are accurate. Always accurate.
Semi-Dual seems to be as devoted to protecting women and keeping them "pure...and unsullied" as he is to fighting evil. Such attitudes are antiquated and sexist now, but back in the teens it was mere chivalry. (No, really.) Luckily, Dual is good at both protecting women and keeping them “unsullied;” never does a woman fall prey to evil or sullying when he's on the case, and the world is always saved by him, whether the threat is gangsters or the Devil himself.
Semi-Dual lives on the 20th floor of the Urania Building in New York City, in a wonderful penthouse, with a nice marble staircase and a luscious garden. And, of course, the "white cube tower" in which he does his casting, surrounded by all the comforts he could take with him from Persia. (His office is on the seventh floor of the Urania Building, in the firm of "Glace and Bryce, Private Investigators," Glace being the narrator and a former newspaper reporter and Bryce being a retired police Inspector) He is assisted by Henri, his friend and servant. He is a large man, strongly built, full of confidence and competence, with a hooked nose, gray eyes, and strong, handsome features. The son of a Persian noble and a Russian princess, he customarily dresses in white robes lined with purple.
Most of Dual’s opponents were not particularly interesting. There was Bhutia, a crooked swami, and Lt. Jean Marsal, a traitorous French officer at Fort Grampel in Africa, and various gangsters. The only really memorable enemy for Semi-Dual was the Black Brotherhood, a cult of devil-worshipers (or perhaps worshipers of The Devil) devoted to the cause of “Erlik, Commander of the Hosts of All Evil.” They are led by Otho Khan, a quite vile man. Their war involves a good deal of back-and-forth, with the Brotherhood sending assassins after Semi-Dual–they are either converted to the Dual’s cause (one, Lotis, falling in love with the Dual and marrying him) or captured when the Dual “gestures hypnotically in the manner of Mandrake,” in Robert Sampson’s words, causing their axes to writhe–projecting a psychic bomb at Semi-Dual, engaging in telepathic spying, duelling him telepathically, and so on. It ends, in Sampson’s words, like “a Fourth of July celebration climaxed by a single firecracker.”
Senorita Scorpion. Thanks to Brad Mengel I can provide some information on Senorita Scorpion. She was created by Les Savage and appeared in three stories in...er...either one story or three stories, there seem to be conflicting stories on this. I think one of hers was "Senorita Scorpion" in the Spring 1944 issue of Action Stories. Quoting from Brad:
Senorita Scorpion is the name given by the Mexicans to Elegra Douglas, who became a Robin Hood type outlaw to defend her family land and find the Lost Santiago Mine . One of Les Savage's most memorable creations, Senorita Scorpion is a beautiful woman who is a hard riding, ruthless fighter and a quick and deadly shooter who robs banks and attacks ranchers who invade her land. She also faced an attempt by Montezuma cultists to invade Texas.Shadow. There’s no point in me saying anything about the Shadow. Everything useful and interesting has already been said. So I'll limit myself to a cursory recap, and send you to some good sites on him afterwards.
The Shadow was created by Walter Gibson (who cited Jimmie Dale, the Gray Seal, as an influence) and appeared in...oh, lots and lots and lots of novels, short stories, radio shows, and movies, beginning with "The Living Shadow" in April, 1931.
Who the Shadow is depends on whether you know him through the radio or through the pulps. The radio Shadow is Lamont Cranston, "wealthy young man about town who, years ago in the Orient, learned the hypnotic power to cloud men's minds so they could not see him." The pulp Shadow is Kent Allard, a WW1 aviator and adventurer who uses the Lamont Cranston identity to keep an eye on Inspector Joe Cardona, the Shadow's would-be police nemesis. Likewise, the pulp Shadow did not have the ability to make himself invisible to others. The pulp Shadow, of course, does have the cloak and hat and twin .45 automatics and the girasol ring. He's also a master of disguise, maintaining a number of alternate identities to help his fight in crime.
The Shadow is assisted by a number of people. His "friend and companion, the lovely Margo Lane" is foremost among them as well as possibly being his love interest. Burbank works as his contact man and switchboard operator. Harry Vincent is the Shadow's advance man and proxy. Rutledge Mann is an investment broker who works for the Shadow and helps handle his money. Claude Burke, a reporter for the daily Classic, passes along inside information to the Shadow. Moe Shrevnitz, a cab driver, is the Shadow's chauffeur. Cliff Marsland poses as a criminal in order to get information on the underworld from the inside. Tapper is a master lockpicker and safecracker who puts his talents at the Shadow's service. And, finally, Jericho is an enormous African whose strength is almost superhuman.
The Shadow's enemies include: Rodil Mocquino, the evil Haitian voodoo houngan and commander of a zombie army; Benedict Stark, the Prince of Evil; the Hydra, a criminal organization (and undoubted influence on the Marvel Comics group); and the greatest of them all, Shiwan Khan, the Tibetan superfiend.
With that out of the way, I encourage you to check out these sites and see how a treatment of the Shadow should be done:
and Pulp-Related Sites
A long list of sites on Doc.
A decent site, with some good images.
A lot of Shadow links here.
Shadow Back Issues
Shadow e-texts, from a pretty nifty Shadow page.
Even more Shadow e-texts.
The Shadow's WWW
A decent guide to the Shadow, although some of their links seem to be missing.
Several good sites listed here
Shadowers. The Shadowers, that interesting group of notables, was created by Isabel Ostrander and appeared in All Story Weekly and Argosy All-Story Weekly from 1920 through 1923. The Shadowers might not be seen, by the irredeemably dim, as entirely heroic. The fact is that they are crooks, one and all. It’s just that they’d come up with an idea that would make them much more money as a group than they could individually. Their idea was…well, I’ll just reprint the text of the circular they sent around to the upper crust of New York Society:
Should you find yourself in need of any discreet, strictly confidential investigation by a private corporation of gentlemen, not blackmailers or inefficient bunglers, send your visiting card to “The Shadowers, Inc.,” and an expert will call upon you at once. No divorce evidence or investigations of a scandalous or trivial nature will be undertaken. We have positively no connection with any so-called private detective agency, give no information to the press, permit no publicity, and never carry our results to the authorities unless expressly requested to do so by our clients. If you miss any documents, jewels or other valuables or great importance, if any one of your acquaintance is being subjected to blackmail, if your handwriting has been forged or you fear for the safety of some one near to you, communicate with us.The Shadowers are:
Shaley, Ben. Ben Shaley was created by Norbert Davis and appeared in Black Mask starting in 1934. Shaley, a private eye, worked in Los Angeles, investigating murder cases. He was tall and bony, wise-cracking and confident, and willing to use violence to get what he wanted.
Shane, Peter Utley. Peter Utley Shane was created by "Francis Bonnamy," aka Audrey Boyers Walz, and appeared in at least eight novels, beginning with Death by Appointment (1931). Shane is a criminologist in Chicago who gets involved in some very dangerous cases, several of which require him to leave Chicago for Montana, Washington D.C., and New York. Shane is Watsoned by his friend, Francis Bonnamy. Shane is well-read and sophisticated.
Shannahan, Sheik, and Andy Simpson. Sheik Shannahan and Andy Simpson, so very popular in their time and place and so dated today, were created by Roland Krebs, a reporter and short story writer, and appeared in Detective Story Magazine from 1927 to 1930, starting with “The Perfect Misfit” in the magazine’s 23 June 1927 issue. The pair are burglars, young and flip, in some ways the perfect creations of the late Jazz Age. Sheik is the lead, a young fancy dan, suave, well-dressed, quick with the plans and the witty dialogue. Andy (aka “Simp”) is his friend and the narrator of the stories; not so quick, more grounded and focussed on money, and not so extroverted as Sheik. The pair are small-time crooks, working minor stings and grifts which rarely turn out well for them.
Shannon, Desmond. Desmond Shannon was created by Mary Violet Heberden and appeared in seventeen novels, beginning with Death on the Door Mat (1939). He's a big, red-headed Irish private detective with a hatred for the Red Menace.
Another good job from the Thrilling Detective site.
Sharon, Duane. Quoting from Ronald Byrd:
Donald Wandrei told at least two stories (March and December of 1934, Astounding Stories) of Duane Sharon, who, several years after 1960, explored a "macroverse" (the sort of universe that one reaches by growing, instead of by shrinking like Ulm or, of course, the Microverse) in his spaceship, the White Bird.Shayne, Michael. Michael Shayne was created by "Brett Halliday," aka Davis Dresser, and first appeared in Dividend on Death (1939); he appeared in at least a dozen more. Shayne is a private eye working out of Miami. He is a tough, two-fisted hard-drinking (cognac only, though) red-headed Irishman who has no stated background. He is smart, though self-educated, and relies on actual detecting to find clues. He has a logical and systematic approach, even a meticulous one, and never makes incredible intuitive leaps. He refuses to use a gun, but his fists are usually sufficient to get him out of close scrapes. He married a former client, but she died in childbirth. He is assisted by his secretary, Lucy Hamilton; his friend Timothy Rourke, a reporter for the Miami Daily News; and by his friend Will Gentry, the chief of detectives for the Miami P.D. Most of the cops on the force dislike him, however.
Sheena. Sheena, the original queen of the jungle, was the daughter of a white explorer. The explorer died in the Congo, leaving Sheena to raise herself. She had long blonde hair and blue eyes, wore a fetching leopard skin outfit, and used knife and bow against bad guys.
The Holloway Pages
A very good treatment of Sheena. From the Holloway Pages site.
Queen of the Jungle
A brief page with lots of images.
Sheena, Queen of
The best and most detailed Sheena site on the Web.
Sheringham, Roger. Roger Sheringham was created by Anthony Berkeley and appeared in ten novels, beginning with The Layton Court Mystery (1925). Sheringham is British, a twice-wounded veteran of WW1 who began writing crime novels, which he proved successful at. He is, in the words of one critic, "rude, vain, loquacious and offensive," a roly-poly detective who sneers at his readership and who is successful without being often right.
Shrig, Sgt. Jasper. Sgt. Jasper Shrig was created by Jeffery Farnol and appeared in The Amateur Gentleman (1913) and at least nine other novels. Shrig is employed at Bow Street during the Regency (that is, the reign of King George IV, 1811-1830). Shrig is a foppish-seeming swashbuckler, swordsman, and cunning detective. He’s also afflicted with a regrettable accent and appearing in long, rambling, and (to my eyes) not particularly interesting historical novels. Shrig and Farnol have their devotees, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them. If you’re really interested in Farnol and/or Shrig, I’d suggest asking your local library for help with an Interlibrary Loan.
Sign of the Crimson Dagger. The Sign of the Crimson Dagger appeared in Bullseye in the 1930s. They were a crime fighting secret society.
Sign of the Twisted Tooth. The Sign of the Crimson Dagger appeared in Fun and Fiction in the 1930s. They were a crime fighting secret society.
Scientific Silas. Scientific Silas was the Comic Life version of Professor Radium.
Silence, Doctor. Dr. John Silence, arguably the greatest of the psychic and occult detectives (the other contender is Jules de Grandin), was created by Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951). Blackwood, one of the greatest horror writers of all time, is less read today than in the pre-War era, but even know some of his stories, like “The Willows,” are capable of horripilating. Silence’s first appearance was in “A Psychical Invasion,” whose first appearance was in 1908, although I’m unable to tell whether it was in a magazine or in Blackwood’s collection, John Silence (1908).
Silence is, as mentioned, a psychic sleuth or occult detective, being called the “Psychic Doctor” in the stories. In the words of critic John Clute:
Sometimes referred to as Psychic Detectives or more loosely as Ghost Hunters, ODs are individuals with a specialist, often arcane knowledge who seek to solve psychic phenomena; ODs are not necessarily psychic in their own right, though a few...have a range of talents. They are more properly psychic researchers, though stories turn them into detectives to create tension and adventure.Silence is a medical doctor, of course, and quite capable of healing the sick and of operating. But because of his wealth—he is independently wealthy, the source of his riches never being revealed—he chooses to practice medicine only on those who cannot afford to pay. He runs a clinic, but it rarely requires his attendance. He is far more interested in investigating psychic and occult phenomena. Towards this goal he put himself through five years of “long and severe training, at once physical, mental and spiritual.” It gave him (or perhaps he already had them) psychic powers, usually undefined but of the sort that allow him to cast of evil mesmeric influences. Among the opponents Silence vanquished were astral werewolves, fire elementals, and generalized evil fiends.
Silence is over 40, on the thin side, with brown eyes and a well-trimmed beard. He is (justifiably) full of self-confidence. Blackwood describes him in this way:
John Silence was regarded as an eccentric, because he was rich by accident, and by choice--a doctor. That a man of independent means should devote his time to doctoring, chiefly doctoring folk who could not pay, passed their comprehension entirely...Dr. Silence was a free-lance, though, among doctors, having neither consulting room, bookkeeper, nor professional manner. He took no fees...He only accepted...cases that interested him for some very special reason...The cases that especially appealed to him were of no ordinary kind, but rather of that intangible, elusive, and difficult nature best described as psychical afflictions...He had submitted himself to a long and severe training, at once physical, mental, and spiritual...It had involved a total disappearance from the world for five years...the keynote of his power lay...in the knowledge, first, that thought can act at a distance, and, secondly, that thought is dynamic and can accomplish material results...To look at--he was now past forty--he was sparely built, with speaking brown eyes in which shone the light of knowledge and self-confidence...A close beard concealed the mouth without disguising the grim determination of lips and jaw...On the fine forehead was that indefinable touch of peace that comes from identifying the mind with what is permanent in the soul...while, from his manner,--so gentle, quiet, sympathetic,--few could have guessed the strength of purpose that burned within him like a great flame.Algernon Blackwood
Three Blackwood e-texts.
Another good Blackwood site.
Siloch, John. John Siloch was created by Antonio G. Quattrini and appeared in John Siloch, il più grande poliziotto del mondo (John Siloch, the greatest policeman in the world), an Italian pulp, in 1909. It's unclear whether he preceded Marc Jordan (see his entry in the French Detectives section) or the reverse is true, but the two were quite similar, both being brave, adventurous detectives, heroic and patriotic and filled with joie de vivre and all that. The only real difference is that Siloch is bearded and has long hair, which Jordan lacks. Siloch is also described as being filled with acumen and marvelous intuition and being very similar--deliberately so--to Sherlock Holmes; he's even called "the Sherlock Holmes of Italy" in the stories. However, the stories claim that Siloch began his crime solving "at least ten years" before Holmes. Siloch is Watsoned by Commissioner Clark,
The stories Siloch appeared in were "The Rape of Miss Ellen," "The Double Crime of Orazio Makling," "The Scientific Crime," "The Escape of Fun-Kiau," "The Field of Dead Women," "The Human Target," "The Mysteries of the City Basement," "A Tragic Inheritance," "The Man With No Name," "The Ambassador's Murder," "The Ghost Train," "Siloch Reveals the Steinhel Mystery," "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" (!), "An Original Theft," "The Suicide of Cleptomane," "Ruder-Ox, the Gentleman Bandit," "The Invisible Man," "Miss Corner," "The Attempted Horror," "The Triumph of Siloch."
Silver, Captain. Captain Silver appeared in "The Sea Hound," a radio serial created by Cyril Armbrister which appeared from 1942 through 1944. Silver was the captain of the Sea Hound, a ship which traveled the sea in search of profit and adventure--putatively the former, but more certainly the latter. All the continents were covered, the more dangerous and exotic ports being the ones most often visited. Silver, a two-fisted brawling type (good-natured deep down, of course), was assisted by his young first mate, Jerry.
Silver, Maud. Maud Silver was created by Patricia Wentworth and appeared in at least two dozen novels, running from 1928 through 1961 and beginning with Grey Mask, the first of the "cozy" mysteries. "Maudie" Silver is a retired governess and spinster who lives on a small, fixed income in a tidy flat in London. She grew tired of her shabby lifestyle and of depending on gifts of clothing from her niece and decided to become a private investigator. By the time her adventures began seeing print, she has acquired a considerable reputation; even Scotland Yard investigators are unashamed to openly ask for her help. She is a "little person with no features, no complexion, and a great deal of tidy mouse-coloured hair done in a large bun at the back of her head." She relies on logic, rather than intuition, to solve her cases. She also knits.
Silver Chief. Silver Chief, one of the greatest of all fictional dogs, was created by Jack O'Brien and appeared in four books beginning with Silver Chief, Dog of the North (1933) and appearing through 1954. Silver Chief is part Husky, part wolf, and all hero. He's somewhat wild, as befits his mixed nature, but the dog in him craves human companionship, and he finds that, and life-long friendship, in the person of Sergeant Jim Thorne of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Together with Thorne Silver Chief fights crime and helps live across Canada, showing a greater-than-normal intelligence. Among their other feats, they brought a cure to a snowbound outpost of fur-trappers far up in the Northern Territories (and caught a fur-thief while there); they fought crime and German spies along the Cameron River and around the Hudson Bay; and they squashed a Communist conspiracy in the far north of Canada.
The cover to one of his adventures. Look at that face! Who's a good dog? Who's a good dog? Good boy!
Silver King. The Silver King appeared in an eponymous radio serial in Australia beginning in 1941. He was a gentleman thief in London during the late Victorian era who helps Scotland Yard fight against various other, much more unscrupulous crooks.
Simpson, Mr. Mr. Simpson, one of the earliest grifters of the pulps, was created by Campbell MacCulloch and appeared in six stories in People's Magazine from June through November 1907. Mr. Simpson lives in New York City and operates from an apartment on Riverside Drive. He's fat, slow, not given to sudden movements (or, really, many movements of any kind), and speaks in a sort of lazy slang, dropping his gs and saying things like "Yeh kin." He's smart, though, and quite good at planning a scam. His targets are never the truly innocent, though. He targets only "them sharks that steals it from suckers." His only help in these cons, which are always successful, is the grandiloquent Larry Kingsley, Simpson's right hand man and trainee.
Singer, Doc. Doc Singer was created by Eugene DeReszke and debuted in "The Painted Murder," in the August 1930 issue of Amazing Detective Tales. Doc began as a surgeon, but during World War One he served in the front lines, his son by his side. (Don't ask, just accept) During the battle of the Argonne Forest his son was wounded, and when Doc operated on him, the boy died. Singer, heartbroken, left medicine to run a gambling den. In his tales he makes use of his knowledge of both fields, helping to prove how men were killed, how cards were rigged, and how a man's arm was removed from his body.
Singh, Ali. Ali Singh appeared in The Yellow Menace (1916). He was a Mongolian Yellow Peril/Fu Manchu-type bent on conquering the world. He was a mad scientist who saw the world as a Yellow-vs-White struggle and was determined to see the Mongolians triumph over the crackers of the world; many bloodbaths resulted from his efforts. He ended up being defeated by the American Secret Service.
Sister Ursula. Sister Ursula was created by Anthony Boucher under the pseudonym of "H.H. Holmes." (Yes, I know "Anthony Boucher" was also a pseudonym.) Sister Ursula appeared in a variety of short stories and two novels, the first being Nine Times Nine (1940). Sister Ursula is a nun of middle age (arguably; sometimes she seems much older than that, and sometimes younger) who serves the Order of Saint Martha of Bethany. Unfortunately, murder and other evils disturb the cloistered life, including two locked-room murders, and Sister Ursula is called on to use her native wit, logic, and skills as a Wife of Christ to solve the crimes. Her police contact is Lieutenant Terence Marshall.
Six-Gun Gorilla. Perhaps my favorite entry in this site, the Six-Gun Gorilla appeared in Adventure and Wizard in 1926 (I think). I do not know who created him. O'Neil was an actual gorilla, who had been trapped as a baby, brought to the States, and sold to Johnson, a Colorado prospector. Johnson, a kind man, treated O'Neil very well. He also taught O'Neil how to dig, fetch firewood, haul up buckets of water, cook, clean, and (oh dear) load and fire a revolver. Naturally, when Johnson is murdered for what he knows about "the great motherlode," O'Neil ooks revenge. He straps on a bandolier and two six-shooters and begins tracking the thieves across a hundred miles of Colorado mountains and badlands. He picks them off one by one, meanwhile discovering a talent for holding up stagecoaches and using them to chase fleeing gunmen. It's all great fun, really.
Six River Motor Boys. The Six River Motor Boys were created by Harry Gordon and appeared in the eight-book "Six River Motor Boys" series, which began in 1913 with The Six River Motor Boys on the Amazon or the Secret of Cloud Island. The Six River Motor Boys had adventures on a motor boat on the Amazon, Columbia, Colorado, Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Ohio, Yukon, and the Rio Grande.
Skimmer. Skimmer was created by Roy Snell and appeared in the two-book "Skimmer Series," which appeared in 1919 and began with Skimmer and His Thrilling Adventures. Skimmer was a teenaged soldier with the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War One and in northern Russia during the attempt to suppress the Reds in Russia after the War.
Skin O' My Tooth. Skin, aka Patrick Mulligan, was created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the creator of the Scarlet Pimpernel, and appeared in several stories which were collected in Skin O' My Tooth (1928). Mulligan is an ugly, portly lawyer who goes to great lengths, even unscrupulous ones, to get his clients off. Usually this involves him solving the crimes himself. The nickname comes from one client who described Mulligan freeing him "by the skin o' my tooth."
Skin O'My Tooth
A few Skin e-texts. From the Gaslight site.
Skipper. Captain John Fury was the Skipper, appearing in an eponymous magazine from 1936 to 1937. Assisted by his first mate, “Marlin Spike” Briggs, his second mate, “Hurricane” Dan Belmont, "Grump" Rollins, and a friend, Peter Doom, the Skipper piloted the Whirlwind, a tanker converted into an armed cruiser. Very armed; the Whirlwind was packed to the gills with guns and torpedoes and mines. During the pre-War years the Whirlwind was the scourge of pirates and all oceanic wrongdoers. During the War the Whirlwind successfully fought the Axis ships. Fury himself is a merciless scourge of criminals and evil, being brutal when he needs or wants to be and even engaging in torture if the ends, for him, are justified.
Sky Buddies. The Sky Buddies were created by Edith Craine and appeared in the four-book "Sky Buddies" series, which began in 1930 with The Air Mystery of Isla La Motte. The Sky Buddies were teenaged pilots and adventurers who traveled across the Americas, finding trouble.
Sky Scout. The Sky Scout was created by A. Van Buren Powell and appeared in the four-book "Sky Scout" series, which began in 1932 with The Mystery Crash. The Sky Scout was an air detective.
Skyroads, Inc. Skyroads was created by Lieutenant Lester J. Maitland and Dick (Buck Rogers) Calkins and debuted on 27 May 1929, running through the spring of 1942. Skyroads, Inc., was originally a one-plane airline run by young (late teens) pilots Ace Ames and Buster Evans. They were soon joined by Peggy Mills, who was their age and just as good a pilot as they were. (She also called herself an "aviatrix") Her father was a tycoon who offered to fund the trio's flight to the Amazon in the interests of science. From there the adventures started, with the three fighting air pirates (like the "Black Vulture"), discovering lost cities, and in general having a grand time with the basics of air adventure strips. In 1933 the three were replaced with a succession of Thud Studmuffin heroes, the latest and longest-running being Clipper Williams, who in 1939 assembled a group of schoolboys in Corinth, Mississippi and made them into the Flyin' Legion, to combat the German saboteur the Flying Ghost.
Slade, Anthony. Anthony Slade was created by Leonard Gribble and appeared in several novels and collections of short stories, beginning with The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (1939). Slade is described as an "imaginative but cautious" policeman.
Slade, Tom. Tom Slade was created by Percy Keese Fitzhugh and debuted in Tom Slade, Boy Scout (1915); his series lasted for nineteen novels, through 1930. Slade began life inauspiciously--but interestingly, for future researchers. (I.e., me) He was "the best all-around hoodlum in town," said town being Bridgeboro, New Jersey. He lived in Bridgeboro with his drunken, lazy father and no-good brother in Barrel Alley, Bridgeboro's skid row. The family got evicted, Mr. Slade died, and Tom hit the streets, to be rescued by John Temple, a philanthropist who had turned his estate in the Catskills into a camp for Boy Scouts. Slade was taken in by Temple and converted to the Boy Scout way, quickly becoming the best Scout of them all. Not that he was sleek and clean, of course; he was always dirty, his uniform askew , his hair uncombed and his face "square and dull." But he knew his woodcraft exceedingly well. After various good times with the Scouts he decided to help Uncle Sam against les Boches, but he was too young to enlist, so he got a job on a tramp steamer, helping ship munitions to Our Boys Over There. He went on to turn in his brother for spying for the Germans, survive getting two ships torpedoed out from under him, escaping a German POW camp and wreaking havoc behind enemy lines, making their way to Free France and enlisting first in the Motorcycle Corps and then into the Flying Corps, where he shot down a German ace after an exciting dogfight. In the later stories he was accompanied by his pal Archibald Archer. After the war he returned to Temple's camp and set about winning the war.
Slippery Shadow. The Slippery Shadow appeared in Rover in 1930. He was an American crimefighter who invented "invisible paint" and coated himself in it, head to toe, and then sallied forth, unseen and unseeable, to find and capture public enemies and "booze barons."
Tim Sloan appeared in Spicy Detective Stories and Private Detective
Stories; his creator is unknown. He was a private eye, "six foot six
and skinny," a man who drank a lot and always suffered through horrible
hangovers because of it. He was tough, of course, and cynical and wise-cracking,
but he (like his stories) had more of a sense of humor about himself and
his work than many other p.i.s did.
His secretary was equally unusual, a short, zaftig woman with a "mania" about her boss and an unusually sharp mind.
Smilin' Jack. Smilin' Jack, one of the earliest and still most fondly remembered comic strips, was created by Zack Mosley and debuted on 1 October 1933, running through April 1973. Smilin' Jack Martin was a suave, clever, resourceful mustachioed pilot who could fly anything, through anything, to get anything anywhere. He was primarily a commercial pilot, taking freight and cargo to various remote locations, but he got involved in adventures and crime fighting, as well. He worked with the Coast Guard, he explored uncharted territory, and he tested new aircraft, among other things. He had three memorable nemeses: the Head, a bald Japanese agent; the Claw, a brutish South Pacific crime lord and pirate who had a prosthetic hook; and Toemain the Terrible, who raised his piranhas on human flesh. Jack was assisted by his boy companion, Pinfeathers; his handyman and cook, the portly Polynesian (and former headhunter) Fat Stuff, and Velvet Harry and Downwind Jaxon, two eccentric and sexually sinister (respectively) assistants. Jack went through a number of girlfriends, but ended up marrying his boss, Joy, and having a son, Jungle Jolly, by her.
Smith Brothers. (No, not those Smith Brothers) The Brothers (I don't know their names) were created by Howard R. Garis and appeared in the "Those Smith Boys Series," which consisted of Those Smith Boys, or, The Mystery of the Thumbless Man (1910) and Those Smith Boys on the Diamond, or, Nip and Tuck for Victory (1912). The Brothers fought crime and won football games for their school.
Smith, Aurelius. "Aurelius Smith," aka "Secret Service Smith," was created by R.T.M. Scott, a writer about whom I know little. The "Secret Service Smith" stories appeared in variety of magazines, from Adventure, The Penny Magazine to Cassel's Magazine to Midnight Mysteries to The McClure Newspaper, through the 1910s and early 1920s, before being collected in Secret Service Smith (1923) and Mammoth Secret Service Smith (1936). "Smith" (we're given to understand by the author that this is only a pseudonym) is a tough, cool American spy active primarily in India but also later in America. Before the war (sometime around 1910 or so) he was an American Secret Service agent who went to India in search of a man who'd plotted to overthrow the U.S. government. He found the man after having temporarily joined the British Criminal Intelligence Department to do so. Once that was done he stayed with the C.I.D., reporting to Sir Oliver Haultain, the C.I.D. head, and accepting assignments from him. These assignments bring him across India, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the depths of Calcutta and Simla to the shores of Ceylon. His enemies are foes of the Crown and petty criminals, and although several of them are extremely clever and dangerous Smith always manages to escape from them and either capture or kill them, almost always without unfair help from R.T.M. Scott. Smith has a few things going for him: he's a good shot and quick with his gun, he's tough in a fight and has excellent reflexes, he can be as hard and ruthless as necessary (in several ways he's very much in the James Bond mode, or Bulldog Drummond without the jingoism and bluff and hearty sadism), he's good at disguise and general spy tradecraft, he thinks quickly and calmly and cleverly whether under pressure or not, and he is served by Langa Doonh, a Sikh whose life he once saved from a crocodile and who is devoted to his service. In India Langa Doonh does a lot of the legwork for Smith, getting information about other whites from other Indians and saving Smith's life on more than one occasions. Smith may call Langa Doonh "boy," but he has a clear and obvious affection and respect for Langa Doonh, feelings which are reciprocated. Smith served in the front (and perhaps behind it) during WW1 and then briefly in India and then in the United States after the war. (It's mentioned that he's also done work for Scotland Yard and the Parisian police) He is renowned as a top investigator and manhunter, and with good reason.
Silly me. The preceding is what happens when someone (me) only reads the first book in a series. It turns out that only the first two Aurelius Smith books were action-adventure. The rest--and there were five more--had Smith as an amateur detective. To quote from the Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to Canada entry on R.T.M. Scott:
He created Aurelius Smith, a New-York-City-based amateur detective, in a series of short stories and novels with a psychic element, which is especially interesting. This was the age of extravagant amateur sleuths, (pace Dashiell Hammett et al. and the 'hard-boiled school'), and Aurelius Smith lives up to the mark. The detective is a lean and lanky pipe-smoker who began his career as a secret service agent in India and later retired to reside as a dilettante criminologist in a travel-littered apartment near Washington Square in New York City, where he is ably assisted by his beautiful secretary, Bernice Asterly, a gifted mimic, and his Hindu man-servant, Langa Doonh.Smith, Percy. Percy Smith was created by Robert Chambers and appeared in various magazines in 1913-5 before being collected in Police!!! in 1915. Smith has several things in common with Francis Gilland, and it's possible that Chambers was attempting to reprise his earlier, popular work. If so, it didn't work; the Smith stories just aren't as good. Smith works for the Bronx Park Zoological Society and is hired to investigate strange reports of faraway places and bring back any particularly good finds. He often finds himself distracted by pretty women and bossed around by academic harpies. So Smith might go into the Everglades and find a three-eyed man, or a cavewoman in the Florida hills, or enormous minnows, or mile-long salamanders, but those darned feminists are everywhere, and they make life difficult for him. Darn them feminists, anyhow.
Smith, Scorchy. Created by John Terry, but given life by the excellent Noel Sickles ("Jesus, could he draw"--Milt Caniff) and written at times by Milton Caniff, Scorchy Smith debuted on 17 March 1930 and ran through 1961, although it really died in October 1936, when Sickles' contractual dispute with Associated Press led to his quitting the strip. "Scorchy" Smith, modeled on Charles Lindbergh, was an airman for hire, always ready to fly anything anywhere, whether it was important witnesses to a trial (despite the heated opposition of the gangsters the witness was going to testify against) or supplies to relieve flooded or besieged areas. Smith even ran guns, on occasion. Initially he only flew for money or love of adventure, but as time went on his sentimental/heroic side came to the fore, and he began taking on missions because they were the right thing to do, rather than because he was getting paid to do them. Scorchy never tangled with any really memorable arch-villains, but he had interesting adventures anyhow. Scorchy, a handsome, lanky man, was aided by Heinie Himmelstoss, a German WW1 ace; Himmelstoss had at first been Scorchy's arch-enemy, but he went through a change of heart and became Scorchy's best friend. Heinie was, of course, a German stereotype, down to the monocle and the mangled, heavily accented English, although not a malicious one. For a short time Scorchy's girl was the blonde adventuress Mickey Lafarge, but she eventually married Heinie, instead.
Sojarr. Sojarr was created by Manly Wade Wellman and appeared in the "Sojarr of Titan" story arc in Startling Stories in 1941. The series is set a millennia in the future, when the solar system has been colonized out to Jupiter. Pitt Rapidan is inspired by a challenge to be the first person to go to Saturn. With a lot of prize money at stake, Pitt, his wife, and his three-year-old son Stuart risk the trip, but they end up crashing on Titan. Stuart is the only survivor, and he misunderstands his father's dying words to "be a good soldier" and names himself "Sojarr." He grows up in the jungles of Titan, becoming a Tarzan-like figure. In his teens he joins up with a group humanoid natives, and becomes the greatest warrior of the group, fighting against the four-armed ape-like Truags. Twenty years later another expedition arrives, and after various misunderstandings and battles the group settles on Titan and Sojarr takes up with Ursula, the beautiful niece of his biological father's rival.
Solomon, John. John Solomon was created by H. Bedford-Jones and first appeared in Argosy in January 1914; he appeared there and in The People’s Magazine through 1921. Solomon is a short, fat Cockney in his 50s (perhaps older). He still has his Cockney accent and ways, although his background is far more colorful than most of those born within the sound of the Bow Street Bells. He was a private investigator in Chicago and a ship chandler in London and then in Port Said, for about 30 years. He is fluent in five languages, and a connoisseur of Asian rugs. He seems to know and control many people in Europe and Africa—his agents seem to be everywhere, willing to fight and die for him. On his ring—the ring he gives to his agents—is the mark of Suleiman.
He is also an adventurer, traveling the world and doing good deeds. In the Middle East he fights against the dread brotherhood of fighting monks known as the Senussiyeh (based, no doubt, on the Sanusi). In Portuguese East Africa he foils the plans of an evil German treasure hunter. In the depths of the Sahara he finds a lost Crusaders’ castle in which their descendants live and guard a document attesting that Mohammed (peace be upon him) converted to Christianity before he died. In the Middle East (Solomon’s usual stomping grounds) he stops a man from taking command of all Muslims everywhere (the first time through conquering Mecca and Medina, the second time through acquiring all 100 beads of the rosary of Mohammed, and later the mummified body of Mohammed himself) (don’t ask). (Solomon loses his right leg below the knee on that latter adventure). Solomon investigates the atrocities in the Belgian Congo and discovers white pygmies and a sacred mountain. Solomon stops the Japanese, off the coast of California, from acquiring the secrets to a supersubmarine. Solomon puts an end to Prince Dominetti, head of the largest crime cartel in Europe. And so on.
The Solving Six. The Six were created by Agatha Christie and appeared in Detective Story Magazine from 2 June 1928 through 7 July 1928. The six were the young writer Raymond West, the lawyer Mr. Petherick, the minister Dr. Pender, Sir Henry Clithering the former Commissioner for Scotland Yard, and up-and-coming artist Joyce Lempriere. Oh, and one Jane Marple, a retiring spinster. Essentially the stories consist of each member of the six contributing a story about a crime (often murder) that they know about, and the other five members solving the crime. Unfortunately, even this flimsy set-up is not particularly well-done, with Miss Marple quickly coming to the forefront and the other five rendered cyphers.
La Sombra. La Sombra is a character I don't know nearly enough about as I'd like. He was created by Jose Mallorqui, the Spanish writer (and creator of the Western hero the Coyote, who would fit in well on these pages except for the fact that I don't include Western heroes here, for the most part). All I know about La Sombra is that he was created as an "evident imitation of The Shadow." I'm assuming this means that he was a millionaire with a group of contacts who helped him war on crime, but since La Sombra was published in Spanish magazines in the 1940s, and as far as I know there's no critical work on these in English, I can't provide any further information.
Sorak. Sorak was created by Harvey D. Richards and appeared in the four book "Sorak Jungle Series," which began with Sorak of the Malay Jungle, or, How Two Young Americans Face Death and Win a Friend (1934) and continued through 1936. Sorak was essentially Tarzan, but in the jungles of Malaysia. He was accompanied by a friendly tiger. Among his adventures were an encounter with Cro-Magnons in Malay.
Soroku Komuro. Soroku Komuro was created by...well, I don't know who, exactly. He is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche who appeared in an 1895 series of adaptations of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Soroku was known as "the Magical Detective" for his uncanny intuition. He is assisted by John Watson, a German (!) doctor.
Spade, Sam. Spade debuted in The Maltese Falcon (1929), created by Dashiell Hammett. Spade is a private eye based out of San Francisco. Most everyone has seen the film version of the Maltese Falcon by now, and many more have read the novel, so there's really not that much more I can say about him. He's one of the first and most significant hard-boiled detectives, although he lacks the smart mouth and wise cracks that Philip Marlowe made de rigeur for the genre; likewise, Spade is more seedy and unlikeable than Marlowe and later hard-boileds.
Spanish Heroes. Spain, like France and Germany (each of which has their own entry in these pages), was home to various pulp heroes and magazines between the years 1902 and 1939. However, as with the other European countries, finding information on these heroes and magazines is quite difficult. Never mind getting in-depth information on the heroes and magazines; finding any information on them at all is no easy thing. Information on the magazine trade in Spain before WW2 is just not available (that I've been able to find, I mean). So the following is, regrettably, scanty. If and when I find out more, I will post it here. Until then, I leave you with the following:
William Brunning. This detective character appeared in Aventuras del detective William Brunning (Adventures of the detective William Brunning) sometime before World War One.Sparrow, Will. Will Sparrow was created by the Italian writer Kurt Caesar and appeared in Will Sparrow, il pirata del cielo (Will Sparrow, the pirate of the skies) during the 1930s. I have not been able to find much on the character, except that he was an aerial pirate of the type not uncommon for the time.
Lord Jackson. This detective character appeared in Aventuras de Lord Jackson (Adventures of Lord Jackson) in 1911. He was known as "the rival of Sherlock Holmes," and his adventures were published in Spanish America in the 1930s as well as in Spain. One of his adventures was "Jackson contra Sherlock Holmes" (Jackson versus Sherlock Holmes).
Memorias Intimas del Rey de los Detectives. (Intimate memories of the King of Detectives) This was a reprint of the Harry Taxon (see his entry in the German Heroes section) stories, published in Barcelona in 1911.
Memorias intimas de Sherlock Holmes. (Intimate memories of Sherlock Holmes) This was a reprint of the Harry Taxon (see his entry in the German Heroes section) stories, published in Madrid in 1908.
John C. Raffles. This pastiche of the Raffles stories appeared in Aventuras de John C. Raffles (Adventures of John C. Raffles), 68 issues of which were printed in Barcelona in 1911-1912 and again in 1929.
Ros-Koff. This detective character appeared in Aventuras del detective Ros-Koff (Adventures of the detective Ros-Koff) sometime before World War One.
Spaulding, Speed. Speed Spaulding was created by Edwin Balmer, Philip Wylie (!), and Marvin Bradley and ran from 1939 to 1940, and was heavily influenced by Wylie's When Worlds Collide. Spaulding is a Thud Crunkchest two-fisted American hero, a former all-American quarterback, decides to investigate when the world is threatened by two planets having been moved so that they would collide with Earth. Spaulding allied himself with a group of seven scientists from different countries who had formed to deal with this problem. Their solution was to send a group of men and women to another planet on a spaceship one of the scientists had invented. Spaulding, while wooing the daughter of one of the scientists, had various adventures with gangsters and a rogue scientist named "Mitusiki."
Speedwell Boys. The Speedwell Boys were the creation of Edward Stratemeyer and debuted in The Speedwell Boys on Motorcycles, or, The Mystery of a Great Conflagration (1913), appearing in four more books through 1915. Dan and Billy Speedwell lived in the town of Riverdale on the Colasha River, somewhere in the Midwest. They attended Riverdale High School (along with Archie, Betty, and Veronica, perhaps?), working after school (greatly amusing the snooty rich boys of Riverdale high, Barrington Spink among them) to help augment the income of their father, a small dairy farmer. They managed to acquire, in order, a motorcycle, a racing car, a "power launch," a submarine, and an "ice racer," which they used to help others and enrich themselves.
Spencer Brothers. The Brothers were created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and appeared in the "Uncle Sam's Service Series," which consisted of Bob Spencer the Life Saver, or, Guarding the Coast for Uncle Sam (1914) and Dave Spencer on Secret Service, or, Uncle Sam's Search for Counterfeiters (1918). They are pretty much as the titles describe.
Sphinx. The Sphinx was created by Francis Ford and appeared in The Purple Mask (1917). The Sphinx was actually a noted American detective named Phil Kelly who is called in to handle a band of jewel thieves who are rampaging across the Continent and who are led by Patricia Montez, a young woman who as Montez is high in Parisian society but who as the "Queen of the Apaches" leads the gang of jewel thieves. The Sphinx catches her at the end, though, never fear.
Spider (I). The criminal Spider (not to be confused with the killer vigilante the Spider, who I'm dubbing Spider (II)) was created by Johnston McCulley (creator of Black Star) and ran in a series of stories in Detective Story from 16 April 1918 to 29 April 1919. These stories were later collected as The Spider's Den (1925), The Spider's Fury (1930), and The Spider's Debt (1930).
The Spider (I) (hereafter just called "The Spider") is one of the most physically unappealing characters since the Skin O' My Tooth, but appearances, as Brittany Spears and Tor Johnson might tell you, can be deceiving. They are, in this case, for beneath his nasty exterior lies a matchless criminal mind. To look at him, you would not think much of him:
He was squat, wonderously fat. His head was gigantic, his neck thick. He had a mass of white hair that was unkempt. His eyes were tiny and black and piercing. His thick lips twitched continually. His cheeks were flabby and white, ghastly looking. His fat, wrinkled hands were spread on the desk before him and his fingers seemed never to be still.Nor did he ever leave his chair. The Spider was crippled by fire when he was younger (more on that in a moment) and is confined to his wheelchair.
His mind, however, knows no such hindrances, and it is his mind (and his evil, evil smile) that led the Spider to mastery of an international crime ring. The Spider sits in a large, wealthy mansion, in an ordinary room (The Spider's Den) in the middle of the manse, at a large mahogany desk. The walls are lined with filing cabinets full of information that he finds useful. The windows are small and barred with iron. And through this room comes a constant flow of men, bringing information and carrying out orders, all to enrich the Spider and to punish those he chooses as his enemies. In his youth, in Paris, he was the leader of a gang of spies, but one of his men betrayed him to the police. A firefight followed, with the Spider caught in a flaming building. He was rescued, but only after his legs were permanently damaged. He went with his men to America, where he recovered and rebuilt his organization. He moved into a mansion with his niece Sylvia, a beautiful (if naive) twenty-year-old who does not, initially, realize that her uncle is a crook.
The focus of the stories is not the Spider, however, but is John Warwick, a rich young adventurer in his mid-thirties who has been everywhere and done everything and longs for a little excitement. (He also speaks in an exasperatingly affected way, like Bertie Wooster trying to be annoying) He is helped by his valet, Togo, who admires the Warwick despite his master calling him "my gentleman Jap." Togo is, of course, a master of jujitsu. (He's Japanese, see, and all Japanese know jujitsu, right?)
Warwick and Togo originally start out as members of the Spider's gang (to take revenge on the men who almost bankrupted Warwick--it's a long story). Warwick and Sylvia fall in love, and Warwick works well for the Spider, rising to become his right-hand man. Warwick decides he wants to get out of the crime game--Sylvia can't marry him while he's a crook, and he can't marry her while he might be arrested at any second. He agrees to do a couple more jobs for the Spider, who will then free him from the gang. He does one final one, and after various complications the man who betrayed the Spider, way back in his youth, in Paris, is dead, Warwick is free to marry, and the Spider decides to retire.
The Spider (II). The Spider was one of the major pulp heroes of the pre-War era, his stories among the most violent and imaginative. But so much has been written on him that I see no point in trying to do what others have done better. So I’ll keep myself to a brief recap and then send you on to better sites on the character.
The Spider was created by Henry Steeger and R.T.M. Scott (or perhaps his son, R.T.M. Scott II) and Norvell Page, and appeared in The Spider beginning in October 1933. The Spider was Richard Wentworth, a veteran of WW1, a millionaire playboy and philanthropist with a great hatred of evil. He hated it so much, in fact, that at night he put on a frightening outfit, with long white hair, sallow skin, a hunchback and fangs, and prowled the city, “ruthless and terrible,” guns in hand, killing all those who broke the law. His trademark was the brand left by his cigarette lighter on the foreheads of murdered criminals; the brand was a red spider with tensed legs and poison fangs, and was instantly recognizable. Although the Spider is no Doc Savage, he does make use of a few gadgets to fight crime, among them “the web,” a long cord, to tie up criminals and move around the city.
The Spider, like Doc Savage, has a crew of faithful and devoted assistants. His manservant is the Hindu (later Sikh) Ram Singh. His chauffeur is Ronald Jackson, who served under Wentworth in WW1. Professor Brownlee, an aging inventor, creates Wentworth’s gadgets. Police Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick is the sworn enemy of the Spider, but is Wentworth’s best friend. His love interest is Nita van Sloan, the beautiful society playgirl.
What is truly memorable about the Spider’s adventures, of course, are the evil masterminds he opposed and killed and the mayhem that they caused before going down before the Spider’s guns. There was the Black Death, who set the Plague loose in Manhattan. There was the Eye of Flame, who burned thousands in New York. There was The Wreck, a mad doctor who transformed Nita into a cripple. There was the Vampire King, who commanded hordes of vampire bats. There was the City Destroyer, who targeted NYC and began by destroying the Empire State Building. There was the Tarantula, head of a crime syndicate. There was the Devil, a cloaked supercriminal who could “atomize” people and things with his superexplosive. There was the Fly, the Spider’s opposite. There was Ssu Hsi Tze, the hypnotic "Ruler of Vermin," the Fu Manchu duplicate that it seems all pulp heroes were destined to face and defeat. And there was Death Himself.
Now that I've gone on about him, you should go to these sites for better treatments of Richard Wentworth, scourge of the underworld:
Death to the Bringers
A good site on the Spider.
ThePulp.Net: The Spider
The first (and likely last) place you need to go to find other sites on Wentworth. From the excellent ThePulp.Net site, one of the essential sites for pulp information on the Internet.
The Spirit. I bow to no man in my affection for the Spirit and my admiration for Will Eisner. But, as with some other entries on this site, I'm not going to try to do what others have done very well. So if you're curious about the Spirit, as you should be, go to this site:
The best site on the 'Net for information on the Spirit.
Sprague, Calvin. "Scientific" Sprague was created by Francis Lynde (1856-1930), an author and newspaper reporter. His stories appeared in The Popular Magazine in 1912 and in 1918-1919, and were collected in Scientific Sprague (1912). Calvin Sprague is usually grouped with the scientific detectives like Dr. Thorndyke, although he's not exactly a detective so much as investigator who uses science for his own ends. Sprague is the chief of "a certain nameless intelligence department" for the United States, and, patriotic to his core, Sprague gets out into the field as often (if not more often) than the agents under him. Sprague is an enormous man, bigger and taller than most football players, with a "round, amiable" face. Despite his friendly nature and the ever-present cigar in his mouth, he is a manipulator and plotter without peer, continually arranging events and people so that the U.S.A. comes out ahead. Sprague doesn't just do this from behind the scenes, either. He gets directly involved. When the U.S. is in need of "ferromanganese" for the war effort, Sprague is among those who makes sure the government gets an entire mountain of the stuff, despite the opposition of local railroad executives. When vagabonds and hobos, led by a "Bolshevik mastermind," are plotting a nation-wide strike and reign of terror, and have begun to sabotage railways and telephone and telegraph lines, Sprague leads a group of Army soldiers to smash the hobos, using a gas he's invented against them. Sprague is, of course, good in a fight, plus (as in the case of the hobos) capable of inventing some things for use in combat.
Square Dollar Boys. The Boys (I don't know their names) were created by H. Irving Hancock and appeared in the three-book "Square Dollar Boys Series," which appeared in 1912 and began with The Square Dollar Boys Wake Up, or, Fighting the Trolley Franchise Steal. The Boys were good working boys who kept running up against corrupt businessmen, whether working the trolleys, trying to buy land, or in fighting against bank-backed land speculators. Needless to say, good triumphs over evil and the corrupt bourgeois oppressors are overthrown. Hail to the proletariat!
Standish, Colin. Colin Standish was created by Percy Westerman and appeared in five books, beginning with Standish of the Air Police (1935) and ending with Standish Holds On (1941). Standish was a top agent for the British Air Police, fighting against Germans and world-conquest-mad air gangs.
Standish, Tiger. Tiger Standish was created by Sydney Horler and appeared in several novels, beginning with Tiger Standish (1932). The Honourable Timothy Overbury "Tiger" Standish is the son of the Earl of Quron, and a two-fisted, soccer-playing, bluff and hearty Bulldog Drummond-type, tall, virile, strong, well-dressed, and always ready to thrash those Bolshie and Continental blighters, and anyone else who would stand in England's way. In the words of his author, Standish has "all the attributes of a thoroughly likable fellow...he likes his glass of beer, he is a confirmed pipe-smoker, he is always ready to smile back in the face of danger." (Thoroughly likable. Yeah)
Stanfield, Stanley. Stanley Stanfield was created by Ella O’Neill, Basil Dickey and Het Mannheim and appeared in the twelve-part serial The Vanishing Shadow (1935). Stanfield is a Studley Squarejaw type whose father is killed for opposing the machinations of Cliff van Dorn, leader of a corrupt group of politicians. Stanfield vows revenge and gets help in this from Ward Barnett, a scientist who develops an array of techno-weapons, including an “invisibility vest,” ray guns, and robots.
Starr, Brenda. Brenda Starr debuted in her eponymous comic strip on 30 June 1940 and is still going today. Her creator was Dalia Messick. Brenda, then as now, was a reporter, plucky and glamorous, working for the The Flash and getting involved in breaking big stories and helping to solve crimes. She is romantically linked with the mysterious, handsome, and very wealthy Basil St. John, and is assisted by her editor Livwright and her best friend, fellow reporter Hank O'Hair.
Starr, Randy. Randy Starr was created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, using the name "Eugene Martin," and appeared in the three book "Sky Flyers Series," which ran from 1931 to 1932 beginning with Randy Starr After an Air Prize, or, The Sky Flyers in a Dash Down the States. Starr was a teenage pilot who with his friends (haven't found their names yet) won air races and brought food to flood-trapped people.
Steel, Sergeant Fletcher. Sgt. Sergeant Steel was created by Donald Chidsey and appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly and Double Detective from 1936 through 1939. Steel’s name was ironic, for he was not a two-fisted cop of action. To the contrary, he had “toothpick legs and arms” and was a “test-tube detective.” He worked in Richmond City, in an advanced laboratory from which he convicted criminals and freed innocents. He was an honest cop, although he had something of a temper and had sent a number of men to The Chair. He was always accompanied by Donovan, another cop who was his de facto bodyguard and errand boy. Donovan worshiped Steel.
Steele, Bob. Lieutenant Robert "Navy Bob" Steele was the creation of Wilson Starbuck, a U.S.N. veteran and cartoonist, and debuted in Navy Bob Steele on 5 November 1939. Navy Bob, a clean cut Slab Thunkchest type, was an officer in the U.S.N. who served on the fleet, helping America against Japanese (well, they weren't identified as such but they sure looked like them) saboteurs, spies, and also engaging in naval maneuvers meant to stop an invasion of Hawaii. When war broke out he joined the fight, sinking submarines and setting up radio and observation posts on Japanese-held islands.
Steele, Bob (II). Bob II was created by "Donald Grayson" (William Wallace Cook) and appeared in the ten book "Motor Power Series" (aka the "Bob Steele Series") which appeared in 1909 and began with Bob Steele's Motorcycle, or, True to His Friends. Bob Steele was (apparently--I haven't read any of the books) an adventurer on earth, sea, and air, using motorcycles, cars, airplanes (his precious Comet), submarines, and more airplanes, motorcycles, cars, etc.
Steele, Malcolm. Malcolm Steele, and his detective agency (the Malcolm Steele National Detective Agency, if you must know) were created by "Mansfield Scott" and appeared in Flynn's Weekly from 1924 to 1928. Steele, a former Secret Service agent, formed his agency after he left the Service so that he'd have some form of excitement in his life and so that he'd be able to do some good in the world. Naturally, he's independently wealthy, and so doesn't have to worry about petty things like making enough money to pay the rent and eat. Likewise, he can afford to pay high wages to his employees, both the branch managers (his agency has office in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles) and the field operatives, but also to charge small fees. He actually prefers to work for little money, as those who can't afford to pay top-dollar justice are the ones most often in need of it. He aims to make his agency the best in the country, and he leads from the front, taking charge of many field investigations. Steele is a tall, strong man with a grim demeanor, a natural reserve, slate grey eyes, and an always-worn raincoat and slouch hat.
Steele, Sam. Sam Steele was created by "Captain Hugh Fitzgerald" (a pen-name for L. Frank Baum) and appeared in the two-book "Sam Steele Series," which consisted of Sam Steele's Adventures on Land and Sea (1906) and Sam Steele's Adventures in Panama (1907). (These were later incorporated into the nine-book "Boy Fortune Hunters Series." Steele and his other friends (I haven't been able to find their names yet) are prepubescent fortune hunters who travel the world looking for fame and fortune. They go to the hidden city of Tcha, concealed within the Yucatan jungles and populated by a lost tribe of Atlanteans led by a High Priestess, and they are shipwrecked on an uncharted isle in the South Seas full of bloodthirsty natives led by the Pearl God.
Steeley. Deeley Montfort "Steeley" Delaroy was the creation of W.E. Johns, the author of the Biggles books, and appeared in Sky High (1936), Steeley Flies Again (1936), Murder By Air (1937), The Murder at Castle Deeping (1938) and Wings of Romance (1939). Steeley was a former fighter pilot and ace (several times over) who fought for Britain during WW1 as a proud member of the Royal Flying Corps. However, on returning home to Merry Olde Blighty Steeley was gravely disappointed in the attitude of British society towards the brave men who'd sacrificed so much for them. Steeley's reaction was to turn to crime, but only in the service of good, as a modern day Robin Hood, using his plane (and occasionally his powerful roadster) to rob those who'd profited from the war and to redistribute the wealth to those who'd sacrificed for others during the war. In later novels, however, Steeley allows himself to be enlisted by Major Raymond (who also appears in the Biggles books) and goes to work undercover for Scotland Yard and for the Secret Intelligence Service. Steeley is assisted by Tubby Wilde, a friend and pilot from WW1, and Brian Ballantyne, a young newspaper reporter.
Stevens, Hoh-Hoh. Hoh-Hoh Stevens was created by H.H. Matteson and appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly in the late 1930s. He was a deputy United States marshall who worked the Alaskan coast and the Aleutian islands and had a variety of interesting adventures, from stopping Russian spies to putting a halt to bloodthirsty feuding fisherman.
Stingaree. The Stingaree was created by E.W. Hornung, the creator of Raffles. Stingaree was "a type of bushranger Raffles complete with monocle." "Stingaree, however, was a far more formidable person. Like Raffles, he was born a gentleman, but unlike Raffles there was a hard, ruthless streak to his character which made his career as a bushranger credible and even, in a way, enviable." Rick Lai added more information, and I hope he won't mind me quoting him here at length:
Stingaree originally appeared in a novel called Irralie's Bushranger (1896). Stingaree tangles with a young woman named Irralie Villiers. Stingaree is captured by Irralie and her boyfriend, Greville Fullarton. The last chapter takes place years later when Irralie and Greville are happily married with a son. It is briefly mentioned that Stingaree is now in Darlinghurst Gaol.Stone, Ed. Created by Lester Dent and appearing in Crime Busters in 1938, Ed Stone was a broken down prizefighter who investigated cases very reluctantly, and only because he needed the money. Stone was also the unwilling recipient of a gift: a Chinese valet calling himself “One.” One was the real brains behind Stone, nudzhing Stone into taking on cases and making sure that Stone handled the cases well and got all the money that he was owed. Stone had a couple of interesting cases, including one dealing with Shakespeare’s remains.
Hornung then revived the bushranger for the short stories collected in Stingaree (1905). Probably because Hornung felt that no one would remember the previous novel, the author may no attempt to reconcile it with these new stories. The stories are set at least partially in the 1880's (references to Gilbert and Sullivan determine this fact). Stingaree gets arrested under totally different circumstances, and ends up in Darlinghurst Gaol. In the final story, he escapes from there and is never heard from again.
He was apparently the member of some aristocratic family who was forced to flee Britain due to some scandal. He was definitely expelled from a prominent men's club. He was recognized by a British traveler in "A Bushranger at Bay" from Stingaree, but we never learn Stingaree's real name. That story reveals that Stingaree went to Australia before Gilbert and Sullivan became famous. However, Stingaree always had an interest in music, and collected the scores from their works.
Stingaree was described as a young man with a military mustache and a monocle.
Storey, Madame. Madame Rosika Storey, she of the ironic wit and great beauty, was created by Hulbert Footner and debuted in Argosy All-Story Weekly in 1922, running through 1935 and appearing in ten collections. Mme. Storey is, as mentioned, very beautiful. And, yes, very ironic. Not in a nasty way, simply in the cultured, experienced manner of a woman of the world who has been most places, done most things, perhaps had her heart broken once or twice, and learned not to pay attention to society's dictates, but to do what pleases her. She is, to society, shocking. She smokes. She is a businesswoman who owns and operates her own business. She is independent, without a man to rely on (read: dominate her). Worse, her business is a detective agency, one in tight with the District Attorney's office, police headquarters, and staffed by at least a dozen full-timers. Madame Storey is experienced, very bright, insightful, a good investigator, and someone with little patience or tolerance for fools. She is assisted by her monkey, Giannino, who sits on her shoulder and steals her smokes. Storey's friend and Girl Friday is Bella Brickley, the narrator of the series and Storey's Watson, although Bella is far more modest and far cleverer than Watson. Bella is insecure, lacking Storey's beauty and attractiveness to men, and seems to need Storey to reassure her, but Bella also has substantial native wit. She and Storey have interesting (very interesting) adventures in America and England, against some convincingly vicious criminals, even an occasional mad scientist, and Storey tramples all before her.
Storm, Bill. Bill Storm appeared in The Skipper in the late 1930s. He and his best friend Dan were freebooting professional divers adventuring in England, looking for fame and fortune and not incidentally fighting the bad guys. They fought on more than one occasion with the "Iron Men of the Sea," a gang of thugs who wore armored diving suits and who'd "established a reign of terror on the South Coast."
Storm, Inspector. Inspector Storm was created by the Australian writer J.M. Walsh and appeared in two books, starting with Silver Greyhound (1928). Storm is a Scotland Yard detective.
Storm, Kit. Kit Storm was created by Wiletta Ann Barber and R.F. Schabelitz and appeared in several novels, beginning with Pencil Points to Murder (1941). Kit is a commercial illustrator who uses his skills and abilities as a professional artist to solve crimes.
Stover, Roy. Roy Stover was created by Phillip Bartlett and appeared in the "Roy Stover Mystery Series," which ran from 1929 to 1934 beginning with The Lakeport Mystery. Roy was a young reporter who solved various mysteries and put the bad men in the pokey for long stretches.
Captain Stranard. Captain Stranard was created by Jocelyn Hardy and appeared in Recoil (1936). Hauptmann Stranard is an officer in the German Awehr who in the mid-1930s is sent to a German province in Central Africa. A group of Soviet rebels is attempting to foment revolution, we see, and we can’t have the Reds doing that.
Strang the Terrible. Strang the Terrible appeared in the British magazine Adventure beginning in the early 1940s. He was created by Dudley Watkins. Strang the Terrible was a Great White Hunter and adventurer type who fought his way through jungles and various subterranean kingdoms and against dinosaurs, primitive tribesmen, and the like.
Strange, Philip. Philip Strange was created by Donald Keyhoe and appeared in Flying Aces in the early 1930s. Strange was the “phantom ace of G.2.,” an agent of American military intelligence. He fought against the Germans during WW1, targeting and defeating their mad scientists and doctors. He was aided in this by his mental powers, for which he gained the nickname “the Brain Devil.” He had ESP, clairvoyance, and various other mental powers which he could call upon when the plot required it. Strange had been a child prodigy and was very intelligent, self-educated in a wide range of areas, and was capable of ventriloquism, hypnotism, sleight-of-hand, and other magic tricks, as he’d been a stage performer. Naturally, he was also a master of disguise and a top flier.
Strange, Violet. Created by Anna Katherine Green, the creator of Miss Amelia Butterworth, Violet Strange appeared in The Golden Slipper and Other Problems for Violet Strange (1915). Strange comes from an upper-class family, is well-to-do, socially popular, beautiful, feminine, and smart, but the life of a debutante is not enough for her. She craves the sort of action that a woman of her class might get without losing social respectability: criminal investigations. (To be fair, she takes these cases for pay to help fund the musical education of a “dishonored and disinherited sister.”) She is an agent of the police, who pay her to investigate crimes in high society and other environments which they cannot, for various reasons, handle or solve. She pretends to be a social butterfly, using her position and ingenuity to winkle out clues and guilt. She is not ruthless in her investigations, however; things like spying on her friends and others of her class bother her, as she finds it morally objectionable.
Strangeways, Nigel. Nigel Strangeways was created by Nicholas Blake and appeared in seventeen novels, beginning with A Question of Proof (1935) and running through 1966. Strangeways is an Oxford-educated private investigator whose uncle is assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard. Although he is highly educated and sometimes uses his knowledge to solve crimes he more often relies on clues and his own astute sense of character.
Straw, Jack. No, really. Jack Straw. Straw was created by "Irving Crump" and appeared in the two-book "Jack Straw Series," which consisted of Jack Straw in Mexico, or, How the Engineers Defended the Great Hydro-Electric Plant (1914) and Jack Straw, Lighthouse Builder (1915). Straw, as the titles indicate, was a young engineer, righteous and Christian, whose adventures revolved around his efforts to build "civilizing" monuments, like a hydro-electric plant and a lighthouse, in places where the ungrateful, uncivilized, barbaric, non-white natives tried to stop him. Straw and his capitalist oppressor honkie friends succeeded in building the hydro-electric plant in Mexico and the lighthouse in Venezuela despite the objections, usually violent, of the natives.
Street, Nicholas. Nicholas Street was created by Nat Schachner and first appeared in the October 1938 issue of Detective Mystery Magazine. Street, in an interesting precursor to Memento's Lenny Shelby, is a man with no memory; he has amnesia, having lost all memory from a vicious blow to the head, and begins his career as an adventurer (in the stories, at least) freshly discharged from the hospital. Despite his photograph having been widely distributed, no one knows him. He has money in his pocket and a special jade ring, a museum piece from the Ming Dynasty era. But his background and destiny were never revealed.
Strong, Joe. Joe Strong was created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and appeared in the seven-book "Joe Strong" series, which began in 1916 with Joe Strong, the Boy Wizard, or the Mysteries of Magic Exposed. Unfortunately, Joe was not an actual boy wizard, but rather a boy magician, a sleight-of-hand expert who worked for a circus and fought crime and had adventures in that context.
Strong, Tom. The various Tom Strongs were created by Alfred Mason and appeared in the six-book "Tom Strong Series," which ran from 1911 to 1919 and began withTom Strong, Washington's Scout, A Story of Patriotism. The series actually described the exploits and adventures of several Tom Strongs, descendants of the first one, in their patriotic adventures starting with George Washington's Army and concluding with the Union Army during the Civil War.
The most recent descendant of Tom Strong fights crime in Millennium City.
Inspector Studer. Inspector Studer was created by Friedrich Glauser and appeared in five novels and a number of short stories, beginning with Wachtmeister Studer (Inspector Studer, 1936). Inspector Studer is a police inspector in Switzerland between the wars. He's obviously influenced by Maigret, but Glauser, a German writer, put a bit more of a class-based edge into the Inspector Studer stories. While Studer uses intuition, a healthy amount of common sense, and a good knowledge of human nature to solve crimes, not unlike Maigret, in the Studer stories the lower and middle classes among whom Studer operates and lives are inevitably the victims, and the upper classes vile and bitter exploiters.
Stumpy. Stumpy and his co-star Cottonseed appeared in "The Road to Danger," a radio serial which ran from 1942 through 1944. Stumpy and Cottonseed were "behind-the-lines American truck drives, who transported anything from munitions to prisoners of war `on the unmarked highways of the world.'"
Sturdy, Don. Don Sturdy was created by Howard Garis and debuted in Don Sturdy on the Desert of Mystery, or, Autoing in the Land of Caravans (1925), appearing in 14 more novels, through 1935. Sturdy was a fourteen-year-old boy (though after a few books he grew up to 18, where he stayed for the rest of the series) from Hillville, a suburb fifty miles outside of New York City. He was the son of Richard Sturdy, an eminent explorer, but when the Sturdys went missing while sailing around Cape Horn Don was cared for by his two bachelor uncles, Frank and Amos. Captain Frank Sturdy was an internationally-known big-game hunter who harvested animals for the International Museum and Menagerie Collection Corporation. Professor Amos Regor Bruce was a "famous scientist and archaeologist, whose delight lay in collecting and studying relics of old and dead civilizations." Both of Don's uncles traveled extensively, and lucky Don always got to go with them, traveling to far-off and exciting destinations and getting into the most enjoyable situations, along with Don's best pal, Teddy "Brick" Allison. Don usually wore his riding breeches, cavalry boots, and pith hat, no matter where he was; he was a master of woodscraft and could shoot, with accuracy, any gun known to man or woman. Capturing poisonous snakes and digging for accursed mummies meant nothing to him, nor did taking on bandits and cannibals. Don discovered the City of Brass and the Cave of Emeralds in the depths of the Sahara; he found, with his father, the Tombs of Gold in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings; he hunted polar bears at the North Pole, explored the volcanic Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Alaska, traveled through the Sargasso Sea, fought head hunters in Borneo, a strange race of giants in Patagonia, sea serpents and devil fish under the Pacific, and found a lost Mayan city, very bloodthirsty, in Central America.
Not bad, all things considered.
Submarine Boys. The Submarine Boys were created by "Victor Durham" and appeared in eight books, from 1909 to 1912, beginning with The Submarine Boys on Duty, or, Life on a Diving Torpedo Boat. The Submarine Boys were Jack Benson, Hal Hastings, and Eph Somers, all stalwart and patriotic sixteen-year-olds. Jack was the leader of three, a "world-known expert in the handling of submarine torpedo boats." He held no official Navy commission, but was so good at what he did that the Pollard Submarine Company gave him command of the Benson, its most recent and advanced sub. Benson, Hastings, and Somers took the Benson up against a wide variety of enemy agents, from Russian femmes fatales to Kamanako, a Japanese operative posing as a steward and houseboy, to Miss Pedderson, a spy for Sweden. Their arch-enemies were Lemaire, a professional spy who hired himself out to the highest bidder, and Gaston Goubeau of the Deuxieme Bureau.
Submarine Chums. The Submarine Chums were created by Sherwood Dowling and appeared in the four-book "Submarine Chums Series," which began with The Cruise of the Gray Whale and ran from 1914 to 1915. The Chums (haven't found their names yet) built their own submarine, the Gray Whale, and used it to fight against the Hun on the high seas during WW1. The final book of the series saw the Gray Whale sunk while protecting a convoy; the Chums escaped unharmed, never fear, and vowed to build a newer and better sub.
Sudden Death Lodge. Sudden Death Lodge was created by P.C. Wren (he of Beau Geste) and appeared in the linked short stories in Dew and Mildew (1927). The Sudden Death Lodge was originally a very nice bungalow built for a Parsi gentleman of large parts. Unfortunately, the location on which the bungalow was to be built was the location of the tomb of a fakir's illuminated Master, a most holy man. Despite the heart-breaking pleas of the fakir, the Parsi gentleman refused to change his plans, and went ahead with the razing of the tomb and the evicting of the long-entrenched fakir.
This was an Unfortunate Decision. The fakir's response, "a fine, full-flavoured, traditional old Curse and nearly as detailed as a last Will and Testament," went as follows:
Built it, and in two years it shall destroy thee...and within two years more they son it shall destroy, and in the fullness of time thy son's son, and thy seed, so long as it shall stand; and grief and sorrow shall it bring upon thy family, and good to none of them shall it bring...let those who lift a hand in the building of it beware, for they shall rue. Let men shun it and fear to dwell in it, for upon all who sojourn or serve therein, great evil and great grief shall it bestow; and to him who dwelleth beneath its roof for the space of two years, Death shall then come—swift, sudden,a dn terrible. And one of the household of him who bideth for a lesser time shall die—unless he die himself—one whom he loveth, so that, though his body live, his heart shall die within him; and this shall be until the accursed House be utterly destroyed, and my Master's tomb restored and duly adorned with green flags, and little lamps by night...I CURSE, I CURSE, I CURSE!"And so does it all come to pass. Everyone who lives in Sudden Death Lodge dies of what Wren calls ‘Queer Coincidences.' Strange accidents. Weird, unexplained happenings—stairs giving way, snakes showing up where they shouldn't, reliable servants unaccountably running amok, and so on. Ghosts, even, are seen, and the fakir communicating via dreams with future victims, telling them to leave, now. They never do, and so they all die.
Suicide Squad. The Squad was created by Emile Tepperman, a name recognizable to fans of pulps, and appeared in Ace G-Man beginning in May 1939. The Squad is actually a trio of men, G-Men who make up the "F.B.I. Suicide Squad." They are Special Agents Johnny Kerrigan, Dan Murdoch, and Stephen Klaw. To quote one of their stories,
Long ago, they had found that they had one thin in common--a deliberate, willful, daredevil recklessness which made them always seek the longest odds and the most dangerous tasks. As Special Agents of the F.B.I. they were never assigned to routine jobs, but got only those assignments from which there was little chance of returning alive.With heroes like this, the enemies of society had to watch out. Of course, the Suicide Squad had to beware, too; despite their skill with guns and their low cunning, they were only flesh and blood. Not long before there'd been five men in the Suicide Squad. But the underworld had gotten them, and the Squad was reduced to just Kerrigan, Murdoch, and Klaw. Of course, in the Squad stories it's the other guys who do the dying and jail time, and the Squad who are quick and sure with their guns. The Squad took on great numbers of Japanese and German spies, both in the U.S. and in Mexico.
Stephen Klaw had once told the chairman of a senate investigating committee to go to hell when he had been asked why he shot to kill in a battle with a criminal gang. Johnny Kerrigan had once punched a senator's son in the nose. And Dan Murdoch had shot a crooked croupier to death in a gambling dive.
Sutton, Bernard. Created by Max Pemberton, the creator of Captain Black, Bernard Sutton appeared in Jewel Mysteries I Have Known: From A Dealer's Notebook (1894). (Yes, I know Sutton should probably go on my Fantastic Victoriana site, but I didn't feel like changing all my links, so Sutton goes here) Sutton is a professional jewel dealer who is, almost against his will, brought into cases involving jewel thefts. He is not a professional amateur, nor does he have at his command either extensive resources over an overwhelming attitude, I mean, intellect. He simply has common sense, a certain amount of native intelligence, and a knowledge of gems and the gemstone business. Sutton's reasons for getting involved are usually monetary. If he solves a case, he'll get paid, be paid what he is owed, or get a reward. Sutton is dispassionate but efficient about his work.
A Sutton e-text from Gaslight.
Swain, Jim. Arthur Burks created Jim Swain, who appeared in Daredevil Aces in 1937. Swain was an “aerial Robin Hood,” in the words of one critic, who fought the Japanese and corrupt Chinese warlords in China.
Swain the Viking. Swain the Viking was created by the ever-reliable Arthur D. Howden Smith and appeared in a series of short stories in Adventure in 1924 and 1925. Swain was a heroic viking fighting for right and against evil witches in the Orkney Islands and northern Scotland during the 12th century.
Swedish Heroes. As with a number of other European countries, Sweden had a certain number of serial heroes published, in various formats, in the years before WW2. I've found what I could on these characters, but as mentioned in places like the Russian Heroes entry there's very little written on these characters in English, and so I have large gaps in my knowledge. If you know anything, of course, send it to me and I'll put it up here, crediting you.
Nick Carter. This version of the American Nick Carter appeared in an eponymous magazine for at least 32 issues from 1908 to 1910.Swift, Falcon. Falcon Swift appeared in Boys' Magazine starting with "The Shooting Sleuth" in issue #496, 5 September 1931; he appeared in Boys' Magazine through 1934. He was created by noted English boys' fiction writer Edwy Searles Brooks, a name who appears in several other entries on this site. Swift was an English "sporting detective." That is, he was an amateur consulting detective whose hobby was sports of all kinds. Swift was a champion at whatever he did, from boxing to cricket, but inevitably his hobby embroiled him in a crime. Swift got a triple blue from Cambridge and, inheriting his dead parents' wealth, began a life of leisure from a "cosy sanctum" in London. Somewhere along the way he saved a street urchin from a life of crime; this urchin, Chick Conway, "the London street urchin whom he (Swift) had literally taken out of the gutter," pledged his lot to Falcon and became his stalwart and fearless assistant (most notable for being kidnaped and threatened, but occasionally proving useful). Swift's Mrs. Hudson is Biddy Malone, who cooked and cleaned for Falcon when she wasn't being clubbed, drugged, or kidnaped. Swift began exercising his hobby, getting into sporting engagements, always for rich rewards. Surprisingly (or not), his enemies in the ring (or on the river or etc etc) always seem to be crooks, often members or leaders of international crime rings. Naturally, Swift beats them fairly in sporting competition and then turns them over to the police. He does not always solve sport-oriented crimes; on at least one occasion he enlists undercover in the Black Dragoons to ferret out a traitor. Most memorably, he jousted with Claude Montana, the "arch-crook of five continents," who succeeded in taking the proceeds of the English Cup despite having warned Swift ahead of time. There was also Marner, the Blackguard King of Heuston, who haunted the byways of London, horrifying everyone.
Pat Conner. This detective character appeared in Mästerdetektiven in 1908.
Nameless Detective. This detective character, whose name I unfortunately haven't been able to find, appeared in En natt vid Österlånggatan in 1894.
Detective Gordon. This detective character appeared in Detektiv Gordon for at least 10 issues in 1908.
Lord Lister. This version of the French character appeared in Amatör-tjuven for 10 issues (at least) in 1909.
Minx. This detective appeared in Detektivhistorier for at least 10 issues in 1908.
Nat Pinkerton. This version of the multi-national character (see his entry in the French Heroes section) appeared in an eponymous magazine for at least 18 issues in 1908.
Harry Strong. This character appeared in Kapten Ströms berömda bragder och reseävntyr in 1908.
Swift is described as having "skin of satin whiteness" and "long arms and slightly sloping shoulders." He is of course handsome and well-dressed (usually in full evening dress), and he wears a monocle (one of his nicknames is the "Monocled Manhunter") and smokes a pipe. He drives a Hispano-Suiza and pilots his own plane.
Swift, Tom. Tom Swift was created by "Victor Appleton" and debuted in Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle; or, Fun and Adventure on the Road (1910); he appeared in, oh, 'bout a zillion other books. "Victor Appleton" was the pseudonym of Howard R. Garis, author of the Uncle Wiggily books, and of Edward T. Stratemeyer, the giant of dime novels and American boys' fiction and founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, source of, among others, Tom Swift, Bomba the Jungle Boy, the Bobbsey Twins, Don Sturdy, the Hardy Boys, and the X Bar X Boys. There is debate about which author deserves credit for Swift, but I tend to agree with the critics who credit Garis with most of the writing. (Unfortunately, Garis deserves blame for the anti-Semitism of certain episodes, as well)
Swift is a plucky American lad in his teens who lives with his father, Barton Swift, in the village of Shopton, New York. Barton is an inventor of some note, successful enough that the "syndicates" are trying to steal his ideas and inventions. Tom, who has inherited all of Barton's mechanical genius and inventiveness (and more), tries to help his father, but most often ends up in troubles and adventures of his own, in America and around the world. Tom finds diamond mines, lost underground Aztec cities, giant Brazilian natives, hidden Incan cities, lost Mayan cities, giant vampire bats, and oh, so much more.
Tom is upright, moral, clean, and a brilliant inventor. Among the wonders he devised and constructed:
A good Tom Swift, Jr. site. From the Series Bookcase site.
The Complete Tom
Swift, Jr. Home Page
A good effort.
Tom Swift and
The e-text of the book.
The Ultimate Tom
Swift Collector's Guide
Billed as "the internet's most comprehensive source of information on the Tom Swift science/adventure series for young adults." May not deserve that title, but it's good.
Tom Swift Home Page
Another excellent page on Swift.
A. The Abbey Girls to Dusty Ayres
B. Bagley to Scott Burton
C. Orhan Cakiroglu to Dr. Theodore Cunliffe
D-E. Dana Girls to Don Everhard
F. Ralph Fairbanks to Miss Fury
G. The Gadget Man to G-8
H-I. Dr. Hackensaw to Baron Ixell
J. Jack, Doc & Reggie to Justice Syndicate
K. Calvin Kane to Kwa of the Jungle
L. Major John T. Lacy to Langhorne Lyte
M. Professor Maboul to Mr. Mystic
N. Lee Nace to Nyoka
O. Fergus O'Breen to Ozar the Aztec
P. Penny Packer to Judge Pursuivant
Q. Oliver Quade to Sebastian Quin
R. Ed Race to Captain Rybnikov
S. The Safety First Club to Tom Swift
T-U. Tahara to Godfrey Usher
V. Lieutenant Valcour to Norton Vyse
W. Inspector Wade to Dr. Xavier Wycherley
X-Z. X Bar X Boys to Zorro