Here's the square meal deal youse tuff guys and beautiful dames, I don't get a single thin dime from Bob Murch of Pulp Figures - I just like to paint his figures!
Oh those great golden pulp days of yesteryear, when the bad guys were bad and the good guys did not take guff from them. When mysterious vigilantes fought foul villains from taking over the city - or even the world! Welcome to the world of Pulp Figures which have some of the best of these great heroes and villains (boo hiss). Up first is the pack Agents of Justice.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!
The Shadow is Kent Allard, although his real name is not revealed until The Shadow Unmasks (1937). Early stories explain he was once a famed aviator who fought for the French during World War I, known by the alias the "Black Eagle" according to one character in The Shadow's Shadow (1933). Later stories revised this alias as the "Dark Eagle," beginning with The Shadow Unmasks.
After the war's conclusion, Allard finds a new challenge in waging war
on criminals. Allard falsifies his death by crash landing his plane in Guatemala,
encountering the indigenous "Xinca tribe" as a result, who see him as a
supernatural being and provide him with two loyal aides. Allard returns
to the United States and takes residence in New York City,
adopting numerous identities to acquire valuable information and
conceal his true nature, and recruiting a variety of agents to aid his
war on crime, only a few of whom are aware of his other identities.
As the vigilante called The Shadow, Allard hunts down and often
violently confronts criminals, armed with Colt .45 pistols and sometimes
using magician tricks to convince his prey that he's supernatural. One
such trick is The Devil's Whisper, a chemical compound on the
thumb and forefinger, causing a flash of bright flame and sharp
explosion when he snaps his fingers. The Shadow is also known for
wearing a girasol ring with a purple stone (sometimes depicted as a red
stone in cover artwork), gifted to Kent Allard from the Czar of Russia (The Romanoff Jewels,
1932) during World War I. The ring is later said to be one of two rings
made with gemstones taken from the eyes of an idol made by the Xinca
tribe (The Shadow Unmasks, 1937).
The Woman in Red
The Woman in Red (WIR) was really police officer Peggy Allen.
Disgusted after seeing how criminals were getting away from normal law
enforcement she decided to do something about it. Thus becoming The
Woman in Red. Peggy’s usual method was to investigate first where
the crime was taking place. She did this by taking a role that would let
her blend in, such as a student, nurse, or actress. After gathering the
clues she needed she would strike as the Woman in Red.
The Woman in Red is a no-nonsense Costumed Detective. Although she has a
terrible relationship with most uniformed Police officers and Detective
Cavanaugh, she is on good terms with the Chief of Police. The WIR is
very tough, although not very athletic she is not afraid to
confront her foes directly. She is tougher, stronger, faster, very
aware of her surroundings making her hard to sneak upon. She is a great shot, easily capable of shooting to wound
or kill. Although sometimes outnumbered and
overpowered, she quickly recovers and is able to track down her foes for
retaliation. Her Detective skills are top-notch and she's quick to
gather clues and make connections.
The Spider was millionaire playboy Richard Wentworth, who had served as a major in World War I, and was living in New York City unaffected by the financial deprivations of The Great Depression. Wentworth was easily identified as the Spider by his enemies in a number
of early cases and was arrested by the police but quickly escaped.
He adopted a disguise, Tito Caliepi, and associated aliases. The
Spider's costume consisted of a simple black domino mask, black
hat, and cape. These were added to terrorize the criminal underworld, while the Spider dispensed his brand of violent vigilante justice.
Wentworth, according to the fifth story, was 5'11" tall, and had grey
eyes and an old battle scar on his head that would flare up at times of
great stress. He was an accomplished pianist and violinist, and he drove
a Lancia. Wentworth was also
psychologically vulnerable and suffered "frequent bouts of fear,
self-doubt, despair and paranoia".
The Spider's adventures often involved a bizarre menace to the country and a
criminal conspiracy, and were often extremely violent, with the villains
engaging in wanton slaughter of thousands as part of sometimes
nationwide crime sprees. (Pulp magazine historian Ed Hulse notes that "Spider novel death tolls routinely ran into the thousands.) The master criminal of the stories was usually unmasked only in the
last few pages. The stories often ended with Wentworth killing the
villains and stamping their corpses' foreheads with his "Spider" mark.
The Phantom Dectective
The Phantom (as he was called in the stories) is actually the wealthy
Richard Curtis Van Loan. In the first few issues of the title, the
Phantom is introduced as a world-famous detective, whose true identity
is only known by one man—Frank Havens, the publisher of the Clarion
newspaper. Richard Curtis Van Loan is orphaned at an early age, but
inherits wealth. Before World War I, he leads the life of an idle playboy, but during the war he becomes a pilot and downs many German planes. After the war, Van Loan has a difficult time returning to his old
life. At the suggestion of his father's friend, Havens, he sets out to
solve a crime that had stumped the police. After solving it, he
decides he has found his calling.
He trains himself in all facets of detection and forensics,
and becomes a master of disguise and escape. He makes a name for
himself as the Phantom, whom all police agencies around the world know
and respect. When dealing with law enforcement officials he carries a
platinum badge in the shape of a domino mask as proof of his true identity.
Next: Mysterious Masked Avengers