Howard Victor Chaykin is an American comic book artist and writer. Chaykin’s influences include his one-time employer and mentor, Gil Kane, the mid-20th century illustrators Robert Fawcett and Al Parker. Howard Chaykin was born in Newark, New Jersey, to Rosalind Pave and Norman Drucker, who soon separated. Chaykin was raised by his grandparents in Staten Island, New York City, until his mother married Leon Chaykin in 1953 and the family moved to East Flatbush and to 370 Saratoga Avenue, Brooklyn. At 14, Chaykin moved with his now divorced mother to the Kew Gardens section of Queens, he said in 2000 he was raised on welfare after his parents separated and that his absent biological father was declared dead, although Chaykin, as an adult, located him alive. Chaykin's "nutty and cruel" adoptive father, whom Chaykin until the 1990s believed was his natural father, encouraged Chaykin's interest in drawing and bought him sketchbooks, he was introduced to comics by his cousin. He graduated from Jamaica High School at 16, in 1967, in mid-1968 worked at Zenith Press.
He attended Columbia College in Chicago that fall, but left school and returned to New York the following year. Chaykin said that after high school, "I hitchhiked around the country" before becoming, at 19, a "gofer" for the New York City-based comic book artist Gil Kane, whom he would name as his greatest influence. Chaykin's earliest work with comic books was under the tutelage of Gil Kane, whom he would call his mentor. I'd heard on the grapevine that Gil's assistant had dropped dead of a heart attack at 23. I gave Gil a call, he said,'Yeah, I can use you.' So I went to work for him.... He was doing Blackmark, I did a bad job pasting up the dialog and putting in.... It was a great apprenticeship. I learned a lot from watching Gil work. In 1970, he began publishing his art in comics and science-fiction fanzines, sometimes under the pseudonym Eric Pave. Leaving Kane, he began working as an assistant to comics artist Wally Wood in the studio he shared with Syd Shores and Jack Abel in Valley Stream, Long Island.
He worked there for a "couple of months", in 1971 published his first professional comics work, for the adult-theme Western feature Shattuck in the military newspaper the Overseas Weekly, one of Wood's clients. He "ghosted some stuff" for Gray Morrow: "I penciled a Man-Thing story he did, I penciled a thing for National Lampoon called "Michael Rockefeller and the Jungles of New Guinea." He apprenticed under Neal Adams, working with the artist at Adams' home in The Bronx. This led to his first work at DC Comics, one of the two largest comics companies: Neal showed me to Murray Boltinoff and Julius Schwartz. Murray gave me a one-page filler. I got some work from Dorothy Woolfolk, who edited the love comics, it was all just dreadful stuff, but you stumble along, you learn. A problem for me was that by the time I became a professional, I lost any interest whatsoever in superhero comics. I'm not a horror guy, I didn't know what the hell to do! What I wanted to draw is guys with guns, guys with swords, women with big tits, and, the extent of my interest in comics at the time.
The "one-page filler", titled "Strange Neighbor", was inventoried and published in the Boltinoff-edited Secrets of Sinister House #17. His other earliest known DC work was penciling and inking the three-page story "Not Old Enough!" in Young Romance #185, penciling the eight-page supernatural story "Eye of the Beholder" in Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion #7 and the one-page "Enter the Portals of Weird War" in Weird War Tales #9. At one point Chaykin lived in the same Queens apartment building as artists Allen Milgrom, Walter Simonson and Bernie Wrightson. Simonson recalls, "We'd get together at 3 a.m. They'd come up and we'd have popcorn and sit around and talk about whatever a 26, 27 and 20-year-old guys talk about. Our art, TV, you name it. I pretty much knew at the time,'These are the good ole days.'" Chaykin's first major work was for DC Comics drawing the 23-page "The Price of Pain Ease" — writer Denny O'Neil's adaptation of author Fritz Leiber's characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser — in Sword of Sorcery #1.
Although the title was well received, it lasted only five issues before cancellation. Chaykin drew the character Ironwolf in the science fiction anthology title Weird Worlds for DC, did the pencils and ink for a 12-page Batman story written by Archie Goodwin and published in Detective Comics #441 in 1974. Moving to Marvel Comics, he began work as co-artist with Neal Adams on the first Killraven story, seen in Amazing Adventures #18 in 1973. After this, Chaykin was given various adventure strips to draw for Marvel, including his own creation, Dominic Fortune, now in the pages of Marvel Preview. In 1978, he wrote and drew his Cody Starbuck creation for the anthology title Star Reach, one of the first independent titles of the 1970s; these strips saw him explore more adult themes as best he could within the restrictions imposed on him by editors and the Comics Code Authority. The same year, he produced for Schanes a six-plate portfolio showcasing his character. In 1976, Chaykin landed the job of drawing the Marvel Comics adaptation of the first Star Wars film, written by Roy Thomas.
Chaykin left after 10 issues to work in more adult and experimental comics, to do paperback book covers. In late 1978, Walt Simonson, Val Mayerik, Jim Starlin formed Upsta
The Magdalena is an American comic book superheroine character created by Joe Benitez, David Wohl and Malachy Coney for Top Cow Productions. The Magdalena first only appeared in two brief series; the Magdalena has been featured in The Darkness, Tomb Raider, Vampirella, in its own series of twelve issues from April 2010 to April 2011. The Magdalena is the title of a series of women descended from Jesus Christ via his marriage to Mary Magdalene; the Magdalena inherits great powers from the royal bloodline and acts as a warrior in the defence of the Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church has been the Magdalena's employer since the Middle Ages, raising her from childhood and training her until she is ready to carry out her role; the Inquisition, a secretive and powerful council of cardinals, oversees the Magdalena's activities and decides her missions. Sister Rosalia was a former Magdalena, she was raped as a teenager by a masked assailant. She gave birth to a girl; the child was raised in an unidentified convent.
In her last mission, she was sent to investigate vampirism in France. She was informed that vampirism is a retrovirus that forces vampires to consume blood to restore their hemoglobin, she aided their escape. She was killed by the soldiers of the Inquisition, the Garduna, for trying to prevent them from slaughtering the vampires, it was hinted that Rosalia might have been infected with the virus and would rise three days after her death, mirroring the Resurrection of Jesus. Mariella, the adult daughter of Rosalia, was sent to kill Jackie Estacado with the Spear of Destiny, but unbeknownst to her she still wasn't trained and wasn't able to differentiate between right and wrong. After the Sisters of the Order of Magdalene performed the ritual which gave Mariella the ability to divine a person's sins and her Sisters were overpowered and defeated by Jackie, who made an example of them by crucifying them in the church. After recovering from her crucifixion and the fight with Jackie, Mariella learned where the Spear of Destiny was and prepared to retrieve it.
While doing so, she encountered the Angelus and Appolonia Francetti in the Amazon rainforest and was again left to die after Appolonia used a portion of the Darkness' power to subdue her. The third and current Magdalena is known as Patience, created by writer Brian Holguin. Patience was in her novitiate but she left her convent forcing the Inquisition to send an agent, Kristof, to track her down when her time came to assume the role of the Magdalena. Kristof found Patience living on the streets with a homeless girl named Rowan Barry. Kristof gave her basic training. Patience was hesitant but accepted her destiny when Rowan was abducted by agents of an evil force; the events lead to a disagreement with Kristof and the Inquisition, prompting her to declare herself independent of their control. She remains. Patience appeared again when Sara Pezzini, an officer of the New York City Police Department and wielder of the Witchblade, was attacked by a bloodthirsty demon posing as a young woman. Patience helped her to drive away the demon.
Benedetta was a Magdalena of Spanish descent who tried to stop Jackie Estacado's ancestor, Miguel Estacado, from obtaining a treasure meant for the Pope. During her battle with Estacado, she was fatally wounded before plunging the Spear of Destiny into the hull of Estacado's ship. Before her death, Miguel took the spear, intending to return it to the Holy See, left her to die, a decision he regretted; each Magdalena has the innate ability to see into the human heart and show people the error of their ways in order to give them the chance to redeem their sins. Additionally, each Magdalena wields the Spear of Destiny, the spear that pierced the side of Christ, as a weapon against demons and evil magic. A movie was planned by Top Cow in 2008 but it never came to fruition
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, graphic novels and video games. Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works. Most fantasy uses other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these worlds. An identifying trait of fantasy is the author's reliance on imagination to create narrative elements that do not have to rely on history or nature to be coherent; this differs from realistic fiction in that realistic fiction has to attend to the history and natural laws of reality, where fantasy does not.
An author applies his or her imagination to come up with characters and settings that are impossible in reality. Many fantasy authors use real-world mythology as inspiration. For instance, a narrative that takes place in an imagined town in the northeastern United States could be considered realistic fiction as long as the plot and characters are consistent with the history of a region and the natural characteristics that someone, to the northeastern United States expects. Fantasy has been compared to science fiction and horror because they are the major categories of speculative fiction. Fantasy is distinguished from science fiction by the plausibility of the narrative elements. A science fiction narrative is unlikely, though possible through logical scientific or technological extrapolation, where fantasy narratives do not need to be scientifically possible. Authors have to rely on the readers' suspension of disbelief, an acceptance of the unbelievable or impossible for the sake of enjoyment, in order to write effective fantasies.
Despite both genres' heavy reliance on the supernatural and horror are distinguishable. Horror evokes fear through the protagonists' weaknesses or inability to deal with the antagonists. Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were a part of literature from its beginning. Fantasy elements occur throughout the ancient Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh; the ancient Babylonian creation epic, the Enûma Eliš, in which the god Marduk slays the goddess Tiamat, contains the theme of a cosmic battle between good and evil, characteristic of the modern fantasy genre. Genres of romantic and fantasy literature existed in ancient Egypt; the Tales of the Court of King Khufu, preserved in the Westcar Papyrus and was written in the middle of the second half of the eighteenth century BC, preserves a mixture of stories with elements of historical fiction and satire. Egyptian funerary texts preserve mythological tales, the most significant of which are the myths of Osiris and his son Horus. Folk tales with fantastic elements intended for adults were a major genre of ancient Greek literature.
The comedies of Aristophanes are filled with fantastic elements his play The Birds, in which an Athenian man builds a city in the clouds with the birds and challenges Zeus's authority. Ovid's Metamorphoses and Apuleius's The Golden Ass are both works that influenced the development of the fantasy genre by taking mythic elements and weaving them into personal accounts. Both works involve complex narratives in which humans beings are transformed into animals or inanimate objects. Platonic teachings and early Christian theology are major influences on the modern fantasy genre. Plato used allegories to convey many of his teachings, early Christian writers interpreted both the Old and New Testaments as employing parables to relay spiritual truths; this ability to find meaning in a story, not true became the foundation that allowed the modern fantasy genre to develop. The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a compilation of many ancient and medieval folk tales.
Various characters from this epic have become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba. Hindu mythology was an evolution of the earlier Vedic mythology and had many more fantastical stories and characters in the Indian epics; the Panchatantra, for example, used various animal fables and magical tales to illustrate the central Indian principles of political science. Chinese traditions have been influential in the vein of fantasy known as Chinoiserie, including such writers as Ernest Bramah and Barry Hughart. Beowulf is among the best known of the Nordic tales in the English speaking world, has had deep influence on the fantasy genre. Norse mythology, as found in the Elder Edda and the Younger Edda, includes such figures as Odin and his fellow Aesir, dwarves, elves and giants; these elements have been directly imported into various fantasy works. The separate folklore of Ireland and Scotland has sometimes been us
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Referring to himself as a "consulting detective" in the stories, Holmes is known for his proficiency with observation, forensic science, logical reasoning that borders on the fantastic, which he employs when investigating cases for a wide variety of clients, including Scotland Yard. First appearing in print in 1887's A Study in Scarlet, the character's popularity became widespread with the first series of short stories in The Strand Magazine, beginning with "A Scandal in Bohemia" in 1891. All but one are set in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, between about 1880 and 1914. Most are narrated by the character of Holmes's friend and biographer Dr. Watson, who accompanies Holmes during his investigations and shares quarters with him at the address of 221B Baker Street, where many of the stories begin. Though not the first fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes is arguably the best known, with Guinness World Records listing him as the "most portrayed movie character" in history.
Holmes's popularity and fame are such that many have believed him to be not a fictional character but a real individual. Considered a British cultural icon, the character and stories have had a profound and lasting effect on mystery writing and popular culture as a whole, with the original tales as well as thousands written by authors other than Conan Doyle being adapted into stage and radio plays, films, video games, other media for over one hundred years. Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin is acknowledged as the first detective in fiction and served as the prototype for many that were created including Holmes. Conan Doyle once wrote, "Each is a root from which a whole literature has developed... Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?" The stories of Émile Gaboriau's Monsieur Lecoq were popular at the time Conan Doyle began writing Holmes, Holmes' speech and behaviour sometimes follow that of Lecoq. Both Dupin and Lecoq are referenced at the beginning of A Study in Scarlet.
Conan Doyle said that Holmes was inspired by the real-life figure of Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, whom Conan Doyle met in 1877 and had worked for as a clerk. Like Holmes, Bell was noted for drawing broad conclusions from minute observations. However, he wrote to Conan Doyle: "You are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it". Sir Henry Littlejohn, Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, is cited as an inspiration for Holmes. Littlejohn, Police Surgeon and Medical Officer of Health in Edinburgh, provided Conan Doyle with a link between medical investigation and the detection of crime. Other inspirations have been considered. One has been argued to be Maximilien Heller, by French author Henry Cauvain, it is not known if Conan Doyle read Maximilien Heller, but he was fluent in French, in this 1871 novel, Henry Cauvain imagined a depressed, anti-social, opium-smoking polymath detective, operating in Paris. Michael Harrison has suggested that a German self-styled "consulting detective" named Walter Scherer may have been the model for Holmes.
Details about Sherlock Holmes' life are scarce in Conan Doyle's stories. Mentions of his early life and extended family paint a loose biographical picture of the detective. An estimate of Holmes's age in "His Last Bow" places his year of birth at 1854, his parents are not mentioned in the stories, although Holmes mentions that his "ancestors" were "country squires". In "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", he claims that his grandmother was sister to the French artist Vernet, without clarifying whether this was Claude Joseph, Carle, or Horace Vernet. Holmes's brother Mycroft, seven years his senior, is a government official. Mycroft has a unique civil service position as a kind of human database for all aspects of government policy, he lacks Sherlock's interest in physical investigation, preferring to spend his time at the Diogenes Club. Holmes says. A meeting with a classmate's father led him to adopt detection as a profession, he spent several years after university as a consultant before financial difficulties led him to accept John H. Watson as a fellow lodger.
The two take lodgings at 221B Baker Street, London, an apartment at the upper end of the street, up seventeen steps. Holmes worked as a detective for twenty-three years, with physician John Watson assisting him for seventeen, they were roommates before Watson's 1888 marriage and again after his wife's death. Their residence is maintained by Mrs. Hudson. Most of the stories are frame narratives, written from Watson's point of view as summaries of the detective's most interesting cases. Holmes calls Watson's writing sensational and populist, suggesting that it fails to and objectively report the "science" of his craft: Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story... Some facts should be suppressed, or, at least, a just sense of proport
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Superhero fiction is a genre of speculative fiction examining the adventures and ethics of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who possess superhuman powers and battle powered criminals known as supervillains. The genre falls between hard fantasy and soft science fiction spectrum of scientific realism. Superhero fiction originated from the cultural intermingling of United States literature, it is most associated with American comic books, though it has expanded into other media through adaptations and original works. A superhero is most the protagonist of superhero fiction, although some titles, such as Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, use superheroes as secondary characters. A superhero is a type of stock character possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers" and dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes—ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas—have dominated American comic books and crossed over into other media.
The word itself dates to at least 1917. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine. "SUPER HEROES" is a trademark co-owned by Marvel Comics. By most definitions, characters do not require actual superhuman powers to be deemed superheroes, although terms such as costumed crime fighters or masked vigilantes are sometimes used to refer to those such as Batman and Green Arrow without such powers who share other common superhero traits; such characters were referred to as "mystery men" in the so-called Golden Age of Comic Books to distinguish them from characters with super-powers. Superheroes use their powers to counter day-to-day crime while combating threats against humanity by their criminal counterparts, supervillains. Long-running superheroes such as Superman, Spider-Man and Iron Man have a "rogues gallery" of such enemies. One of these supervillains might be the superhero's archenemy. Superheroes will sometimes combat other threats such as aliens, magical/fantasy entities, natural disasters, political ideologies such as Nazism or communism, godlike or demonic creatures.
A supervillain or supervillainess is a variant of the villain character type found in comic books, action movies, science fiction in various media. They are sometimes used as foils to other heroes. Whereas superheroes wield fantastic powers, the supervillain possesses commensurate powers and abilities so that he can present a daunting challenge to the hero. Without actual physical, superhuman or superalien powers, the supervillain possesses a genius intellect that allows him to draft complex schemes or create fantastic devices. Another common trait is possession of considerable resources to help further his aims. Many supervillains share some typical characteristics of real-world dictators and terrorists and have aspirations of world domination or universal leadership. Superheroes and supervillains mirror each other in their powers, abilities, or origins. In some cases, the only difference between the two is that the hero uses his extraordinary powers to help others, while the villain uses his powers for selfish, destructive or ruthless purposes.
Both superheroes and supervillains use alter egos while in action. While sometimes the character's real name is publicly known, alter egos are most used to hide the character's secret identity from their enemies and the public. With superheroes, the duality of their identities is kept a secret and guarded to protect those close to them from being harmed and to prevent them from being called upon even for problems not serious enough to require their attention; this can be a source of drama with the superhero being forced to devise means of getting out of sight to change without revealing their identity, or bearing the price of keeping such a secret. In addition, this narrative trope can allow fantasy character to be in occasional realistic stories without the fantasy element of the sub-genre appearing. With supervillains, by contrast, the duality of their identities is kept a secret and guarded to conceal their crimes from the general public, so that they may inflict greater harm on the general public, to enable them to act and hence illegally, without risk of arrest by law-enforcement authorities.
Death in superhero fiction is permanent, as characters who die are brought back to life through supernatural means or via retcons, the alteration of established facts in the continuity of a fictional work. Fans have termed the practice of bringing back dead characters "comic book death". Another common trait of superhero fiction is the killing off of a superhero's significant other by a supervillain to advance the plot. Comic book writer Gail Simone has coined the term "Women in Refrigerators" to refer to this practice. Many works of superhero fiction occur in a shared fictional universe, sometimes establishing a fictional continuity of thousands of works spread over many decades. Changes to continuity are common, ranging from small changes to established continuity called retcons, to full reboots, erasing all previous continuity, it is common for stories works of superhero fiction to contain established characters and setting while occurring outside of the main canon
Zorro is a fictional character created in 1919 by American pulp writer Johnston McCulley, appearing in works set in the Pueblo of Los Angeles during the era of Spanish California. He is portrayed as a dashing masked vigilante who defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of California against corrupt and tyrannical officials and other villains, his signature all-black costume includes a cape, a hat known as a sombrero cordobés, a mask covering the upper half of his face. In the stories, Zorro has a high bounty on his head, but is too skilled and cunning for the bumbling authorities to catch, he delights in publicly humiliating them. Zorro is an acrobat and an expert in various weapons, but the one he employs most is his rapier, which he uses to carve the initial "Z" on his defeated foes, other objects, he is an accomplished rider, his trusty steed being a black horse called Tornado. Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega, a young man, the only son of Don Alejandro de la Vega, the richest landowner in California, while Diego's mother is dead.
In most versions, Diego learned his swordsmanship while at university in Spain, created his masked alter ego after he was unexpectedly summoned home by his father because California had fallen into the hands of an oppressive dictator. Diego is shown living with his father in a huge hacienda, which contains a number of secret passages and underground tunnels, leading to a secret cave that serves as headquarters for Zorro's operations and as Tornado's hiding place. In order to divert suspicion about his identity, Diego hides his fighting abilities while pretending to be a coward and a fop. Zorro made his debut in the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano meant as a stand-alone story. However, the success of the 1920 film adaptation The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks convinced McCulley to write more Zorro stories for about four decades: the character was featured in a total of five serialized stories and 57 short stories, the last one appearing in print posthumously in 1959, the year after his death.
The Curse of Capistrano sold more than 50 million copies, becoming one of the most sold books of all time. While the rest of McCulley's Zorro stories didn't enjoy the same popularity, as most of them were never reprinted until the 21st century, the character appears in over 40 films and in ten TV series, the most famous being the Disney-produced Zorro series of 1957–59, starring Guy Williams. Other media featuring Zorro include stories by other authors, audio/radio dramas, comic books and strips, stage productions and video games. Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media, is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books, with Batman drawing close parallels to the character. Zorro debuted in Johnston McCulley's novel The Curse of Capistrano, serialized in five parts between August 9 and September 6, 1919 in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly; the story was meant as a standalone tale, at the denouement, Zorro's true identity is revealed to all.
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, on their honeymoon, selected the story as the inaugural picture for their new studio, United Artists, beginning the character's cinematic tradition. The novel was adapted as the film The Mark of Zorro, which Fairbanks produced, co-wrote and starred in as Diego/Zorro; the movie was a commercial success, the 1924 reprint of McCulley's story by publisher Grosset & Dunlap used the same title, capitalizing on the movie's popularity. The novel has since been reprinted using both titles. In response to public demand fueled by the film, McCulley wrote more than sixty more Zorro stories, beginning in 1922; the 1922 story was The Further Adventures of Zorro and was serialized in Argosy All-Story Weekly. Fairbanks picked up the movie rights for the sequel that year. However, Fairbanks's sequel, Don Q, Son of Zorro, was more based on the 1919 novel Don Q's Love Story by the mother-son duo Kate Prichard and Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard than The Further Adventures, thus McCulley received no credit on the film.
At first, production of new Zorro stories proceeded at irregular intervals: the third novel, Zorro Rides Again was published in 1931, nine years after the second one. Between 1932 and 1941, McCulley wrote four short stories and two serialized novels. Zorro stories were published much more between 1944 and 1951, a period in which McCulley published 52 short stories with the character for the West Magazine. "Zorro Rides the Trail!", which appeared in Max Brand's Western Magazine in 1954, is the last story to be published during the author's lifetime, the second-to-last story overall. The last, "The Mask of Zorro", was published posthumously in Short Stories for Men in 1959; these stories ignore Zorro's public revelation of his identity. The Curse of Capistrano sold more than 50 million copies, becoming one of the most sold books of all time, while the rest of McCulley's Zorro stories didn't enjoy the same popularity, as most of them were never reprinted until the 21st century. Over 40 Zorro titled films were made over the years, including The Mark of Zorro, the 1940 classic starring Tyrone Power.
The character was featured in ten TV series, the most famous being the Disney-produced Zorro series of 1957–'59, starring Guy Williams. Zorro appears in several stories written by other authors, comics books and strips, stage productions, video games and other m