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  • By Michael Brown
    Jan 5, 2011
    For most people, myself included, probably only know of Johnston McCulley as the author of Zorro. But McCulley wrote many other works, and many made use of continuing characters (even if only for a handful of stories). Not all where heroes, a few were thiefs (ex: Black Star, Thubway Tham, etc). Many of these characters predated the more well known pulp heroes of the 30s, and presaged several of them. The Man in Purple is one such character. Only 3 stories were written, who appeared over 3 months in "Detective Story Magazine" in 1921 (Oct thru December). These 3 stories have never all been reprinted, so this collection is a great asset. And a new MiP story by Tom Johnson is just an added bonus. So who is the Man in Purple (MiP) and what is his schtick? Well, the MiP is really well off man about town, Richard Staegel. He's handsome and young and athletic, and engaged to Betty Hayler. But they both want thrills, so decide to go into crime and steal from the rich, but only the... More > rich who have gotten their wealth by ripping off 'widows and orphans', and so all their take is given to charity. The MiP persona is created, which is Richard dressed in an all purple outfit, including a full face mask. To prevent any connection, Richard has special purple material that he uses to make the outfits, and destroys them after using them so nothing is traced back to him. Assisting them is Broph, a down and out guy Richard rescues and recruites in the first story, and brings him aboard as a chauffeur and assistant. Opposing them is Detective Troman. This is not your standard hero, but more of a robin hood character, stealing from the rich. I think that this can be expected of the time, the Roaring Twenties. Why only 3 stories is not given. Prehaps the character didn't click with readers, and McCulley abandoned the character in favor of new ones. Production wise, this is another great collection by Altus Press. I loved how the cover is done in a similiar style as their other McCulley collection, "The Bat Strikes Again and Again". I do hope we can see further collections of McCulley characters such as his Green Ghost and Spider, Mongoose, Black Star, and others. (I believe other presses are doing Zorro and Thubway Tham). I did see a few typos, so maybe they should have gotten my help on this again. :)< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
Altus Press
July 14, 2011
Hardcover (dust-jacket)
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.98 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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