Item description for The Nyctalope vs Lucifer by Brian Stableford Jean de La Hire...
Leo Saint-Clair, alias the Nyctalope, was created in 1911 by Jean de La Hire, one of France's most prolific writer of adventure serials. Gifted with night vision, hypnotic powers, extraordinary senses and an artificial heart, Saint-Clair is a fearless adventurer who battles with a gallery of colorful super-villains. His adventures, which spanned 30 years, created a template that was later adopted by such pulp heroes as Doc Savage (1933), before providing the core mythology of American comic books. In Lucifer (1921), his second appearance and possibly his greatest battle, the Nyctalope faces Baron Gl von Warteck, a.k.a. Lucifer, whose tremendous hypnotic powers, amplified by his diabolical "teledynamo," threatens to enslave the world.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.8" Height: 1.2" Weight: 1.45 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2007
Publisher Hollywood Comics
ISBN 1932983988 ISBN13 9781932983982
Availability 115 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 10:36.
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Captain France Meets the Antichrist! Aug 7, 2008
In The Nyctalope vs Lucifer, Jean le Hire's prototypical pulp superman Leo Saint-Clair, known as the Nyctalope for his ability to see in the dark, is pitted against the diabolical Baron Glo von Warteck, aka Lucifer, a meglomanical self styled Antichrist who has kidnapped the woman Saint-Clair loves and holds her prisoner at his sinister castle Schwarzrock where with his "Teledynamo" he amplifies his own hypnotic powers and threatens not only the Nyctalope's lover, but all of France.
This is the second novel in the series, the first 1911's The Nyctalope on Mars which pitted the hero with the remarkable eyes and the artificial heart that makes him virtually immortal against the evil secret society the XV and H.G. Wells Martian invaders. A decade later la Hire, a popular writer in the French newspaper serials known as 'feuilleton'created in his Nyctalope a character who contained many of the qualities of later popular fictional archetypes from Doc Savage to the Dark Knight. There had been supermen in popular fiction before --- Sexton Blake had quite a bit of trouble and later help from Waldo the Wonder Man --- and mystery men from the Scarlet Pimpernel to the Nyctalope's countrymen Arsene Lupin, Fantomas, and Erik the Phantom of the Opera --- but la Hire became the first to put together the elements that would become the trope for the archtypical hero of the pulps and eventually the comics.
Unlike his comic book, and some pulp followers, Leo Saint-Clair had no secret identity and operated as a sort of public agent of the French Colonial Government of his time, his adventures taking him from Algeria to Tibet, from Mars to China and the far future over his thirty year career that began in 1911 (his final adventures, unpublished at his creator's death, would appear in the late 1950's. If Captain America is the symbol of American democracy and Bulldog Drummond of the late British Empire, Saint-Clair is the embodiment of the French Colonial spirit in his time: Captain France.
Both this and The Nyctalope on Mars are offered from Black Coat Press with translation, adaptation, and literary and historical introduction and annotations by noted British sf and fantasy novelist Brian Stableford, who now divides his time between his own fine work and bringing lost classics of French popular fiction to an English speaking audience thanks to the fine work of Jean Marc and Randy Lofficier at Black Coat Press. As Stableford points out, there is much the modern reader may have to forgive in this book and the serial form doesn't always lead itself to tight plotting, but few readers are going to put aside this exciting tale. La Hire is neither a fine stylist like Maurice Leblanc, the creator of Arsene Lupin, nor capable of the surrealist turns of eccentric genius of the Fantomas tales, but he is a first rate storyteller and any reader of popular fiction who is seeking to be entertained and experience a world both new and familiar, is reccommended to read this and the first adventure of the Nyctalope (readers of The Black Dossier, the third volume of Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen may recall the Nyctalope from that graphic novel).
Remember the Nyctalope sees everything you do --- even in the dark.
Fantastique! Jul 2, 2007
The folks at Black Coat Press (as well as translator Brian Stableford) are eager to let us know that the Nyctalope was the first, modern superhero and an obvious inspiration for Doc Savage. While this is obviously true, this book has more to recommend it than that. Certainly there is plenty of action in the perfuntory pulp style, but NYCTALOPE VS LUCIFER is to pulps what the work of Louis Feuillade is to the American matinee movie serials. While Jean de la Hire's serial is never short on action or outrageous plot contrivances, it contains a oneric, surreal quality that is both disarming and intoxicating. The Nyctalope may not be the equal of Fantomas, Judex or Belphagor, but fans of those characters will find much to appreciate here.