The British "Pulps" era

For want of a better title, I've designated this period the Pulps era, but to be fair, it predates the true American Pulps era of the late twenties and thirties, originating instead in the newspaper strips and penny dreadfuls of the previous century. Many of these characters (such as Black Sapper) would later be revived in picture strips years down the line. Many thanks to Stephen Montgomery for pointing out my mistaken belief that Britain had no real superheroes or supervillains prior to the Second World War, and for providing pictures and biographical information on a large number of these characters.

Unlike with later years I'm not going to split the characters into heroes and villains, as many of these individuals would start the latter only to reform and begin fighting crime (a British tradition that would continue unabated for decades). Instead I've split them by decade, more because it's interesting to see the gradual development of these types of characters than necessity.

Pre -1920's


Waldo the Wonder Man

Zenith the Albino

Marie Galante

Prince Wu Ling

Ally Sloper

Iron Man

The Winged Man



Black Sapper


Invisible Dick

Marko the Miracle Man

Morgyn the Mighty

Phantom Protector

Waldo the Wonder Boy

The Black Trinity

Mr. Mist

The Owl

Miss Death

Dr. Satira

The Grey Bat


With the launch of the Beano and the Dandy in the late thirties the first proper "superhero" type picture strips arrive in Britain.

Black Whip

Derickson Dene

Desperate Dan

Flaming Avenger

Frosty McNab

The Hooded Protectors

The Night Hawk

Norman Conquest

Pansy Potter

Peter Piper

Ping the Elastic Man


Wild Boy of the Woods

Steam Man

Tin-Can Tommy

Strang the Terrible

Shade the Shadower

Captain Q

Iron Man

Karga the Clutcher

Keeper of the Dread Sword

Zero the Silent

Black Slink

Vull the Invisible

Hooded Unknown

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All images and characters depicted are copyright their respective holders, and are used above for informational purposes only. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source.