Le Nyctalope

Real Name: Léo Sainte-Claire

Identity/Class: Human cyborg

Occupation: Adventurer

Affiliations: Gno Mitang, Vitto, Soca, Mizzeia Khali (Queen of the Tibetan Amazons), Mathias Lumen;
head of the C.I.D. (Committee of Information and Defense)

Enemies: Oxus, Fulbert, Lucifer (Baron Glo von Warteck), Leonid Zattan, Titania (Diana Ivanovna Krasnoview, Queen of the Hashishins, a.k.a. The red Princess), Korridès, Belzébuth, Gorillard (Dominique de Soto, a.k.a. Dan Arlem a.k.a. Ourga a.k.a. Mastodon), Alouh T'Ho

Known Relatives: Veronique d'Olbans (wife, deceased), Sylvie Mac Dhul (wife), Pierre (son)

Aliases: Jean de Sainte-Claire, Jean de Sainclair

Base of Operations: France

First Appearance: L'Homme Qui Peut Vivre dans l'Eau (The Man Who Could Live Underwater, serialised in Le Matin daily newspaper, 1908)

Powers/Abilities: The Nyctalope was a super-powered avenger who could see in the dark with his eerie yellow eyes and sported an artificial heart.

History: "God sometimes allows His Infallible Justice and Rightful Wrath to manifest themselves upon the face of this Earth... And you are that manifestation... You, the Nyctalope!"

(L'Assassinat du Nyctalope (The Assassination Of The Nyctalope)) When Léo Sainte-Claire was 20, an assassination attempt was made on his life. He survived, but gained superhuman abilities and an artificial heart as a result.

(L'Homme Qui Peut Vivre dans l'Eau (The Man Who Could Live Underwater)) When two megalomaniacal villains, Oxus and the mad monk Fulbert, grafted shark gills onto a hapless victim, turning him into the Ichtaner, a water-breathing man, they were opposed by Severac, a formidable engineer who had designed the Torpedo, a super-powerful submarine. Severac was assisted by Jean de Sainte-Claire, and in the end he won the day, thwarting the villains; the Ichtaner was restored to normality by the surgeon Balsan.

(Le Mystère des XV (The Mystery Of The XV)) Oxus returned and tried to conquer Mars with the help of a secret society of 15 other villains, and breed a new race of supermen with young girls kidnaped from Earth. However, he faced the opposition of (H. G. Wells') Martians, and was ultimately defeated by the Nyctalope.

(Lucifer) The Nyctalope challenged the megalomaniacal Baron Glo von Warteck, aptly nicknamed "Lucifer," who from his citadel in Bermuda, tried to enslave humanity with his devilish "Omega Rays" and his "teledyname". Along the way, the Nyctalope first met his friend and ally, the Japanese ambassador Gno Mitang, and acquired two indomitable Corsican bodyguards, Vitto and Soca. He ultimately established the C.I.D., the Committee of Information and Defense (against Evil), and defeated Lucifer.

(Le Roi de la Nuit (The King Of The Night)) The Nyctalope flew to Rhea, an unknown satellite of Earth, using a spacecraft patented by Dr. Cavor, and settled a war between its winged day-siders and night-siders. At the end of the adventure, the Nyctalope married Veronique d'Olbans, who must have died soon after since she was not seen in subsequent tales.

(L'Amazone du Mont Everest (The Amazon Of Mount Everest)) The Nyctalope discovered a hidden Tibetan civilization of Amazons, and left with their former Queen, Mizzeia Khali.

(L'Antéchrist (The Antichrist)) The Nyctalope faced his greatest villain ever: Leonid Zattan, truly evil incarnate. The Nyctalope was the instrument of the mysterious Jewish wizard, Mathias Lumen, in an ultimate battle between Good and Evil. During this escapade he met Gno Mitang's ward, Sylvie Mac Dhul, who later became his wife.

(Titania) Zattan's ally the "Red Princess" Diana Ivanovna Krasnoview, Queen of the Hashishins, returned under the alias of Titania, this time allied to the mad engineer Korridès. Together they fought the Nyctalope who, by then, had fathered a son named Pierre with Sylvie. With the help of his friends and allies, the Nyctalope prevailed. Diana was killed by a young gypsy girl, and Korridès committed suicide.

(Belzébuth) However, Zattan and Titania had fathered a son too: the savage, yet brilliant, Hughes Mézarek, a.k.a. in Belzébuth, who sent the Nyctalope's wife and son to the future year 2100. The Nyctalope followed and defeated Mézarek before returning to his own time period with his wife and son. Interestingly, in the future, the Nyctalope met friendly descendants of Oxus and Balsan.

(Gorillard) The Nyctalope fought Gorillard (in reality Dominique de Soto, a man of many aliases), an arch-enemy of the Saint-Clair family, who had become master of the Seven Living Buddhas. Gorillard used secret Oriental science and psychic powers to threaten the West.

(Les Mystères de Lyon (The Mysteries Of Lyons)) The Nyctalope fought Alouh T'Ho, daughter of T'seu Hsi, the imperatrix of China who, despite being born in 1852, looked like a 25-year-old girl because she and her secret cult stole other people's lifeforce.

(Le Sphinx du Maroc (The Moroccan Sphinx)) No synopsis available.

(La Croisière du Nyctalope (The Nyctalope's Cruise)) No synopsis available.

(La Croix de Sang (The Cross Of Blood)) No synopsis available.

(La Sorcière Nue (The Naked Sorceress)) Alouh T'Ho returned to menace the world again, once more opposed by the Nyctalope.

(Rien qu'une Nuit (Only One Night)) In 1941 the Nyctalope appeared to succumbed to the charms of collaboration with the Nazis.

Comments: The Nyctalope was created by Jean de La Hire.

According to the most reliable internal chronology one may derive from the series, the Nyctalope was born circa 1890 (the years of 1879 and 1892 are mentioned in different books). His adventures roughly take place between 1908 and 1940.

Le Mystère des XV (The Mystery Of The XV), published in 1911, was later retitled Le Secret des XII in a subsequent edition, with Oxus renamed Arkhus.

The Nyctalope also had problems keeping his name straight - in his first appearance, he was Jean de Sainte-Claire; in Lucifer he was Jean de Sainclair, and it wasn't until Le Roi de la Nuit that he settled on being Léo Saint-Clair.

Between 1952 to 1955 a 22-volume heavily edited and updated reprint series was published by Jaeger-d'Hauteville, with covers by Brantonne. La Hire's son-in-law, who was behind the project, included a new novel, La Sorcière Nue (The Naked Sorceress) in 1954.

The last Nyctalope story (according to the series' internal chronology and not the revised dates of the later publications) was the novella Rien qu'une Nuit (Only One Night), written in 1944 but taking place in 1941, in which the Nyctalope appears to have succumbed to the charms of collaboration with the Nazis, retroactively making him the first superhero to have actually gone bad in his old age! Of course, this was written while the Nazis were occupying France, and was probably not the author's choice for how to end the character's saga.

  1. L'Homme Qui Peut Vivre dans l'Eau (The Man Who Could Live Underwater) (serial. in "Le Matin", 1908; rep. Juven, 1910; rep. in 2 vols., L'Homme Qui Peut Vivre dans l'Eau (The Man Who Could Live Underwater) and Les Amours de l'Inconnu (The Loves Of The Unknown), RDA, 1921)

  2. Le Mystère des XV (The Mystery Of The XV) (serial. in "Le Matin", 1911; rep. in 2 vols. as Le Secret des XII (The Secret Of The XII) and Les Conquérants de Mars (The Conquerors Of Mars), Jaeger, 1954)

  3. Lucifer (serial. in "Le Matin", 1921-22; rep. as 2 vols. as Lucifer and Le Nyctalope vs. Lucifer, RDA, 1922)

  4. Le Roi de la Nuit (The King Of The Night) (serial. in "Le Matin", 1923; rep. LM, 1943; rep. as Planète Sans Feu (Planet Without Fire), Jaeger, 1953)

  5. L'Amazone du Mont Everest (The Amazon Of Mount Everest) (serial. in "Le Matin", 1925; rep. RDA, 1925; rep. as La Madone des Cimes (The Madonna Of The Mountains), VA, 1933; rep. as Le Mystère de l'Everest (The Mystery Of The Everest), Jaeger, 1953)

  6. L'Antéchrist (The Antichrist) (serial.in "Le Matin", 1927; rep. as 2 vols., La Captive du Démon (Captive Of The Demon) and La Princesse Rouge (The Red Princess), Fayard, 1931)

  7. Titania (serial. in "Le Matin", 1929; rep. as 2 vols., Titania and Écrase ta Vipère (Squash Your Viper), LN, 1929)

  8. Belzébuth (serial. in "Le Matin", 1930; rep. as 2 vols., Belzébuth and L'Île d'Épouvante (The Island Of Terror), Fayard, 1930)

  9. Gorillard (serial. in "Le Matin", 1932; rep. as 2 vols., Gorillard and Le Mystère Jaune (The Yellow Mystery), Fayard, 1932; Jaeger, 1954)

  10. L'Assassinat du Nyctalope (The Assassination Of The Nyctalope) (Ren. du Livre, 1933)

  11. Les Mystères de Lyon (The Mysteries Of Lyons) (2 vols., Les Mystères de Lyon (The Mysteries Of Lyons) and Les Adorateurs du Sang (The Blood Worshippers), LN, 1933-34)

  12. Le Sphinx du Maroc (The Moroccan Sphinx) (Tallandier, 1935)

  13. La Croisière du Nyctalope (The Nyctalope's Cruise) (Fayard, 1936; rep. as Wanda, Jaeger, 1953)

  14. La Croix de Sang (The Cross Of Blood) (Simon, 1941)

  15. La Sorcière Nue (The Naked Sorceress) (Jaeger, 1954)

  16. Rien qu'une Nuit (Only One Night) (novella; 1944)

The Nycatlope has made a tiny cameo in Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where it was revealed he was a member of the French equivalent of the League, "Les Hommes Mysterieux".

Much of the information on this page comes verbatim from Cool French Comics, used with permission. Likewise the images.


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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