The Avenger is a fictional character whose original adventures appeared between September 1939 and September 1942
in the pulp magazine The Avenger, published by Street and Smith Publications.
Five additional short stories were published in Clues Detective magazine (1942–1943), and a sixth novelette
in The Shadow magazine in 1943. Newly written adventures were commissioned and published by Warner Brother's
Paperback Library from 1973 to 1974. The Avenger was a pulp hero who combined elements of Doc Savage and the Shadow.
The authorship of the pulp series was credited by Street and Smith to Kenneth Robeson, the same byline that appeared
on the Doc Savage stories. The "Kenneth Robeson" name was a house pseudonym used by a number of different Street & Smith
writers. Most of the original Avenger stories were written by Paul Ernst.
In the late 1930s following in the wake of a slew of magazine cancellations (The Skipper, Bill Barnes and The Whisperer
"had failed to capture the audience loyalty" of Doc Savage and the Shadow Street and Smith circulation manager Henry William
Ralston and editor John L. Nanovic set out to create a new hero combining elements of Doc Savage and the Shadow. They obtained
advice from Lester Dent and Walter B. Gibson in the creation of the Avenger, and hired writer Paul Ernst. Both Dent and Gibson
met with Ernst to give him advice on his stories, Dent focused on characterization and Gibson on plotting. The character of the Avenger, described by pulp expert Don Hutchison as "clearly an effort to form a hybrid of the company's more successful creations", echoed his forebears in other ways also. Whereas Doc Savage was known as "The Man of Bronze", the Avenger was described as "The Man of Steel". The Avenger's "marksman's eyes" echoed the "burning eyes" of the Shadow, who continued to be referred to as "The
When creating the Avenger, Paul Ernst drew on elements from characters he had previously created; Seekay (a private detective
with a disfigured face who wears a plastic mask); the Wraith (a crimefighter who used a knife and a gun);
Dick Bullitt (with gray features); Old Stone Face (a G-man with the emotionless visage); the Gray Marauder and Karlu the mystic.
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