A 1930s Robin Hood, dashing Cary Adair steals from the wealthy—and splits the proceeds with his well-named Satan’s Crew. They are a loose collection of shifty characters with monikers like Doc, Kayo, Soapy, Big Bill and Gentleman Dan—many of whom don’t survive working for the satanic captain for very long. That was the refreshing thing about William O’Sullivan’s dashing demi-hero: In the realistic and hard-hitting milieu he painted, not every heroic henchman lives to fight another day.
As Satan tells them: “You know my principles: To smash every crook I can lay my hands on—and what he has is mine. I’ll break every petty or large crook, every swindling racketeer or grafting politician or gyp banker I can lay my hands on. The terms you already know. What they have is ours. I pay the expenses and take a one third cut. You boys spilt the remainder on equal shares.”
William O’Sullivan was a prolific producer of pulp crime, sports and aviation stories. He penned only five novels for Captain Satan magazine, but they are nice smooth examples of 1938 pulp. And they carry the distinct flavor of Popular Publications—a kind of pulpy Warner Bros. movie on paper.
One amusing thing about Cary Adair is that he was best buds with the head of the F.B.I.—in this series called Jo Desher. In real life, he was J. Edgar Hoover. Desher soon begins to suspect that his wealthy friend is the brains behind Captain Satan. But proving it is another matter….
The Mask of the Damned chronicles the first exploit of Cary Adair, and is ripped from the pages of Popular Publications’ premier issue of Captain Satan, dated March, 1938. Michael C. Gwynne narrates the action. Also included is William R. Cox’s intriguing short story, "Mr. Detective is Annoyed."