The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley

The Mark of Zorro is a classic by every standard of the term.  It’s one of the grandpappies of the pulp adventurers, predating Batman by 20 years and The Shadow by just over a decade.  Originally released in 1919 in a 5-part serialized magazine format called The Curse of Capistrano, it was eventually reprinted as a novel in 1924 under the title we know today.  Every classic bit we’ve ever come to associate with swashbuckling, secret identities, romantic triangles, beautiful and feisty damsels, ultimate justice, and pulp-level bravado is to be found here.  It follows the influence of the works of Alexandre Dumas and Rafael Sabatini, and it sets the stage for virtually everything we know today.

I literally grew up with this story.  I’ve been watching the movies (all of them) for as long as I can remember.  I first read the book when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old.  I’ve seen various TV and cartoon adaptations, and I’ve gone through a half dozen different radio versions.  In the end, the original is still always the best.  It never gets old.  Never.

5 stars

mark-of-zorro

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