Pulp and Adventure Heroes: W

Wade, Inspector. Illustrated by Lyman Anderson (and later Neil O'Keeffe) and based on the Edgar Wallace character, Inspector Wade debuted on 1 May 1935 and lasted through May of 1941. The eponymous character is Detective Inspector Wade of Scotland Yard, a suave, pipe-smoking police detective very much in the traditional British style. With his assistant Donavan, Wade fought crime across England, Europe, and even into Africa, sometimes coming into conflict with more exotic elements, like societies of assassins.

Wade, Thunder Jim. I'm indebted to Ed Love, International Man of Mystery, for this entry. Ed says:

by harry kuttner and five adventures running in Thrilling Adventures may '41-sept '41.

thunder jim wade was orphaned in a plane crash in an inaccessible (mostly) african valley. he's raised by the remnants of cretan settlers who had arrived ages before. didn't any hero have a normal childhood?

eventually, galbraith, an archaeologist, wanders into the valley through a temporary pass in the mountains and he serves as wade's mentor and father figure and the two leave the valley together. wade is tall and lean with jet black hair and eyes (although the cover artist depicts him as a Flash Gordon wannabe). his bizarre upbringing left him with many abilities such as ventriloquism, hypnotism, swordsmanship, sharpshooting, etc.

with pals red argyle, a burly giant with gnarled hands and deft fingers, and dirk marat, a small blond man w/ a penchant for knives and guns, he travels the world discovering lost civilizations and fighting evil. their mode of transportation is the thunderbug, a plane that can be readily converted to a powerful tank or submarine.

Wade, Smoke. Wade was created by Robert J. Hogan and appeared in Air Trails and Battle Birds from 1931 through most of the rest of the decade. Lieutenant Smoke Wade is a WW1 air ace, an Arizonan with a drawl and a cowboy affectation who is nonetheless a demon in the skies, death on a wing to the Germans.

Wahoo, Big Chief. Big Chief Wahoo was created by Allen Saunders and Elmer Woggon and appeared in eponymous comic strip starting in 1937. In the words of Crawford's Encyclopedia of Comic Books, Big Chief Wahoo was originally a "gag strip primarily concerned with Wahoo's fish-out-of-water status in the white man's environment." That changed when tough guy press photographer Steve Roper appeared, and Steve and Wahoo began traveling abroad, taking on various spy cases and other dangerous adventures. Wahoo was accompanied, originally, by his daughter, the toothsome Minnie Ha-Cha, who went on to star in Hollywood.

Wakefield, Bob. Bob Wakefield was created by Harold B. Miller and appeared in the three-book "Bob Wakefield" series, which began in 1936 with Bob Wakefield, Naval Aviator. Bob was a pilot for the U.S. Navy and had various Navy aviation-related adventures.

Waldo the Wonder Man. Rupert Waldo, the "Wonder Man," was created by Edwy Searles Brooks, creator of Falcon Swift; his first appearance was in "Waldo the Wonder Man," Union Jack #794 (28 December 1918). Waldo ended his career as something of a well-heeled gentleman crook, not much different from many other of that type, but his beginning was quite different. In his debut he is not a lovable rogue, attractive despite his willing disobediance of those pesky laws. He is a murderer, having knocked off a blackmailer who was trying to get rich by threatening to reveal an awful deed in Waldo's past. Waldo is also cunning enough to frame an innocent man for the murder by planting evidence in the man's caravan. Waldo also began as a superman, with the strength of six men--he was quite capable of turning over trolley buses with his bare hands--impervious to pain due to his sufering from Morvan's disease (Syringomelia), capable of amazing recuperative feats, and able to shrug off and ignore being shot, burned, trampled, and other normally-crippling injuries. Over the decades he became better natured and his deeds less criminal and more in the line of other pulp heroes, but when he began he was a real rotter. He clashed with Nelson Lee and Sexton Blake, the latter two being responsible for his first capture, and possibly others I've been unable to discover; his relationship with them began as a standard hero-and-villain situation, but fairly quickly evolved into a much more friendly one, and as Waldo became a better and more "chivalrous" person and more heroic he became much more welcome at Blake's flat on Baker Street and Lee's lodgings on Dover Street. He even became an Deputy Commissioner of Scotland Yard, being helped by Chief Inspector Lennard (they had an amiable dislike for each other when Waldo was a crook and a genuine friendship when Waldo was on the right side of the law), and not only upstaged Sexton Blake himself on some few occasions but even took Blake's place in the pages of Detective Weekly between August 1935 and December 1937! During these times he was a Peril Expert, someone who hired out for outrageously dangerous jobs, just for the adrenaline rush of it; his advertisement ran, "If it's dangerous get it done by Waldo." He wasn't always a Peril Expert, however, and didn't stay that way. He began as "Waldo the Wonder-Man and Crook" (Union Jack #794-942), turned into the more do-gooding and less despicable "Waldo the Robin Hood of Crime" (Union Jack #948-1222), became the Peril Expert (Union Jack #1266-1490), and then reverted back to crime, though not to his murderous beginnings (Union Jack #1499-1530).

Waldo, perhaps surprisingly, had a son, who had all of his talents but never turned bad. Introduced in "Waldo the Wonder Boy," Nelson Lee Library (Second Series) #175 (7 September 1929), Stanley Waldo explained that until recently he hadn't known that he had a father, but Rupert, at this point the law-abiding "Peril Expert," had appeared in his life and brought him back to England, to attend school at Nelson Lee's St. Frank's College. No mention was made of Stanley Waldo later, during Rupert's final criminal phase.

Colonel Walker. Colonel Walker was created by Melville Davison Post and appeared in a number of short stories and Walker of the Secret Service (1924). Colonel Walker was an agent for the American Secret Service who worked his way up to becoming the head of the Secret Service. He's a somewhat hard and clever agent who does what he has to do to stop the Germans and other enemies of the US. As with the rest of Post's work, the Walker stories are quite entertaining and reward the effort to find them.

"The Reward"
One of the Walker stories e-texted. Go read it–it's worth it.

Waller, Tore. Tore Waller was created by the Swedish writer August Jansson and appeared in several books, including Vändjärnsmordet (The Turn-Iron Murder, 1930). Waller is a brilliant, independent, almost Nietzschean engineer who solves crimes.

Wallion, Maurice. Maurice Wallion was created by the Swedish writer Julius Pettersson under the pseudonym of “Jul. Regis” and appeared in several short stories and novels, beginning with Det blå spåret (“The Blue Trail,” 1916). Wallion was a reporter and international correspondent for a Stockholm newspaper before and during the war years. Known as “The Problem Solver,” Wallion is described as a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Nick Carter, being just as willing to settle a case with his fists as with his brain. He has gray eyes, a mysterious past, and the facial features and mannerisms of Holmes himself. Bo Lundin says, of the Wallion stories: “The villains were often imported from the Continent or from some fictitious South American republic; the books are a mix of logical reasoning (a tortured logic, at times) and pure adventure."

Wan Tengri. Wan Tengri was created by Norvell Page and appeared in two novels, Flame Winds (1939) and Sons of the Bear-God (1939). Wan Tengri is actually Prester John, who in this case is a huge, sword-wielding, Conan-like warrior, a red-haired Scythian who wandered into Central China looking for gold and glory. One thing leads to another and he ends up fighting wizards and armies and so on. Wan Tengri is assisted by Bourtai, a very reluctant sidekick. Bourtai, a very reluctant sidekick.

Warren, Malcolm. Malcolm Warren was created by Clifford Kitchin and appeared in at least three novels, beginning with Death of My Aunt (1929). Warren is, in one critic's words, "a fastidious, even eccentric young stockbroker" who is forced to play detective by the deaths of those close to him.

Warrender, Mrs. Elizabeth. Mrs. Elizabeth Warrender was created by G.D.H. & M. Cole and appeared in a number of stories, published between 1933 and 1939. She is an “elderly lady of respectable family and small means” who enjoys traveling on holiday vacations, seeing gardens, and watching those around her. She’s not a trained detective, but she’s very canny and knowledgeable about human nature, and it’s those traits which help her solve mysteries.

Watson, Sarah. Sarah Watson was created by D. B. McCandless and appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly starting late in 1936. She was neither young nor beautiful, but she was effective. In a nameless small town/large city, she ran the Watson Detective Agency with Ben Todd, her young assistant (she just called him "whippersnapper"). She was in her forties and "heavyset," she never dressed particularly well (square-toed shoes, rusty black skirts and shirtwaists), and she ate the way most pulp private eyes usually ate, but she was tough just like the other pulp p.i.s were. Effective, too, always emerging "from any given fracas with somebody's goat and a substantial amount of dollars and cents."

Watts. Watts the Unriddler was created by Guy C. Baker and appeared in Blue Book in 1911. An agent of the Department of Justice, Watts' brief is to stop trustbusters. Watts is a small, thin, fragile-looking man with a "whimsical" sense of humor but great strength of will.

Webster, Ben. Ben Webster was created by Jay Jerome Williams and debuted in Bound to Win in 1926, lasting through the early 1940s. Webster was a clean-cut, blond, good kid, honest and decent, and he worked hard to improve his lot in life. Unfortunately, he was continually faced with venomous bankers continually demanding rent and threatening to foreclose on the Webster house. Ben also kept running into innocent young women and widows, all of them in need of help. All Ben had to help him was his mutt, Briar, and the occasional lost treasure he'd find and shipwrecks he'd be a part of.

Wens, Monsieur. Monsieur Wens was created by Stanislas-André Steeman and first appeared, as far as I can tell, in Six Hommes Morts (Six Dead Men, 1931). Wenceslas Vorobeïtchik, aka "Monsieur Wens," was a police inspector, suave and charming. He also had a group of street urchins to help him solve crimes.

Wentley, John. John Wentley was created by John Westerman and appeared in three books, John Wentley Takes Charge (1938), John Wentley Investigates (1939), and John Wentley Wins Through (1940). John Wentley is an air hero, working as a mail delivery pilot and finding adventure wherever he goes, fighting thieves, crooked politicians, and even a criminal conspiracy called the "Hovering Eagle." John's brother is the eccentric scientist Bill Wentley (whose secret inventions are capable of providing "unlimited power" and knocking airplanes out of the sky), and John's sidekick is George Teuter. While John is not particularly wealthy, George is a man of independent means, something that comes in handy on more than one occasion. John is brave, determined, and a whiz at disguise; he has more than a little in common with Biggles.

Wentworth, Dr. Dr. Wentworth was created by "W. Alexander," who may or may not have been Dr. Miles J. Breuer, and appeared in a series of stories in Amazing beginning with "New Stomachs for Old" in February 1927. Dr. Wentworth is a surgeon who lives in a near-future Earth. He specialized in organ transplants. 

Wentworth, Sgt. Jimmy. Sgt. Jimmy Wentworth was created by Sidney Herschell Small and appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly from 1931 to 1936. Wentworth, who in an interesting coincidence shares the same last name as The Spider, was a San Francisco policeman who fought two  Spider-esque Fu Manchu-influenced enemies, Kong Gai, the King Cobra ("the mysterious and ferocious legendary figure of Chinatown...Kong Gai was back of every evil happening in Chinatown") and then Kong Gai's son, the Nameless One and his Tong of Death. Jimmy is actually very capable, being both tough (and good with his gun) and cunning. Moreover, he was born in China and knew over a dozen dialects, which often helped him in his cases in Chinatown. Wentworth's boss, Captain of Detectives Dumand, is also Jimmy's friend and helps him on various cases. (Kong Gai, in case you're curious, was, like Dr. Yen How and Li Ku Yu, a "mission Chino," a Chinese educated in a white Mission who attended a Western college, fell in love with a white woman, and then had his love "stolen by a white man." And like Yen How and Li Ku Yu, this humiliation led him to seek revenge on all white men.)

Westborough, Professor Theocritus Lucius. Professor Westborough was created by Clyde B. Clason and appeared in ten novels, beginning with Fifth Tumbler (1936). Professor Westborough was a classical scholar as well as an amateur sleuth, and often he is called upon to you his knowledge of the classics to help solve crimes.

Westbrook, Perry. Perry Westbrook was created by Paul Ernst and appeared in at least two stories in Detective Fiction in 1936, beginning with January's "My Business is Death." Westbrook...stop me when you've heard this one before...is a grey-eyed, grey-haired, doom-faced ex-detective who was framed for murder and forced to give up his practice and then fake his own death in a railroad crash. The railway accident was a real one, and it froze the muscles of his face. (Does this sound familiar?) However, one half of his face was frozen into a permanent smile, while the other half was permanently grim and frowning. Westbrook left his own life behind and made up two identities for himself. The first is Slick Dart Cabot, a confidence man. As Cabot Westbrook investigates the underworld, learning their secrets and not being suspected. The second identity is The Wraith, who kills and terrorizes criminals and who leaves the mark of the Glaring Eye on his victims. The Wraith carries a one-short .22 tube strapped to his thigh and a "hiltless Sicilian dagger" up his sleeve.

Whisperer. The Whisperer, popular enough to survive cancellation and be brought back, debuted in The Whisperer #1, October, 1936. The Whisperer's real identity is James "Wildcat" Gordon, the Commissioner of Police of New York City. Unfortunately, Gordon has an enemy, Henry Bolton, who lusted after the post of Commissioner and sets out to discredit Gordon in revenge. Gordon is annoyed at the slowness of police work and the courts and at being hampered by Bolton, and so became The Whisperer, a costumed vigilante who can deal out justice to criminals without being slowed by technicalities like "arrests" and "due process." The Whisperer dresses in gray and blends into the shadows and the background in much the same manner as the Shadow himself. He wears special plates on his face and in his mouth; these alter the shape of his face so that he is unrecognizable but also prevent him from speaking in anything other than a strange, weird whisper. He also uses "super-silenced" automatics, ,the better to kill you with, my dear. He is aided by Richard "Quick Trigger" Traeger, an aged policeman who is Gordon's right hand man and who made the special plates for Gordon.

The Back Pages!
A nice site on the back-up features in The Shadow Magazine. Includes Whisperer e-texts.

Whispering Monk. As with a few of the other entries on this list, I got this one from Ed Love. Quoting him:

the whispering monk by george e. warnke (All Detective Magazine. June '34). He kept up three identities.

1) johnny the dip: a local bum and dipso who spent time in a back room of a place owned by mike dagilo. he wore grimy clothing that hung about him loosely "as though covering a thin, almost bony frame."

2) ex-policeman dick steele. his father, also a policeman, was killed by gangsters.

3) the whispering monk: a black silk mask covered his face and matching cowl covered his ears and neck. his coat was turned inside out and lining unbuttoned at the top so it formed a long black cloak that came below his knees. his voice was just a horrible whisper.

captain of detectives william dugan was the only person steele trusted and who knew his multiple id's.

like others, the whispering monk left a telltale sign: he'd leave a single bullet cartridge behind or sometimes stuffed it up one nostril of his victim.

White Phantom. The White Phantom was created by Harold Cruikshank and appeared in Thrilling Adventures in 1941 and 1945-1948. I only know about him thanks to Greg Gick, who contributed the following, quoting from an issue of Paperbacks, Pulps and Comics:
Olak is a white wolf with his mate Sanyek, a black wolf, living in the Valley of Forgotten Men.  Humans Corporal Dan Martin of the RCMP, Tuk Cramer, a part-"Indian", his wife, Netan, Tan, her brother, and Lal a "golden haired white girl who had been  rescued from the camp of the bloodthirsty, renegade Cliff Dwelling Indians by Tan" all lived in the valley  Olak had at least two cubs, only one of which, Sa, survived (saved by Tan), who the White Phantom "never forgot for his kindness" while another was killed by a bear.  Olak is intelligent enough to know to lead his mate to water when she's attacked by a cougar, "where her wounds would be chilled by the cold water and muck to stop the bleeding."
White Rings. The White Rings were created by Erle Stanley Gardner and appeared in Argosy in 1934.  They were
a mysterious organization composed of at least two individuals...making a secret war on crime. The members of this organization wear black masks covering the upper portion of their faces. Around the eyes are large rings of white, giving to the faces a peculiar weird appearance and making recognition almost impossible. They seem to possess most accurate information concerning the big shots of crime. They do not bother with the small criminals, but rather pick on a criminal who has shown an ability to elude the police and who has become a hero to the underworld. The members of this mysterious organization ask no quarter and give none; they confront the criminals suddenly and dramatically, when they are engaged in the perpetration of crime. They always give the criminals an even break, always shoot it out, and invariably place their shots with such uncanny accuracy that the criminals are wiped out, then the men disappear.
There are three White Rings. The first is Jax Bowman, a millionaire in his early thirties, and the second is "Big Jim" Grood, a hulking ex-cop with a distaste for petty things like civil rights:
Big Jim Grood...was a two-fisted cop of the old school. He firmly believed that there was more law in a night stick than in a court room; that fear was the only deterrent to crime; and that the hue and cry about police brutality, which had brought about something of a revolution in police methods, was responsible for the increase of crime and the systematic racketeering which corrupted the larger cities.
The two team up and begin killing criminals. They can't do this without the help of their third member, Miss Rhoda Marchand, a woman with a photographic memory who clips newspapers, finding and gathering likely articles and columns and mentions that might merit the attention of the White Rings. When she gets enough of these clippings--she reads all the papers from the major cities of the U.S. every day--she brings them to Bowman's apartment, and the war begins.

White Rook. The White Rook was the creation of Hugh Kahler, and first appeared in the 1 October 1918 issue of Detective Story Magazine. The White Rook was another of the Jimmie Dale-like characters, down even to signing his work. (Kahler can hardly be blamed as the only writer to copy the "leaving a trademark object behind to let the police know it was you what done it." Quite a few other characters did that, as well) The Rook left hand carved ivory chess pieces—rooks, of course—behind at the scenes of his crime, so that the police would know that he and no one else was responsible for the crime. The Rook, real name of Enfield Bray, is a safe-maker, in his mid-thirties beginning to gain weight and show his age. He has decided to have a little fun, and so he commits crimes and takes things. Not for profit, of course; he never sells what he steals, he just collects it, keeping them in a concealed safe in his mansion. Bray is hunted by Raybolt, a cop working out of NYPD Headquarters. Raybolt was originally a mere beat cop in "Breck Village," but his work on a murder case was so impressive to Bray that he pulled strings and got Raybolt promoted to the NYPD Detective Bureau. Raybolt hunts for the Rook, but likes and gets along with Bray; Raybolt is not a Lestrade, but a serious, competent cop.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, a bad man finds out the Rook's identity and blackmails him into committing real crimes for him. Bray steals back the signed confession he'd given the man, only to have it stolen by the man's valet, who then kills the man and disappears for three years, in which time Bray is on tenterhooks and the Rook is involuntarily retired.

The retirement comes to an end as Bray is hired by Raybolt to find the White Rook. (The Rook has to be a well-to-do amateur who stores his loot in a safe, just like the ones that Bray builds, so who better to hire to find the Rook than Bray?) Bray, meanwhile, has hired a reformed thief, Leila Craig, as his secretary. Bray, armed with police immunity and the help of the smart and winsome Leila, breaks into a few safes, but can't resist leaving behind some Rooks in a safe he's just plundered. Up pops the larcenous valet, who again gives Bray or-else commands. Bray continues to do his duty for the police, but on his very next trip discovers the safe he's trying to open is a trap, to capture him. He returns home and finds that Leila is looting his own possessions. She admits to knowing about his alternate identity and tells him that the police are on their way and that she's trying to get all of his swag away before the police arrive.

Bray helps and then sees her off. And then discovers, the big dope, that she was swindling him. The police are not coming, and he's just been taken. Leila, though, did steal his confession from the blackmailing valet, and so he's free and clear, albeit absent of stolen loot.  That might be the ending, and an amusing one it would be, too—the White Rook, deceived by his secretary—except for the final White Rook story, in which the Committee of Thirty-Three offer a large reward for the Rook. The Thirty-Three are actually a crime syndicate out to catch the Rook and control him as they do other criminals, through blackmail. Leila reappears, the head of the Thirty-Three is convinced to gloat in front of Raybolt, and so the Thirty-Three are smashed, Leila and the Bray marry, and then they live happily ever after.

Williams. Williams was created by Hugh Johnson and appeared in the "Williams Series," which ran from 1908 to 1910 and consisted of Williams of West Point (1908) and Williams on Service (1910). Basically the stories were about Williams' adventures while a student at West Point and then as a soldier chasing bandits in Mexico.

Williams, Hurricane. Hurricane Williams was created by Gordon Young and appeared in Adventure from 1919 to 1931. Williams had originally been Clive Stanley, the scion of upper-class New York City. He was wealthy, handsome, intelligent, and physically very capable. Unfortunately, he feel in love with a married woman, a beautiful, intelligent woman who hated her husband. She and Clive fled Gotham together and made their way to the South Seas. Unfortunately, their love grew bitter, she began to fear him, and eventually she had the "authorities" take him away. He was hanged, but inexpertly, and was cut down while still living. A convict named Brundage helped him escape, and he fled to the Solomon Islands, where he went native, living with headhunters and becoming increasingly savage. After a few years a slave-hunting ship dropped anchor off the island Clive lived on. Clive stormed the ship and took it over. He christened himself "Williams" and took the ship around the South Pacific, trading, fishing and raiding. He staffed the ship with Samoans and Tongans and was notable for his deep loathing of all white men. He was the "most hated and despised white man in the South Sea Islands," and became known as "Hurricane" for the sudden ferocity of his violent attacks.

Hurricane was a man of normal height and weight, deeply bronzed from the sun, with a short beard and "fierce" eyes. He was very well muscled and exceedingly strong, and usually wore only cut-off trousers, with a knife sheathed at his belt. Hurricane is not a cuddly man; he is "peculiarly unfriendly" and disagreeable, although he mellows over the years. Similarly, Hurricane begins trusting no one and eventually takes three men into his life: Brundage, the old convict who helped free him; Dan McGuire, a flippant red-head; and Francisco, a knife-wielding crew member.

Williams, Race. Race Williams, arguably the first of the hard-boiled detectives, was created by Carroll John Daly and appeared in various magazines, starting with the 1 June 1923 issue of Black Mask and running through 1952. Williams is not one of the brighter hard-boileds; in fact, his detecting skills are minimal, and he relies on intuition, attitude, guns, and his natural toughness to get him through the tougher situations. He's around six feet tall, dark with black hair, of Scottish-Irish descent, quick with the quips, but not, when it comes down to it, really that distinctive. He racks up an impressive body count, has little conscience about killing his enemies, and shows an almost astounding ability to bounce back from physical punishment with no deleterious effects, but the stories are not particularly well-written. He has a certain crude style to his narration, and his enemies are occasionally interesting, but on the whole Williams deserves note only for being (arguably) the first hard-boiled detective, and nothing more.

Williams, Sigurd. Sigurd Williams was created by the Swedish writer Sture Appelberg and appeared in several novels, most likely beginning with De döda skeppens vik (“The Bay of Dead Ships,” 1933). Williams is described as a Leo Carring clone.

Willing, Dr. Basil. Dr. Basil Willing was created by Helen McCloy and appeared in a number of novels beginning with Dance of Death (1938). Willing, the child of a Russian mother and an American father, became interested in psychiatry when he saw shell-shocked soldiers during his service at the front in WW1. He went on to graduate from Johns Hopkins and then study in London and Paris before going to Gotham, where he served as medical assistant to Manhattan's D.A. (Except for his service during WW2, of course) He believes that "lies, like blunders, are psychological facts" and that "every criminal leaves psychic fingerprints, and he can't wear gloves to hide them," and uses these beliefs to solve crime. He is tall, thin, suave, with "gracefully deliberate gestures." He is a Freudian.

Helen McCloy
A decent site on Willing and his creator.

Helen McCloy
A better site (excellent, as is usual for Michael Grost's work).

Wilson. Wilson appeared in The Wizard beginning in 1943 and later appeared in Hornet. Wilson was a mystery teen, an athlete who dressed in a black Victorian bathing suit and who won and held all the world running records. His first sighting was at the British Summer Championships held at Stamford Bridge, London in 1939. He appeared from nowhere, leapt over the barrier on to the track, and then won the race by running a three-minute mile. It turns out that Wilson was born in 1806 in Yorkshire, and still lived there, in a cave on Amberfide Moor. The secret to his long life and eternally-preserved youth was a series of special breathing exercises and his diet of gruel, nuts, berries, and wild roots, which he collected daily from the Yorkshire Moors. Of course, Wilson would collapse after each race, requiring time to recuperate, so he wasn't completely superhuman.  To quote Benny Green in the Spectator on 26 Dec. 1970:

In one episode he takes a giant leap and breaks the world long jump record while in the act of running a three-minute mile...His most tangible legacy is a parlour game still played occasionally by grown men of my own vintage who ought to know better. The game is called 'Wilsonisms' and its aim is to arrive at the ultimate absurdity in physical achievement.

1st player: Wison climbed Mount Everest.
2nd player: At night.
3rd player: Barefoot.
4th player: Without oxygen.
1st player: With a twelve-stone man on his back.
2nd player: In fifteen minutes.
3rd player: Backwards.
4th player: With a tray of drinks in each hand.

Wilson, Ben. Ben Wilson was created by Ventura Almanzi and appeared from 1914-1920, in 24 issues of The Adventures of the American Policeman Ben Wilson, an Italian magazine. Wilson was imagined to be a more realistic policeman, or at least what Almanzi imagined a more realistic American policeman was. The stories Wilson appeared in were "The Schiumatori of New York," "The Maid's Crimes," "One Tragedy Tra Il Qunita," "The Spy of War," "The Murderous Corpse," "The Mysterious House," "The Avenging Bomb," "Ben Wilson Against Sherlock Holmes," "The Bastards' Clubs," "The Secret of Dr. Delavigne," "The Mystery of Madison Square," "The Treasure of the Trench," "Red Russia," "The Inheritance of the Galeotto," "Hawks of the Hudson," "The Devil's Toga," "The Escape of the Millions," "The Man with the Blue Cap," "The Californian Executioners," "The Fire Bath," "The Crime of the Metropolitan Club," "The Controller of the New York-Patterson," "The Creditors of the Worker of the Electrical Chair," and "The Fatal Print."

Wilson, Hammerlock. Hammerlock Wilson was created by Earl W. Scott and appeared in Clues Detective Stories in the 1930s. He was a wrasslin' detective, the "Fighting Dick."

Wilson, Henry. Henry Wilson was created by G.D.H. Cole and M.I. Cole and appeared in over thirty books, beginning with The Brooklyn Murders (1930). Wilson was a Superintendent with Scotland Yard until he brought a former Home Secretary to trial and helped prove him guilty. He was fired through political pressure placed on his superior because of this. Wilson then became a private investigator and was successful, eventually being rehired at his old rank. He is a man of great detective skill, intense curiosity, and even greater moral integrity.

Wilson, Steve. Steve Wilson appeared in the radio show Big Town, beginning in 1937 and running through 1951. (He also had a comic book and a tv show in the 1950s) He was the editor of the Big Town Illustrated Press, and of course was a heroic newspaperman, starting his adventures with the stirring oath, "The freedom of the press is a flaming sword! Use it justly! Hold it high! Guard it well!" Wilson not only looked over his boys, the reporters and photographers who always took on (and beat) the crooks and bad guys; Wilson got involved in the fight against crime, getting involved in a two-fisted and adventurous way.

Wimsey, Lord Peter. The insufferable Wimsey was created by Dorothy L. Sayers and debuted in Whose Body? (1923); he appeared in a number of other novels, collections, movies and tv shows. Wimsey is an English nobleman, the son of the 15th Duke of Denver. He is a WW1 vet (he won the DSC), amateur criminologist, and agent for the British Foreign Office. He’s smart, capable, charming, and very successful, and I can’t stand him or the stories he appears in. And since he's very popular, and there are undoubtedly many sites on him (just click here to get some) I'll let a fan of his do the describing. I should note, however, that according to a few accounts Wimsey was based on the character of Arthur Augustus D'Arcy and was originally intended to appear in a Sexton Blake story.

Wing, Howie. Howie Wing was created by Wilfred G. Moore and appeared in an eponymous radio show from 1938 to 1939. Wing was a 21-year-old "junior pilot" whose adventures were typical for aviator fiction of the time. He was taught by Captain Harvey, a World War One ace. Howie's girlfriend was Donna Cavendish. A fellow pilot was Zero Smith, one of the best "tough weather pilots" but cranky, devious, and generally disagreeable, and often suspected of working for the Germans. The villain of the show was Burton York, who posed as an insurance agent to discredit Captain Harvey.

Winslow, Don. Sadly forgotten today, Don Winslow was, back in the 1930s, a major comic strip character. In the 1940s he moved into comic books and had a more than respectable run there, but today he is an obscurity. Which is unfortunate, because, as mentioned, he was a major player in his day. Don Winslow of the Navy was created by former naval Lieutenant Commander Frank Martinek as a way to recruit more men to the navy and debuted on 5 March 1934; it ran through the end of July, 1955, when Martinek decided to end it. Lieutenant (later Lt. Commander) Don Winslow, a WW1 vet, was an agent of naval intelligence who was assigned to handle the major individual threats to world peace. He was assisted in this task by his friend, the squat and portly Lieutenant Red Pennington; Winslow's girlfriend was Mercedes Colby, the daughter of Winslow's commanding officer, Admiral Colby. Ranging across the world, and making use of real locations and naval bases, Winslow took on: the Scorpion, Winslow's bald, cigar-smoking nemesis, the head of the secret organization, Scorpia, which aimed to take over the world; the "sinister fakir" the Spider; the Hawk, a magician and warlord; the Crocodile, who had a floating Sky City island and had a grudge against America, killing America sailors in the South Pacific; the mad scientist (and inventor of the "paralysis ray...the weirdest weapon in the world") Dr. Centaur; Dr. Q, who tried to destroy the Panama Canal; and the criminal mastermind the Dwarf, and his main agents and assassins, the Duchess and Dr. Thor.

Winters, Norman. Quoting from Ronald Byrd:

In six stories by Laurence Manning, beginning in Wonder Stories of March 1933, Norman Winters, a man who periodically has himself placed in suspended animation, encounters a series of societies in the far future, the first one some 3000 years after his initial sleep.
Wintringham, Dr. David. Dr. David Wintringham was created by Josephine Bell and appeared in at least a dozen novels, beginning with Murder in the Hospital (1937). He is a medical doctor who is very skilled at spotting poor and erroneous medical diagnoses; he is equally skilled at spotting the clues left at the scenes of crimes.

Witherall, Leonidas. Leonidas Witherall, known to his friends as "Bill" for his resemblance to William Shakespeare, was created by "Alice Tilton," the pen-name of Phoebe Taylor," and appeared in a number of novels and stories beginning with "The Riddle of Volume Four" in Mystery League in 1933. Witherall is headmaster at a New England prep school. He supplements his income by writing thrillers and finding rare books for "the wealthier and lazier Boston collectors." In the course of his various businesses he encounters crime or finds dead bodies and so is drawn into solving the crimes and helping to find and catch the criminals.

Withers, Hildegarde. Hildegarde Withers was created by Stuart Palmer and appeared in several novels, stories, and movies beginning with The Penguin Pool Murder (1931). Withers is a "thin, angular, horse-faced" spinster detective and retired schoolteacher, snoopy, respectable, and very, very intelligent. She is the eternal annoyance of Inspector Oscar Piper of the NYPD, who can't seem to keep her away from his cases and can't seem to solve any of them without her help. Hildegarde is given to wearing absurd and even monstrous hats, listening to the police radio, thinking poorly of the police (who, in her defense, often act stupidly around her), and caring for her pet poodle.

Wizard. The Wizard, Thomas Jefferson "Cash" Gorman, appeared in The Wizard #1-6, from October 1940 to August 1941 and was created by Phil R. Sheridan. Gorman was not a magical wizard; his wizardry lay in making money, at which he was very, very good. (The Wizard's subtitle was "Adventures in Moneymaking," in fact) The Wizard's trick was to buy up failing ventures and then bring them back to health. He did this through honest means, but since those rarely worked he also used trickery, blackmail, and financial manipulations. The Wizard relied on an assistant, James Rogers, to help him and to act as his bodyguard.

Wo Fan. Wo Fan was a thinly-veiled Fu Manchu clone created by Bedford Rohmer and appearing in New Mystery Adventures in 1935 and 1936. Wo was a sadist, and the seven Wo Fan stories have elements of, as the stories had it, "sexual excesses" on Wo's part, but other than that they are eminently missable.

Wolf of Kabul. The Wolf of Kabul appeared in Wizard and Hotspur beginning in 1922. The Wolf was actually 2nd lieutenant Bill Sampson, an agent for the British Intelligence Corps who operated in the Northwest frontier of India. He always dressed as a native and could easily pass for one except for the little matter of his blue eyes, which often betray him. Not that this ever posed a problem for tough ole Bill, however; with his twin knives Bill took on all comers, which were usually "wily Pathans" and other such brutal, unwashed natives. He got no small amount of help in this from Chung, his native servant and friend, who was lethal with his "clicky-ba" cricket bat. After killing men Chung would remark, his eyes tearing, “Lord, I am full of humble sorrow – I did not mean to knock down these men – ‘Clicky-ba’ merely turned in my hand.”

Wolfe, Nero. Nero, the portly gourmand and reported son of Sherlock Holmes, was created by Rex Stout and debuted in Fer-de-Lance (1934), appearing in 42 books through 1975. Wolfe is well-represented on the Web, so I'm not going to bother to do something that someone else has done better than I. Instead of reading what I've written, go to these sites:

The Mysterious Home Page: Nero Wolfe
Seven links on Wolfe. From the Mysterious Home Page site.

Nero Wolfe
A decent enough site on Wolfe.

Wolfe World
Claims to be the best Wolfe site out there. You decide.

Woman With A Black Heart. This nameless mystery woman appeared in Fun and Fiction and Bullseye in the 1930s. She was beautiful, never revealed her true identity or background, and had a "mystic black heart" tattooed on her forehead. She faced a wide variety of perils and adventures.

Wonder Island Boys. The Wonder Island Boys were created by Roger T. Finlay and appeared in the eight-volume "Wonder Island Boys Series," starting with The Castaways (1914) and running through 1915. The Boys (names still unknown to me, sorry) are castaways who end up on the "Wonder Islands," the remnants of Atlantis. Through the series they journey across the islands and "civilize" the natives, who are the warring, tribal remnants of the original Atlanteans.

Wong, James Lee. James Lee Wong was created by Hugh Wiley and appeared in around thirteen short stories in Collier's from 1934 to 1938 as well as six movies. Wong was one of the first, if not the first, thoroughly Americanized Chinese hero, and represents a significant break with the Yellow Peril/Fu Manchu tradition. Wong is a Chinese-American agent for the State Department. He was educated at Yale and is better educated and overtly sophisticated than Charlie Chan. Wong is erudite, knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects (not just those having to do with his job), speaks perfect English (another departure for an Asian character of the time), is an expert on Chinese history and culture, and has a thorough knowledge of and familiarity with criminology and scientific methods. Wong, as mentioned, works for the State Department, operating undercover from an apartment in San Francisco's Chinatown. He is described by a former classmate as "six feet tall...after the first drag at his cigarette he let a cloud of smoke drift through the thin nostrils of his acquiline nose...his face was suddenly the face of a foreign devil–a ‘Yankee.'" Wong is well-respected by both whites and Chinese-Americans, and works easily in both communities. (Another departure from tradition was how the Chinese in the Wong stories spoke: they used proper English, rather than pidgin.) Wong is also respected by the State Department and does not encounter an overt prejudice the way Charlie Chan did. Wong's cases often have an international flavor, with him solving the murder of a Russian woman (from Japanese agents) in one story and stopping the U.S. from being dragged into a war against France and Japan in another story.

Wong, Mister. Mister Wong was created by Lee Fredericks and appeared in G-Men and G-Men Detective from 1935 to 1946. Richard Wong was a Chinese American, although the text referred to him as a "suave Chinese detective." He was American born and raised, patriotic and liberty-loving, and had dedicated his life to the service of the country. After college he'd joined the Secret Service and risen to one of the "top slots." From this position he took orders from Chief Durbano and traveled around the country fighting crime, Fascists, and Communists. He was an excellent swimmer, a fearsome foe at jujitsu and savate, a lithe, handsome man with a taste for "perfumed oriental cigarettes."

Worrals. Joan "Worrals" Worralson was created by W.E. Johns (creator of Biggles and Steeley) and appeared first in Girl's Own Paper in July 1940 and then in eleven novels, running through eleven novels. Worrals begins as a spitfire, a spunky eighteen-year-old who joins the Woman's Auxiliary Air Force to help Britain. She is smart, independent, patriotic, beautiful, and fearless, and quickly becomes the best female fighter pilot Britain has, shooting down loads of Germans, going on special assignments (for Major Raymond, he of Biggles and Steeley black ops) and being greatly successful. She is helped by her friend and fellow pilot Betty "Frecks" Lovell. Fellow pilot Bill Ashton is in love with her, but she likes him only as a friend.

W.E. Johns and Worrals
A good long Aussie page on Worrals and Johns.

Wren, Jeffrey.Jeffrey Wren was created by G.T. Fleming-Roberts and appeared in Black Mask in the early 1940s. Wren operated a magic shop and solved criminal cases in his spare time. His specialty was cases where the occult seemed to be involved; in every such case Wren exposed the hoax and saw to it that the crooks were jailed. He had a strong visual resemblance to Edward Arnold.

Wu Fang. "Most diabolical of all the genius Orientals," Wu Fang was created by Robert Hogan and appeared in The Mysterious Wu Fang #1-7, which ran from September 1935 to March 1936. Wu Fang was in many ways a Fu Manchu copy, although devotees of Wu still remember him fondly. He was a scientist, of course, capable of breeding monstrous new species of poisonous insects and snakes. (He also made use of spiders and bats and lizards and the like). He was also capable of creating new species which combined the worst parts of the rat, the lizard, and the toad. More sinister than that, though, was his affection for pain and torture. Other people's pain, of course. He was headquartered in Limehouse, London, but his war on good spread across the entire world. He had a number of aides, including Zaru, the part-ape beast-man, but Wu's main helper was his daughter Mohra.

Pitted against Wu was Val Kildare, the former "number one investigator of the United States Secret Service" and a Nayland Smith wannabe. Kildare is assisted by his best friend, Jerry Hazzard, a newspaper reporter, but Hazzard is eventually crippled at Wu's hands and is replaced by a Slab McCrunkJaw type named Rod Carson. Kildare and his friends managed to stop Wu Fang's plots on several occasions, although not without occasionally being tortured or badly beaten. Eventually Mohra fell in love with Hazzard, escaped from Wu Fang, and married him, and Wu, after being killed and resurrected, was captured. (Not for good, surely)

Wycherley, Dr. Xavier. Dr. Xavier Wycherley was created by Max Rittenberg (1880-?), a writer of detective fiction and books on subjects ranging from "Modern Retailing" to "Effective Postal Publicity." Wycherley, who debuted in the March 1911 issue of The London Magazine, is a professional psychologist who is on occasion called in to solve inheritance cases and the like. Wycherley has an additional advantage; he is a psychic sensitive cum psychic investigator cum occult detective.  In this he is much like Dr. John Silence and Jules de Grandin, although the Wycherley stories are not nearly so vivid or memorable.

As far as Wycherley is concerned, his powers include mental healing and the ability to perceive the emotions that make up each person's "mental aura." Wycherley can increase his perception of this aura by putting himself into a light hypnotic sleep, to draw on his subconscious' impressions and conclusions. Wycherley's own aura is a fiery one and he is full of personal magnetism; on meeting him one is compelled to confess things to him. This, along with his psychoanalytical skills, makes him a formidable investigator.  When baffled he compulsively rolls cigarettes with his left hand, and when that doesn't work he brings out the scientific equipment and uses that.

Wycherley operates in England, among the upper class and aristocracy.

A. The Abbey Girls to Dusty Ayres
B. Bagley to Scott Burton
C. Orhan Cakiroglu to Dr. Theodore Cunliffe
D-E. Dana Girls to Don Everhard
F. Ralph Fairbanks to Miss Fury
G. The Gadget Man to G-8
H-I. Dr. Hackensaw to Baron Ixell
J. Jack, Doc & Reggie to Justice Syndicate
K. Calvin Kane to Kwa of the Jungle
L. Major John T. Lacy to Langhorne Lyte
M. Professor Maboul to Mr. Mystic
N. Lee Nace to Nyoka
O. Fergus O'Breen to Ozar the Aztec
P.  Penny Packer to Judge Pursuivant
Q.  Oliver Quade to Sebastian Quin
R. Ed Race to Captain Rybnikov
S. The Safety First Club to Tom Swift
T-U. Tahara to Godfrey Usher
V. Lieutenant Valcour to Norton Vyse
W. Inspector Wade to Dr. Xavier Wycherley
X-Z. X Bar X Boys to Zorro

Write me!

Go to the Main Pulp Heroes page.