Monday, December 31, 2007

From the Dust Bin: Zorro

Zorro (Spanish for Fox, and a by-word for cunning or devious) is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega (originally just Don Diego Vega), a fictional nobleman and master swordsman living in Spanish and Mexican-era California. He defends the people of the land against tyrannical governors and other villains; not only is he much too cunning and fox like for the bumbling authorities to catch, but he delights in publicly humiliating those same foes while riding on his horse Tornado.

Zorro (often called "El Zorro" in early stories) was created in 1919 by pulp writer Johnston McCulley, and first made his appearance in "The Curse of Capistrano", serialized in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly. The character's visual motif is, typically, a black costume with a flowing Spanish cape, a flat-brimmed Andalusian-style hat, more appropriate to a California caballero than the wide sombrero the character wore in the original, and a black cowl mask that covers the top of the head from eye level upwards. (The mask covered his whole face in the original stories). In addition, his favored weapon is a rapier which he often uses to leave his distinctive mark, a large 'Z' made with three quick cuts. He also used a bullwhip, like the later Indiana Jones. In the original story, Zorro used a pistol, but this has rarely been seen since.

Many television, motion picture & comic book versions of the character have appeared since the first silent film The Mark of Zorro (starring Douglas Fairbanks) got the ball rolling in 1920.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just came across "Tales of Zorro" from Moonstone Books. It's a collection of original short stories and looks pretty cool! Apparently available from Moonstone directly and from all major retailers. There will also be a limited edition book and a signed lithograph by Disney artist and sculptor Ruben Procopio!