The Clones of Fu Manchu and Sumuru

29 December 2005

Sax Rohmer's Dr. Fu Manchu was indeed "the yellow peril incarnate in one man," and his vast popularity led to a number of clones. If the villains were simply sinister Orientals, Rohmer's influence might justly be questioned, but the resemblance to Dr. Fu Manchu was often quite unmistakable. The characters included below were clearly based on one or more characteristics of Dr. Fu Manchu. Stories in which the character is Fu Manchu are included on the Books of Fu Manchu page.

Mr. Wu Chung Fu

While "The Mysterious Wu Chung Foo" never "officially" acknowledges its source and Rohmer was given no credit (or payment) Fu Manchu and Rohmer's plot elements are clearly found in this four-part silent serial movie appearing July 1914 from the Feature Photoplay Company in New York City.

The plot, as summarized by the American Film Institute, leaves little doubt as to its pedigree:

"After a game of cards at the Astor Club, Lord Lister, a detective, notices an inscription on a dollar bill which reads, 'We are held prisoners by a Chinese gang at Cosia, near Sacramento. Send help!' Lister and his friend, Charles Brand, determined to unravel this mystery, travel to Cosia where they encounter the mysterious Chinese merchant Wu Chung Foo. Wu Chung tells Lister and Brand about the unexplained disappearances of many men on his grounds. At Wu Chung's home, his adopted daughter Hattie's attraction to Brand angers the merchant into having him secretly taken to his underground prison where men are worked to death. Lister's suspicions about Brand's disappearance force Wu Chung to have the detective taken there as well. Hattie discovers the secret and gets help from some soldiers who capture Wu Chung and release Brand and the others."

AFI Catalog of Feature Films. 29 December 2005 <

The Blue-Eyed Manchu

Abdullah, Achmed.  The Blue-Eyed Manchu.   New York: Shores, 1917. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1923.  Originally published in 1916 as a 6-part serial in All-Story Weekly starting 25 March 1916.

Achmed Abdullah Nadir Khan el-Durani el Iddrissyeh was a pseudonym of Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff. Abdullah had a background well suited to a Fu Manchu type novel. He was the son of a Grand Duke in Yalta and was a  second cousin to Czar Nicholas II of Russia. He attended both Eton and Oxford and later the University of Paris. He also served with the British Army in France, China and India. He wrote a number of Asian fantasies, but is best known for the screenplays for The Thief of Baghdad and The Lives of a Bengal Lancer.

As a character, The Blue-Eyed Manchu has many similarities with Fu Manchu: he is well educated, speaks numerous languages, uses hypnosis from a distance, appears in unexpected places, and has a huge and powerful international organization bent on conquering the West. What is interesting is that the plot is actually a precursor of The Mask of Fu Manchu and may well have influenced Rohmer in that regard.

But it so happened that this One Man was the most dangerous, the most important, and the most elusive man in Asia; that he was known to thousands of close-mouthed Chinamen and Japanese and Manchus and Central Asians, but that his very name and race and faith had remained a profound mystery to the cleverest secret service men of the West; that the peace of the world and the destiny of the white man depended and trembled on his will and strength. [Chapter 7, pp. 67-68]

     For several seconds I stared at him.
     Then a half-forgotten tale came to me--of a name great in England, a famous----
     I rose with a shout of surprise
     "You--you are----"
     His blue eyes flashed fire, interupting me imperiously.
    "Sh!" he said slowly. [Chapter 20, p. 286]

Wu Fang

"There was a series of three silent movie serials, all done in 1915.  Each of the movies featured a heroine named Elaine Dodge, and Arthur B. Reeve's 'science detective' Craig Kennedy was the hero.

The second in the series was "The Romance of Elaine" which featured a villain named Wu Fang.  This Asian mastermind had been an ally of 'The Clutching Hand' (the masked villain of the first movie) and was after the fortune the Hand had hidden before his death.

Using drugs, hypnotism and a fiendish array of traps, Wu Fang made hard for Elaine and Craig for 12 chapters.  Finally Wu Fang was confronted by Kennedy on a pier, and their struggles caused them both to fall into the shark-infested bay.  Kennedy was revealed to be alive and well by the next serial, but Wu Fang was assumed to have been eaten."

-- Matthew Baugh

The Yellow Spider

In The Yellow Spider (Grossep and Dunlap, 1920), John Charles Beecham's villain is Ah Sing, the Yellow Spider, who is "cruel, cunning, ruthless, feared the length of the archipelago, the incarnation of all the savagery and mysticism of the Orient." "His eyes were like a leopard's in the dark, two dots of green fire that scintillated but did not blink."

Ah Sing uses a variety of Chinese, Tibetans, Malays, and Dyaks in an effort to drive the white men out of Asia, starting in Borneo. Poisonous plants and reptiles abound.




Fing-Su, the title character of the Edgar Wallace novel The Yellow Snake (Hodder & Stoughton, 1926) is at least partly in the Fu Manchu mold: a graduate of Oxford and head of the dreaded Society of the Joyful Hands,  which he uses to further his plans to dominate the world. The insulting appellation "Yellow Snake" was bestowed on him by his chief antagonist, Clifford Lynne. Fing-Su's methods are more mundane than Fu Manchu's, leaning heavily on blackmail, bribery, and kidnapping.

YelSnake.jpg (21187 bytes)

The West German film adaptation, DER FLUCH DER GELBEN SCHLANGE (The Curse of the Yellow Snake), 1962, is more interesting, and closer to the Rohmerian spirit than the original book. In the film, Clifford Lynne and Fing-Su are half-brothers, and the Yellow Snake is an artifact, a jewel-encrusted golden serpent which serves as an object of veneration for members of the Society of the Joyful Hands. Members of the Society creep across fog-shrouded London rooftops on their cryptic errands, and attend the Society's rites, which include human sacrifice, in subterranean caverns.
Film credits: director, Franz Joseph Gottlieb; screenplay by Gottlieb and Janne Furch. Players: Joachim Fuchsberger, Werner Peters, Brigitte Grothum, Pinkas Braun, and Eddi Arent.


"A nice example of another Dutch Fu-clone: Chung. This is a dime novel, has 32 pages and was published in 1923. The cover artist is not credited, nor does it have the authors name mentioned." --Rimmer Sterk

Kathulos of Egypt

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), one of the earliest and most influential practitioners of sword-and-sorcery or heroic fantasy fiction, wrote many other types of fiction as well, from traditional ghost stories to boxing yarns to Western tall tales.   Among his voluminous output are a few stories of exotic mystery in the Rohmerian vein.

In the short novel Skull Face (Weird Tales, October - December 1929), the hero, Stephen Costigan visits the Thames-side den of Yun Shatsu, the opium lord, and there meets the skull-faced Master, Kathulos of Egypt:

  "A tall, gaunt figure stood before me, a figure arrayed grotesquely in a silk-brocaded gown which fell to the floor.
   "From the sleeves of this gown protruded hands which filled me with crawling horror — long, predatory hands, with thin bony fingers and curved talons — withered skin of a parchment brownish-yellow, like the hands of a man long dead.
   "The hands — but, oh God, the face! A skull to which no vestige of flesh seemed to remain but on which taut brownish-yellow skin grew fast, etching out every detail of that terrible death's head. The forehead was high and in a way magnificent, but the head was curiously narrow through the temples, and from under penthouse brows great eyes glimmered like pools of yellow fire."

The derivation from Rohmer's Fu Manchu is unmistakable (Howard had read and liked Rohmer's books), but with trappings of wizardry and the supernatural rather than super-science.

Lord of the Dead

A few years later, in an attempt to break into the detective pulp magazines, Howard wrote three stories about another variant on Fu Manchu and the Si-Fan.

The three Erlik Khan stories, only one of which was published during Howard's lifetime, were collected in book form as Lord of the Dead, published by Donald M. Grant (West Kingston, R.I., 1981), with an Introduction by Robert E. Briney and a dust jacket and illustrations by Duncan Eagleson.

LordDead.jpg (31156 bytes)

    " — a tall, shadowy form, clad in night-black robes. This figure moved like a shadow of doom into the chamber, and closed the door. From the shadow of a hood, two icy eyes glittered eerily, framed in a dim yellow oval of a face.
    " 'Men call me Erlik Khan, which signifies Lord of the Dead.' . . . 'I was head of a lamasery in the mountains of Inner Mongolia, and, had I been able to attain my ambitions, would have rebuilt a lost empire — aye, the old empire of Genghis Khan. . . . I came to America, and here a new purpose was born in me: that of forging all secret Oriental societies into one mighty organization to do my bidding and reach unseen tentacles across the seas into hidden lands.' "

The "Wizard of Life"

"Wizard's Isle" by Jack Williamson first appeared in the May 1934 issue of Weird Tales.

Like Fu Manchu, Iskandar comes from the Far East; he is a genius; he wants to conquer the world; he has an enormous, shadowy network of henchmen; he is wealthy; he has an enormous knowledge of science; he is fond of tormenting his enemies in unusual and elaborate ways. 

The descriptions of Iskandar's appearance are similar to Fu-Manchu: Iskandar is taller than average; he wears a long robe; he has an unusually large forehead; his "magnetic" eyes are capable of intimidating opponents. Even the vocabulary - "inscrutable," "impassive," "insidious" - is reminiscent of Rohmer's. 

The image of Iskandar on the cover illustration for the story (by Margaret Brundage) is obviously inspired by Fu-Manchu. 

Though his name is not well known to the general public, Jack Williamson is one of the greatest figures in science fiction. One sign of Sax Rohmer's presence in the popular culture of yesteryear is that a writer of such stature - who was at the time already producing some of his finest stories such as "Dead Star Station" and The Legion of Space - would write a tale in blatant imitation of him.

In the afterword to a recent volume that reprints the story (Wizard's Isle: The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson, Volume Three from Haffner Press) Jack Williamson discusses the Rohmer connection:

About the origins of "Wizard's Isle" itself, I recall very little. It was evidently written in the shadow of the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. The Fu Manchu novels, by "Sax Rohmer", the British writer Arthur Sarsfield Ward, were running in Collier's, a high-paying slick, and many of them filmed in Hollywood. Envious, I once copied a chapter of one of them on my own typewriter and reset the margin stops to make the short paragraphs look better on the page.

--Joel Schlosberg

Wun Wey

Wun Wey appears in Anthony Rudd's The Stuffed Men (New York: Macauley, 1935). He had degrees from Heidelberg, Oxford and Harvard and a global criminal organization.

"The suave persuasive voice was that of a small, wizened Chinaman. He alone of all the Tong members was unmasked, and wore the sweeping white mustaches, the queue, the brocaded mandarin jacket and the roomy trousers of his native dress. Among his own countrymen this cultured, quiet-seeming man had a name of royalty. But out in Chicago where he had accasional dealings with white men--some of them vice lords, some of them earnest, grim faced men whose lives were chanced in the fight against dope, kidnapping and racketeering--he used another name. It was a curious name, Wun Wey. Perhaps it was Oriental humor, a rendering into phonetic English a hint of the business in which the Ilustrious Society of Executioners had been engaged for centuries. At any rate it was a name which could bring sudden terror to every one of the Chinese laundrymen in a shop as far from Chicago's Chinatown as Port Washington, Long Island . . . and one which represented supreme power in America over what was known familiarly to Chinese themselves as the Tao Tong."

wufang3603.jpg (28119 bytes)

Wu Fang

Two pulp characters had relatively short careers. The Mysterious Wu Fang appeared in the first pulp dedicated to a villain rather than a hero. It was published by   Popular Publications, in Chicago, on a monthly basis from September 1935 to March 1936. There were a total of seven issues.

"Doing their best to add to the identity crisis, the publishers of Wu Fang obtained the services of John Richard Flanagan, a fine commercial artist who had illustrated all of Sax Rohmer's stories in Colliers from 1929 to 1935 as well as the American book edition of The Mask of Fu Manchu." (The Great Pulp Heroes, 234-235)

Compare Wu Fang  to Wu Chang
in Rohmer's own Orange Blossom.

"Yes, Wu Fang was my idea and I thought of the name much the same as I put together the Yen Sin. I laid down the story line and shaped the leading characters. [T]he magazine . . . [was], frankly a desire to ride on the coat tails of Fu Manchu. I remember when my father died . . . while all the funeral arrangements were going on I read Fu Manchu. It was a great palliative with all the sorrow going on around me and absorbed me thoroughly on occasions when relatives were weeping all over the place!"
                                                                       --Harry Steeger, editor/publisher of Wu Fang

Published in "The Steeger Letters" by Nick Carr, THE PULPSTER #12, p.30. (published for Pulpcon 31, July 11-14, 2002)   Used with permission

Wu Fang also appeared as the nemesis of Detective Dan, later known as Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48.

Detective Dan, Secret Operative No. 48.
Comic book by Norman Marsh, 1933.

One of the earliest known comic books containing all new (not reprint) material. A second issue was announced, but it may not have been published. This second issue was to have introduced "Wu Fang, King of the Dope Smugglers, with diabolical, fiendish cunning, aided by a horde of depraved gangsters, and an endless stream of money squeezed from human blood, corruption and degradation."

Detective Dan became Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48 in a long-running syndicated newspaper strip by Norman Marsh as well as a series of eight books.


DanDunn.jpg (28274 bytes)
Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48. Whitman, Big Little Books#1118, 1933.
Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48, Trail of the Counterfeiters. Whitman, Big Little
     Books # 1125.
Dan Dunn and the Crime Master. Whitman, Big Little Books# 1171.
Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48, And the Underworld Gorillas. Whitman, Big
     Little Books #1417.
Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48, On the Trail of Wu Fang. Whitman,  Big Little
     Books #1454, 1938.
Dan Dunn and the Border Smugglers. Whitman, Big Little Books #1481.
Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48, and the Dope Ring. Better Little Book # 1492.
Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48, and the Zeppelin of  Doom. Dell Fast Action Book.

Dr. Yen Sin

The last issue of  The Mysterious Wu Fang appeared in March 1936, but two months later, Popular Publications introduced yet another clone: Dr. Yen Sin. Dr. Sin saw but three bi-monthly issues in May, July and September of 1936.

Other villains bearing a striking resemblance to the Devil Doctor appeared in other pulps.

G-8 and his Battle Aces fought Doctor Chu Lung, The Master of Death.  

Operator #5 had to contend with Moto Taronago, the Yellow Vulture.

The Shadow was threatened by  The Golden Master, Shiwan Khan. 

The Rohmer Review, No 16 was a "special" issue "given over entirely to Frank D. McSherry's long account of the battle between The Shadow and his oriental antagonist, the Golden Master, and its parallels in other areas of detective fiction."

From the collection of Lawrence Knapp


Cover Art: Vincent Sullivan

Many clones appeared in the comic books. Well before Batman made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, one of Dr, Fu Manchu's brethren appeared on the cover of the first issue (March 1937). One of the clones appearing in this issue bore the unlikely name, Fui Onyui. Other examples may be found on the Fu Manchu Comics page.


Fen-Chu.jpg (20788 bytes)


L'Enigmatique Fen-Chu, roman fantastique by George Fronval. Paris: S.E.N., June 1944.
16 x 24 cm. 36 pages (booklet).
Cover illustrated by Brantonne.

The story of a megalomaniac asiatic in a Tibetan lair. Armed with robots, he wants to destroy all the stupid western barbarians.

"I am Fen-Chu, the master of the world. I have enslaved under my will the mysterious forces. I'm invulnerable. I am Fen-Chu the invincible.One can do nothing against me. Tomorrow, I will dominate the whole universe. I fear nothing. One can search for me, but one can never find me. I am everywhere. I am nowhere. Great events are in the offing. Soon the whole world will be under my domination."

In 1946, the same text was published again under the title "Le Maître des robots" . . . but with a new character instead of Fen-Chu: a white mad scientist !

Submitted by Marc Madouraud


«LA MONTAGNE NOIRE» & «S.O.S. ! ICI LA TERRE !» Anderlecht (Belgium): G. Van Loo, Undated (1950's).  Pamphlets of 32 pages, 13 x 18 cm. In "Les Nouvelles Aventures de Victor Vincent"; first edition : # 154 & 155, second edition : # 382 & 383. Colored covers signed by Fred (Funcken).

The text has been reworked - without reason - in the second edition).

The Victor Vincent's team (the Belgian Victor - former ace of the R.A.F. -, a British couple and an Indian) fights against an cruel Asiatic named Fu-Mandchou, who wants to rule and even destroy the world
                                 Submitted by Marc Madouraud

Yellow Claw

A four-issue bimonthly comic (October 1956, December 1956, February 1957, April 1957)  from Atlas Comics (Marjean Magazine Corp.).

Scan from Gerber's PHOTO-JOURNAL GUIDE TO COMIC BOOKS, Volume Two.

Not exactly a Fu Manchu clone, but an Oriental super-criminal who was undeniably influenced by Rohmer.  The series featured a costumed super-villain who looks like Fu Manchu wearing a chicken foot as a chest symbol.  Each cover asked "WHO...OR WHAT...IS HE??!"  Anyone familiar with Fu Manchu could hazard a pretty good guess . . . much like the un-named character in the current League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series.

Cover artists  J. Maneely for #1, Severin for #2, and B. Everett for #3. No cover artist given for #4.    Issues 2 and 4 had interior art by Jack Kirby.

Dr. No

In 1958,  Ian Fleming introduced  Dr. No, yet another villain based of Rohmer's Dr. Fu Manchu.

   Raymond Chandler once asked Ian Fleming why there is always a torture scene in every James Bond book.  Fleming replied: "Well, you see, I suppose I was brought up on Dr. Fu Manchu and thrillers of that kind." 

--From the transcription of a radio conversation between Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming (BBC Home Service, 10 July 1958).

Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman)
SPECTRE's mastermind physicist
in the first James Bond movie (1952)

Madame Atomos

From 1964 to 1970, Andre Caroff wrote 17 Mme. Atomos novels. 

"Starting in November 1968, French comics publisher Aredit (which also published translations of DC and Marvel material, as well as "Hallucinations" and "Meteor") published twenty-four issues of a digest-sized "Atomos" comic magazine adapting Caroff's novels."

"The deadly Madame Atomos, a brilliant but twisted female Japanese scientist, is out to revenge herself against the United States for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A sample plot had the title character unleash a deadly new threat, such as radioactive zombies, only to be  stopped in the nick of time by the heroes, Smith Beffort of the FBI and Yosho Akamatsu of the Japanese Secret Police."
     -Jean-Marc Lofficier's
     With permission from his 
     Cool French Comics Site.

The Mandarin

Another villain from the Marvel Universe, The Mandarin (Gene Khan) first appeared on Tales of Suspense #50 in 1964. He's from the Ming the Merciless school of Fu clones. Like Fu Manchu in the later books, The Mandarin began by fighting the Communists who confiscated his property. He is an accomplished scientist but also has powers that come from alien artifacts, such as the ten Makluan rings, each with a different power. His primary adversary is Iron Man, but he has also had encounters with the Avengers, Captain America, the Hulk, the X-Men and others.


Dr. Khan

Herbert Metcalfe. The Amazing Dr. Khan. Manchester: Church and Foster, 1966.

"Here's a little-known macabre thriller inspired by Rohmer ...   in a dw that is a wholehearted throwback to the pulps. Chicago occult detective Wes Cassin joins Scotland Yard's Inspector Kearns to stop Khan's blend of Eastern mysticism & modern science from establishing the Mafia in 1930s London."

   --  Jessica Amanda Salmonson (Visit her site: Violet Books She has many Rohmer titles available.)

Ra's Al Ghul

"In the Batman comics/animated TV series there is a character directly based on Fu Manchu.  His name is Ra's Al Ghul.   The greatest similarities exist in both the characters' longevity (Ra's claims to be over 600 years old), their beliefs that they exist above ordinary laws, their basic honorability and their determination to shape the world according to their own beliefs.   Like Fu-Manchu, Al-Ghul has a daughter (although unlike Fah Lo Suee she is very loyal to her father)."        
                       -- Tamee Livingston

RasAlGhul.jpg (9613 bytes)

Dr. Chou En Ginsberg, M.A. (Failed)

This Dr. Chou En Ginsberg was a recurring villain in the 1966 BBC radio comedy series "Round the Horne." The star of the show was Kenneth Horne, who often featured in a regular series of parodies called "Kenneth Horne - Secret Agent". His nemesis in these sketches was the oriental mastermind Dr. Chou En Ginsberg, sometimes with the assistance of the ethereally beautiful Lotus Blossom. Chou was played in a magnificently over the top style by Kenneth Williams, while Lotus Blossom was voiced by Bill Pertwee using a very low gruff masculine voice. The writers on the series were Barry Took and Marty Feldman. Several tapes of the show are marketed by BBC Worldwide and at least one book of scripts is available featuring several appearances by Chou En Ginsberg. Barry Took went on to be a comedy producer for BBC TV, where he first assembled the Monty Python team, who were known inside the BBC as "Barry Took's Flying Circus" before the title of their series was devised. Marty Feldman went on to a successful TV career and then went to America where he may be best known for playing Ygor in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein."
                                       Submitted by Ken Mann, 
                                       London, England

In Round The Horne 2nd Series, Programme No. 12, broadcast on Sunday 29th May 1966, 1.30-2.00pm, Chou En Ginsberg (already a well-established continuing character on the show) refers to himself once as Fu Manchu-en-Ginsberg, for the duration of one (weak) joke.  After this, he reverts to the customary Dr. Chou En Ginsberg, M.A. (Failed), and that is how the writers, Barry Took and Marty Feldman, always refer to him in the scripts. Of course Chou En Ginsberg was clearly intended from the beginning as a parody of the cliche'd Oriental villain, although his "character sketch" identifies him as a "fiendish Japanese mastermind," rather than Chinese.

YU-MALU: The Dragon Princess

Thane Leslie.  YU-MALU, The Dragon Princess. London: Wright & Brown: 1967.

In 1967 Sumuru finally got her own clone treatment:

   "Princess Yu-Malu (The Dragon Princess), most beautiful, vastly wealthy, hates Western Civilisation and vows its downfall.
    She is assisted by a Corps of Dragonflies, members of the Hung, powerful Secret Society.
    As part of her campaign the Princess desires to obtain the formula of a cold rocket fuel invented by the West and gain China's admittance to the United Nations.

From the collection of R. E. Briney

    Her price for her demands being ignored?  She will destroy the entire gold stock of the West.
    Already gold planes have been disappearing, but Yu-Malu's patience is exhausted.  She issues her final ultimatum utilising the General Assembly of the United Nations to add to her point.
   Anthony Race of the British Treasury and his Assistant, Katrina Evans, attempt to foil Yu-Malu's plots in this fast moving international thriller which takes us through and under the Mediterranean, into international Casinos, on top of London's Post Office Tower and into, of all places, Buckingham Palace before the final (?) curtain is rung down."
                                                                                              -- Text from the front jacket flap

Dr. Zin

The first Jonny Quest cartoon  aired on September 18, 1964. The major evil character was Dr. Zin, a character clearly cast in Fu Manchu's mold.

There was a single Gold Key comic in 1964. Jonny and Dr. Zin reappeared in June 1986 as a comic book from Comico. There were 31 regular issues through December 1988 as well as many special editions.

-- First reported by James Tanaka

For detailed information visit
The Classic Jonny Quest Pages.

zin.jpg (11179 bytes)

ZinComic.jpg (13678 bytes)   May 1988

An Ageless Chinese Doctor

August Derleth wrote a long series of stories about a Sherlock Holmes stand-in named Solar Pons and his Watsonian associate, Dr. Lyndon Parker. In "The Adventure of the Seven Sisters" (from The Chronicles of Solar Pons, 1973), Pons tells Parker of a certain shadowy personage:

It is elementary that only a comparatively widespread organization could produce, on demand, a lascar or dacoit to serve as a professional assassin. There is only one such in London, to my knowledge. It is part of a world-wide organization,  headed, I am informed, by an ageless Chinese doctor of far more   than average intelligence----a legendary figure not only  throughout the underworld but also in the political world.  Perhaps you have never heard of the Si-Fan?

In a story occurring later in the Pontine chronology, "The Adventure of the Camberwell Beauty" (from The Return of Solar Pons, 1958), there are further observations:

  Let us refer to him simply as the Doctor. He is considered   by some persons a financial genius, by others as the most sinister  man in the complex underworld of London. [...] He has lascars, dacoits, thugs, and assorted servants at his command. 
  Have you ever heard of the Si-Fan? And the Brotherhood of  the Lotus? And the much-touted Yellow Peril? [...] The Doctor  is all of them.

The Doctor also figures prominently in "The Adventure of the Praed Street Irregulars" (from The Reminiscences of Solar Pons, 1961).   Although the Doctor is never named, there is never any doubt of his identity. All of Pons's encounters with him are appropriately Rohmerian in mood and detail. The intriguing difference is that the Doctor and Pons are not overt antagonists. In two of the stories mentioned above, the Doctor (for his own reasons, needless to say) provides assistance in Pons's investigations, and in the other story it is the Doctor who actually hires Pons to solve a case. All of the stories are well worth reading.

The Solar Pons stories were originally collected in several hardcover volumes published by Derleth's own Mycroft & Moran imprint. They were subsequently reprinted in paperback by Pinnacle Books, and in a two-volume slip-cased omnibus edition by Arkham House.

Note: Win Eckert maintains an expanded and frequently  updated Fu Manchu   Chronology which includes the Solar Pons stories as well as some far more obscure references. 


 A character created by Spanish cartoonist Daniel Torres.

The character named "Opium" does have a number of traits in common with the original Fu Manchu - he's an evil Chinese mastermind hell-bent on world domination (but some of the stories seem to suggest he's doing it mostly for kicks), whose plans include poisoning water supplies to spread panic, brainwashing the kids with hypnotic pop records and controlling the masses by printing hypnotic comic magazines (having kidnapped all the major cartoonists to work them as slaves in his publishing company).

He's often described as "Yellow Peril" or "Prince of Evil". Opium's plans are foiled (usually unwittingly) by his sworn enemy, a vain and silly TV anchor, whose fiancé is usually abducted in each episode (in the end of the first series, she apparently drops her macho boyfriend and strikes a friendship with Opium's female sidekick). The series is designed with tongue firmly in cheek, in a "clear line" style reminiscent of Tin-tin or The Phantom.

It was published in Spain (by Norma Editorial), France (by Les Humanoids Associes and by Castermann) and Italy (by Editoriale Del Grifo), that I know of.

Submitted by Davide Mana, Torino, Italy

Dr. Chu San Fu

Frank Thomas.

Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Bird. New York: Pinnacle, October 1979.  A Paperback Original. Cover art by David Mann.

Sherlock Holmes and the Sacred Sword. New York: Pinnacle, September 1980.  A Paperback Original. Cover art by David Mann.

"I stood ten feet from a sizeable table that was elaborately carved . . Behind it in a high-backed chair sat a Chinaman. His Oriental robe fit tightly around his neck and tended to slenderize his body. His face was a round yellow mask dominated by shrewd, slanting eyes. His head was domed and festooned with a few wisps of hair and from his chin hung two strands of white hair quite separated . . . While his white hair gave him a rather benevolent look, he did not seeem of great age, though I would have been hard-pressed to guess his years. The fingers were long and the nails were of unusual length. One hand was gently stroking a small-headed animal with a pointed muzzle, shot legs, and a long, nervous tail."

Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Bird, page 193  

-- Reported by Jeff Satterfield, Bogart, Georgia, USA

TalonsWengChiang.jpg (6546 bytes)Weng-Chiang

    Ithe 1976-77 season, Doctor Who of the long-running British science
    fiction series battled a future version of Fu Manchu: Magnus Greel,
    a war criminal from the 51st century who, after being thrown back to the
    19th, adopts the identity of  an ancient Chinese god called Weng-Chiang
    --which helps him assert his authority among his Oriental devotees.

    Alan Barnes, the co-editor of Marvel Comics' Doctor Who Magazine, identified a number of definitive Rohmer elements in the Weng-Chiang scripts:

"You may also be interested to note various script elements which cement the pastiche: that Greel's secret base, deep underneath the Palace Theatre, is first accessed from beneath the Thames; that Greel prolongs his life by draining the 'life-essence' of young women; that his various experiments result in a rat being mutated to giant size (Greel uses it to guard the sewer access to his lair); and that, once his base beneath the Palace Theatre is raided, Greel shifts his operations to a Limehouse laundry. Probably the slyest nod towards Sax Rohmer in author Robert Holmes' script - which also contains many elements from The Phantom of the Opera - is the Doctor (never 'Dr. Who'!) mentioning that, having landed in the late 19th century, he's hoping to see Little Tich at the music hall."

The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Part 1 (Originally Aired 2/26/1977)
The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Part 2 (Originally Aired 3/5/1977)
The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Part 3 (Originally Aired 3/12/1977)
The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Part 4 (Originally Aired 3/19/1977)
The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Part 5 (Originally Aired 3/26/1977)
The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Part 6 (Originally Aired 4/2/1977)

The series was also released as a novel.

Terrance Dicks. Doctor Who - The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Doctor Who library no. 61.  Doctor Who Books: London, 1977.  No. of pages: 140 pages. ISBN: 0 426 11973 8

The series was later edited and released as a movie.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Released: BBC Enterprises Ltd. 1988. Length: 136 mins. Rating: PG.  BBCV no. 4187.

Another Weng-Chiang novel appeared in 1996.

David A. McIntee. The Shadow of Weng Chiang. Doctor Who Books: London, August 1996. ISBN 0-426-20479-4

--The Weng-Chiang clone was first reported by Ralph Stewart.

Doctor Chou en Shu

Richard Jaccoma. Yellow Peril: The Adventures of Sir John Weymouth-Smythe. New York: Richard Marek, 1978.

"I shall forever carry with me the vile memory of this, my first sight of the Beast who would become my archenemy: a massive shaved head, a wide brow denoting a phenomenal warped intelligence, unspeakably poercing eyes of an inhuman , yellowish green, a titanic, ageless body, filled with evil strength! His name. its name I will give you now, although it still twists my heart: the Master of the Dak Fang
. . . Doctor Chou en Shu!
                                        Chapter 3

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Sax Rohmer is named as a significant member of The Golden Dawn Lodge in chapter 13, but he is nowhere credited as the creator of the "yellow peril" archetype so clearly the model of Chou en Shu and his Dak Fang. The hero's name, Sir John Weymouth-Smythe, is a clear combination of the names of two Rohmer heroes: Inspector Weymouth and Nayland Smith. Dacoits, well used Briars and a variety of poisonous insects abound.

Richard Jaccoma. The Werewolf's Revenge. New York: Fawcett, August 1991.

Both Chou en Shu and  Sir John Weymouth-Smythe return in Jaccoma's third book.

The Mandarin, Mr. King

Gahan Wilson. Everybody's Favorite Duck. The Mysterious Press: New York, 1988.

"An extremely tall, extremely thin man in an Astrakan hat and a long cape with a high fur collar unfolded himself in a smooth, serpentine undulation, stepped out of the car, and sniffed the fog with the  loving appreciation of a true connoisser. His descicated face was Oriental, schiveled as an Egyptian mummy's, and owned a queer calmness which suggested a Buddha--but a suspect, devious Buddha, one altogether lacking in compassion, a Buddha whose followers would undergo strange and occasionally fatal enlightenments" (3).

"He had on his cap with the coral ball on top and his dragon robe and the whole damn works, just like he was delled up for a meeting of the Council of Seven" (60).

"'This Chinese fellow, for example, who you say recently went by the name of, ah,
Mr. King . . .'
'Not only his most recent name, Mr. Greyer,' said Bone. 'I believe I said it has been strongly hinted it may also have been one of his earliest, back in the London docklands before the war, when he first became known to the Western authorities . . .'" (78-79).

Fou Mancho

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"Fou Mancho" (literally and phonetically, in French, "one-armed crazy").

Sherlock Holmes and Watson versus Fu-Manchu? No, Cholms (a cat) and Stetson (a drunkard dog) versus Fou Mancho (another cat, an asiatic and scientific genius). On the trail of a lost city and a holy mask....    A comic, and a weak animal pastiche of Sherlock Holmes.

Text and (colored) illustrations by: J.L. Le Hir.

Originally published in Circus (Jacques Glénat) from n° 35 to 40, 1981.

Hardcover : Jacques Glénat, "Cholms et Stetson" n° 1, 1982.21,5 x 29,5 cm. 48 pages.

Reported by Marc Madouraud

l'Ombre Jaune

If there is ONE FU-MANCHU "clone" that ought to be mentioned on your site, it is "Monsieur Ming, l'Ombre Jaune" (The Yellow Shadow) a recurring villain in the French adventure series BOB MORANE (both novels & comics).  BOB MORANE is quite an industry, and the "YELLOW SHADOW" a major villain.   There is even an animated series in progress, that will feature the YELLOW SHADOW.   There  are quite a few sites (usually in French) devoted to BOB MORANE.   The best two are:

Reported by Jean-Marc Lofficier, author of  the 1000+ page guide to French Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Pulp Fiction.

Jean-Marc has kindly given his permission to share his  "Bob Morane" entry.

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In 1971 Warren B. Murphy and Richard Ben Sapir created a character named Remo Williams, The Destroyer, and his Korean mentor Chiun, the Master of Sinanju. In the succeeding 28 years Remo and Chiun have appeared in well over a hundred novels, as well as comic-book adaptations and an entertaining movie, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), with Fred Ward and Joel Grey.
   By the midway point of the series, the production of the Destroyer books had been turned over to ghost-writers, of whom by far the most prolific was Will Murray. Murray's first Destroyer novel was #56, Encounter Group, published in 1984.   Since then he has written entries #63 and #69-107 in the series. Murray has also written Doc Savage novels under the byline Kenneth Robeson and books in the Executioner and Mars Attacks franchises. He has also written extensively on pulp magazines (especially Doc Savage and The Shadow), comic books, and other areas of popular fiction, and has reported on the production of numerous movies for Starlog magazine.
   In The Destroyer #83: Skull Duggery (NY: Signet Books #AE6905, January 1991), Murray paid a somewhat irreverent tribute to a certain sinister character. Early in the book (page 28) the following conversation takes place between Remo Williams and Chiun regarding one of Chiun's previous employers:

    "A Chinese. An individual. A mandarin."
    "Would I know of him?"
    "Not under his true name. But he was known to the west under a silly name, Fu Achoo, or some such nonsense."
    Remo made a face. "Fu ... you can't mean Fu Manchu?"
    "See? Even you understand what a ridiculous name it is. It was that lunatic British scribbler's fault. He disseminated all manner of lies and slanders about me."
    "You? What are you talking about? I read those books as a kid. I don't remember any Koreans in them."
    "Precisely, Remo. He changed everything willy-nilly. Where the Master of Sinanju was at work, he improvised Dacoits. I think that was in The Ears of Fu Achoo. Dacoits are always cutting their own fingers off by accident. Poisonous spiders, venomous scorpions, and other insects abound in those ridiculous books. But not one single Korean.   I ended up on the cutting room floor."
    "You're mixing your media, but I get what you say."
    "It was that so-called author who was mixed up. Imagine a Chinese named Fu Manchu.   The Manchus were not even Chinese. They are nomads, like the Mongols."
    "Little father, I think you are pulling my leg. Fu Manchu was a fictitious character. He never existed."

Later in the book Remo has an all too close encounter with the principal villain, who turns out to be the aged mandarin of whom Chiun had told him:

  The tall Chinese spoke.
    "I am known as Wu Ming Shi. In Mandarin, this means Nameless One, for no one knows my true name. This is as I wish."


Heavy Hitters: Offcastes. Mike Vosburg: Artist/Writer. New York: EPIC COMICS.
#1 July 1993
#2 August 1993
#3 September 1993

In the 1970s, Mike Vosburg provided many original drawings for The Rohmer Review.

A quick perusal of the silhouette on the cover offers an immediate hint of this evil oriental genius' familial ties. The lovely Kaoru is holding one of her pet Zayat Kisses, "a wasp-like insect, native to southern Nu Dao . . . Its sting is excruciatingly painful . . . and 100% fatal."

Kaoru dances in a chorus line known as the Zayat Line and wears a costume modeled after the insect. Cults, plots, assassins and more.

I'm partial, but this is an outstanding example of graphic story-telling.

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Copyright © 1993 Mike Vosburg. All rights reserved.

Mike Vosburg's web site

An Old Adversary

"Lin Carter wrote several stories about an occult detective named Anton Zarnak.   In the story 'Perchance to Dream' (which is collected in 'The Xothic Legend Cycle') Zarnak counters a visitor's rudeness with the following remark:

To quote an old adversary rather imprecisely, I have a doctorate in medicing from Edinburgh University, a doctorate in theology from Heidelburg, a doctorate in psychology from Vienna, and a doctorate in metaphysics from Miskatonic; my guests usually address me as Doctor Zarnak."

-- Matthew Baugh

The Xothic Legend: The Complete Mythos Fiction of Lin Carter. Chaosium, 1997. 1st, paperback, 271pp.

"The Doctor"

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.TM Story: Alan Moore and Artwork: Kevin O'Neill. Wildstorm Publications. A six part series dated: #1 March 1999, #2 April 1999, #3 June 1999, and #4 November 1999. Issues 5 and 6 have yet to be released. Issue #1 was released with both a "First Printing" cover and a "Dynamic Forces Exclusive Alternate Cover" limited to 5000 copies.

Alan Moore pits a group of Victorian figures against a Chinese Warlord in London. The "League" consists of Allan Quartermain (of King Solomon's Mines fame), Dr.Henry Jekyll (of Dr. Jekyll and  Mr. Hyde), Captain Nemo (of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), John Griffin (of The Invisible Man) and Mina Harker (the lone survivor of Dracula).  Many other fictional and real characters appear and part of the fun is recognizing them.

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First glimpse of "The Doctor" in #4
Copyright © Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

"The man I speak of is a warlord from the Orient, but recently arrived in England. Little is known of him. It's rumoured he grew up during the Opium Wars in China, and therefore abhors the British with a vengeance. We know that with brutal efficiency, he has established himself as absolute crime king of London's East End. Known only as 'The Doctor,'  he's regarded as Satan himself by such few as have survived encountering him."


Planetary. TM   Warren Ellis & John Cassaday. Wildstorm Publications.  A continuing series. #1 April 1999.

Introduced in PLANETARY #1 as an integral part of the "secret history" of   the Wildstorm comic-book universe, Hark is an unusual Fu Manchu clone.  A "tall, frightening figure" impeccably dressed in black Western-style suits but with foot-long lacquered nails, Hark was "the very pinnacle of the ingenuity of the East."  From the turn of the century, he terrorized the Occident -- first attacking Great Britain and then turning on America -- and eventually found himself in conflict with Dr. Axel Brass, an analogue of Doc Savage.  Doc Brass convinced Hark that they shared a common goal -- a better world for their people -- and that East and West could work together.  Hark gave up his terrorist activities and joined Brass' secret society of  heroes (all of whom owe their roots to the heroes of the pulps): his Lordship, a Tarzan pastiche based out of Madagascar; Jimmy, a Secret Operator for American intelligence, inspired by the Avenger and the Spirit; the Aviator, based on G-8; Edison, a blatantly "Edisonade" super-inventor; and "the dark millionaire, the man in black whose guns shouted out against crime in all its forms."   Together they battled such strange foes as the Daemonite aliens, the Murder Colonels, the Black Crow King, and the dread Charnel Ship.

Hark's name appears to be inspired by Hong Kong action movie director Tsui Hark.

--Sean Tait Bircher

Dr. Fu Ch'ing

Operation Luna. Poul Anderson. New York: Tor, 1999. The heroes encounter the Chinese master criminal Dr. Fu Ch'ing, who has a base in Limehouse and is of undetermined age.

"A tall, thin, stoop-shouldered man stood awaiting us. He had donned slippers, an embroidered robe, and a mandarin cap topped by a large spherical button. His hands were delicate, his fingernails very long, trimmed to points and polished. His head was bald or shaven. Despite his golden-hued skin and wispy white beard, the features beneath a brow like Shakespeare's, agelessly smooth, seemed almost too sharp to be Chinese. I know eyes don't really pierce, but damn if I didn't feel his." (pp. 164-5, hardcover edition).

--Steven Kaye

Hang Man Chang

"Frenzy of Tongs" was broadcast 19 November 2001 with the villain Hang Man Chang with his evil daughter Woo Woo.There is a desk Sgt. called Sgt. Rohmer. Details are found on the Television page.


Phoo Man Choo Choo

An interesting take-off of Fu Manchu in the Mickey Mouse story "Knit One, Pearl Two" by Pat and Carol McGreal and Paco Rodriguez.Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #655 (April 2005). A trip to far Eastern Bhummah finds Mickey and Minnie crossing paths with a pair of gigantic pearls, a warlord named Phoo Man Choo Choo, and an pirate queen named Lotus Blossom.                                                                                                        --Randy Cox

Additional sightings will be appreciated.

Copyright © 1998-2005   R. E. Briney and Lawrence Knapp. All rights reserved.

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