Les Hommes Mysterieux [1910s]


The NyctalopeArsene LupinRoburZenith the AlbinoFantomas



Who's Who in this image ?

  • Robur is clearly the rightmost character, he is dressed in a manner similar to the costume worn by Vincent Price in "Master of the World"
  • Second to the right is Arsène Lupin, the monocle, top hat and tails confirm this.
  • The question of the other two characters has been cleared up by Jean-Marc Lofficier;
  • Being friends with Kevin O'Neill who did this illustration based on the characters I had provided for Alan...I can tell you with 100% certainty that the faceless guy with the burning eyes was meant to be the Nyctalope. The Nyctalope looks nothing like that of course, although one could assume he's wearing a mask in the picture.
  • Fantomas is the guy with the beard standing in the back. Kevin got that picture from Fantomas in disguise in the first Feuillade serial.


Jean Robur

"...aeronaut Jean Robur..."

  • Featured in :

  • The Clipper of the Clouds (1887)
  • The Master of the World (1904)

by Jules Verne



Robur is a brilliant inventor who creates a very advanced flying machine called 'The Albatros', but he is also a megalomaniac who is trying to keep the secret of flight of out the hands of anyone except himself. He kidnaps other researchers who are working on rival machinces and destroys their work. Later he goes insane and the thinks himself the "Master of the World."





From 'The Master of the World' :

'This man, so interesting both to me and to the world, must have been some years over fifty. He was of middle height, with powerful shoulders still very erect; a strong head, with thick hair rather gray than white, smooth shaven cheeks, and a short, crisp beard. His chest was broad, his jaw prominent, and he had that characteristic sign of tremendous energy, bushy eyebrows drawn sharply together. Assuredly he possessed a constitution of iron, splendid health, and warm red blood beneath his sun burned skin.'



The Nyctalope

"the frightening night-sighted Nyctalope..."

  • Featured in :
    • The Nyctalope Series

      including :

    • L'Homme Qui Peut Vivre Dans L'Eau (1908)
    • Le Mystère des XV (1911)
    • L'Énigme du Squelette (1955)

by "Jean de La Hire"

aka Adolphe d'Espie De La Hire


The Nyctalope is Léo Sainte-Claire aka Jean de Sainclair, a superhero who can see in the dark and has an artificial heart. The Nyctalope's allies are his fiancée, Sylvie Mac Dhul, his son, Pierre, the Japanese Gno Mitang, the mysterious Jewish wizard, Mathias Lumen, and of course, members of the international C.I.D., the Committee of Information and Defense (against Evil), which Nyctalope created.



Arsène Lupin

"...cave-lair of Arsene Lupin"

  • Featured in :
    • The Arsène Lupin Collection


    • Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Cambrioleur (1907)
    • Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes (1907)
    • Les Milliards d'Arsène Lupin (1939)

by Maurice LeBlanc



Lupin, the ultimate gentleman criminal, is a master of disguise, whose criminal activities have more or less "unselfish" grounds. If he steals a painting, it is so that it may be genuinely appreciated. Lupin amuses himself making fools of the police. His opponent is the inspector Ganimard from the Sûrete. Later in his career Lupin worked more in consort with the police, and in once even he helped the Police Prefect Desmalions to capture a murderer. He loves wine, beautiful women, and diamonds, but after meeting the intriguing Countess Cagliostro his life is changed. He met the master detective Sherlock Holmes twice.




"As with his rival Fantomas..."

  • Featured in :
    • The Fantômas Series


    • Fantômas (1911)
    • Juve contre Fantômas (1911)
    • La Fin de Fantômas (1913)

by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain


Fantômas is the Lord of Terror, the Genius of Evil, he carries out the most appalling crimes: substituting sulfuric acid in the perfume dispensers at a Parisian department store, releasing plague-infested rats on an ocean liner, or forcing a victim to witness his own execution by placing him face-up in a guillotine. Fantômas is the master of a thousand disguises and the leader of a vast army of "apaches" (street thugs). His spies and henchmen are everywhere, spreading the seeds of chaos and terror.



From 'Fantomas' :

'It is impossible to say exactly what or to know precisely who Fantômas is. He often assumes the form and personality of someone particular and even well-known individual; sometimes he assumes the form of two human beings at the same time, sometimes he works alone; sometimes with accomplices; sometimes he can be identified as such-and-such a person, but no one has ever yet gotten to know Fantômas himself.'


Zenith the Albino

"The international arch-villain Monsieur Zenith"

  • Featured in :
    • The Sexton Blake Stories

by Anthony Skene


Monsieur Zenith the Albino is a sometimes foe of Sexton Blake who is a world-weary albino master thief. A Romanian royalty in exile he is addicted to opium and adventure.


From Jess Nevins notes on Issue #2 :

"... the creepy pumpkinheaded floppy-armed imp seen running along the edge of the sewer, in the illustration at the bottom of Page 27, is a Martian from Arnould Galopin's Le Docteur Oméga - Aventures Fantastiques de Trois Français dans la Planète Mars (Dr. Omega - Fantastic Adventures Of Three Frenchmen On Planet Mars, 1905). [...] According to Jean-Marc Lofficier, who spoke directly to Kevin O'Neill, O'Neill put in the Martian because he liked its look; there's "no hidden story agenda there."

His name is TIZIRAOU and the book "Dr. Omega" is available here.



The characters in Les Hommes Mysterieux seem to have a one-on-one correspondence in apperance with the 1890s League :
  • Robur=Quatermain
  • Nyctalope=Griffin
  • Lupin=Jekyll
  • Phantom/Fantomas=Nemo


Visit the Gallery of Les Hommes Mysterieux


The ideal companion to Jess Nevins' Heroes and Monsters. In Shadowmen Jean-Marc Lofficier investigates the heroes and villains of French pulp fiction in great detail, including all of Les Hommes Mysterieux and Captain Nemo, as well as other notables such as the Count of Monte-Cristo, Monsieur Lecoq, the Mysterious Dr. Cornelius, Doctor Omega and Fascinax. The contents also include:

  • biographies of the authors
  • fictional biographies of the characters
  • bibliographies and filmographies, including tv, radio and comics
  • timelines and concordances
  • 150 b&w illustrations

For more information click here or on image.


In a followup to Shadowmen Jean-Marc Lofficier has created Shadowmen 2: Heroes and Villians of French Comics, including; Barbarella; The Monster of Frankenstein; Arabelle the Last Mermaid; the Castaways in Time; Zembla; Mister X; Felina; Kabur; Submerman; Luc Orient; Jacques Flash; Olympio; Thorkael; The Blue Hawk; the Time Brigade and the Conquerors of Space.The contents include;

  • biographies of the authors
  • bibliographies and fictional biographies of over 40 characters
  • Over 300 b&w illustrations
  • index

For more information click here or on image.




Comments : Damiantgordon@hotmail.com

Images on this page are from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2 Issue 2, Jean-Marc Lofficier's splendid site the Claude Rains site,and various public retail sites.