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Fantômas is a French fictional character created in 1910-1911> by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain. The hooded figure of the master of crime becomes an emblematic figure of the popular literature of the Belle Epoque and the French serial following the diffusion of the thirty-two novels of the two co-authors (1911-1913) and five cinematographic adaptations made by Louis Feuillade (1913-1914). The saga is a public success and arouses the enthusiasm of great writers and artists.
Interrupted by the death of Pierre Souvestre and the outbreak of the First World War>, the series is taken up by the only Marcel Allain after the war and is again the subject of cinematographic adaptations during the years 1930-1940, then of a comic adaptation very free with Jean Marais and Louis de Funès during the 1960s. Far away inspired by the criminals of the James Bond films, this Fantômas with the bluish mask tends today to eclipse the original work in the collective memory.
Fantômas remains one of the most important soap operas in popular literature in France, although the title character falls within the tradition of Rocambole's geniuses of crime (and his mentor, Sir Williams), Colonel Bozzo. Corona ("godfather" of the criminal secret society of black clothes imagined by Paul Féval), Zigomar (masked criminal created by Léon Sazie), Erik, the Ghost of the Opera> Gaston Leroux and Arsène Lupine Maurice Leblanc, less terrifying but not devoid of shadows. Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain who have been writing soap operas since 1909, co-authored between 1911 and 1913 Fantômas, a series of thirty-two volumes (about 15,000 pages) at 65 centimes, the publisher Arthème Fayard imposing on them by contract the writing of a novel per month>.