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Packard, Frank L

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1877-1942) Canadian author known almost exclusively for the Jimmy Dale the Gray Seal sequence of thrillers, beginning with "The Gray Seal" (May 1914 People's Magazine), which was later assembled with other stories as The Adventures of Jimmie Dale (coll of linked stories 1917), several further volumes following until 1935. With his secret identity, his "Fortress of Solitude", his hidden wealth, his moral imperatives and his remarkable physical skills, Jimmy Dale combines elements of still earlier archetypes – Edmont Dantès in Alexandre Dumas's Le Comte de Monte-Christo (28 August 1844-15 January 1846 Journal des Débats; 1844-1845 18vols; trans as The Count of Monte Cristo 1846 3vols), Sir Percy Blakeney in the Scarlet Pimpernel sequence by Barones Orczy, and others – and therefore prefigures later characters like The Shadow (see Walter Gibson), and Superhero figures created by Norvell W Page and others. One of Dale's secondary noms des guerres, Larry the Bat, as well as his faithful butler and ambivalent link to his parents, also suggest a possible link to Batman. But The Gray Seal is not sf.

Of more direct sf interest are "An Inter-Planetary Rupture" (December 1906 Monthly Story Blue Book Magazine), a Space Opera set in the year 3102 CE involving a war between Mercury and Earth over the asteroid belt; and The Miracle Man (1914), where a complex criminal conspiracy is ultimately foiled by the ostensible Mastermind behind it, who possesses Psi Powers. [JC/MA]

Frank Lucius Packard

born Montreal, Quebec: 2 February 1877

died Lachine, Quebec: 17 February 1942



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