by Dennis E. Power
(with much assistance from Matthew Baugh, Win Eckert and Chuck Loridans)


Special thanks to fellow Wold Newtonian researcher Dr. Peter Coogan who brought The Invisible Murderer by Philip Wylie to my attention. Information on William Carpenter gave me the necessary clues to see where the other Invisibles fit.

WILLIAM CARPENTER 1897-1929 (no known photograph)
    In this section of the Invisibles family, we intend to demonstrate how the activities of the Griffin family lead to New York being a primary headquarters for costumed vigilantes, superheroes, criminal masterminds and supervillains in the years after the depression.

    In 1929 New York City was subjected to a wave of terrorism the likes of which had not been seen since the days of Dr. Quartz, the archenemy of Nick Carter. Nor had Quartz ever carried out a campaign of such pervasive terrorism, which not only killed thousands of people but also paralyzed the very commerce of the nation and had other far ranging perpetual consequences. During the course of this campaign hundreds of buildings were torched by arson. A gasoline explosion wiped out a large section of Queens. The subway system and interstate transportation systems were bombed making traffic to New York and Manhattan nearly impossible. The power and water supplies to New York City were compromised as important power stations and reservoirs were bombed. Financiers, politicians and religious leaders were murdered by unseen hands often before large audiences. Grand Central Station was nearly destroyed causing thousands of deaths. When it was discovered that the person behind the tragedies was manipulating the Stock Market it was shut down. This became one of the contributing factors of the Great Crash Stock Market Crash.

    As stated in a press release the purpose of this wave of terrorism was part of a plan to rule the world. Although the person behind the plot never mentioned his name, he did outline part of his plan. He wised the United States to be ruled by a council of Scientists, chosen and guided by him. He wished to use the economic, political and population resources of the United States to bring his about his vision of an ordered world through conquest. No longer would mankind be guided by the desires and wishes of the uneducated masses or of a greedy minority. Instead the destiny of the human race would driven by the logical course of rationalists who would not be swayed by emotion or superstition when making decisions which would benefit the race as a whole.

    The diabolical mind behind this insidious plan and its accompanying terrorism was William Carpenter, biochemist and financier. Unknown to the public at large he was also an invisible man. William Carpenter is the main protagonist of the novel Invisible Murderer by Philip Wylie.

    We first meet him in Sinkak, New Jersey when his niece arrived to take lodging with him.

    William Carpenter had been in Sinkak since the summer before which would place him there about 1928. He had bought up a mansion and had imported a lot of machinery, enough to fill a factory, as one resident claimed. Carpenter had also hired his laborers from outside of town, which caused immediate conflict with the townspeople of Sinkak who felt he had taken money out of the town. Additionally Carpenter had bricked over the windows of all of the lower floors so he could not be spied upon. This gave the residents of Sinkak reason to believe he had something to hide.

    Another strike against him so far as the good people of Sinkak were concerned was Carpenter's appearance. It was also unusual to say the least. William Carpenter was six and a half feet tall, with overly large feet and hands. He had a bony, hairy chest but hunched shoulders. His features were also distorted having a large jaw with a beaked nose but small mouth. His head seemed oversized on a skinny neck. Although his large hands and feet and reddish hair might seem make him a close relative of John Renwick, the famed world renowned engineer associate of Dr. James Clarke Wildman, he was in fact not a close relative of the Renwicks, although he may have been distantly related. William Carpenter appeared to suffer from the same condition that also appears to have affected John Renwick. John Renwick however had a minor manifestation of the condition. This condition is acromegaly, a pituitary disorder that causes growth distortions. Although some forms of acromegaly are genetic, most are not. (1)

    William Carpenter had gone to Sinkak to carry out his researches in private. He had been forced from the public arena by devastating losses in the Stock Market. William Carpenter was the second of two children of a prominent New Jersey Banking family. There had been a bitter disagreement between the father and the eldest son. The eldest son attended medical school and moved to North Dakota after had graduated. He had married young, which had been the crux of the dispute between father and son.

    As a result of the argument, William inherited the family fortune. Exceedingly brilliant William barely attended college before attending medical school. He spent two years at medical school and took his medical boards. He then specialized in biochemical research. At the same time he dabbled in the stock market and doubled his fortune. The ease in which he made his fortune without applying any apparent effort made William Carpenter the enemy of several powerful men. Together they colluded to break Carpenter. By 1927, William Carpenter had been left with a tenth of his original inheritance. He used all that remained to buy the Mortland house in Sinkak and reshape it into his laboratory.

    William Carpenter believed that it was his misshapen appearance that caused his fellow financiers to turn against him, that, and envy over his towering intellect. In Sinkak he devoted his vast intellect into his biochemical studies with the burning desire to accomplish three goals; one to remove himself from his body, to achieve world recognition for his merits and to wreak vengeance upon those who had wronged him. The direction in which his biochemical researches took was almost as if decreed by fate.

    It was a pivotal day when William Carpenter learned of his true origins.

    Within a couple moments of having met his niece, William Carpenter had declared to her that he had no obligation to her since she was not any closer a relation to him than the Royal family of Britain. She was stunned when he told her that the Carpenters had adopted her father and therefore she was not truly his niece.

    This was a theme he would reiterate several times. It was his justification for having inherited all of the family fortune and not sharing a cent of it with his brother. Yet it was deeper than that, for he was in many ways trying to convince himself of the veracity of the statement, for it was false. Daryl Carpenter's father had not been adopted. It was in fact William Carpenter who had been adopted. He had learned this fact upon his "father's" death.

 The knowledge that he had been adopted drove William Carpenter to discover who his biological parents had been. He wondered not only where his great intellect was derived but he also wished to discover the source of his malformation. Discovering the information had not been cheap but William Carpenter eventually discovered that his birth mother had been a seventeen-year old girl named Rebecca Randall. Miss Randall had because of her willful nature sent to an English boarding school for polishing. Her parents however did not investigate the school too deeply for it was run by former Prostitute. The school was plagued by a poltergeist that sexually attacked several of the girls. Three or more of them, Rebecca among them became pregnant as a result of this sexual assault. She returned to the United States gave birth and promptly gave the child up for adoption before returning to her Sunnybrook farm. (2)

    The poltergeist was in fact a living man, an invisible living man. He was John Hawley Griffin; the Invisible Man made famous by H. G. Wells.

    The true facts of his birth shattered William Carpenter and at the same time provided to him an explanation for his intellect and his malformations. He believed that the invisibility had factored into cause his acromegaly. Knowledge of his parentage also gave him a sense of purpose and a sense of destiny. Having learned that Griffin was rumored to have been an Albino, he assumed, rightly, that Griffin had undertaken the study of invisibility to hide his despised form. He decided to follow suit.

    William Carpenter did not have access to Griffin's notes so his studies were entirely on their own. The formula he used to achieve invisibility remains unknown.

    Despite his claim that Daryl Carpenter was not related to him and indeed not a true Carpenter, he offered her a job as a bottle washer in his laboratory. He most likely did this because he did need someone and someone he could count on to be silent about his work. William knew that she was in desperate straits so far as her finances were concerned. He also knew that despite having told her that they were not related she would still consider him a relative, having no one else in the world. She was also very beautiful and Carpenter was immediately infatuated with her.

    Her affections however gravitated towards William Carpenter's new laboratory assistant, Bromwell Baxter. Although this infuriated him, Carpenter did not let this affect the course of their work.

    Carpenter achieved invisibility upon a fungus, then moved quickly and successfully through the animal chain, until he resolved to test it upon himself.  Prior to doing so he locked his assistant and niece in separate sections of the house. If the experiment was successful he planned spirit away his niece and force her to love him. His assistant would be disappearing permanently.

    Carpenter took a dose of the invisibility formula measured for a man of his height and weight. It was only moderately successful. It first bleached him white as the coloration left his body, then his flesh became translucent and finally invisible. It made all but his skeleton invisible. He could see with great detail the distorted bone structure of his skeleton. His bones remained stubbornly visible. He believed that the formula was slower to be absorbed into his skeletal structure yet after two hours it was still visible. Carpenter had failed to account for the fact that because of his condition his bones were denser than of most humans.

    Carpenter was reluctant to take more of the formula since he did not know the effects of too much of the formula on the human body. He was concerned that too much would be fatal.

    His housekeeper had seen his flesh turn white and  had run from the house believing Carpenter had contracted leprosy. A friend of the housekeeper went to Carpenter's home to demand her things. He saw the walking skeleton that Carpenter had become and also ran from the house.

    Fearful that the frightened man would alert the townspeople, who would then confront Carpenter and possibly find Carpenter's prisoners, Carpenter gave chase. Carpenter in turn found himself hunted by the townspeople. Carpenter was eventually surrounded and kept covered with guns. Being enlightened men of the twentieth century, they resolved to burn him as a devil. As the lynch mob built his pyre, Carpenter desperately drank the last of his formula. The extra dose was enough to make even his dense bones fade from site. As Carpenter shed his clothes, many of the townspeople swore that Carpenter sank into the earth to return to hell. Unfortunately this was not true and Carpenter escaped to cause death and devastation on a vast scale.

        William Carpenter returned to his house in a near panic, not certain if the good people of Sinkak had followed his trail. He had little doubt that if they somehow discovered him he would be killed without a thought. William Carpenter discovered that his prisoners Daryl Carpenter and Bromwell Baxter had escaped from his grasp. They were either long gone or hiding in the house. Either way he did not have time to waste on them. William Carpenter put into motion the second phase of his plan. He had previously planted enough of a high explosive of his own devising to disintegrate the Mortland house and all its furnishings. This included his laboratory, his equipment and all of his paperwork. As he drove away in his car, he had reached Sinkak's outskirts when the Mortland house blew up.

    From a seemingly abandoned house in Manhattan, William Carpenter made preparations for the vengeance phase of his plan and also preliminary preparations for the part of the plan in which he seized power. Using a make-up kit he established an identity as an old man, opened bank accounts and arranged for the delivery of various supplies. William Carpenter discovered by accident that Daryl Carpenter and Bromwell Baxter had not only survived the explosion but were also in New York His first thought was they were there to no doubt to ruin Carpenter's plans. He was quite correct in this, they feared that what they had originally thought to be idle boasting were events Carpenter actually planned to put into motion.

    Carpenter visited Daryl and threatened Baxter's safety. He boasted that she would eventually come to love only William Carpenter.

    William Carpenter visited Simeon Page, a Wall Street financier, multi-million dollar wheat operator and the brains behind the cabal that had stripped Carpenter of his wealth. After Carpenter told Page who his attacker was, he plunged a knife into Page's chest. A few hours later William Carpenter walked unseen into the brokerage house of Bradley, Pine and Schlessinger. As soon as Bradley was alone in his private office Carpenter announced himself and told Bradley why he deserved execution. Bradley tried to escape his fate. Carpenter stabbed him in the back. Bradley managed however to take a swing at Carpenter and knocked him unconscious.

    The police gathered fingerprint evidence from the crime scenes and soon discovered Page and Bradley had the same killer.

    The next day William Carpenter traveled to the home of Malcolm Gates, the third of the men who had stripped him of his fortune.  Gates and his wife were engaged in a game of double dummy bridge. Carpenter waited patiently. When their housekeeper called Gate's wife to the phone, Carpenter crept over to where Gates sat and cut his throat.

    The screaming began as Carpenter exited the house. He had not originally planned to kill his enemies but rather terrify, humiliate and ruin them but he had gotten so carried away with the sense of power that invisibility gave him that he had given into his darker impulses.

    There was a fourth victim to Carpenter's plan of revenge, which is unrecorded in the Murderer Invisible. In the early twenties there was a well known stockbroker named Robert Caine. He was sent to jail for embezzlement. His son Robert Caine jr. who had graduated from college and was poised to take over the family brokerage turned to crime to pay off the family debts. He was eventually caught and sent to the same prison as his father. It would eventually be discovered that Robert Caine had taken the blame for the embezzlement out because he had believed that it was his uncle had that committed the embezzlement. The true thief was one of their clerks. The crime that had put Robert Caine jr. into prison had been a frame job and he was eventually exonerated. (3)

    The Caine brokerage house reopened but only did a modest amount of business until William Carpenter became their client. Carpenter did not truly blame Robert Caine jr. for the loss of his fortune. He doubted that Caine would never have had anything to do with anything remotely resembling fraud or sharp practice and he would never have gulled a client. Yet Caine had handled the transactions that ultimately led to Carpenter's financial downfall, so some retribution was in order. Carpenter decided to be merciful planned merely planned to frighten Caine and his wife.

    Carpenter stole into the Caine's bedroom late that night. He chloroformed Caine, dragged him out of his bed and lugged him downstairs to Caine's study. He tied Caine to a chair and gagged him. When Caine awoke, Carpenter began to throw the contents of Caine's filing cabinet into his fireplace and so destroy all of his financial records. When this was done Carpenter began to toss Caine's collection of rare books into the fire.

    Robert Caine's was never certain if what he saw was a nightmare or reality. To him it seemed as though papers magically flew out of self opening drawers to land on the fire, as if books magically flew from their shelves to add themselves to the pyre. Carpenter might have been satisfied with merely destroying Caine's prized possessions and his financial records had not Mrs. Caine walked into the library to see what was causing the noise and to see where her husband had gotten to. Seeing him gagged and bound to a chair, she began to scream. Carpenter quickly shut her up by clapping a large hand over her mouth.

    Mrs. Caine was quite beautiful; she was in fact a former showgirl. The proximity of her nearly naked form, the overwhelming sense of power that Carpenter felt because of his invisibility and his long denied sexual passion, which had been inflamed by Daryl Carpenter gave him the idea to truly humiliate Caine by "taking" his wife before his eyes.

    Robert Caine jr.'s nightmare deepened as he saw his wife raped by an invisible assailant. When he was finished, Carpenter chloroformed Caine and his wife and placed them back in their beds. He straightened out the down stairs to the point of removing the ashes from the fireplace. It pleased him to think that the Caines would never really know what happened to them that night. (4)

    Having finished his vengeance, William Carpenter decided to embark upon his quest for power.

    First Carpenter stole three quarters of a million dollars from the Manhattan National Bank. Part of it he kept for operating expenses, the majority he sent to an investment firm to once again invest in wheat futures and also in banking.

    The next ten days were called the Crime Siege by the newspapers of the day.

    On Sunday, a prominent fundamentalist preacher whose savage attacks on science and modern life had garnered him thousands of devoted followers toppled from the pulpit in mid sermon with a knife planted between his shoulder blades.

    Later that afternoon the head of the greatest banking house in America stepped from his limousine accompanied by a bodyguard to take a stroll through Central Park. Later that day the banking magnate's body was found stuffed inside some bushes, the bodyguard was found wandering about the park gibbering like a mad man.

    William Carpenter visited the homes of dozens of prominent business executives and terrorized them with his invisibility. He told them not to go to their places of employment ever again other wise they or their families would suffer. Many left the country, went on extended vacations or became suddenly ill.

    On Monday several banks, jewelry stores and museums were robbed of stocks and bonds, of rare and precious gems, of great masterpieces.

    On Tuesday William Carpenter spent the day as an arsonist. Fifty-two buildings in Manhattan were set ablaze. New York harbor was set afire and a section of Queens was wiped out in a massive gasoline explosion.

    On Wednesday several explosions rocked Wall Street, the Hall of Fame was destroyed and three blasts damaged the subway system.

    Several subterranean explosions shook Manhattan uptown. Uptown New York was flooded. An explosion collapsed the tunnel to New Jersey. Downtown Manhattan lost all of its power as several key power stations were damaged by well placed bombs. The Hudson River ferry was blown up.  An explosion at Time's Square was prevented by an observant city worker who noticed an out of place trash can. The trashcan was filled with high explosives. This had been Carpenter's Thursday itinerary.

    Also on this day it became apparent that someone was making a huge profit from the tragedies on the Stock Exchange and so the Stock Market was closed.

    The city was placed under martial law. People were panicked and on edge. It was not uncommon for tempers to flare and for violence to occur. The police became so overwhelmed that two of its top officials committed suicide out of stress.

    On Friday another preacher was killed as he tried to calm his flock. The congregation fled into the streets in sheer blind panic. Shortly thereafter the Police Commissioner was stabbed to death in his home, all the while surrounded by a legion of police officers. (5) All public buildings were closed. Soldiers filled the streets. The death toll was purported to be in the thousands.

    William Carpenter sent a letter to the newspapers; called A Notice to the World that stated his intent to set up an autocracy which would culminate in a world state. The main goal of this world state was to forcibly leap mankind in one generation the evolutionary processes of hundreds or thousand of years. He would use terrorism to end bloodshed. He demanded that the United States surrender all authority to him in one week. To demonstrate the seriousness of his intent he planned to blow up the Capitol building. The note was signed the Unseen Hand.

    In the novel The Murderer Invisible, the Capitol is destroyed. However this was a dramatic flourish on Mr. Wylie's part. The explosive filled truck that were intended to blast the Capitol to kingdom come were spotted hours before their time of detonation. However the truck that was transporting the explosions was destroyed as it drove away. One of the devices malfunctioned and exploded prematurely. The steps to the Capitol were singed and a couple were cracked. This near miss however brought home to the nation at large just how serious a threat this Unseen Hand was.

    Due to his family's connections to the business elite and to many Washington power brokers, Bromwell Baxter was able to get a personal audience with the President of the United States. He told the President who the Unseen Hand terrorist was and how he had gone about doing his work. The President had scientific training as a mining engineer and he politely listened to what Baxter had to tell him and pledged to aid him in capturing Carpenter. President Hoover however disbelieved that William Carpenter was invisible. He thought that the trauma from the great tragedies in New York had given Baxter a form of hysteria. President Hoover also had trouble believing that one man could do so much damage in so short a time without being spotted. He believed that Carpenter was a communist and the head of a terrorist organization.

    President Hoover was one of those Presidents who never informed of the existence of Bureau 13 and other covert op organizations working for the United States government. It was believed that had he known about them, he would have ordered them dismantled as not only frivolous, expensive and unnecessary but also immoral.  The respective heads of the covert ops abiding by their code of national security kept the existence of their organizations secret for the President because it was often felt that in the best interests of the nation it is sometimes better to keep the President in the dark. (6)

    Carpenter's failure to blow up the Capitol building was a error that sent him spinning into depression, Carpenter kept his presence known by randomly occurring explosions through out New York which crippled railway stations, telephone exchanges and power houses and kept New York City in a state of chaos. A state some say it has never quite recovered from.

    William Carpenter's failure to bring the nation to its knees was a crushing blow to his ego. He realized that even if he did achieve the supreme power he wished he would always remain a man. Having successfully divorced himself his hideous form he thought he would transcend his humanity. Even though he was no longer able to see his body, he still felt human. Carpenter still had all the needs and desires and physical requirements of a human body. Yet he would not be able to share his life or his achievement with anyone. He would remain a lone ghost.

    His thoughts once again turned to his niece. Carpenter conceived a burning desire to possess her and to force her to love him.

    While Bromwell Baxter was in Washington D.C. William Carpenter tracked down his niece and told her that he had Bromwell Baxter in his power, to save him she would have to come with him and become Carpenter's companion. He took her to a house he had purchased on Long Island.

    Daryl went with him and pretended to soften her affections towards Carpenter. She believed that her presence would keep Baxter from harm and would mitigate Carpenter from carrying out any more acts of terrorism.

    However when it appeared as though Daryl returned his affections, William Carpenter's desire to dominate humanity also returned.  Once again he sent a note to the newspapers in which he stated his intention to rule the nations of the world. Since a week had passed and the United States had not capitulated, another demonstration of his power was necessary. He stated that he would destroy Grand Central Station in broad daylight. After which  he would take measures to lay vast sections of the United States to waste. Millions would die if the United States did not surrender all power to him.

    The next day at 1:00 p.m. an explosion rocked Grand Central Station. The novel The Murderer Invisible states that it was destroyed.

    Although this was not the case it did suffer a great deal of damage and hundreds of people were killed or injured.

    Emboldened by this success Carpenter bragged to Daryl how he would use the military might of the United States to conquer the world. Invisible legions would overrun the mundane forces of the world.

    Having realized that instead of mollifying William Carpenter's violent impulses she actually inflamed them, Daryl Carpenter escaped from her locked room the next time that Carpenter went out. She managed to make her way to a phone and called for Bromwell Baxter to bring help and capture Carpenter. She returned but could not get back into the house. Carpenter found her outside the house and was incensed that she had left. She explained that she had been forced to break out of her room because of a fire.

    William Carpenter accepted her story. He bragged out he had destroyed the New York public library and also the Commodore Hotel. His next plan of attack was to introduce an incurable plague into the water supply via invisible bacteria.

    Bromwell Baxter convinced the newly appointed Police Commissioner that he knew the whereabouts of the maniac who was blowing up New York piece by piece. He also convinced the Police Commissioner that Carpenter was invisible. Baxter, the Commissioner and a contingent of police officers fought their way through the mobs thronging the streets.

    They eventually surrounded Chrome Gables, Carpenter's Long Island home. Baxter, the Commissioner and a few officers worked their way through the house. Carpenter was not easy to find even with Daryl's assistance.

    Yet it was ultimately William Carpenter's ego that lead to his downfall. See his rival for Daryl's affections there, he realized that Daryl had betrayed him for Baxter. Carpenter boasted that he would escape easily and remake the world to his liking. As a gesture of magnanimity he told Baxter he would give Daryl to him. Carpenter pulled Daryl to him for one last kiss. As he groped her she grabbed and broke a bottle of ink over his head.

    The ink marked William Carpenter and made him an easy target for the bullets of Baxter and the police.

    William Carpenter was not the first mad scientist to threaten the city of New York or to wreak havoc on its citizenry. His attack however had longer lasting consequences than any of the other previous assaults. Some social historians point to his two week reign of terror as a pivotal turning point in history. His crime siege had the immediate effect of destabilizing the financial markets, which was one of the major contributing factors to the Great Stock Market Crash a few weeks later and led to the long, painful era known as the Great Depression. Yet Carpenter's attacks also reverberated through the social consciousness and demonstrated to America that despite its isolationist stance just how vulnerable to attack it was. If a major city could be brought to its knees by a madman how safe was the rest of the nation?

    Some believe that along with the world wide depression it was this perceived weakness of America along with America's continued isolationism that allowed Fascist powers rise to power and to begin their aggressive expansionist policies. It was as if these powers believed that America did not have the stomach to fight, that even if it did fight, it would be a weak and ineffectual power.

    The devastation of New York was an even graver blow to the national psyche than would have been thought. Despite Washington D.C. being the political capital of the United States and perhaps its spiritual capital, in many ways New York City was the symbolic Capital of the United States especially in the twenties. Beyond being the financial hub of the nation, its polyglot population represented the melting pot like no other city, its massive skyscrapers symbolized American industriousness and industry like no other city, New York City was the true Plymouth rock for millions of immigrants of only a few generations past. New York harbor and Grand Central Station represented American trade and American Transportation like few other harbors or train stations did. To the eyes of much of the U.S. population New York symbolized American Business. As a recent U.S. President had said, "After all, the chief business of the American people is business" In short, almost like no other city New York symbolized the United States.(7)

    Fringe groups and maniacs of all stripes would perceive a malaise in the spirit of the nation, weaknesses to be exploited in the local, state and federal governments  ability to maintain order and peace during times of crisis. New York was the epicenter of an socio-economic fault line from which America could be shaken and changed. William Carpenter realized this, perhaps unconsciously when he chose New York to begin his campaign of terror. Almost unopposed William Carpenter had almost succeeded not only in shattering New York but also in devastating the nation. It may be that he could have had some measure of success in reshaping the United States to fit his vision.

    Carpenter was followed by dozens of similarly minded madmen, all with dreams of power and conquest, of riches and fame. After a time, New York became almost blase about the these so called super-villains, often forgetting the widespread terror and panic that had been felt during William Carpenter's Crime Siege. There was a difference however between William Carpenter reign of terror and the exploits of the madmen that followed. Just as the evil minded individuals saw New York as a key lynch pin, as a vulnerable underbelly to slashed, a plum to be picked, other individuals whose moral compasses gravitated towards law and justice saw New York as a crucial focal point in the battle against chaos, as a treasure to be protected at all costs, as a gate through which evil would not pass. These villains, despite how many deaths they might have caused or how much destruction they wreaked upon the city, were never seen as quite the threat as William Carpenter had been because they were opposed by powerful men and women who had appointed themselves as protectors of the City.

    William Carpenter's reign of terror accomplished one good thing; it gave New York its champions, its protectors. William Carpenter is a footnote in history, a dark chapter no one wishes to discuss. As a consequence he is often overlooked as the answer to a question that often plagues Wold Newton researchers. Why did and does to a certain extent to this day,  New York have so many costumed vigilantes? Why in the Thirties did Doc Savage, the Shadow, The Spider, the Whisperer, the Bat-Man and Superman and a few others all gravitate to New York City?  Although it is true that Doc Savage and the Shadow had already made plans to place their headquarters in New York, the Shadow was in the process of doing just that when William Carpenter began his campaign of terror, the incident with Carpenter must have strengthened their resolve. Doc Savage was in Chicago helping to put Al Capone behind bars at the time of William Carpenter's rampage and the Shadow was in the process of establishing his identity among the New York criminal underground while tying up other loose ends and may not have been in the city during the time of the attack. (8)

    Carpenter's Crime Siege in New York demonstrated a general vulnerability to modern American metropolis which madmen tried to exploit in various other cities across the nations. Other men and women in these beleaguered cities rose to the occasion to oppose these criminals.

    Despite the fact that many United States cities had one or more costumed vigilantes or non-costumed vigilantes aiding the overworked and understaffed police departments against crime and terrorism, New York accumulated more heroes and more villains than most of these combined.

    William Carpenter's terrorist campaign demonstrated just how deadly one man could be, how much chaos, destruction and financial ruin he could cause. So although it might seem that New York would have Doc Savage, the Shadow, The Spider, the Avenger, the Whisper, Bat-Man, Superman and various other minor vigilantes tripping over one another, this was not the case each filled an essential niche in keeping New York and thus the United States freed of villainy.

    New York City became a Mecca for madmen because William Carpenter had shown how vulnerable it was and how vulnerable the nation was to events that transpired in New York.

    One can only wonder how our nation and society would have fared without these heroes that kept New York from falling into ruin.

    Click here for a Griffin family tree graphic



1. One other famous sufferer from acromegaly was the man known as the variously as the Creeper or Lothar. Unlike most sufferers of this dreadful condition, Lothar and Carpenter became mad killers. This was more likely the result of innate sociopathic tendencies than a result of their physical condition, although hatred for their appearance may have been a contributing factor. Lothar's career as the Creeper was related in the films PEARL OF DEATH, THE HOUSE OF HORRORS and THE BRUTE MAN, also in THE ROCKETEER: CLIFF'S NEW YORK ADVENTURE and Rocketeer; The Movie.

    There is some evidence to suggest that between the time of Cliff's New York Adventure (1938) and the events of the Rocketeer movie (circa 1942 <I am aware that the film ostensibly takes place in 1938 but evidence suggests that this was later adventure of Clifford Secord with filler material from his previous adventures to cover gaps created by classified events)  Lothar had spent some time in England where he had met Neville Sinclair.

    While Lothar was in England he became acquainted with Dr. Igor Markoff. Markoff took blood, tissue and bone samples from Lothar, claiming he would strive to find a cure for his condition. He had not done so by the time Lothar returned to the United States. Markoff actually created a serum that would cause acromegaly. His serum targeted the pituitary gland with a tumor and caused an artificial form of acromegaly. Markoff first used it upon his estranged wife and then later after having fled to the United States, he used the serum on famed concert pianist Anthony Lawrence. Markoff had conceived of a passion for Lawrence's daughter and Lawrence was an obstacle. He tried to blackmail her into marriage by claiming he could cure the Acromegaly. During a struggle with the strong Lawrence, Markoff was killed. His assistant provided Lawrence with a cure. The tale of Dr. Markoff's misuse of his medical knowledge is dramatized in The Monster Maker. This was not actually a cure but rather it arrested the progress of the acromegaly. Once the bone had grown it was impossible without major surgery to reshape it.

    Lothar was also unique in his physiognomy in addition to acromegaly he also had a mild form of Proteus Syndrome that had the peculiar effect of toughening his skin and bones. The Proteus syndrome is one of the conditions from which Joseph Merrick, the so-called Elephant Man suffered. Despite his appearance, Lothar was exceedingly hard to kill. He survived gunshots, fire and a dirigible explosion. His appearance however suffered in each instance. Lothar survived the events of Rocketeer the movie and once again went to England. There he became the henchman of a master criminal named Giles Conover. Conover and Lothar were however thwarted by Solar Pons as seen in the film Pearl of Death. Although Pearl of Death was a Sherlock Holmes vehicle; Sherlock was long retired by WWII. Lothar once again escaped jail, although he had to create a diversionary fire to do so. He was burned in this fire. The accumulated effects of burned scar tissue from three different incidents created an appearance that was horrifying to most people. He called himself Moloch, after the fire god of the ancient Canaanites who was offered human sacrifices.

    As Moloch Lothar became involved with Dr. Stendahl. Dr. Stendahl attempted to cure or control the unfortunate being known as the Paula Dupree the Jungle Woman, a female gorilla who had been transformed into a human being or a close semblance of one. Moloch kidnapped a female nurse in order to have a female blood donor. In the film version of these events,  The Jungle Captive,  the nurse was called Ann Forrester, although her real name was Flora Cranley Forrester. She had become involved with Paula Dupree through her acquaintance with Dr. Sigmund Walters. Moloch disappeared after this incident.

2. Sunnybrook Farm being located in Riverboro, Maine. The tale of Rebecca Randall of Sunnybrook farm being at Rosa Coote's School for Wayward girls appears in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 1. No. 2.  Since the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen  takes place in 1897, Rebecca's presence might be considered to be an anachronism since the books  Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and its sequel More About Rebecca appeared in 1903 and 1907 years after this event.  Despite being published after 1897, the books actually refer to events that occurred previous to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  Kate Wiggen's based her novels on Rebecca Randall's life and may have altered some events to make them seem more contemporary and possibly  left out events that would detract from her tale of a young girl growing up. It is possible that she was did not know of Rebecca's adventures in England.

    The birth date of 1899 would make William Carpenter 30 years of age during the events of 1929.  There is some textual evidence that he was forty-five years old in 1929. This was a mistake or bit of misinformation by Mr. Wylie. While I do find it hard to believe that a researcher such as Mr. Wylie would be mistaken, it is possible.  The birth records for William Carpenter were rather hard to find. His facial and physical irregularities made it hard for many people to gauge his age correctly and indeed he looked much older than he was.  Wylie also may have increased William Carpenter's age so that the difference between his age and that of Daryl Carpenter's was exaggerated. Not only would it appear that William Carpenter was a man lusting after his niece but that he was a dirty old man as well.

3. The story of the Robert Caine jr. and by extension that of his father was made into a motion picture named Johnny Apollo. Johnny Apollo was Robert Caine jr.'s underworld moniker. Mabel "Lucky" Duberry was originally the girlfriend of powerful gangster Mickey Dwyer.

4. The result of this rape is in the Sebastian Caine section of this article.

5. The question naturally arises who was the Police Commissioner killed in 1929.  It seems a simple enough question. Yet we really only have sketchy information about some of the officials in the WNU. In most cases they are near duplicates of the officials in our world. The Presidents and Vice President uncannily follow the same pattern as our universe. Often when we refer to New York City we are referring to the geographical location which is analogous to our New York City yet in the WNU New York City has a slightly different political make up. The WNU  New York is split into two distinct yet politically interdependent cities. These are Metropolis and Gotham. The City of New York failed to undergo an incorporation of the Five Boroughs in 1897, although some incorporation did take place. Gotham is Brooklyn, Bronx and part of Queens; Metropolis is Manhattan, Staten Island, and the rest of Queens and part of the outlying areas. Each of the municipalities has its own local government structure including a fire department, police department etc. However just as in some areas where multiple counties form a joint government, Gotham and Metropolis have a Greater New York City government run by There is one Mayor and two Deputy Mayors and a Greater City Council that coordinates services city wide.

    While I find other efforts to locate Gotham and Metropolis elsewhere laudable they just do not work so far as I am concerned.

    The reason I stick with these cities comprising New York is partially because of their portrayal in the comics of those cities but mainly because if there two other major urban centers on the East Coast just like New York, it would change economic history and so the WNU would probably not be that much similar to our world. Two other major East Coast cities such as New York would diffuse the financial, economic and transportation hub of the East Coast and dramatically change history.

    There are three major cities of prominence in the United States at least in the thirties and forties. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. If Superman and Batman's adventures had taken place in smaller cities, then they would not have become famous. For example Eliot Ness became famous when he was in Chicago, when he went to Cleveland he became obscure.

Possibly this will also resolve the Police Commissioner conundrum. We know that James Gordon was Commissioner of Gotham for quite a number of years as was his son Tony Gordon.  Yet at the same time Weston, Kirkpatrick and a few others are supposed to have been Commissioner of the New York police department at the same time. It is possible that they all were Commissioner at differing times but matching the man to the term office is outside the scope of this article. Hopefully someone else will take up that challenge.

6. For more on Bureau 13 and some of its sister organizations and offshoots

7. This was the famous misquote of Calvin Coolidge. For more a more accurate rendition

8. For more on the whereabouts of the Shadow, Doc Savage, The Avenger and other costumed fighters during the Crime Siege please visit the following locations.
A Chronology for The Avenger by  Rick Lai.
The Avenger Chronology by Win Eckert.
The Complete Chronology of Bronze  by Rick Lai
The Doc Savage Chronology additions  by Win Eckert to Philip José Farmer's Chronology in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life.
Chronology of Shadows, Part 1 and Part 2 by Rick Lai
The Shadow Chronology by Win Eckert

Invisibles Timeline
1897 Invisible Man by H.G. Well (John Hawley Griffin. OIM Original Invisible Man)
1898 League of Extraordinary Men (John Hawley Griffin)
1922 Invisible Man (John (Jack) Griffin)
1929 Invisible Murderer with William Carpenter as the Invisible Man
1931 Invisible Man's Return (Frank Griffin----- with Geoffrey Radcliffe as the IM
1935 Invisible Man's Revenge  (Robert Griffin) the IM
1938 Invisible Woman (Kitty Caroll)
1942 (twenty years after Invisible Man) Invisible Agent (Frank Griffin a.k.a. Frank Raymond)
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Geoffrey Radcliffe IM)
1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (Tommy Nelson IM)
1966 Invisibility Affair Willard Morthley and Kerry Griffin inventors of the OTSMID (Omnidirectional Total Spectrum Molecular Interpenetration Device) which can render objects invisible
1974 Daniel Westin  becomes an Invisible Man
1998 Darien Fawkes surgically implanted with quicksilver gland to become an Invisible Man
1999 Sebastian Caine has a brief and deadly career as an Invisible Man as seen in The Hollow Man

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