The Curse of Capistrano (1919)

American pulp writer Johnston McCulley debuted Zorro (Spanish for fox) in the novel The Curse of Capistrano. The story was published over five installments starting August 9, 1919 in All-Story Weekly.

Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega, who lives with his father in a large hacienda. Not unlike Clark Kent (Superman’s alter ego) Don Diego averts knowledge of his identity by appearing bumbling and somewhat inept. Truth be known, he is really a fencing hero and master horseman, championing justice dressed in black and disguised by a domino mask over his eyes.

Four Color #617 – The Quest of Zorro (March 1955)

“His sword had to be faster than a traitor’s tongue.”

Also, in a manner reminiscent of Bruce Wayne’s Batman, his hacienda contains secret passages leading to a hidden cave that acts as operational headquarters and stable for his horse Tornado. Operating silently and swiftly by night, Zorro leaves behind his fear inducting trademark; a “Z” slashed into the clothing of his enemies.

The Mark of Zorro (1920)

In 1920 McCulley’s story was soon made into a move starring Douglas Fairbanks (The Mark of Zorro). It’s tremendous success spurred on the legend of Zorro for decades to follow.