Created by
: Paul d'Ivoi (Paul Deleutre) (1856-1915)

Paul d'IvoiPaul d'
Ivoi was by far the most commercially prosperous and influential successor of Jules Verne. He was the author of the 21-volume series, Les Voyages Excentriques (Eccentric Voyages) intended to compete with Verne's Les Voyages Extraordinaires (Extraordinary Voyages), which were for the most part first serialized in Le Journal des Voyages, then published in book form by Furne between 1894 and 1914. Both Deleutre's father and grand-father were men of letters themselves, and had used the nom-de-plume "d'Ivoi" previously. Young Paul started a a literary critic and chronicler at the Journal des Voyages before embarking on a career as a novelist.

D'Ivoi's novels were more adventure-oriented than Verne's, and were written in a faster paced, pulp/serial style. They were meant to entertain more than educate. They included a variety of futuristic machines such as incredible planes, sub-marines, rocketships, super-powered weapons, etc. Their heroes circumnavigated the globe, explored the bottom of the oceans, or conquered the atmosphere. They fought a dazzling variety of mad scientists, international conspiracies, and megalomaniacal tyrants. They unearthed evidence of ancient advanced civilizations. In short, they did everything pulp heroes of that time, like
The Nyctalope, did.

Finally it is worth noting that, as was the case with Verne, through a series of cross-references, most of d'Ivoi's heroes share the same fictional universe, if they are not actually related to each other.

Paul d'Ivoi's best known hero, Armand Lavarède, is a fearless, daring young man who made his first appearance in Les Cinq Sous de Lavarède [The Five Pennies Of Lavarede] (1894), the first of the Eccentric Voyages. The novel is an Around the World in 80 Days variation in which the hero embarked on a Phileas Fogg-like journey around the world with only five pennies in his pocket.

The novel was adapted into a 1927 movie directed by
Maurice Champreux, and again in 1939 in a version starring Fernandel.

Lavarède returned in
Le Cousin de Lavarède [Lavarede's Cousin] (1897), which featured a super-powered flying speedster with movable wings and compressed air guns named the Bolide or the Gypaete. In it, Lavarede flew to the North Pole and discovered a lost Roman civilization. We met his cousin, Robert, who became implicated in a plot to liberate Egypt from the British Empire.

Jean Fanfare made his first appearance in the eponymous 1897 novel.

Robert Lavarède then fled to Australia and met the Corsair Triplex in Le Corsaire Triplex (1898), a variation on both Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, because its hero is the Captain Nemo-like master of the advanced Karrovarka, an electrically-powered fortress that can travel over land or under sea, and The Count of Monte-Cristo, for its revenge-motivated plot. The two Laverèdes assisted Triplex in his revenge scheme, and met Jean Fanfare. We learn that the Karrovarka was the invention of a Greek scientist who designed it to free Crete from the Turks.

Lavarèdes returned in La Capitaine Nilia (1898) where, with the help of the Karrovarka, they helped liberate Egypt, and caused England to lose much of its colonial empire.

Cigale is a young Parisian orphan boy who met a strange Hindu, the inventor of a prodigious multi-purpose vehicle dubbed the "Electric Hotel", and nicknamed him "Docteur Mystère" in the eponymous 1900 novel.

Docteur Mystere is a Hindu Prince named Rama Rundjee whose family was massacred by the traitorous Arkabad, and a unholy alliance between the Thugee and the Russians. Rundjee eventually returned to India as a Captain Nemo-like scientist-adventurer, accompanied by his fiancée Na-Indra and young Cigale to claim his revenge.

Cigale met and fell in love with Anoor. The news of false death led him to China, where he took part in the famous siege of the legations in Cigale in China (1901), which also stars Jean Fanfare.

Cigale is in America when he met Massiliague de Marseille (1902) and prevented a war between South and North America.

Cigale eventually found his long-lost father in South America and had other adventures including Les Semeurs de Glace [The Seeders Of Ice] (1903) which dealt with the explosion of the Montagne Pelée.

In MARTIN MYSTÈRE Nos. 174 and 175 (Sept.-Oct. 1996), in a story entitled Affari di Famiglia [Family Business], writer Alfredo Castelli and artist Giancarlo Alessandrini revealed that Docteur Mystère later fought for India's independence, took part in the 1885 national congress, and eventually adopted Cigale, taking the legal name of "Mystere" under which he was widely known. Cigale was revealed to be Martin Mystère's great-great-grand-father.

Castelli and artist Lucio Filippucci embarked on telling heretofore untold adventures of Docteur Mystère and Cigale. In the first volume, entitled LES MYSTÈRES DE MILAN [The Mysteries of Milan] (Erko, 2003), Doctor Mystère and Cigale fought the combined schemes of Fu-Manchu and former Fieldmarshal Joseph Franz Karl von Radetzky.

The book includes cameos by
Peter Pan, "Enrico" (the Phantom of the Scala), Mackie Messer aka Mack the Knife, Professor Spallanzani aka Professor Pince aka Fagin aka the future Wizard of Oz, and Prof. Henry Higgins (from Shaw's Pygmalion).

Peter Pan



Prof. Spallanzani


Miss Violet Mousqueterr (1907) uses light as a super-weapon to defeat a secret Hindu cult.


Le Chevalier Illusion (1913) is yet another hero who uses a mind-control device to fight his enemies.

Bibliography of
Les Voyages Eccentriques

Le Journal des Voyages: Famous French weekly "magazine which started in 1875 as "Sur Terre & Mer" [On Land & On Sea], then took its definitive title in 1877. The Journal des Voyages was chauvinistic, xenophobic, and yet surprisingly visionary in tone. It serialized novels by Louis Boussenard, Paul d'Ivoi, René Thévenin, Albert Bonneau, Maurice Champagne, G. Le Wailly, Capitaine Danrit, and many others. Its publishing history spanned over seventy years:
-- 1st series (1877-1896), 1012 issues published;
-- 2nd series (1896-1915): 941 issues published;
-- 3rd series (1924-25): 29 issues published;
-- 4th series (1925-29): 159 issues published;
-- 5th (last) series (1946-1949): 149 issues published.

Les Cinq Sous de Lavarède [The Five Pennies Of Lavarede] (Furne, 1894; rev. Tallandier, 1924)
Le Sergent Simplet [Sergeant Simple] (Furne, 1895; rev. Tallandier, 1929)
Le Cousin de Lavarede [Lavarede's Cousin] (Furne, 1897; rev. Tallandier, 1924 -- sometimes known as Le Bolide de Lavarède [Lavarede's Speedster])
Jean Fanfare (Furne, 1897; rev. Tallandier, 1930)
Le Corsaire Triplex [Corsair Triplex] (Furne, 1898; rev. Tallandier, 1925)
La Capitaine Nilia [Captain Nilia] (Furne, 1898; rev. Tallandier, 1925)
Docteur Mystère [Doctor Mystery] (Furne, 1900; rev. Tallandier, 1926)
Cigale en Chine [Cigale in China] (Furne, 1901; rev. Tallandier, 1927)
Massiliague de Marseille [Massiliague From Marseilles] (Furne, 1902; rev. Tallandier, 1926)
Les Semeurs de Glace [The Seeders Of Ice] (Furne, 1903; rev. Tallandier, 1926)
Le Serment de Daalia [Daalia's Oath] (Furne, 1904; rev. Tallandier, 1925)
Le Prince Virgule [Prince Comma] (Furne, 1905; rev. Tallandier, 1928)
Le Maître du Drapeau Bleu [The Master Of The Blue Flag] (Furne, 1907; rev. Tallandier, 1927)
Miss Mousqueterr (Furne, 1907; rev. Tallandier, 1928)
Jud Allan, Roi des Lads [Jud Allan, King Of The Lads] (Furne, 1907; rev. Tallandier, 1928)
Le Roi du Radium [The King Of Radium] (Furne, 1909; rev. Tallandier, 1927)
L'Aéroplane Fantôme [The Phantom Airplane] (Furne, 1910; rev. Tallandier, 1929)
Les Voleurs de Foudre [The Stealers Of Lightning] (Furne, 1910; rev. Tallandier, 1925)
L'Ambassadeur Extraordinaire [The Extraordinary Ambassador] (Furne, 1911; rev. Tallandier, 1925)
Le Chevalier Illusion [The Illusion Knight] (Furne, 1913; rev. Tallandier, 1926)
L'Évadé Malgré Lui [Escaped In Spite Of Himself] (Furne, 1914)

Thanks to Alfredo Castelli, Gérard Morvan & Marc Madouraud.