Marcel Allain (1885-1970) was a French writer mostly remembered today for his co-creation with Pierre Souvestre of the fictional arch-villain and master criminal Fantomas. Pierre Souvestre (1874-1914) was a French lawyer, journalist, writer and organizer of motor races. Allain became the assistant of Souvestre, when he was already a well-known figure in literary circles. In 1909, the two men published their first novel, Le Rour. Investigating Magistrate Germain Fuselier, later to become a recurring character in the Fantomas series, appears in the novel. Then, in 1911, Allain and Souvestre embarked upon the Fantomas book series at the request of publisher Artheme Fayard, who wanted to create a new monthly pulp magazine. The success was immediate and lasting. After Souvestre's death in 1914, Allain continued the Fantomas saga alone, then launched several other series, such as Tigris, Fatala, Miss Teria and Ferocias, but none garnered the same popularity as Fantomas. In total, Allain wrote more than 400 novels in his prolific career. Their works include: Un Roi Prisonnier de Fantomas (1911), Le Fiacre de Nuit (1911), La Livree du Crime (1912) and Le Jockey Masque (1913). Fantomas is a fictional character created by French writers Marcel Allain (1885-1970) and Pierre Souvestre (1874-1914). One of the most popular characters in the history of French crime fiction, Fantomas was created in 1911 and appeared in a total of 32 volumes written by the two collaborators, then a subsequent 11 volumes written by Allain alone after Souvestre's death. The character was also the basis of various film, television, and comic book adaptations. His importance in the history of crime fiction cannot be overestimated, as he represents a transition from Gothic novel villains of the 1800s, to modern-day serial killers.
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