The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu began as a serial of connected stories in the British paper The Story Teller in October, 1912. In 1913, the serial stories were collected and published in Great Britain as a book entitled The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu. Also in 1913, the Fu-Manchu stories began to be serialized in the United States in Collier's. Later in 1913, Rohmer slightly rewrote the stories to remove the serialization and turn them into chapters for The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu, which was published in the U.S.
Dr. Fu-Manchu was an evil genius and a connoisseur of murder. He disdained the use of guns and knives, favoring exotic poisons, insects, fungi and the use of dacoits, thuggees, and other members of secret societies to effect his will.
After the success of this first Fu-Manchu book, Rohmer followed with The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu in 1916 and The Hand of Dr. Fu-Manchu in 1917. After a fourteen year break from the series, Rohmer returned with ten more Fu-Manchu novels beginning in 1931. Another was published posthumously bringing the total to fourteen Fu-Manchu novels by Sax Rohmer.
There have been a number of films, radio serials, television shows, comic strips, and comic books featuring the evil genius Fu-Manchu.
The first Fu-Manchu appearance on the big screen was in the 1923 British silent film serial The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu starring Harry Agar Lyons. After that, he was played by Boris Karloff in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) and by Christopher Lee in five films beginning in 1965. In 1980 Peter Sellers was featured in a double role as both Fu Manchu and Nayland Smith in the spoof, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu.
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