Image of Johnston McCulley


Lifetime: 1883 - 1958 Passed: ≈ 65 years ago


Writer, Author


United States

Johnston McCulley

Johnston McCulley was an American writer, the author of hundreds of stories, fifty novels, numerous screenplays for film and television, and the creator of the character Zorro.

Born in Ottawa, Illinois, and raised in Chillicothe, Illinois, McCulley graduated from Chillicothe Township High School in 1901. He started as a police reporter for The Police Gazette and served as an Army public affairs officer during World War I. An amateur history buff, he went on to a career in pulp magazines and screenplays, often using a Southern California backdrop for his stories.

Many of his novels and stories were written under the pseudonyms Harrington Strong, Raley Brien, George Drayne, Monica Morton, Rowena Raley, Frederic Phelps, Walter Pierson, and John Mack Stone, among others.

Aside from Zorro, McCulley created many other pulp characters, including Black Star, The Spider, The Mongoose, and Thubway Tham. Many of McCulley's characters—The Green Ghost, The Thunderbolt, and The Crimson Clown—were inspirations for the masked heroes that have appeared in popular culture from McCulley's time to the present day.

Books by Johnston McCulley

The Mark of Zorro  Cover image

The Mark of Zorro

Adventure Fiction Novel
Action Culture Heritage Dark Fun

The Curse of Capistrano is a 1919 novel by Johnston McCulley and the first work to feature the Californio character Diego Vega, the masked hero also called Zorro (zorro is the Spanish word for fox). It first appeared as a five-part magazine serial. T...

Black Star's Campaign Cover image

Black Star's Campaign

Adventure Novel
Mystery Action Thriller Young adult fiction Suspense Stars Determination Bravery Campaign

It is an exciting adventure novel that will captivate the imagination of young readers. This thrilling book takes readers on a journey filled with mystery, action, and unexpected twists. Set in an intriguing world, "Black Star's Campaign" follows the...

Brand of Silence Cover image

Brand of Silence

Harrington Strong was a pseudonym used by author Johnston McCulley, creator of the character Zorro and many others. The Brand of Silence - A Detective Story finds Sidney Prale returning to New York after ten years during which he sought his fortune....

Curse of Capistrano Cover image

Curse of Capistrano

The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley is the first work to feature the fictional character Zorro (zorro is the Spanish word for fox). The story was later republished under the name The Mark of Zorro. Senor Zorro is deemed an outlaw as he fight...

Black Star Cover image

Black Star

The Black Star was a master criminal who took great care to never be identifiable, always wore a mask so nobody knew what he looked like, rarely spoke to keep his voice from being recognized, and the only mark left at the scenes of the crimes which h...

Further Adventures of Zorro Cover image

Further Adventures of Zorro

The Further Adventures of Zorro is the sequel to The Mark of Zorro and sees the masked hero out for rescue the kidnapped Lolita Pulido. Swashbuckling pirates, high seas and dangerous challenges await but, as always, Zorro laughs in the face of danger...