54. Lester Dent and The Black Gang

The Doc Savage story, “The Sea Angel” from November 1937 introduces a supernatural creature as the arbiter of justice.

“The Sea Angel. A fantastic being which has come out of the sea, a creature with supernatural powers, an angel of vengeance which strikes only at wrongdoers.”

The Sea Angel is a mystical being who supervises the work of Nat Piper and his gang. They are an enthusiastic group of vigilantes who kidnap corrupt industrialists for reeducation. They use an old submarine they salvaged and use it to transport the prisoners to a remote location where they are reeducation under harsh conditions.

June 23, 1927

“The Black Gang” was a 1922 novel by Herman C. McNeile. This was second is a series of books about a vigilante crime fighter named Hugh Drummond. He was described as large, likeably ugly, with a nose that had never exactly recovered from the fights at school. His nickname was Bulldog.

September 15, 1925 serialized story

At the conclusion of “The Black Gang” we learn that Bulldog Drummond’s men have been kidnapping anarchists and imprisoning them on an island off the coast of Mull. The anarchists are prisoners of a group of ex-military men who run the prison camp with machine-like precision.

This seems to be a parallel of Nat Piper and his gang. Nat Piper’s camp in northern Labrador and Dummond’s prison west of the Isle of Mull are located along the same approximate line of latitude. One could say they are mirroring one another across the Northern Atlantic Ocean.

What I found most interesting is the description of Nat Piper with his red head and pug nose. A bulldog also fits that same description.

One last thing to examine are the names of these two characters: Bulldog Drummond and Nat Piper. Drummond is a Scottish name. One thing widely associated with Scotland are the bagpipes. A piper is also someone who plays the bagpipes.