I get a thrill out of reviving little‐known characters, or identifying better‐known characters as being in the public domain.

Characters that deserve articles that I might theoretically start to write someday (or augment should someone else decide to start them):

  • Amaterasu
  • Inspector Bucket (Bleak House) (EB) (and Charles Frederick Field?)
  • Classical (Greek and Roman) mythology/Matter of Rome: Cupid/Eros, Faunus/Pan, Liberty/Libertas/Eleutheria, Narcissus, Orpheus, Pandora, Pegasus, Perseus, Rhodopis
  • Egyptian mythology: Isis, Tawaret
  • Frost fairies/Snow‐fairies/Frost spirits
  • Gilles de Rais
  • Gregor Samsa
  • Hawkshaw the Detective
  • Henry Morton Stanley, Kalulu and Simba
  • Jaʻfar ibn Yahya
  • Magdalene de Scudéri (IA) (W)
  • Mesopotamian and Levantine mythology and folklore: Elijah, Four Beasts, Gilgamesh, the Golem, Judas Maccabeus, Lilith
  • Milmy‐Melmy
  • Mr. Skygack, from Mars
  • Obadiah Oldbuck/Vieux Bois
  • Poliphilo
  • Puck/Robin Goodfellow
  • Sandokan
  • Swiss Family Robinson, other Robinsonade characters
  • Valentine and Orson
  • the Virginian and Trampas
  • Worldly Wiseman (The Pilgrim’s Progress …)
  • Yama

Other sources

  • Characters from crime fiction inspired by Alice Mitchell’s 1892 murder of Freda Ward: Norma Trist (Google Books), by John Wesley Carhart; “The Long Arm,” by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (1852–1930); and The Strange Disappearance of Eugene Comstocks (Google Books), by Mary R. P. Hatch.
  • The Amazing Mr. X (1948) characters: Mr. X/Alexis.
  • Ann S. Stephens (1810–1886) characters: Dime novel progenitor, Malaeska, Sybil Chase, Mahaska.
  • Anthony Hope (1863–1933) characters: Multiple adventure novels.
  • Arthur Griffiths (1838–1908) characters: Victorian mystery and crime novels.
  • The works of Arthur Morrison entered the public domain in the United Kingdom in 2016, so characters of his like Martin Hewitt and Horace Dorrington deserve articles.
  • Arthur O. Friel (1887–1959) characters: Adventure fiction, Pedro and Lourenço, The Pathless Trail (1922).
  • Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) characters: Steve Benton, Nan Grayson, Doc Grayson, Leeches.
  • The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) characters: Dr. Bill Cortner, Jan Compton.
  • C. W. Kahles (1878–1931) characters: Comic strips Clarence the Cop (1902), Sandy Highflyer, the Airship Man (1902–04), Our Hero’s Hairbreadth Escapes (1906) (Hairbreadth Harry the Boy Hero, Relentless Rudolph) etc.
  • Conspiracy (1930) characters: Margaret Holt, James Morton.
  • Damsels in distress in movie serials: The Perils of Pauline (1914), The Exploits of Elaine (1914), The New Exploits of Elaine (1915), The Hazards of Helen (1914–17).
  • David Lindsay (1876–1945) characters: Science fiction novel A Voyage to Arcturus (1920), fantasy novel The Haunted Woman (1922), The Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly (1926) etc.
  • The Devil Bat (1940) characters: Dr. Paul Carruthers, Devil Bat, Johnny Layden.
  • E. Nesbit (1858–1924) characters: Something Wrong (1893), Grim Tales (1893), Tales Told in Twilight (1897), Psammead Trilogy (1900–06), The Railway Children (1905), The Enchanted Castle (1907), The House of Arden (1908), The Magic City (1910), Fear (1910), The Magic World (1912) and many others.
  • E. W. Hornung (1866–1921) characters: A. J. Raffles, Bunny Manders etc.
  • Edgar Wallace (1875–1932) characters: Inspector Elk series (1910–30), 1925: The Story of a Fatal Peace (1915), The Green Rust (1919), “The Black Grippe” (1920), “Planetoid 127” (1924), and many, many crime novels.
  • Emerson Hough (1857–1923) characters: Western and frontier fiction, fantasy The King of Gee‐Whiz (1906) (IA).
  • Eric Rücker Eddison (1882–1945) characters: Fantasy novels, The Worm Ouroboros (1922), Styrbiorn the Strong (1926), Mistress of Mistresses (1935), A Fish Dinner in Memison (1941).
  • Ernest Bramah (1868–1942) characters: Detective stories, science fiction, fantasy fiction, The Secret of the League (1907).
  • Florence Dixie (1855–1905) characters: Gloriana; or, The Revolution of 1900 (1890), Aniwee;or, The Warrior Queen (1890) etc.
  • Francis Marion Crawford (1854–1909) characters: “The Upper Berth” (1886), Khaled: A Tale of Arabia (1891), “The Dead Smile” (1899), “Man Overboard!” (1903), “For the Blood Is the Life” (1905), “The King’s Messenger” (1907), “The Screaming Skull” (1908) etc.
  • George MacDonald (1824–1905) characters: Fairy tale and fantasy literature, Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women (1858), “The Light Princess” (1864), “The Golden Key” (1867), At the Back of the North Wind (1868), The Princess and the Goblin (1872), “The Wise Woman: A Parable” (1875), Sir Gibbie (1879), The Princess and Curdie (1883), Lilith: A Romance (1895) etc.
  • Grant Allen (1848–1899) characters: The British Barbarians (1895), An African Millionaire (1897) (Colonel Clay), Miss Cayley’s Adventures (1899), Hilda Wade (1900), The Thames Valley Catastrophe (1901).
  • Guy Boothby (1867–1905) characters like Dr. Nikola, Simon Carne and Pharos.
  • Harold Lamb (1892–1962) characters: Adventure fiction, Marching Sands (1920), The House of the Falcon (1921), The Grand Cham (1922).
  • Headon Hill (1857–1924) characters: Crime and detective novels, Sebastian Zambra etc.
  • Hugh Stowell Scott (Henry Seton Merriman) (1862–1903) characters.
  • J. Allan Dunn (1872–1941) characters: Adventure, Western, detective, fantasy fiction, Jim Morse.
  • J. E. Preston Muddock (1843–1934) characters: Dick Donovan, the Glasgow Detective.
  • Jacques Cazotte (1719–1792) characters: Fantasy literature, La patte du chat (The Cat’s Paw, 1741), Mille et une fadaises, contes a dormir debout (The Thousand and One Follies, Tales to Sleep Upright, 1742), Le Diable amoureux (The Devil in Love, 1772).
  • James Branch Cabell (1879–1958) characters: Biography of the Life of Manuel series (1904–22), e.g., The Eagle’s Shadow (1904), The Line of Love (1905), Gallantry (1907), The Cords of Vanity (1909), Chivalry (1909), Domnei (1913), The Rivet in Grandfather’s Neck (1915), From the Hidden Way (1916), The Certain Hour (1916), The Cream of the Jest (1917), Jurgen (1919), Figures of Earth (1921), Taboo (1921), The Jewel Merchants (1921), The Lineage of Lichfield (1922).
  • James Joyce (1882–1941) characters: “Two Gallants,” Ulysses (loosely based on the story of Odysseus).
  • Joseph Addison (1672–1719) characters: “The Vision of Mirza,” “Letter from a Monkey,” Cato.
  • Karl May (1842–1912) characters: Western and Orientalist adventure fiction, Kara Ben Nemsi, Hadschi Halef Omar, Old Shatterhand, Winnetou.
  • Lyonel Feininger (1871–1956) characters: Comic strips The Kin‐der‐Kids (1906), Wee Willie Winkie’s World (1906–07).
  • Works by Brazilian author Mário de Andrade entered the public domain in Brazil and much of the rest of the world in 2016, which means that shapeshifting hero Macunaíma from the eponymous novel is in the public domain. If the novel was published in the US at all, it was released in 1928 or later, so it seems likely not to be in the public domain in the US.
  • Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (1852–1930) characters: The Pot of Gold and Other Stories (1892), The Wind in the Rose Bush and Other Stories of the Supernatural (1903), stories from Collected Ghost Stories (1974) that had been published before 1923, The Long Arm (see above) etc.
  • Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876–1958) characters: Crime and detective fiction, The Circular Staircase (1908) (Rachel Innes), The Case of Jennie Brice (1913) (Mrs. Pittman), K. (1915), The Bat (1920) (Cornelia van Gorder, Bat) and many other works (Letitia Carberry, Hilda Adams etc.)
  • Max Brand (1892–1944) characters: Western fiction; Riders of the Silence (1919) (Red Pierre and McGurk); Ronicky Doone (1921).
  • Owen Gregory characters: Meccania (1918) probably entered the public domain in 1989 because the pseudonymous author’s year of death is unknown.
  • Robert Murray Gilchrist (1867–1917) characters: Gothic fiction.
  • Rudolf Erich Raspe (1736–1794) characters: Baron Munchausen (first appearing as M‐h‐s‐n in 1781).
  • The Screaming Skull (1958) characters: Eric Whitlock.
  • Talbot Mundy (1879–1940) characters: Orientalist adventure fiction, Hira Singh (1917), Yasmini of India etc.
  • Teenagers from Outer Space (1959) characters: Derek, Thor, Gargon.
  • The Terror (1963) characters: Baron von Leppe/Eric, André Duvalier, Hélène/Ilsa, Katrina the Witch.
  • Thomas Mayne Reid (1818–1883) characters: Adventure fiction, The Wild Huntress (1861), The Boy Slaves (1865), Gwen Wynne (1877), The Tiger Hunter (1889) etc.
  • W. O. Wilson characters: Comic strips The Wish Twins and Aladdin’s Lamp (1904–08), Madge, the Magician’s Daughter (1906–07).
  • W. W. Jacobs (1863–1943) characters: The Ghost of Jerry Bundler (1899), “Jerry Bundler” (1901), “The Monkey’s Paw” (1902), “The Toll House” (1909).
  • Wilkie Collins (1824–1889) characters: Detective fiction, mysteries, The Woman in White (1859), Armadale (1866), The Moonstone (1868) etc.
  • Zane Grey (1872–1939) characters: Western fiction.
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