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René Cresté as Judex.
Publication information
Created byLouis Feuillade
Arthur Bernède
In-story information
Alter egoJacques de Trémeuse
Notable aliasesM. Vallieres
  • Expert detective
  • Skilled marksman and hand-to-hand combatant
  • Master of disguise
  • Master of stealth

Judex (real name Jacques de Trémeuse) is a fictional French vigilante hero created by Louis Feuillade and Arthur Bernède for the 1916 silent film Judex. Judex (whose name is Latin for "judge") is a mysterious avenger who dresses in black and wears a slouch hat and cloak. He was possibly conceived as a heroic version of the criminal character Fantômas. (Feuillade had directed the popular 1913 serial Fantômas.) The character has since appeared in other films, in novels, on stage and in comic books. Judex appears to have been an inspiration for the American pulp hero The Shadow, who was himself an inspiration for Batman.[1]


Louis Feuillade had already made two earlier serials, Fantômas (1913) and Les Vampires (1915), which were popular with audiences, but drew criticism for glorifying criminals. This may have led Feuillade to want to do a heroic serial next. On May 16, 1916, novelist Arthur Bernède pitched Feuillade a concept for a 12-part cinematographic novel, which would be simultaneously serialized in text and film, with story revisions by Feuillade.[2] Judex was a heroic persona, but one who had all of the sinister trappings of the flamboyant villains who were popular at the time.


After his father committed suicide as a result of being ruined by the villainous banker Favraux, Jacques de Trémeuse adopted the guise of Judex and assembled an organization of ex-criminals and circus people to bring down Favraux and his lethal mistress Marie Verdier. He anticipated later pulp heroes and superheroes in many respects. He was a masterful fighter and an expert at disguise, and boasted a secret headquarters. In the subterranean passages beneath a ruined castle Judex had a base outfitted with technological gadgets. He also had a secret identity: "Judex" (the Latin word for judge) was merely a nom de guerre he had adopted in his quest for revenge. The story bore several similarities with The Count of Monte Cristo.[1]

While in the first serial, Judex acted solely out of personal revenge, the second one, Judex's New Mission, showed him acting as a vigilante and a defender of the innocent.[1]


The first text episode of Judex was published in the January 12, 1917 issue of Le Petit Parisien, a week before the film debut on January 19, 1917. Each text episode was published before the corresponding film episode, which built up anticipation. The text episodes ran from January 12 to April 6, 1917, and the film episodes ran from January 19 to April 7, 1917.[2]

The international release of the serial was delayed until late 1917 in Europe, while a North American release didn't occur until the National Film Theatre arranged a screening in February 1965.[3]

A sequel serial titled La Nouvelle Mission de Judex (lit. "New Mission Of Judex," or The Further Exploits Of Judex in Europe[4]) ran in Le Petit Parisien from January 11 to April 4, 1918, and the film episodes ran from January 25 to April 15, 1918.[2]

A remake, also named Judex, was made in 1934, directed by Maurice Champreux, and starring René Ferté as Judex.

Another remake, again named Judex, was filmed in 1963 by director Georges Franju. American magician Channing Pollock played the title role.


Character Film
Judex's New Mission
Judex/Jacques de Trémeuse René Cresté René Ferté Channing Pollock
Le banquier Favraux Louis Leubas Alexandre Mihalesco Michel Vitold
Jacqueline Favraux Yvette Andréyor Louise Lagrange Édith Scob
Alfred Cocantin Marcel Lévesque Marcel Vallée Jacques Jouanneau
Roger de Trémeuse Édouard Mathé Jean Lefebvre  
Le petit Jean Olinda Mano Jean Borelli  
Marie Verdier/Diana Monti Musidora   Blanche Bernis Francine Bergé
Robert Moralés Jean Devalde   Nino Constantini Théo Sarapo



Judex: Published in 1917, by Arthur Bernède and Louis Feuillade, based on the 1916 serial, and reissued in 1925 as Les Nouveaux Exploits de Judex (Judex's New Adventures).[5] Black Coat Press published an adaptation by Rick Lai in 2012.

Judex' New Mission: Published in 1919, by Arthur Bernède and Louis Feuillade, based on the 1918 serial, and reissued 1925 as La Dernière Incarnation de Judex (Judex's Last Incarnation).[5] Black Coat Press published an adaptation by Rick Lai in 2013, titled The Return of Judex.

In 2013, Black Coat Press published a new screenplay by Robert L. Robinson, Jr., of a new adaptation of the Judex character.

Short stories[edit]

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 1: The Modern Babylon: Published in 2005, Judex appears in two short stories, "Mask of the Monster" by Matthew Baugh, and "Penumbra" by Chris Roberson.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 2: Gentlemen of the Night: Published in 2006, Judex appears in one short story, "Lost and Found" by Jean-Marc Lofficier.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 3: Danse Macabre: Published in 2007, Judex appears in one short story, "Two Hunters" by Robert L. Robinson, Jr.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 7: Femmes Fatales: Published in 2010, Judex appears in two short stories, "What Rough Beast" by Matthew Baugh and "Faces of Fear" by Matthew Dennion.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 8: Agents Provocateurs: Published in 2011, Judex appears in a short story, "The Affair of the Necklace Revisited" by Jean-Marc Lofficier & Randy Lofficier, as well as an image, "Judex vs Belphegor" by John Gallagher.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 11: Force Majeure: Published in 2014, Judex appears in a short story, "A Fistful of Judexes" by Nigel Malcolm.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 12: Carte Blanche: Published in 2015, Judex appears in a short story, "Justice and the Beast" by Christofer Nigro.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 14: Coup de Grace: Published in 2017, Judex appears in a short story, "Kindred Beasts" by Christofer Nigro.

Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 15: Trompe l'Oeil: Published in 2018, Judex appears in two short stories, "Enemies of the People" by Nigel Malcolm, and "The Anti-Adonis Alliance" by Christofer Nigro.

Night of the Nyctalope: Published in 2012, Judex appears in one short story, "Justice and Power" by Christofer Nigro

The Shadow of Judex: Published in 2013. Contains all the above Judex short stories and 16 additional ones.

Reference books[edit]

Shadowmen: Heroes and Villains of French Pulp Fiction: Published in 2003, by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier, published by Black Coat Press is an encyclopedic guide to some of the most important characters from French Fiction, including Judex.


French comic magazine Hurrah! published by Editions Mondiales in June 1940 began a comic series of Judex, which was in actuality, a French translation of the American syndicated Shadow comic strip.[5]

As an homage, writer Matt Fraction featured Judex as a member of a team of European superheroes of the early 20th century, in a 2012 issue of The Defenders.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b c Xavier Fournier, Super-héros : une histoire française, Huginn Muninn, 2014, p. 69-73
  2. ^ a b c Besnier, d'Annie (2002). Preface to Judex : grand roman historique. Internet Archive. [Paris] : Fayard. ISBN 978-2-213-61274-4.
  3. ^ "National Film Theatre Will Focus On Famous Films". The Intelligencer. December 10, 1964. p. 27. In February, the National Film Theatre will present the first North American screening of Louis Feuillade's 1916 feature, Judex.
  4. ^ "Rene Crest - A French Actor Who Pleases British Audiences". Picture Show: 8. November 29, 1919.
  5. ^ a b c Coolfrenchcomics Judex Page
  6. ^ Defenders Vol 4 #8 (September, 2012)
  7. ^ Avant-Première VO: Review Defenders #8, Comic Box, 5 July 2012

External links[edit]