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Additional Information

Highlighted sections are referenced in several questions.
  1. Penny dreadful is a pejorative term used to refer to cheap popular serial literature produced during the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. The term is roughly interchangeable with penny horrible, penny awful, and penny blood. The term typically referred to a story published in weekly parts, each costing, one penny. The subject matter of these stories was typically sensational, focusing on the exploits of detectives, criminals, or supernatural entities. Whilst the term "penny dreadful" was originally used in reference to a specific type of literature circulating in mid-Victorian Britain, it latterly encompassed a variety of publications that featured cheap sensational fiction, such as story papers and booklet "libraries". The penny dreadfuls were printed on cheap wood pulp paper and were aimed at young working class males.

  2. Two popular characters to come out of the penny dreadfuls were Jack Harkaway, introduced in the Boys of England in 1871, and Sexton Blake, who began in the Half-penny Marvel in 1893. In 1904, the Union Jack became "Sexton Blake's own paper", and he appeared in every issue thereafter, up until the paper's demise in 1933. In total, Blake appeared in roughly 4,000 adventures, right up into the 1970s, a record exceeded only by Nick Carter and Dixon Hawke. Harkaway was also popular in America and had many imitators.

  3. The fictional Sweeney Todd, the subject of both a successful musical by Stephen Sondheim and a feature film by Tim Burton, also first appeared in an 1846/1847 penny dreadful entitled The String of Pearls: A Romance.

  4. Over time, the penny dreadfuls evolved into the British comic magazines. Owing to there cheap production, there perceived lack of value, and such hazards as war-time paper drives, the penny dreadfuls, particularly the earliest ones, are fairly rare today.

  5. The experimental artrock band Animal Collective had a song called Penny Dreadfuls on their debut album Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished.

  6. The Irish literary magazine The Penny Dreadful takes its name from the penny dreadfuls.

  7. A horror television series set in Victorian England entitled Penny Dreadful debuted on Showtime in May, 2014.

  8. In series 7 of Doctor Who , discussing a corpse stained red and the frequency at which corpses appear at the morgue in such a condition, a relative of the deceased states: "I have no interest in the deplorable excesses of the penny dreadful."

  9. In Ian Hall's novel series, The Penny Dreadful Adventures, the character Alexander M. MacNeill edits and writes Penny Dreadful chapters for George Reynolds (The Mysteries of London), and James Rymer and Thomas Prest (Varney the Vampire). In his dealings with Rymer and Prest, Alexander is forced to investigate the source of the authors' material. and finds evidence of modern vampirism in London.