The Scarlet Seal

Created by Manning de Villeneuve Lee

Barry Moore

Capt. Pat Moore (father)

FIRST APPEARANCE: Smash Comics #16 (Nov. 1940)

Smash Comics #16–24 (Nov. 1940–July 1941)


From Smash #16. Art by Manning de V.Lee.

ThThe “Scarlet Seal” feature borrowed conventions from popular fictional Chinese characters of the day such as Charlie Chan, except that the lead character was Caucasian. The Seal’s adversary, Manchu Sing, from Smash #18 is also a ringer for Fu Manchu. The Scarlet Seal was depicted with pale yellow skin, a common convention for Asian characters in comics of the time. This feature sported great artwork, but the text slipped through “Quality control.” Early features have punctuation problems that require a double take. The alter ego “Barry Moore” is a play on the famous screen actor family, the Barrymores.

Before fighting crime, Barry Moore was a top character actor in the movies. After finishing the film Oriental Horror, Moore went to work for his father, Capt. Pat Moore, in the police department. Barry quickly took to solving crimes disguised as a Chinese-American called the Scarlet Seal, who always left a red circular stamp upon his adversaries. In the beginning, Moore thought nothing of hopping out of a cab and entering through the front door of his secret lab (a fake store front). (Smash #16)

[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]


Manning de Villeneuve Lee’s byline appears only on the Scarlet Seal’s very first adventure. Lee was an accomplished fine artist and book illustrator who specialized in historical subjects—which showed in the fine rendering of his figures in Smash #16. Afterward, the Grand Comics Database falsely credits the feature to Harry Francis Campbell. The art does not resemble Campbell’s. The features were signed “Duane Byrd Monroe,” a pen name for which no references can be found.

+ Powers

The Scarlet Seal had no super-human powers.