|WWI French camoufleurs wearing hooded cagoule outfits|
Hidden beneath camouflaged cagoules…was a ghoulish image of the modern soldier, whose finely fitted and brilliant red and blue clothing was replaced by an amorphous costume of drab greens and browns that turned the individual into a frightening form.
Later on the same page, she mentions that one of the reasons for the initial disdain for camouflage was that "the very term camouflage held a devious and unseedy [sic] meaning for French readers of popular literature…" Prior to the founding of the first camouflage unit, it "was a word used to describe evil criminals who lurked about city streets and hid themselves from the police" (p. 148).
We were reminded of this when recently we ran across various images from French popular literature and film, before and during WWI, of a fictitious criminal named Fantomas. Created in 1911 by French writers Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre, the character was central to more than forty crime novels. The popularity of the books was amplified by various adaptations for film, television and comic books.
|French crime character Fantomas|
|books & historic prints and photographs|