Penny Dreadful, in Wizard101, is a character who we meet in the Commons who needed our help with "A Dreadful Situation." She was lost on what to do or where to go since her teacher Malistaire was missing and her Death classroom is ... destroyed. In the end, we do get to help her find her way and get her settled in.
Now while digging information on Penny Dreadful, I have come to learn that Penny Dreadful is actually a real thing in the real world. Back in the 19th century, there was a British Publication that they called "penny dreadful" because it cost a penny and they had dreadful stories about vampires, robberies, romance, criminals and more.
But, interestingly enough, highwaymen were popular heroes in those stories! A highwayman was a thief who would prey travelers on horseback. One of the most popular highwayman story was called "Black Bess or the Knight of the Road" which lasted for 254 episodes! It was based on imaginary stories of real life English Highwayman Dick Turpin. I can't believe that they thought highwaymen were heroes? Today, we would think of firemen and cops as heroes. That says a lot about how people thought back then.
Penny dreadfuls were often reprints or rewrites of stories that were already known. The most famous penny dreadful stories were "The String of Pearls: A Romance" where "Sweeney Todd" was introduced in. Also they were inspired by "The Mysteries of Paris" which was rewritten it into "The Mysteries of London." "Varney the Vampire" was also a favorite! I can't imagine calling a vampire Varney though.
Working boys could afford them because well, it cost a penny! They liked reading penny dreadfuls because they were fun to read. We know that stories like penny dreadfuls offers an great escape when times are hard. Over time, the penny dreadfuls evolved into magazines. To this day, they say since they were so cheap and produced cheaply back then, it is rare to find one today.
So next time you pass by Penny Dreadful in the Commons, you will know something cool about the origin of her name. If you want to tell your friends a cool fact, tell them about Penny Dreadful!