Sunday, December 21, 2014

Crossover of the Week

1930
FEAR FROM ABOVE
            Military intelligence officer Richard Knight battles vampires led by the Grandmaster, who once survived the fires of Mount Vesuvius, and who calls himself “Sir Fran…” before being shot at by Knight. The vampires kill all those aboard the ship Western Star, including Captain Edward “Evil” Larsen, the son of a sea captain with an explosive temper who traded in the Pacific, and was often accused of piracy in whispers. Knight consults a judge who is an expert on the occult about vampires.
            Short story by Frank Schildiner in The New Adventures of Richard Knight, Tommy Hancock, ed., Pro Se Productions, 2012. Richard Knight appeared in stories by Donald E. Keyhoe in the pulp magazine Flying Aces. The Grandmaster is Sir Francis Varney from James Malcolm Rymer’s Varney the Vampire. Evil Larsen’s father is Wolf Larsen from Jack London’s novel The Sea-Wolf. The Judge is Manly Wade Wellman’s Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant. All these connections bring Richard Knight into the CU. The Empire State Building is still under construction, placing this story in 1930 or early 1931.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crossover Cover: Black Ajax

Tom Molineaux, a freed black American slave, becomes a champion boxer in Britain, initially under the patronage of Captain Buckley “Mad Buck” Flashman. Young Bob Logic and his friends Tom and Jerry witness one of Molineaux’s fights. Tom Molineaux was a real person. In Robert E. Howard’s story “The Apparition in the Prize Ring,” Molineaux’s ghost appears to a black boxer named Ace Jessel, whom Matthew Baugh brought into the CU in his story “The Tournament of the Treasure.” Captain Flashman is the father of Fraser’s most famous character, Harry Flashman. Bob Logic and his friends Corinthian Tom and Jerry Hawthorn are from Pierce Egan’s book Life in London. Interestingly, Egan himself appears as a character in Black Ajax, and a footnote mentions his authorship of Life in London, which must have been based on the real life exploits of Bob, Tom, and Jerry.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Upcoming Crossovers

Hack/Slash is having yet another crossover, this time with a comic called Nailbiter. Also, Kim Newman has indicated on Facebook that he's going to be doing an Anno Dracula comic for Titan Books, and I'd be very surprised if there are no crossovers in that one. Needless to say, I will check both out.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Cabinet of Curiosities


F.B.I. Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast investigates a series of killings that ultimately prove to be the work of his great-grand-uncle Antoine Leng Pendergast, aka Enoch Leng. Among the items in Leng’s cabinet of curiosities is a giant rat from Sumatra. Archaeologist Nora Kelly also appears.
The giant rat from Sumatra is an implicit connection to the Sherlock Holmes stories. Calpurnia Pendergast, a relative of Aloysius, appears in Matthew Ilseman’s Arsène Lupin story “A Theft of China,” confirming Agent Pendergast’s inclusion in the CU. Nora Kelly first appeared in Preston and Child’s novel Thunderhead, which also featured reporter Bill Smithback, a supporting character from the Pendergast books. With this novel, Nora becomes a supporting character in the series as well. Most of Preston and Child’s other collaborations are also connected to the Pendergast series by recurring characters, including Mount Dragon, The Ice Limit, and the Gideon Crew series, which so far consists of Gideon’s Sword and Gideon’s Corpse.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Crossover Covers: Masks


A very loose adaptation of the Black Police Trilogy from the Spider pulp novels, featuring the Spider himself, the Shadow, the Green Lama, the Green Hornet and Kato, the Black Bat, the Black Terror, Zorro (Rafael Vega, a descendant of the original Zorro) and Miss Fury. The leader of the Black Legion turns out to be Brian O’Brien, formerly the Clock, a masked vigilante appearing in stories published by Centaur Publications and Quality Comics in the 1930s and ’40s. The heroes visit a penthouse at the Empire State Building, where the Shadow remarks that it is too bad that the occupant of the penthouse is out of the country, as he would be a valuable ally to them in this mission. This is a reference to Doc Savage. Britt Reid meets with reporter Steve Huston, who mentions Old Man Havens. Steve Huston and Frank Havens are from the pulp exploits of the Phantom Detective. The events of this comic differ greatly from the Black Police Trilogy, including factors such as the identity of the mastermind being changed and Nita Van Sloan’s role being omitted (indeed, she is never even mentioned.) The Spider is wearing a version of his outfit from the movie serial The Spider’s Web rather than the costume from the pulps. The Black Bat is given a different origin story than in the original pulps. The Green Hornet is out of character, calling criminals “mooks,” and is stated to be from Chicago rather than Detroit. All these factors serve to place this story outside CU continuity.