Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crossover Cover: Harry Dickson vs. the Spider

This anthology from Black Coat Press contains two of the original Harry Dickson stories, six stories that previously appeared in volumes of Tales of the Shadowmen, and ten stories that are either new or appear for the first time in English. Looking at the credits in the back of the book, at least nine of the new stories have crossovers, and therefore I will write them up. I've already read and written entries for the first two new stories. Among the characters appearing in the new tales are Sexton Blake, Indiana Jones, Abraham Van Helsing and Mina Harker, the Wizard of Oz, and Tarzan.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Crossover Covers: The Prisoner: Shattered Visage

In this comic book set twenty years after the end of the cult classic television series The Prisoner, John Steed and Emma Peel are glimpsed at a spy's funeral. According to Wikipedia, James Bond (with Sean Connery's likeness), Napoleon Solo, and Illya Kuryakin are also at the funeral. I haven't read the series myself, and Wikipedia can't always be trusted, so I don't know whether this is true or not. There is also a reference to another spy being a master interrogator, trained by Mr. Smiley himself. This is a reference to John le Carré's George Smiley.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crossover Cover: Nautilus

In this issue of the Australian comic book company Frew Publications' Phantoms series, the Ghost Who Walks discovers the Nautilus, which still has Captain Nemo's corpse inside it. Nemo was last seen alive and well in 1939, when he had three encounters with Navy Jones, the adventurous great-grandson of the legendary Davy Jones, as seen in three issues of the Fox series Science Comics. These 1939 exploits, incidentally, demonstrate that Nemo's alleged death in 1909 (referred to by Alan Moore in "The New Traveler's Almanac") was a falsehood. Nemo would have been 131 years old when he encountered Navy Jones, but appears much younger, presumably due to undergoing the Capellean blood-sharing ceremony when he was younger. Nemo must have finally died for real at some point between 1939 and 1988, when his ghost encountered the Ghostbusters, as seen in the comic book story "The Counter Clock Criminals."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Crossover of the Week

            The Crimson Clown goes undercover as a criminal at the Pink Rat in order to confront Boss Flannery. Later, in his true identity of Delton Prouse, he goes to a benefit for the Policemen’s Widows Fund held by Nina Hastings. Prouse tells Inspector Blurney he is familiar with Rocky McFayne’s newspaper, the Express, though it is not as large as Havens’ Daily Clarion. Another guest at the benefit, Jasper Baldwin, was a member of the Gray Gang until Dan Fowler of the Feds brought the mob to justice. While hiding in the same office where Flannery and Baldwin are meeting, the Clown witnesses the Black Cat attempting to steal from them.
            Short story by Tom Johnson in Pulp Echoes, Night to Dawn Magazines & Books, 2011. The Crimson Clown was created by Johnston McCulley and appeared in Detective Story Magazine from 1926-1931. The Pink Rat dive bar is from the Shadow novels. The Black Cat (aka Nina Hastings) appeared in the one-shot pulp The Angel Detective. Like the Crimson Clown, the Black Cat was a Robin Hood-type adventurer, stealing criminals’ ill-gotten gains and giving them to the needy. Frank Havens, publisher of the Daily Clarion, is from the Phantom Detective pulp novels. FBI agent Dan Fowler’s exploits were chronicled in the pulp magazine G-Men Detective. Since the Shadow, the Black Cat, the Phantom Detective, and Dan Fowler are all in the CU, this crossover brings in the Crimson Clown. In the November 11-December 9, 1928 issues of Detective Story Magazine, McCulley had a serial entitled “Thubway Tham Meets the Crimson Clown.” Thubway Tham was another series character of McCulley’s who appeared in Detective Story Magazine, a lisping conman who preyed on those who rode the New York City subway system. McCulley also wrote “Thubway Tham and Mr. Clackworthy” in the February 18, 1922 issue of Detective Story, in which Tham met Christopher B. Booth’s own grifter character, Mr. Amos Clackworthy, who also appeared in that magazine. Tham and Clackworthy crossed over again in Booth’s “Mr. Clackworthy and Thubway Tham,” published in the March 4, 1922 issue of Detective Story.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Crossover Cover: City without Guns

In this story, Batman and Robin travel to London to study Scotland Yard’s methods. The Yard has a collection of portraits of famous crime fighters. However, the Dynamic Duo’s own picture has been ripped from its frame. After apprehending a fugitive American criminal with the aid of British Batman fanatic Chester Gleek, the duo discover that the portrait was originally donated by Gleek, who indignantly reclaimed it after seeing that it was placed alongside paintings of such “inferior” detectives as Sherlock Holmes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crossover Cover: Darkest Heart

Nancy A. Collins' series featuring monster-hunting vampire Sonja Blue has a few crossovers bringing it into the CU. In this particular novel, Sonja visits a New Orleans voodoo priestess, whose library includes a copy of Legendre's Le Livre d'Absinthe. This is obviously a reference to voodoo houngan Murder Legendre from the horror film White Zombie. It's worth noting that the Sonja Blue novel A Dozen Black Roses, published by White Wolf, has Sonja encountering the Camarilla vampire sect from White Wolf's role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. The game gives a version of the nature of vampirism that is very different from most accounts set in the CU, as well as a unique take on Dracula that can't really be interpreted as a soul-clone. Therefore, A Dozen Black Roses must feature the CU version of the Camarilla, and does not import the continuity of Vampire: The Masquerade wholesale.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Upcoming Crossovers: Grendel vs. the Shadow

Next month, Dynamite Entertainment is publishing the first issue of a miniseries by Matt Wagner where Wagner's character Grendel meets the Shadow. Note that the preview also has a Sweeney Todd reference. Assuming that this story fits into Crossover Universe continuity, I'm also going to need to read the two crossovers between Grendel and Batman from the 1990s. For CU purposes, the Batman in those stories would have to be Bruce Wayne Jr., the son of the original Dark Knight.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Crossover Cover: Bad Luck and Trouble

As those who've read my August 7 post about Stephen King's novel Under the Dome already know, Lee Child's character Jack Reacher is in the Crossover Universe. At the beginning of this particular novel by Child, Reacher is stranded in Portland, Oregon, broke after spending two nights with an assistant district attorney named Samantha. This is a reference to Samantha Kincaid, a deputy D.A. in Portland who is the protagonist of a series of novels by Alafair Burke, bringing her into the CU as well.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Crossover of the Week

Hey, all. I know I haven't posted anything since Thursday. I was at FarmerCon/Pulpfest, and having a blast with my buddies. Today marks my triumphant return. First of all, before I give you my belated Crossover of the Week post, I wanted to share this picture of me and my dear friend, co-publisher, and predecessor as custodian of the Crossover Universe, Win Scott Eckert (I'm on the left):

July 1917
            Leo Saint-Clair (aka the Nyctalope) takes a transport to the Martian city of Helium, where his assistance has been requested by John Carter, Warlord of Mars (aka Barsoom.) Carter managed to convince two other Martian races, the Sorns and the Hither People, to join forces with his to drive the invading Cephales from Mars. The Cephales fled to Earth, where they crushed England’s armies before falling prey to the planet’s bacteria. The surviving members of the colony returned to Mars, where Leo and Oxus prevented them from attacking the newly-created French colony. After the Cephales’ defeat, the duo learned of other races on the Red Planet such as the Tharks and the Red Men of Helium. Oxus believes that the radium used by the people of Helium might be able to revive an ancient capsule he has discovered in one of the nearby Martian ruins, which apparently contains secrets that could advance the cause of space travel by light years, and end the Great War within a few months. Leo meets with a group consisting of the Thark Tars Tarkas, Carter, and the latter’s wife, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. Reports are mentioned of a warrior resembling Carter in ancient Phoenicia, as well as a 13th century “Outlaw of Torn.” Carter wishes Leo to investigate the mutilations of several Tharks. Kantos Kan and other Martians gather around the bodies of two murdered palace guards. Leo tells Carter that the killer does not operate under the ethical codes of the Tharks, the Sorns, the Hross, the Hither People, or any other known race on Barsoom. He theorizes that the killer is a hunter from another world collecting trophies. Leo is well versed in the hunting techniques of Quatermain and Roxton. The hunter, or Predator, is blown up by a device in its gauntlet after being killed, destroying a Thark incubation chamber in the process. Carter says that he will take the sole surviving infant to Sola, who will care for him.
            Short story by Matthew Dennion in The Nyctalope Steps In, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2011; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de l’Ombre (Tome 8), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2011. The Nyctalope, and Oxus appear in French pulp novels by Jean de La Hire. Helium, John Carter, Barsoom, the Tharks, the Red Men, Tars Tarkas, Deja Thoris, Kantos Kan, and Sola are from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars novels. The Sorns and the Hross are from C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. The Hither People are from Edwin Arnold’s Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation. The Cephales (or Kephales) are from de La Hire’s The Great Adventures of a Scout; here, they are conflated with the Martians from H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. George Alec Effinger’s story “Mars: The Home Front” proposed that Wells’ Martians (aka the Sarmaks) came from Barsoom, while The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II depicted John Carter’s alliance with the Sorns and the Hither People to drive off Wells’ Martians. The Nyctalope and Oxus encountered Wells’ Martians in de La Hire’s The Nyctalope on Mars. The capsule is from the British television serial Quatermass and the Pit. The Phoenician warrior is the title character of another Edwin Arnold novel, Phra the Phoenician, whom Dennis E. Power and Dr. Peter Coogan conflated with John Carter in their essay “John Carter: Torn from Phoenician Dreams (An Examination Into the Theories that John Carter was Phra the Phoenician and Norman of Torn)” (Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe, Win Scott Eckert, ed., MonkeyBrain Books, 2005.) The Outlaw of Torn is from the novel of the same name by Burroughs; Philip José Farmer conflated him with John Carter in his speech “The Arms of Tarzan,” also reprinted in Myths for the Modern Age. Quatermain is H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain, while Roxton is Lord John Roxton from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger tales. The Predator race is featured in a series of science fiction films. The Predators have appeared in several crossover tales in comic books; however, only those crossovers involving Crossover Universe mainstays such as Tarzan or Mycroft Holmes are incorporated into CU continuity.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Crossover Cover: Under the Dome

This novel by Stephen King has connections to King's other works, the Cthulhu Mythos, and a popular contemporary thriller series. In it, the town of Chester's Mill, Maine finds itself under a dome created by aliens for a little over a week. Journalist Julia Shumway also appears. Chester's Mill and Julia were first mentioned in King's story "N." Chester's Mill shares a border with the towns of Castle Rock, Motton, and TR-90, which are each mentioned in several of King's works, and Tarker's Mill, the setting of Cycle of the Werewolf. Two of the other main characters are Jim Rennie and Dale "Barbie" Barbara. A note written by someone called Barbie to a man named Jim appears in King's novel Desperation. Chester's Mill resident Myra Evans first appeared in Needful Things. There are several references to two more recurring elements of King's fiction, Shawshank State Prison and the town of Derry. One conspiracy theory about the dome suggests that Great Cthulhu is responsible for it. Finally, a military policeman named Jack Reacher is referred to. Reacher is the protagonist of a series of novels by Lee Child. Although this novel was first published in 2009, it takes place during Barack Obama’s second term as president of the United States, and therefore between 2013 and 2016. According to King, there is a great deal of national news coverage regarding the dome, as well as a military blockade, although apart from the government no one finds out about the aliens that caused it. The nationwide knowledge of the dome’s existence is probably exaggeration on King’s part, although obviously enough people outside of Chester’s Mill learned about or heard rumors of the dome to have theories as to its origins.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Society of United Magicians

In this story, which takes place in 1936, the Shadow battles a group of corrupt magicians who are attempting to force Bess Houdini to contact the spirit of her late husband Harry, seeking secrets he has learned on the other side. A poster for Mandrake the Magician is seen in the Society’s headquarters. It is also revealed that Houdini is the one who taught the Shadow the art of escapology.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Night Lakota Died

In this issue, Dr. Adam Spektor encounters Dr. Solar, who had his own series from Gold Key in the 1960s. It is revealed that Solar now works for government intelligence, reporting to a man named Nick. A text piece in The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor #23 identifies the agency Dr. Solar works for as "the law-enforcement division for international espionage, supreme headquarters." The implication is that Solar works for S.H.I.E.L.D., answering to Nick Fury.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Crossover of the Week

May 1937
            An article by Moxie Donovan in The Daily Star says that Commissioner Weston will not discuss the so-called “Green Claw Deaths” that have occurred in recent months, and that several private criminologists have been called in, including Anton Chadeaux, aka Dr. Shadows. When Dr. Shadows began fighting crime, he thought Clark Savage’s whole attitude toward publicity for himself was missing a chance to reach many more people. Traveling to the Philippines, Dr. Shadows and his comrade Slugger Harris have lunch with a detective acquaintance, Jo Gar, who gets them tickets to a baseball game. Dr. Shadows, using a device to short out the lights in his foe the White Tiger’s headquarters, hopes that Mr. Roberts is the electrical whiz he says he is. He later states that George Chance, Ardini, or Dr. Pali could outdo a trick performed by the White Tiger, but it did have a flawless setup and execution. Dr. Shadows speculates that maybe in time Andy Mayfair or his boss will find a way to synthesize clay used by the White Tiger as an explosive, so that it can be used instead against the Japanese.
            Short story by Teel James Glenn in Shadows of New York: The Mysterious Adventures of Dr. Shadows,, 2011. Daily Star reporter Moxie Donovan has been featured in two short story collections by Glenn, Deadline Zombies: The Adventures of Maxi and Moxie and Headline Ghouls: The Further Adventures of Maxi and Moxie. Commissioner Ralph Weston is from the Shadow novels. Electrical expert Major Thomas J. “Long Tom” Roberts is one of Clark “Doc” Savage’s five aides, as is Lt. Col. Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair. Spanish-Filipino detective Jo Gar appeared in stories by “Ramon Decolta” (Raoul Whitfield) in Black Mask. George Chance is the alter ego of G.T. Fleming-Roberts’ pulp hero the Ghost (aka the Green Ghost.) Ardini is a magician-cum-detective who appears in Walter Gibson’s novel A Blonde for Murder. Dr. Pali is a false identity assumed by “Richard Foster’s” (Kendell Crossen) pulp hero the Green Lama.