Sunday, March 29, 2015

Crossover of the Week



1935
THE GRAY REAPERS
            The Spider (aka Richard Wentworth) battles dead men brought back as zombies by an Egyptian cult. When Nita Van Sloan expresses astonishment at the idea of resurrecting the deceased, Wentworth cites a monograph on the subject by a Dr. West who works at a university in New England, and also notes that Savage claims to have revived an Egyptian mummy using a process involving tana leaf extract; however, the tana plant is extinct, and Savage used the last known specimens of the extract for his experiment.
            Short story by Matthew Baugh in The Spider: Extreme Prejudice, Joe Gentile and Tommy Hancock, eds., Moonstone Books, 2013. This story explains how the Spider’s chauffeur and aide Ronald Jackson appeared alive and well in the pulp novel Reign of the Death Fiddler and later novels after his death in The Pain Emperor. Both of the aforementioned novels were published in 1935. Dr. West is the title character of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West—Reanimator.” The university West teaches at is Miskatonic University, which is featured prominently in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Savage is Doc Savage, of course. Doc resurrected a mummy in the pulp novel Resurrection Day; however, both Philip José Farmer and Rick Lai’s Doc Savage chronologies place the events of that novel in 1936. Perhaps Doc resurrected a mummy in 1935 or earlier using the tana leaves, and turned to other methods when his supply ran out, leading to another mummy resurrection in 1936. Doc’s first revived mummy probably did not live very long. Tana leaves are from Universal Studios’ original cycle of Mummy films.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Crossover Cover: Cthulhu Unbound Volume 2

This Cthulhu Mythos anthology includes four stories with crossovers. In Douglas P. Wojtowicz's "The Hunters within the Corners," the masked vigilante Skaramine battles August Shorer, the last of Keziah Mason’s students and coven. Skaramine was mentored by an old man named Kent, who gave him his twin Colt .45s, and taught him how to heal his own wounds, change his appearance, blend into the shadows, and throw his laugh. Kent is said to have been "a shadow hunting shadows" in another era. Kent is Kent Allard, aka the Shadow. In Patrick Thomas' "Surely You Joust," Sir Dagonet, jester and Knight of the Round Table, and the mage Ganieda (Gani for short), Merlin’s twin sister, journey to the kingdom of Lyonese to recruit a knight of its court to join the knights of Camelot, but wind up nearly being sacrificed to Father Dagon. Sir Dagonet (aka the Infinite Jester) appears in Thomas’ Murphy’s Lore series and its spinoffs, which have already been incorporated into the CU, as you can see by clicking on  the Murphy's Lore label. In Mark Zirbel's "Santiago Contra el Culto de Cthulhu," the masked Mexican wrestler Santiago battles Cthulhu. Talking about the villains he encounters a regular basis, Santiago says, "One week, the great-great-great-grandson of Doctor Frankenstein is trying to steal my brain to turn his monster into the World Heavyweight Champion, the next week, some voodoo priestess wants to eat my heart in order to gain control of a legion of masked wrestler zombies." Santiago’s match with Cthulhu is rather tongue-in-cheek; he immediately defeats the Great Old One by punching him in the testicles. Therefore, it seems safe to say this story takes place in an AU. In "Nemo at R'lyeh" by crossover-loving author Joshua Reynolds, Captain Nemo and the crew of the Nautilus explore the resurfaced island of R’lyeh, and narrowly avoid an encounter with the dreaded Cthulhu himself. Robur is also mentioned.