Friday, January 31, 2014

Crossover Covers: Hack/Slash (Part 1)

Tim Seeley's comic Hack/Slash, starring slayer of slashers Cassie Hack and her hulking companion Vlad, has had a number of crossovers, including several with properties that have already been linked to the Crossover Universe. Among the famous (or infamous) individuals Cassie and Vlad have encountered are:

Chaos Comics' Evil Ernie, who exists in an alternate reality to Cassie's native Earth, but traveled to the CU for this story...

The killer Good Guy Doll Chucky, from the Child's Play film franchise...

The ghostly murderer Edgar Dill and his monstrous Treehugger creations, from Mark Kidwell's comic Bump (By the way, Evan Dorkin's Milk and Cheese only appear in a dream sequence in this story, and the massive destruction wrought by the "dairy products gone bad" in their own stories is incompatible with CU continuity, so this doesn't count as a workable crossover)...

The notorious Dr. Herbert West of Re-Animator fame...

The Living Corpse, a heroic zombie who battles supernatural evil. Interestingly, Cassie and the Corpse clearly knew each other prior to the events of this story, but the details of their first meeting have yet to be revealed...

And the would-be successors to a number of heroes from the Golden Age of Comic Books who have fallen into the public domain. Win and I have chosen to incorporate only a limited number of superheroes into the CU, based on the fact that a large number of superhuman beings running around violates the core premise that the CU, on the surface anyways, closely resembles the world outside our window. Any superheroes included are considered to be less powerful, active for a shorter period of time and much more covertly, and have had much less earth-shaking exploits than the comics depicted. The same can be assumed to be true of the heroes mentioned in this storyline, though most of the characters in question had no superpowers or very low-level ones.

To be continued tomorrow...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Crossover Cover: Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard

Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard is the fourth and most recent novel in Kim Newman's brilliant and unique alternate history/horror/vampire/crossover hybrid series, mixing new material with revised versions of the many novellas Newman has done in this milieu.  My illustrious predecessor Win Scott Eckert listed the crossover references in the first three books and the novellas in Appendix 2 of Crossovers Vol. 2. In Vol. 4, I will be including an update to that Appendix, covering the crossovers in the new novellas found in Titan Books' editions of the 2nd and 3rd volumes and the new material in Johnny Alucard, as well as some references in the previous books and novellas that Win missed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crossover Cover: Carnacki: The New Adventures

Eight of the twelve stories in this swell collection of new tales featuring William Hope Hodgson's character Thomas Carnacki, one of the most famous occult detectives in fiction, have crossovers in them, and will therefore be included in the book.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crossover Covers: The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction!

A highly entertaining miniseries that will be in Volume 4. I'm glad that IDW is emulating Dave Stevens by continuing to have Cliff Secord's alter ego encounter other famous characters. And not just because it gives me fodder for the books; I genuinely think they're doing justice to Stevens' character.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Crossover of the Day (January 27, 2014)

After this, I'm going to be restricting the "Crossover of the Day" posts to once a week. There will still be plenty of great posts the other six days of the week, though. :)

Late Autumn 1976
            P.I. Miles Jacoby investigates a murder and a missing person case, which appear to be unrelated, but ultimately prove to be intimately connected. Jacoby asks Detroit-based detective Amos Walker to collect info about the missing girl’s karate teacher. He later turns that case over to Henry Po for a time. Jacoby’s investigation of the murder leads him to the Mysterious Bookshop, which has a sign in the window announcing that an author named Mallory will be there later in the week to autograph books. Later, Jacoby calls a detective in Cincinnati named Harry Stoner and asks him to dig up info on a suspect.
            Novel by Miles Jacoby, edited by Robert J. Randisi. P.I. Amos Walker is the protagonist of a series of novels and short stories by Loren D. Estleman. Henry Po, an investigator for the New York Racing Commission, is the protagonist of Randisi’s novel The Disappearance of Penny and his short stories “The Equine Theft,” “The Nickel Derby,” and “The Girl Who Talked to Horses.” Mallory is a mystery writer and amateur sleuth appearing in five novels by Max Allan Collins. Harry Stoner appears in a series of novels by Jonathan Valin. Since Jacoby is in the Crossover Universe, this crossover brings in Walker, Po, Mallory, and Stoner.

Crossover Covers: The Shadow and Doc Savage

A fun miniseries, with gorgeous covers by the late Dave Stevens, who utilized unnamed versions of both characters in The Rocketeer, and a cool tie-in to an iconic comic book hero's origin.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crossover of the Day

Here's the first of a series of excerpts from the manuscripts for Volumes 3 and 4 I will be posting on a regular basis. Considering his corpus, Don Glut obviously shares my love of crossovers. This was a fun story, even though I had to use Google to identify many of these characters (though that's hardly the first or the last time I've utilized that particular search engine in my research):

Summer 1880
            In the 1930s framing sequence, a Texas Ranger says that he recently brought cattle rustlers to justice in cooperation with ranchers from the B-Bar-B in Big Bend County, the TM Bar in Dobie County, and the Bar 20, as well as an Arizona rancher-pilot who is a kind of “king” of the sky and a mystery-loving Texan detective called “Doc.” The Ranger’s horse is named Charcoal, and other horses ridden during the operation include Amigo, Tony, and Topper III. The Ranger was sent a historical puzzle a few months back by a daily newspaper called the Sentinel. The stack of documents sent to him by the paper’s publisher includes stories torn from the London Times. The documents describe the true story of a former Ranger who became a legend in the Old West. In the tale, a Dodge City Marshal talks with his Deputy and a man who has a gray steel and rainbow mother-of-pearl six-shooter in his holster. The man with the gun is planning to go shooting with Ted, an old friend of his from Tennessee, who recently spent some time with a Mountie and his remarkable dog in the Yukon Territory. The Marshal is friends with a sheriff in Canyon County. The man with the six-shooter mentions “that lovely lady down at the Longbranch.” A Masked Man and his Indian companion ride into town to turn Deuce Cavendish, a cousin of an infamous outlaw they once brought to justice, over to the Marshal. The Masked Man volunteers to take Cavendish to Doc’s office. The Marshal has Wanted posters of two Mexicans, one of whom is trim and handsome and calls himself “Kid,” while the other is fat and almost slovenly. The Masked Man has a friend who is a Cavalry Captain at Fort Laramie. The Mexicans, who ride horses named Diablo and Loco, come across the Masked Man and the Indian. The Kid says he knows of only one man who is not a bandito and who wore a mask, and the Masked Man is not El Zorro. A red-haired man and a young Indian boy ride to Dodge City from Painted Valley to get a birthday present for the Duchess. Three men meet in an outpost some distance from Dodge: a man with dark, somewhat wavy hair and a thick mustache; a cattleman with silver hair and a neckerchief clasp in the shape of a steer’s head; and an Englishman who seems to be a kind of frontier gentleman, and who bears an uncanny resemblance to the dark-haired man. The silver-haired man, who calls himself Bill, has an elderly sidekick. The two come across the cave of a Comanche and his grizzled companion, and Bill notices that the Comanche resembles a rancher they recently encountered.
            Short story by Don Glut in Radio Western Adventures, Bill Cunningham, ed., Pulp 2.0 Press, 2010. This story is a tour-de-force crossover between many characters from radio westerns. The Texas Ranger is Jayce Pearson from Tales of the Texas Rangers. The B-Bar-B ranch and Amigo are from Bobby Benson and the B-Bar B Riders. The TM Bar and Tony are from Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters. The Bar 20 is from Hopalong Cassidy, based on short stories by Clarence E. Mulford. The silver-haired man is Hopalong himself, while his sidekick is California Carlson. Topper III is a descendant of Hopalong’s horse Topper. The Arizona rancher-pilot is the title character of Sky King, while the Texan detective is “Doc” Long from I Love a Mystery. The Sentinel is the newspaper published by Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet. The former Texas Ranger of the Old West is John Reid, aka the Lone Ranger. The Green Hornet radio series established that Britt Reid was John Reid’s great-nephew. The Ranger’s Indian companion is Tonto, while Deuce Cavendish is the cousin of his foe Butch Cavendish. The London Times is from Frontier Gentleman. The title character of that show is Times reporter J.B. Kendall. The Marshal and his Deputy are Matt Dillon and Chester from Gunsmoke. “That lovely lady at the Longbranch” and Doc are Miss Kitty Russell and Galen “Doc” Adams from that series. The man with the colorful gun is Britt Ponset from The Six Shooter. The Mountie and his dog are Sgt. Preston and King from Challenge of the Yukon. The Sheriff of Canyon County is Mark Chase of Death Valley Sheriff. The Kid and his sidekick are the Cisco Kid and Pancho. The radio version of the Cisco Kid is much more good-natured than the character’s original version in O. Henry’s tale “The Caballero’s Way.” Also, Henry’s Cisco Kid was a white man whose last name was Goodall, rather than a Mexican. The radio Kid likely assumed his literary namesake’s alias for reasons of his own. Diablo and Loco are the Kid and Pancho’s horses, respectively. The Lone Ranger’s friend is Captain Lee Quince from Fort Laramie. Zorro is self-explanatory. The red-haired man from Painted Valley is the title character of Red Ryder, based on the comic strip of the same name, while his sidekick is Little Beaver. The Duchess is Red’s aunt. The dark-haired man is Paladin from Have Gun – Will Travel. Both Paladin and J.B. Kendall were played on radio by John Dehner. The Comanche is the title character of Straight Arrow, who is also known as rancher Steve Adams. His sidekick is Packy McCloud. The year is conjecture.

A Brief History of the Crossover Universe

In 1997, Win Scott Eckert created the website An Expansion of Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe, based on the Science Fiction Grand Master's series of books, stories, and essays about the Wold Newton Family, a family tree consisting of heroes and villains from literary and pulp fiction such as Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes, the Shadow, Professor Challenger, Fu Manchu, C. Auguste Dupin, and numerous others. Inspired by Dave Stevens' comic The Rocketeer, in which the title character met disguised versions of Doc Savage and the Shadow, Win put what he called "The Crossover Chronology" on his site, a timeline of stories in which characters utilized by Farmer in his Wold Newton works appeared alongside other fictional characters, using those crossovers to create an expanded Wold Newton Universe (WNU) in which other characters existed alongside the Wold Newton Family members, who may or may not be members of the Family themselves. Stories in which those characters not included by Farmer met still other characters were included as well, in a form of six degrees of separation. Win continued to post updates to the chronology for several years. In addition to the timeline, Win also had a page briefly outlining chains of television shows that were in the WNU via crossovers, a page dealing with crossover stories that, for various reasons, usually involving major continuity conflicts, had to take place in alternate realities or dimensions to the WNU , and a list of the crossover characters in Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series of alternate history novels. Several Wold Newton fans provided Win with crossover info that was incorporated into the chronology. Eventually, Eckert began to have his own fiction published, which often had crossover references, including ties to Farmer's mythos.

In 2010, Win turned the Crossover Chronology into a massive two-volume tome Crossovers: A Secret Chronology  of the World, published by Black Coat  Press. The entries that had previously appeared on Win's site were revised to refer to the Crossover Universe (CU) rather than the WNU, since the Universe had grown many degrees beyond Farmer's family tree. Besides Farmer's writing, Eckert used another template from which to build on the CU: biographies of fictional characters that treated their subjects as real people. Examples of these include Farmer's own Tarzan Alive (which introduced the concept of the Wold Newton Family) and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, William S. Baring-Gould's Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, and John Pearson's James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007. In addition to the revisions of the listings on Win's site, Win included new material that he and others had discovered. One of those who contributed crossover information included in the books was Sean Levin, a fan of Farmer and the Wold Newton Family since 2002 and a good friend of Win's (and also the author of this post.) Sean was listed in the identical acknowledgments in both volumes. The TV crossovers, alternate universes, and Anno Dracula pages were revised and expanded as Appendices to the two volumes.

After the publication of Win's books, he announced that he was officially retired from documenting crossovers. However, in 2012, the stage was set for his successor. Sean Levin posted a list of the crossover references in Adam Lance Garcia's novel The Green Lama Unbound on one of the groups devoted to the Wold Newton Universe on Yahoo. Win replied by saying that it was an interesting writeup, and asking Sean if there were more Crossovers-style writeups in his future. Sean in turn answered that he was thinking about it, and soon after posted writeups (more in the style of Win's chronology this time) of the stories in Kim Newman's collection Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the d'Urbervilles. As Sean continued to post more writeups for crossovers not included in Win's books, Win and others offered him much-valued praise and feedback. Eventually, Win paid Sean a major compliment by inviting him to write Crossovers Vol. 3. Sean was thrilled and honored, and took Win up on the offer, incorporating his writeups so far into a word document, and continuing to add new entries and revise his existing ones.

In summer of that year, Sean attended FarmerCon, the annual celebration of Phil Farmer's life and work. There, Sean had an informal conference with Win, Michael Croteau, and Paul Spiteri. The three are the masterminds behind the publishing company Meteor House, whose primary output is new fiction set in Farmer's various universes.  It was decided that Meteor House would publish the new volume, and many plans were discussed. Sean sent a Word .doc of the manuscript so far to Win when he returned to his home in Chicago, and was deeply flattered when Win said he was greatly impressed. At the 2013 FarmerCon, Sean discussed the book further with Win and Mike over dinner, and it was ultimately decided that Sean would in fact write Volumes 3 and 4 simultaneously.

In December of 2013, Win was interviewed by Anthony R. Cardno on his blog, Rambling On. Anthony asked Win how often, if at all, he planned on updating Crossovers. Win explained his own retirement from those duties, and made the formal announcement that Sean was writing Volumes 3 and 4. Both Win and Sean shared the link on Facebook and Yahoo, and were met with an outpouring of enthusiasm. Sean encouraged any of his acquaintances on either site who knew of any crossovers not listed in Win's book, either due to lack of access, time, or coming out after the publication of the first two, to provide him with the relevant info, and got some valuable responses.

This blog is intended to be a companion to all four volumes of Crossovers. I will post excerpts and teasers from Volumes 3 and 4, cover art for crossovers included in all four volumes, and other goodies. Win will occasionally post, but I will be the primary author. Following in Win's footsteps is an honor, and I am very lucky to have him as such a dear friend.  I hope that this blog will heighten people's interest in Win's amazing work, as well as my own more recent efforts. Expect many more posts to come!