Sunday, February 16, 2014
Crossover of the Week
I read this one just yesterday. Win included "Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong" in Vol. 1.
A private detective employed by the Continental agency in San Francisco seeks to settle an old score with a Chinese villain called the Lord of Strange Deaths. The detective once believed that a shady Asian in New York named Shiwan Khan was the Lord, but he “ran up against some kook in a cape and a slouch hat and hadn’t come out so well.” The detective visits Police Detective Brad Brannigan, who was given a car by a grateful man whose daughter he helped to save. Back at the Continental office, the detective says hello to Effie as she steps out of the Spade & Archer office down the hall, but she ignores him. The detective is lured into a trap by Fah Lo Suee, the Lord of Strange Deaths’ daughter, who tells him that her father is a member of a group called the Si-Fan. The Lord lists the many aliases his daughter has used, including Madame Ingomar, Queen Mamaloi, Ling Moy, and Lin Tang.
Story by F. Paul Wilson in the eBook Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong. The Continental detective is Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op. The Lord of Strange Deaths is Sax Rohmer’s master villain Dr. Fu Manchu. Fah Lo Suee and the Si-Fan are also from the Fu Manchu novels. Fah used the name Madame Ingomar in The Daughter of Fu Manchu and The Trail of Fu Manchu, and the alias Queen Mamaloi in The Island of Fu Manchu. Ling Moy is the name of Fu Manchu’s daughter in the 1931 film Daughter of the Dragon, while Lin Tang is Fu’s daughter in the Fu Manchu films produced by Harry Alan Towers in the 1960s. Shiwan Khan is a recurring foe of the Shadow, who is the “kook in a cape and a slouch hat.” The man who gave Brannigan the car is Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks from the classic comic strip Little Orphan Annie; Brannigan helped Oliver rescue the latter’s adopted daughter Annie from Fu Manchu’s clutches in Wilson’s “Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong,” which takes place a week before this story. The Spade & Archer agency is from Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon; apparently Sam Spade did not bother to change the name of the agency after his partner Miles Archer’s death during the 1928 events of Hammett’s novel. Effie Perrine is Spade’s secretary. The Op, who narrates this story, claims that at the age of two, he was found watering the waterfront immediately after the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, unable to remember his family or name, and was placed in a series of foster homes, where he was regularly abused. He also claims to have revealed some of these details to Fu Manchu while being subjected to a truth serum. This conflicts with Win Scott Eckert’s speculations about the Op’s background in his essay “Who’s Going to Take Over the World When I'm Gone?: A Look at the Genealogies of Wold Newton Family Super-Villains and Their Nemeses” (Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe, Win Scott Eckert, ed., MonkeyBrain Books, 2005.) Eckert argued that the Op was in fact the brother of Fu Manchu’s archenemy Sir Denis Nayland Smith, and that he was born in 1884 or 1885. Perhaps the Op lied to his readers about his background in order to protect himself and his brother from some of his other enemies, and actually told Fu a more accurate version of his life story. Alternatively, Wilson himself could have made the changes for reasons of his own while editing the story.