Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crossover Cover: Secret Agent X, Volume 4

Three of the stories in this anthology from Airship 27 have ties to other works. In Bobby Nash's story "Mountain Men of the Lost Valley," X travels to Kiev and sabotages a stronghold where a deadly weapon is being built. In Nash and James Burns' comic book Lance Star: Sky Ranger -- One Shot!, Star's foe Baron Otto von Blood attempts to resurrect the weapon-making project dismantled by Secret Agent X. Kevin Noel Olson's "A Stygian Darkness" pits X against Fantomas, the Lord of Terror created by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. X also receives some assistance in the story from a man named Dunn, who is Operative 48 for an unnamed agency. This is meant to be the title character of Norman Marsh's comic strip Dan Dunn. Finally, Frank Schildiner's "Crown of the Cobra King" features worshipers of Father Set from Robert E. Howard's Conan stories as the villains, and also has a reference to Professor Henry Jarrod from the 1953 horror film House of Wax.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Crossover Cover: Old Friends and New Fancies

This 1914 novel, which Win included in Volume 1, features characters from all six of Jane Austen's novels - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Crossover Covers: Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation²

This crossover confirms once and for all that the bulk of the Doctor's exploits take place in an alternate reality to that in which the Enterprise exists; in other words, to the Crossover Universe. The Doctor does have a CU counterpart in the form of Doctor Omega, however. At the end of the story, the Borg, inspired by the Doctor, decide to master time travel, suggesting that this takes place shortly before the movie First Contact.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Crossover of the Week

Winter 1977
            Marvin Richards, host of the television program Challenge of the Unknown, once again summons reporter Carl Kolchak, informing him that Dr. Randel Penes is still alive and still in possession of the Necronomicon. Among the names that cursed tome has been known by are the Kitah al-Azif, the Cultus Maleficarum, the Liber Logaeth, and the Necronomicon Ex Mortis. Assisting them in dealing with this threat are Dr. Kirsten Helms and Madame Sarna La Rainelle. Paddy Moran from Bullfinches told Kolchak about La Rainelle. She worked with John Legrasse more than once, helped Anton Zarnak escape from the Tindolosi, and knew Marc Thorner, Ravenwood, and Jules de Grandin. Dr. Penes has merged with the creature he previously summoned, the Nyogtha.
            A Kolchak: The Night Stalker one-shot by C.J. Henderson and Robert Hack, Moonstone Books, 2010. This story serves as a sequel to Henderson’s Kolchak story “What Every Coin Has,” which featured Dr. Penes’ previous use of the Necronomicon. In addition to the aforementioned tale, Richards also appeared in Henderson’s stories “All That Glitters” and “A Forty Share in Innsmouth” and the graphic novel Kolchak: The Night Stalker – The Lovecraftian Horror. The Cultus Maleficarum is from Fred L. Pelton’s “The Sussex Manuscript.” The Liber Logaeth is a real book of alleged Enochian magic that was read by Queen Elizabeth I’s astrologer John Dee, among others. The Necronomicon Ex Mortis is from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films. Leprechaun Paddy Moran and his bar Bullfinches (or rather Bulfinche’s) are from Patrick Thomas’ Murphy’s Lore series of books. John Legrasse is from Lovecraft’s classic story “The Call of Cthulhu,” while Anton Zarnak is an occult investigator in several stories by Lin Carter and other authors. La Rainelle (or La Raniella) aided both men in Henderson’s stories “To Cast Out Fear” and “Locked Room,” and also appeared alongside Legrasse in Henderson’s novel To Battle Beyond. The Tindolosi (or Tindlosi) are from Frank Belknap Long’s Cthulhu Mythos tale “The Hounds of Tindalos.” Mark Thorner is a policeman ally of Zarnak’s. Ravenwood, “the stepson of mystery,” was created by Frederick C. Davis and appeared in a backup feature in Secret Agent X. Occult investigator Dr. Jules de Grandin’s exploits were chronicled by Seabury Quinn. The Nyogtha is from Henry Kuttner’s Cthulhu Mythos story “The Salem Horror.” Two television sets in a video editing room are showing the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which debuted in 1988. This detail must be ignored in order to maintain Kolchak’s adventures in their original time period.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Crossover Cover: Appleby and Honeybath

In this book, Michael Innes teams up two of his series characters, retired Commissioner of Police Sir John Appleby (who was already in the CU through other crossovers) and artist Charles Honeybath, who previously appeared in The Mysterious Commission, Honeybath's Haven, and Lord Mullion's Secret. There is also a reference to the county of Barsetshire from Anthony Trollope's six Chronicles of Barchester novels.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Scarlet Impostor

In this novel by Dennis Wheatley, Gregory Sallust, who is in the CU through connections to other Wheatley characters, enlists the aid of his friend Major (formerly Captain) Jean de Brissac in a plot to overthrow Hitler. Captain Jean de Brissac previously appeared in Wheatley's non-series novel Uncharted Seas, thus bringing in that novel.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes

This tie-in book for my favorite show of all time purports to be a transcription of F.B.I. Agent Dale Cooper's tape recordings describing his activities from December 25, 1967-February 24, 1989, when he is sent to the small town of Twin Peaks, WA to investigate the murder of a teenage girl found wrapped in plastic. In an entry on March 30, 1968, the fourteen year old Dale writes, "Have just finished reading about Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles. I believe Mr. Holmes is the smartest detective who has ever lived, and would very much like to live a life like he did. It is the Friends School belief that the best thing one can do in life is to do good rather than do well. I believe that in Mr. Holmes I see a way to accomplish this." On November 20, 1988, Dale, bored with the mundane cases the Bureau has been assigning him, says, "Holmes used cocaine, an alternative I find unacceptable. What I need, what any detective needs, is a good case. Something to test oneself to the absolute limit. To walk to the edge of the fire and risk it all. The razor’s edge. Are there any great cases anymore, Diane? Is there a Lindbergh kidnapping, a Brinks robbery, a John Dillinger, a Professor Moriarty?" The reference to Holmes as "the smartest detective who has ever lived" and  the mention of Professor Moriarty alongside two real crimes and a real criminal suggest that Holmes and Moriarty exist in the same universe as the characters of Twin Peaks, which had previously been established as taking place in the CU. The book was written by Scott Frost, whose brother Mark co-created the show, and whose father Warren Frost played Dr. Will Hayward on the show. Mark Frost wrote a pair of novels, The List of Seven and The Six Messiahs, about Arthur Conan Doyle and Jack Sparks, on whom Sherlock Holmes was allegedly based. Clearly the Frost family are very fond of Holmes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Crossover Cover: Avengelyne/Pandora

Rob Liefeld and Cathy Christian's character Avengelyne appeared in a few crossovers listed in the first two volumes. In this story, which will be in the new volumes, she teams up with William A. Christensen's character Pandora. Pandora also had a crossover with Everette Hartsoe's character Razor, who is already in the CU, but I haven't read or written up that particular crossover yet.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Crossover Cover: Vile Bodies

Agatha Runcible, a character from Evelyn Waugh's second novel, Vile Bodies, is mentioned in Josh Reynolds' Carnacki story "Monmouth's Giants." Several characters from Waugh's first book, Decline and Fall, appear or are mentioned in the novel as well. Win included Decline and Fall in Volume 1, as the Egdon Heath Penal Settlement appeared, Egdon Heath being the setting of Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native (the prison also appeared in Kim Newman's story "Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch.") Most of Waugh's novels are connected, and therefore I am reading them for the new volumes. Incidentally, one of the minor characters in Vile Bodies is the ex-King of Ruritania, establishing a connection between Waugh's work and The Prisoner of Zenda. This ex-King is presumably the same former monarch of Ruritania that appears in a few of P.G. Wodehouse's stories.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Crossover of the Week

Late Spring 1940
            Three criminals in hiding discuss the possibility of being captured by "that Doc fellow and those Justice guys.” The three are gunned down by the Nightmare (Michael Shaw) and his cousin, the Pink Reaper (Kaye Chandler.) The Reaper tells the Nightmare that Benson objected to her calling herself the Pink Avenger. The Nightmare asks her if Clark knows she’s using his mercy bullets. Later, in their civilian identities, Michael and Kaye discover that the owners of a restaurant Kaye frequents have been brutalized by protection racketeers. Michael thinks of how he and a woman named Leda shut down a den of depravity not too long ago. Michael and Kaye have lunch at Moran’s, where they have a discussion with the owner, who mentions his cousin Paddy. Michael goes undercover seeking information at a number of underworld dives, including the Black Ship, while Kaye does the same, albeit in costume, at others, including the Pink Rat. Kaye visits the sister of one of the racketeers, saying that they met at Mrs. Rittenhouse’s last gala. Michael tells Kaye that he was helping Jethro handle “that Yeti problem” at the time of the sister’s wedding. Planning to break into gangster Wolf Hopkins’ brownstone headquarters, the Nightmare says to himself, “I could try the bold approach…kick open the door, guns in hand, demanding to see Hopkins, and ready to shoot down any who oppose me. Richard would do that, he actually likes getting shot at. Kent would find a way to sneak in and surprise the Wolf at his desk.” Spying on a “young man” who turns out to be the sister in disguise, Kaye thinks “Well, why not…it worked for Irene Adler.”
            Story by Patrick Thomas and John L. French in From the Shadows, Dark Quest, 2012. “That Doc fellow” is Clark “Doc” Savage, Jr. “Those Justice guys” are Justice, Inc., the group of adventurers led by the Avenger (Richard Henry Benson.) The Nightmare and the Pink Reaper were created by French and Thomas, respectively. Leda Troy is Thomas’ heroine Nemesis, who also appears in his Murphy’s Lore and Terrorbelle books. The owner of Moran’s is Seamus Moran. His cousin Paddy Moran is also from the Murphy’s Lore series. Kent is Kent Allard, alias the Shadow. The Black Ship and the Pink Rat are from the Shadow novels. Mrs. Rittenhouse is from the Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers. Jethro is Jethro Dumont, aka the Green Lama, who appeared in stories by “Richard Foster” (a pseudonym for Kendell Crossen) in the pulp Double Detective. Richard is Richard Wentworth, aka the Spider. Given the other references, it is reasonable to suppose that Kaye was thinking of Irene Adler as a real person.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crossover Cover: People vs. Withers and Malone

In this collection of stories, Stuart Palmer's spinster sleuth Hildegarde Withers solves cases alongside Craig Rice's attorney John J. Malone. Palmer provided a mini-biography of Withers for the anthology Four and Twenty Bloodhounds, while Malone has a couple of other crossovers further confirming his  presence in the CU.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crossover Cover: The New Adventures of Foster Fade, the Crime Spectacularist

This anthology from Pro Se features new stories about Foster Fade, a journalist, amateur sleuth, and inventive genius who works for the New York Planet newspaper. Fade appeared in three stories by none other than Lester Dent in the pulp All Detective in 1934. Three of the stories have crossovers. Derrick Ferguson's "The Cider King Murders" has references to orchestra leader King Mantell from the movie The Princess Comes Across and Black Pony Scotch from Otto Preminger's film noir Laura. Aubrey Stephens' "Voodoo Death" features a well-dressed lawyer named John Brooks, who refers to his brother Theodore and the latter's old friend from the Great War, Lt. Col. A.B. Mayfair. Theodore and A.B. are better known as "Ham" Brooks and "Monk" Mayfair, two of the five aides of Dent's most famous creation, Doc Savage. (It's worth noting that Dent's Doc Savage pulp novel The Invisible-Box Murders contains a reference to a New York newspaper called the Planet, which is presumably meant to be the same paper Fade works for.) Finally, Adam Lance Garcia's "The Black Rock Conspiracy" has Fade's ghostwriter, Dinamenta "Din" Stevens, asking her date to accompany her in helping out Fade, an invitation described as the equivalent of getting asked to join the Freemasons, Skull and Bones, and the Diogenes Club all at once. Since the Freemasons and the Skull and Bones Society are real organizations, the implication seems to be that in Fade's world, so is the Diogenes Club from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. On a related note, the town of Black Rock is also mentioned in Garcia's recent novel The Green Lama: Scions, which also has an allusion to the events of "Dead Men's Guns," another story by Garcia in The New Adventures of Foster Fade.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crossover Cover: Criminal Macabre: Final Night - The 30 Days of Night Crossover

Steve Niles' comic series Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night already had links to the Crossover Universe independent of each other even before this miniseries definitively confirmed they take place in the same universe. It's also worth noting that one issues shows a photo of Cal McDonald, the protagonist of Criminal Macabre, with Eric Powell's character the Goon,  a reference to the crossover Criminal Macabre/The Goon: When Freaks Collide.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Crossover Cover: Airboy/G-8

This graphic novel from Moonstone Books, set in December 1940, has Robert J. Hogan's pulp aviator G-8 (a Wold Newton Family member according to Farmer) teaming up with Hillman Comics' costumed aviator Airboy (who also has already been established as existing in the CU) to battle a new batch of mutant bats created by G-8's archenemy, Herr Doktor Krueger. It's worth noting that the writer of this comic, Chuck Dixon, wrote a story for the anthology The Captain Midnight Chronicles that has Airboy teaming up with Captain Midnight near the end of World War II. This encounter is treated as their first meeting, which might conflict with Jim Harmon's theory (referenced by Win in Volume 1) that Captain Midnight and G-8 were the same person. On the other hand, perhaps Dixon was providing misinformation for reasons of his own. Also worth noting is that Krueger is in very poor health in Airboy/G-8, confined to an iron lung. However, he must have made a partial recovery within two years of the story, as he is merely wheelchair-bound when he appears as "Herr Doktor K" in Tom Johnson's story "The Nazi Spider Staffel," set in August 1942.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Crossover of the Week

October 1983
            Miles Jacoby travels to Tampa, Florida to search for a wealthy man’s wife. Jacoby refers a case to Nick Delvecchio in Brooklyn while he’s gone. A Boston P.I. who used to be a professional fighter like Jacoby is mentioned. Fred Carver puts Jacoby in touch with Lt. Alfonso DeSoto.
            Novel by Miles Jacoby, edited by Robert J. Randisi, 1993. Nick Delvecchio is the subject of another series of detective novels and stories by Randisi. The professional fighter turned Boston P.I. is Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. Florida-based private eye Fred Carver appears in a series of novels by John Lutz. Lt. DeSoto is one of Carver’s best friends.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crossover Covers: Sisters of the Shadows: The Cagliostro Curse

This collection of stories by my good friend, the brilliant Rick Lai, describes the feud between Joséphine Balsamo (one of Arsène Lupin's greatest foes) and Irina Putine (an alias for Irene Tupin from the Spanish horror film La Residencia, here portrayed as Lupin's half-sister.) The book is a mixture of revisions of previously published stories with brand-new tales. As one might expect, the stories are filled with crossovers. Win (who wrote the foreword) included the original versions of the reprinted and revised stories in the first two volumes, and I will be including the new stories in Volume 3. You can read my review of the book at this link. I highly recommend this, and all of Rick's work!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crossover Cover: Ghost Squad: Rise of the Black Legion

This novel by Ron Fortier and Andrew Salmon describes the formation of the Ghost Squad, who battle a Nazi society called the Black Legion. One of the members of the Squad is stage magician Arlene Kane, aka Lady Arcane; Arlene first appeared in Fortier's story "Lady Arcane: The Mistress of Magic," which Win listed in the original volumes. At one point, Squad member and pilot Alan Hale works with FBI agent Dan Fowler, from the pulp G-Men Detective. He also receives some help from boxer Mad Chad Hardin, who once worked with Jim Anthony, who has his own feature in the pulp magazine Super Detective. Finally, the leader of the Black Legion is a major villain of the Crossover Universe, but since his true identity is not revealed until the book's last line, I won't spoil it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Lone Ranger Chronicles

This anthology of new stories from featuring the iconic western hero, published by Moonstone Books, has three stories with crossovers, including "Kemosabe" by co-editor and creative mythographer Matthew Baugh. Joe Gentile's "Hell Street" is a team-up between the Ranger and Tonto and O. Henry's outlaw the Cisco Kid, while Troy D. Smith's "The Fallen Angel of Dodge City" has references to two other famous western heroes from radio and TV.

Crossover Covers: Tomb Raider/Witchblade