Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror

In this miniseries, Cliff Secord battles the evil Otto Rune, who is apparently attempting to unleash a Lovecraftian monster, though it ultimately turns out that the creature is a fake. Cliff is helped on this adventure by a married couple who used to be detectives and have a dog named Asta. These two are meant to be Nick and Nora Charles from Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, as well as the films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. An unnamed Ham and Monk attempt to retrieve the Cirrus X-3 rocket pack from Cliff, but Doc Savage ultimately decides to let Cliff keep it. Cliff briefly comes in contact with two paperhangers, one of whom is named Jeff. These are the title characters of Bud Fisher's comic strip Mutt and Jeff. A friend of Cliff's girlfriend Betty who had fallen victim to Rune meets two desert hillbillies, who are meant to be Snuffy Smith and his wife Loweezy from Billy DeBeck's strip Barney Google and Snuffy Smith. In Hollywood Horror, the Smiths appear to be living in California, but in the comic strip, they lived in the Appalachians. Perhaps they were on vacation.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Crossover Cover: Domino Lady's Threesome

In this one-shot, the Domino Lady goes undercover at a burlesque house to investigate the disappearance of several showgirls. Violet Ray Brant, the Golden Amazon (who appeared in 24 stories by British-born author John Russell Fearn in The Toronto Star Weekly) is also working there undercover for the same reason. The two of them eventually team up with the ghostlike heroine known as the Veil (an original character created by this comic's co-author, the late Howard Hopkins) to battle the Mercurian who has captured the girls.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Crossover Cover: Sherlock Holmes and the Horror of Frankenstein

In this graphic novel, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson encounter Victor Frankenstein's monster and Dr. Pretorius (from the Universal film The Bride of Frankenstein) in 1885.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Game

In this novel, Sherlock Holmes and his much younger wife and apprentice, Mary Russell Holmes, are assigned by Sherlock's brother Mycroft to travel to India to search for the missing British agent Kimball O'Hara. O'Hara is the title character of Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim. (As a side note, according to Kipling, Kim's father was a member of a fictional Irish regiment in Afghanistan called the Mavericks. Another Kipling story, "The Mutiny of the Mavericks," describes an Irish revolutionary's ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stir the regiment into mutinying. Therefore, "The Mutiny of the Mavericks" will be in the new volumes.)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Crossover of the Week

Summer 1876
            In Algeria, Captain Hector Servadac and his adjutant Laurent Ben Zoof are thrown to the ground by the impact of an object crashing to the ground. Suddenly, Servadac and Ben Zoof are stationed instead in Tombstone, Arizona, and the same object collides with the earth. Aboard the Cosmos, Doctor Omega tells his companions Denis Borel and Fred that something is seriously wrong. The Doctor wishes to return to 1905, where his friend the Sâr Dubnotal will consult with Serge Myrandhal on his Mars-bound vessel, which uses a psychic-powered propulsion drive. Meanwhile, Lucky Luke gallops into Tombstone aboard his horse Jolly Jumper. He is greeted by U.S. Marshal Hickok and his deputy, Jingles P. Jones. At the Silverado Saloon, General Custer is introduced by Major Blueberry. Luke tells Custer that they are fighting against Mexican units supported by Franco-Imperial forces under General Vicomte de Blissac. Accompanying Custer are federal agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon. Custer came to Arizona with the Seventh Cavalry and the Fighting Blue Devils of the 101st Cavalry from Fort Apache. Custer wants the masked man and his Potawatomi friend to destroy the balloon unit among the enemy troops, and tells Gordon to have his engineer friend, Frank Reade, meet with him to discuss building war machines for the forthcoming battle. Tucson Smith, Stony Brooke, and Lullaby Joslin, collectively known as the Three Mesquiteers, offer to reconnoiter for Custer. Doctor Omega discovers that Denis altered history by fathering a child in 1865 by Empress Carlotta of Mexico. West rides out with Frederick Altamont Cornwallis “English Freddie” Twistleton, younger son of the fourth Earl of Ickenham. West warns Freddie about a con man at the saloon named Slick. West and Freddie discover that their opponents have Steam House technology, much like Engineer Barnes designed for Munro in India. West realizes the engine of destruction was created by his old foe, Doctor Miguelito Loveless, who is accompanied by his gigantic mute servant. West and Freddie are captured and questioned by Colonel Henri Marquis de Prerolles and Don Pedro O’Sullivan, who are accompanied by an Indian named Perro-Rojo. After they leave, West tells Freddie that he believes “O’Sullivan” was actually the Ranger, and Perro-Rojo his Potawatomi companion, noting that “O’Sullivan” called the latter “tonto.” Alcide Jolivet tries to interview Servadac. Servadac was recommended for this assignment by his old science professor, Palmyrin Rosette. Jolivet asks Servadac about stories that ethnologists have discovered a mountain valley filled with extinct reptiles called valle del guangi. Frank Reade is building a Steam Man to turn the tide of the battle.
            Short story by Stuart Shiffman in Doctor Omega and the Shadowmen, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2011; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de L’Ombre (Tome 10), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2012. Hector Servadac, Laurent Ben Zoof, and Palmyrin Rosette are from Jules Verne’s novel Hector Servadac (aka Off in a Comet.) The Steam House, Engineer Banks, and Munro are from Verne’s The Steam House. Alcide Jolivet is from Verne’s Michel Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar. The Cosmos, Doctor Omega, Denis Borel, and Fred are from Arnould Galopin’s novel Doctor Omega, which has been adapted and translated by the Lofficiers. The Sâr Dubnotal is an occult investigator in a series of French pulp novels by an anonymous author, possibly Norbert Sévestre. Serge Myrandhal is from Les Aventures Merveilleuses de Serge Myrandhal sur la Planète Mars by Henri Gayar. Lucky Luke and Jolly Jumper are from the Belgian comic book series created by “Morris” (Maurice de Bevere.) Wild Bill Hickok is an historical figure; however, his deputy Jingles P. Jones is from the radio and television series Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok. Major Michael Steven “Blueberry” Donovan appeared in a Franco-Belgian comic series by Jean-Michel Charlier and Jean “Moebius” Giraud. The Vicomte de Blissac appears in P.G. Wodehouse’s novel Hot Water. Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton is better known as Uncle Fred, who appears in several books and stories by Wodehouse. Jim West, Artemus Gordon, and Doctor Loveless are from the television series The Wild Wild West; Loveless’ giant mute assistant is Voltaire from the same series. Matthew Dennion’s story “The Treasure of Everlasting Life” (Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 9: La Vie En Noir, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press) also had Loveless using Steam House technology. The Fighting Blue Devils of the 101st Cavalry and Fort Apache are from the television series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. The masked man (aka the Ranger) and his Potawatomi friend are the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Frank Reade is one of the most famous boy inventors in American dime novels. The Three Mesquiteers appeared in a series of western novels by William Colt MacDonald, which were adapted into a series of “B”-films. Calvin “Slick” Stanhope is from the movie Silverado. Henri Marquis de Prerolles is from Philippe de Massa’s novel Zibeline. Don Pedro O’Sullivan is the villain of “The Return of Don Pedro O’Sullivan,” an episode of The Lone Ranger television series. The valle del guangi is a reference to the film The Valley of Gwangi.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Crossover Cover: Hoare and the Headless Captains

In this novel by Wilder Perkins, the second of three naval mysteries featuring Bartholomew Hoare, one of Hoare's men uses the phrase "the lesser evil," which reminds Hoare of “the jape invented by one of the more successful frigate captains—Bolitho? Cochrane? He was wont to challenge a new acquaintance to a wager upon which of two beetle larvae, chosen at random from among those tapped from a piece of ship’s biscuit, would be the first to reach the edge of the table. The unwitting newcomer naturally chose the larger grub. When it lost, as it always did, Captain Whoever would joyfully advise the stranger ‘always to select the lesser of two weevils’ and nearly burst his breeches with laughter at his own paltry jest. Aubrey. That was the joker’s name. Lucky Jack Aubrey, they called him, from the wealth of prize money he had won at sea—and squandered ashore.” Lucky Jack Aubrey appeared in a series of novels by Patrick O'Brian, and was brought into the CU by a reference in Jess Nevins' story "Rocambole: Red in Tooth and Claw." The "lesser of two weevils" quote first appeared in O'Brian's The Fortunes of War. Richard Bolitho is the protagonist of a series of novels by Alexander Kent, and this crossover brings him in as well. Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, is not a fictional character, but a real person who served as a Naval captain during the Napoleonic Wars. In the third Hoare book, Hoare and the Matter of Treason, which I have not yet read, Hoare encounters Horatio Hornblower, a clerk named Cratchit (presumably a relative of the Cratchit family from Dickens' A Christmas Carol) and a man named Lestrade (who is described as resembling a ferret, as was Inspector Lestrade in the Sherlock Holmes stories, suggesting that Perkins' Lestrade is an ancestor of Doyle's character.)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Crossover of the Week

Winter 1952
            Lamb is consulted by his friend Inspector Abrahams regarding the mysterious disappearance of James Stambaugh, who left only his clothes behind. Lamb then meets with Dr. Horace Verner, who is between seventy and a hundred, and tells him about the mystery. Verner tells Lamb that the record he is about to play for him is of the greatest dramatic soprano of the century, and lists some others, including Lena Geyer. Verner says that in this recording lies the solution to Stambaugh’s disappearance, and begins telling him a tale of an incident in the autumn of 1901. Verner was a great fan of the soprano, Carina, whose lovers seemed to all commit suicide. Verner’s cousin, also a great admirer of Carina, investigated her unexplained death. After her passing, men began disappearing in a manner similar to Stambaugh’s vanishing, including the Bishop of Cloisterham. Both Verner (who worked as an occult detective) and his cousin were hired by the family of one of the victims to investigate. Verner’s cousin called him “a man of singular accomplishments,” and Verner remarks that his cousin, as his (Verner’s) great-uncle Etienne used to remark of General Masséna, was famous for the accuracy of his information. Verner’s cousin mentions his Boswell.
            Short story by Martin Lamb, edited by Anthony Boucher in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1952, and reprinted in The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sebastian Wolfe, ed., 1989. Martin Lamb also appears in Boucher’s novel The Case of the Seven of Calvary, as well as the short story “The Way I Heard It.” In “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder,” Dr. Watson says that “a young doctor, named Verner,” a distant relative of Sherlock Holmes, bought his former Kensington practice. Carina is from the Holmes story “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman.” Of Lena Geyer is a 1936 novel by Marcia Davenport. The Cathedral town of Cloisterham is the setting of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Verner’s great-uncle is Doyle’s Brigadier Etienne Gerard, who made the remark about Masséna in “How the Brigadier Slew the Fox” (aka “The Crime of the Brigadier.”)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Crossover Covers: Blind Shadows

In this novel by James A. Moore and Charles R. Rutledge, set in Wellman, Georgia, Sheriff Carl Price and his friend, private investigator Wade Griffin, join forces to avenge the death of a mutual friend, and ultimately find that the murder had supernatural connections. Price and Griffin’s ally Carter Decamp owns a silver-edged blade etched with Latin words, which once belonged to an old family friend, a judge from North Carolina. This is a reference to Manly Wade Wellman's occult detective Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant. The town of Wellman was named after the author, while Carter Decamp's name is a tribute to writers Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp. Another comrade of Price and Griffin, Andy Hunter, calls an occult expert named Jonathan Crowley seeking help in identifying the charms on a necklace. Crowley appears in other novels by James A. Moore. Decamp was given a first edition of Malleus Maleficarum as a gift by his friend Adam, who is meant to be Dr. Adam Spektor from Donald F. Glut's comic book The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. Decamp also owns the bound manuscript for an unpublished book on demons written by a doctor named Trowbridge. This is a reference to Dr. Samuel Trowbridge, the sidekick of Seabury Quinn's occult investigator Dr. Jules de Grandin. It is revealed that the death of Griffin and Price’s friend was orchestrated by the Blackbourne family, who are attempting to bring Shub Niggurath, one of the Great Old Ones of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, into this universe. Price and Griffin returned in Moore and Rutledge's Congregations of the Dead, which I may cover at some point.