Sunday, August 17, 2014

Crossover of the Week

            The Crimson Clown goes undercover as a criminal at the Pink Rat in order to confront Boss Flannery. Later, in his true identity of Delton Prouse, he goes to a benefit for the Policemen’s Widows Fund held by Nina Hastings. Prouse tells Inspector Blurney he is familiar with Rocky McFayne’s newspaper, the Express, though it is not as large as Havens’ Daily Clarion. Another guest at the benefit, Jasper Baldwin, was a member of the Gray Gang until Dan Fowler of the Feds brought the mob to justice. While hiding in the same office where Flannery and Baldwin are meeting, the Clown witnesses the Black Cat attempting to steal from them.
            Short story by Tom Johnson in Pulp Echoes, Night to Dawn Magazines & Books, 2011. The Crimson Clown was created by Johnston McCulley and appeared in Detective Story Magazine from 1926-1931. The Pink Rat dive bar is from the Shadow novels. The Black Cat (aka Nina Hastings) appeared in the one-shot pulp The Angel Detective. Like the Crimson Clown, the Black Cat was a Robin Hood-type adventurer, stealing criminals’ ill-gotten gains and giving them to the needy. Frank Havens, publisher of the Daily Clarion, is from the Phantom Detective pulp novels. FBI agent Dan Fowler’s exploits were chronicled in the pulp magazine G-Men Detective. Since the Shadow, the Black Cat, the Phantom Detective, and Dan Fowler are all in the CU, this crossover brings in the Crimson Clown. In the November 11-December 9, 1928 issues of Detective Story Magazine, McCulley had a serial entitled “Thubway Tham Meets the Crimson Clown.” Thubway Tham was another series character of McCulley’s who appeared in Detective Story Magazine, a lisping conman who preyed on those who rode the New York City subway system. McCulley also wrote “Thubway Tham and Mr. Clackworthy” in the February 18, 1922 issue of Detective Story, in which Tham met Christopher B. Booth’s own grifter character, Mr. Amos Clackworthy, who also appeared in that magazine. Tham and Clackworthy crossed over again in Booth’s “Mr. Clackworthy and Thubway Tham,” published in the March 4, 1922 issue of Detective Story.

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