Monday, September 29, 2014

Crossover Cover: Playmates

In this novel, Spenser investigates a case at Taft University in Walford, Massachusetts, where his girlfriend Dr. Susan Silverman teaches. Taft first appeared in Parker's non-series novel Love and Glory, and would be mentioned in several later Spenser novels, as well as the Sunny Randall novel Blue Screen, the Jesse Stone novel Stranger in Paradise, and another non-series novel, The Boxer and the Spy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crossover of the Week

            Inspector Ménardier interrogates murder suspect and medical student Francis Ardan, aka Clark Savage, Jr. Ardan instructs the Inspector to contact his lawyer, Mr. Theodore Marley Brooks of New York, and refers to the income generated by the Hidalgo Trading Company. One of the victims transferred billion of francs into Ardan’s account at the Depository Bank of Zurich before he died. Judex disguises himself as Vallières, secretary to a banker who took part in a swindle in China with the murdered men. Brooks, nicknamed “Ham,” and Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair walk through Paris. The duo came to France after Colonel John “Renny” Renwick received a letter revealing that Ardan had been arrested. Renny passed the news on to Thomas J. “Long Tom” Roberts and William Harper “Johnny” Littlejohn. Ham is acquainted with Mr. Ferval, the head of the Police Judiciare. Ham and Monk meet with the man presiding over the autopsy of one of the victims, Doctor Jules de Grandin. Ham produces a letter from Judge Coméliau authorizing Ardan to sit in on de Grandin’s analysis of an object found in the skull of the man the de Grandin examined. Ham tells the surving conspirator that two years ago a colleague of Ardan’s, Dr. Lyndon Parker, encountered a Chinese tong called the Si-Fan. One of those who were adversely affected by the conspiracy was Ming Tsai Tsai Tsu, head of the secret society known as the Shin Tan. De Grandin tells Ardan that a man known as Anton Zarnak spent twenty years in Tibet studying the occult with those he called the “Masters of A’alshirie.” Chantecoq, the “king of detectives,” previously identified one of the Shin Tan’s few French agents, Leclerc, whose family had been in the group’s service for several generations according to a report written in the last century by Chevalier Dupin. Monk, Ham, and Ménardier search the Paris catacombs, accompanied by a squad of policemen dispatched by Commissaire Valentin of the notorious Brigades du Tigre. The men sent by Valentin include Inspectors Pujol and Terrasson. One of Ming’s subordinates is his sister, Ivana Orloff, who is related to the Counts Boehm of Germany. Ming used a “Mega Wave” to enslave his victims; an English physician named Doctor Septimus wrote a book on the device.
            Short story by Vincent Jounieaux appearing as “L’Abominable Conspiration” in Les Compagnons de L’Ombre (Tome 10), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2012, and then in English in The Shadow of Judex, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2013; reprinted in L’Ombre de Judex, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2013. Inspector Ménardier, Ferval, and Chantecoq are from Arthur Bernède’s novel Belphégor and its simultaneous adaptation as a film serial. Francis Ardan is from Guy d’Armen’s novel Doc Ardan: City of Gold and Lepers. Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier’s adaptation and translation of d’Armen’s novel implied that Ardan was an really a young Clark “Doc” Savage, Jr. Brooks, Mayfair, Renwick, Roberts, and Littlejohn will become Doc’s aides in his future battles against the forces of evil. Although Jounieaux indicates that Ardan/Savage and company are based out of the Empire State Building, that structure had yet to be built in 1925. Doc uses the name of the Hidalgo Trading Company as a front for the warehouse where he stores his vehicles. Judex is from the serial of the same name directed by Louis Feuillade. Doctor Jules de Grandin appeared in several pulp tales by Seabury Quinn. Judge Ernest Coméliau is from the Maigret novels by Georges Simenon. Dr. Lyndon Parker is the best friend and biographer of August Derleth’s sleuth Solar Pons. Pons and Parker’s 1923 encounter with the Si-Fan (from Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu novels) was recounted in “The Adventure of the Six Silver Spiders”; Pons and Parker would have many more encounters with the secret society in the years to come. Ming Tai Tsou, aka Monsieur Ming and the Yellow Shadow, is the leader of the Shin Tan in Henri Vernes’ Bob Morane novels. Ming is aided in the Morane books by his niece Tania Orloff, Ivana’s daughter. Anton Zarnak is an occult detective created by Lin Carter, whose further exploits have been chronicled by several other writers. The Masters of A’alshirie are from Zarnak stories by C.J. Henderson. Leclerc’s ancestor Honoré Leclerc appeared as an agent of the Shin Tan in Dennis E. Power’s story “No Good Deed…” (Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 6: Grand Guignol, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2009.) The Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin appeared in a trio of stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The Brigades du Tigre was the subject of a titular television series from 1974-1983, which featured Valentin, Pujol, and Terrasson as its leads. The Counts Boehm are from Paul Féval’s novel John Devil. The Mega Wave and Doctor Septimus are from The Yellow “M,” a story in Edgar P. Jacobs’ comic book series Blake and Mortimer.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Crossover Cover: Return to Hell House

This novella (which first appeared in the anthology He is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson) is a prequel to Matheson's novel Hell House, which is in the CU through references in two of Kim Newman's stories. It is mentioned that a member of a previous expedition to Maine's Belasco Mansion in 1931 was driven insane by the experience, and was shipped off to Castle Rock Asylum. The town of Castle Rock, Maine is a recurring locale in the works of Stephen King.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Cana Diversion

Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller's novel Double is a team-up between Pronzini's Nameless Detective and Muller's P.I. Sharon McCone, who meet at a convention in San Diego. Also attending the convention are Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, Robert J. Randisi's Miles Jacoby, and William Campbell Gault's Brock "The Rock" Callahan. In Gault's The Cana Diversion, Callahan investigates the death of his friend and fellow P.I. Joe Puma, who appeared in his own series of novels by Gault from 1953 to 1961.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Crossover Covers: Army of Darkness/Xena

Because of the many anachronisms in both series, Win has argued that Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess take place in an alternate universe, which Ash traveled to from the Crossover Universe. There is precedent for this take, since Ash also traveled to the AU seen in the comic Marvel Zombies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Crossover Covers: Damned Nation

The role-playing game Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic features a top-secret government agency that investigates supernatural activities. Nick Pollotta has written a series of novels dealing with the Bureau, including Damned Nation, a prequel set eight months after the start of the Civil War (i.e., December 1861.) A Confederate monster hunter mentions that he knows Rhett Butler, whom he describes in the following manner: "Nice fellow, strange ears, bad taste in women." The "strange ears" reference evokes Clark Gable's portrayal of Rhett in the film version of Gone with the Wind. Gable was known for his prominent ears. However, there's no reason why the literary Rhett couldn't have similar hearing organs.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Crossover Cover: Blue Devil Island

On a Pacific island in 1943, a group of American pilots encounter a creature called Viran Ghurak, which sometimes appears as a black faceless man. One of the pilots is Max Collins, a native of “a small fishing village on the Maine coast.” Ghurak's description may suggest that he is actually Nyarlathotep. Given that Rainey has also written a few Dark Shadows novels, Max Collins must be a member of the Collins family of Collinsport, Maine.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Crossover of the Week

December 26, 1922
            Charles St. Cyprian speaks to George “Boko” Fittleworth, who resides in Steeple Bumpleigh. According to their mutual friends, Boko’s successes make liver-gnawing characters like Adam Fenwick-Symes and Harold Acton grind their teeth in literary frustration. Boko remarks that it’s a shame none of the Trinity Tiddlers could make it, and that George St. Barleigh enjoyed a touch of the polo. St. Cyprian refers to Tuppy and Bingo, and Boko asks where Bertie Wooster is. Their host Monty Wallace is a member in good standing of several London clubs, including the Drones. St. Cyprian notices a few stragglers from the Runcible set among the guests. Boko remarks that he thought Finknottle was a pedantic ass, with his blasted newts. St. Cyprian mentions his predecessor Carnacki. Monty complains about a bottle of Averoigne ’72 left in his burning house.
            Short story by Josh Reynolds in PulpWork Christmas Special 2012. George “Boko” Fittleworth, Steeple Bumpleigh, Tuppy Glossop, Bingo Little, Bertie Wooster, the Drones Club, and Gussie Fink-Nottle (spelled Finknottle here) are from P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves stories. Adam Fenwick-Symes and Agatha Runcible are from Evelyn Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies. The Trinity Tiddlers and George St. Barleigh are from the television series Blackadder Goes Forth. Carnacki is from William Hope Hodgson’s short story collection Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. The French province of Averoigne appears in a number of Clark Ashton Smith’s stories.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Crossover Covers: Prophecy

This miniseries from Dynamite Entertainment involves Red Sonja being transported through time to the year 2012, where she fights her old foe Kulan Gath alongside Dracula, Vampirella, Pantha, Dr. Herbert West, Eva (daughter of Dracula), Athena (the Greek goddess), and Ash Williams. A series of flashbacks to 1890 features Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Allan Quatermain, and Dorian Gray, who possesses the same dagger wielded by Gath. As Sonja is thrown forward and backward through time, images of a number of other characters are seen, including Indiana Jones, the Three Musketeers, Quasimodo, and the Phantom. There are a number of other characters seen in these sequences that don't fit into CU continuity: Dynamite's version of the Green Hornet, which doesn't fit with the NOW Comics stories of the '80s and '90s; the company's take on Flash Gordon, which has a very different version of Flash's origin story; the Lone Ranger appearing alongside Zorro, a reference to the Dynamite miniseries The Lone Ranger: The Death of Zorro, which contradicts the circumstances of the latter hero's death in the movie The Mask of Zorro; the characters of Project Superpowers, a series featuring a number of Golden Age superheroes brought into the present day; and Evil Ernie, whose stories take place in a world devastated by nuclear war. I have chosen to interpret these as cross-promotional cameos and disregard them for the purposes of the CU.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Crossover Cover: Hallow Eve

In this comic, Mulder and Scully visit Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, providing a solid link between The X-Files and the Cthulhu Mythos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Upcoming Crossovers: Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 11: Force Majeure

The contents for this year's Tales of the Shadowmen volume have been announced. Needless to say, I will be picking this up, as I have all the previous volumes, partly because I'm a fan of the series, and partly so I can write up all the stories.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Crossover Covers: Darkman vs. the Army of Darkness

Two of Sam Raimi's characters cross paths. Wildwood (spelled "Wyldwood" here) Cemetery from Will Eisner's comic The Spirit also appears.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crossover Covers: Sting of the Green Hornet

In this miniseries featuring the original radio versions of the Green Hornet and Kato, the duo encounter the Shadow and Steve Rogers (aka Captain America.) Clark Kent and Lois Lane also make a cameo, as does Nick Fury, and the Sub-Mariner is mentioned, though not named.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crossover of the Week

I covered James A. Moore and Charles Rutledge's book Blind Shadows in a previous post. Today, I give you my write-up of its sequel.

Late August 2012
            Sheriff Carl Price and Wade Griffin battle the Reverend Lazarus Cotton and his congregation of vampires. Price and Griffin’s ally Andy Hunter refers to an old colleague of his named Crowley. Another ally, Carter Decamp, reminds Griffin that he said that the Great Old Ones only have limited power on Earth because our reality is naturally resistant to supernatural forces. Griffin’s girlfriend Charon recognizes copies of Unspeakable Cults and the Ruthvenian in Decamp’s personal library of occult texts. Decamp says that he only knows of two other surviving copies of the Ruthvenian, a book of lore and spells dealing with vampires, both of which are in the possession of a colleague of his. Charon remarks that she thought the Ruthvenian was a myth like Alhazred’s Necronomicon, but Decamp indicates that the Necronomicon may not be mythical. Charon notes that Pursuivant’s Vampiricon suggests garlic as a means of repelling vampires.
            Novel by James A. Moore and Charles R. Rutledge, Arcane Wisdom Press, 2013. Jonathan Crowley is a recurring character in Moore’s fiction. The Great Old Ones are at the center of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos; Price and Griffin battled one of the Old Ones, Shub Niggurath, in their first appearance, Blind Shadows. The Necronomicon, penned by Abdul Alhazred, also plays a prominent role in the Mythos. Friedrich von Juntz’s Unspeakable Cults (or Unaussprechlichen Kulten in the original German) is a Cthulhu Mythos tome created by Robert E. Howard. The Ruthvenian is a recurring book in the interconnected fiction of Donald F. Glut. Decamp’s colleague who owns the other two surviving copies of the book is Dr. Adam Spektor, from Glut’s comic book series The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. The Vampiricon was authored by Manly Wade Wellman’s occult detective Judge Keith Hilary Pursuivant, and is mentioned in the Pursuivant stories.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Crossover Cover: Bitter Fruit

The beginning of a story arc running from issues 19-23. Near the beginning of this issue, a friend of Margo Lane’s asks her when she plans to finally marry Lamont Cranston, saying “You think that marriage means the good times are over, don’t you? But look at Nora! Has she slowed down any since she got hitched?” Margo replies, “What about Dian? She and her beau are thick as thieves. Does the fact that she doesn’t have a ring on her finger make a bit of difference?” Nora is heiress Nora Charles, who investigates crimes alongside her husband Nick, a former private investigator, as seen in Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Thin Man and the subsequent film series starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Dian is Dian Belmont, the girlfriend and companion of Wesley Dodds, aka the Sandman, whose exploits appeared in Adventure Comics in the 1940s.