Sunday, September 7, 2014
Crossover of the Week
SHOWDOWN AT STEAM TOWN
A man named Leo hitches a ride with two young men named Dean and Sal. Sal says that Dean has problems with his family on his father’s side, and therefore he is tense when meeting people from Britain. They are nearly crushed by a massive creature. They are led to a place called Steam Town by an elderly Native American named Little Beaver. They meet a young woman named Fran Reade, whose grandfather built Steam Town. Little Beaver refers to atomic bomb testing sites such as Los Alamos, White Sands, and Gamma Base. The creature that attacked Leo, Dean, and Sal turns out to be an ant that has grown to gigantic size due to exposure to radiation. Fran helps drive off the ant (as well as another of its kind) with a steam-powered automaton built by her great-grandfather.
Short story by Travis Hiltz in Night of the Nyctalope, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2012; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de l’Ombre (Tome 12), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2013. Leo is Jean de La Hire’s hero Leo Saint-Clair, aka the Nyctalope. Dean and Sal are Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise from Jack Kerouac’s classic Beat novel On the Road. Win Scott Eckert’s 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, MonkeyBrain Books, 2005) argued that Dean was the great-nephew of Professor Moriarty. As a boy, Little Beaver was the sidekick of the title character of Stephen Slesinger and Fred Harman’s Western comic strip Red Ryder. Fran Reade is the great-granddaughter of dime novel inventor Frank Reade, and the granddaughter of his son Frank Jr, both of whom built steam-men. Gamma Base is from the exploits of Marvel Comics’ the Hulk, although the CU version of the Hulk is much less powerful than his Marvel Universe counterpart, and his rampages are much less destructive. The giant ants are from the movie Them!