Saturday, November 29, 2014

Crossover of the Week

Today's post is dedicated to my dear friend and predecessor Win Scott Eckert, who blazed the trail I now follow. Happy birthday, Win! 

February 28-April 1815
            Dr. Siger Holmes enters the library at Blakeney Manor, home of Sir Percy Blakeney, where he reads the Ruthvenian. The book was written over a hundred years ago by Armand Tesla a researcher on vampires and the occult, and primarily focuses on the Ruthven family, which according to Tesla has a long history of vampirism. Holmes wonders if the present Lord Ruthven has himself joined the ranks of the undead. He thinks of Sir Percy’s deceased first wife, Marguerite’s own return from the grave as a vampire. He is joined by Sir Percy and Marguerite’s daughter Violet, who was named after Holmes’ wife. Holmes and Sir Percy are close as brothers, and Holmes’ wife and Sir Percy’s second wife Alice are sisters. Holmes and Violet discuss the gathering at Would Newton in December of 1795 held by Violet’s parents, where a fiery stone fell from the sky. Holmes wishes to track down Countess Nadine Carody, who was responsible for Marguerite’s death and subsequent undeath, and Violet insists on accompanying him. Twenty years ago, Sir Percy and Holmes suspected that Countess Carody and Colonel Bozzo-Corona were in league. A month prior to the Would Newton conclave, Holmes saw the Colonel’s man, Lecoq, at the Countess’ Parisian townhouse. Agreements with the Colonel and the Brothers of Mercy were made at the Conclave. In the Etsch Valley two months later, Holmes and Violet are saved by a female vampire called Ziska from another nosferatu called the Giaour. Four men approach the duo: Leo Lecoq (son of the Colonel’s henchman), Durand, Thénardier, and Mondego. Lupin’s half-brother Bonaparte is mentioned. The Colonel and the Countess are holed up in the Castle of Monteleone. Three murders happened during the conclave, all signaled by the sound of a bell tolling nine times. The Colonel’s contingent at that time included the elder Lecoq, Kramm, Carody, and Gerolstein. A vampire called Count Aubri attacks Holmes, Violet, and Lecoq and his men. Thénardier and Mondego perish in the assault. Reaching the Castle at last, the survivors come face to face with the Countess, Ziska, and another vampire, Count Yorga. The Colonel offers Violet a place in his organization. He has long been planning to expand his operations into Spanish California, and he wishes Violet to pose as Durand’s daughter as part of this expansion.
            Short story by Win Scott Eckert in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 9: La Vie en Noir, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2012; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de l’Ombre (Tome 13), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2014. Sir Percy Blakeney, his first wife Marguerite, and Blakeney Manor are from the Scarlet Pimpernel novels by Baroness Orczy. Dr. Siger Holmes and his wife, the former Violet Clarke (the great-grandparents of Sherlock Holmes); Alice, Sir Percy’s second wife (the former Alice Clarke Raffles, Violet Holmes’ sister); the elder Lecoq (Albert Lecoq, grandfather of Emile Gaboriau’s sleuth Monsieur Lecoq); and Lupin (Louis Lupin, great-great-grandfather of Arsène Lupin) are from Philip José Farmer’s seminal biography Tarzan Alive. Sir Percy and Marguerite’s daughter, Violet Yvonne Blakeney, is from John Blakeney’s biography The Life and Exploits of the Scarlet Pimpernel (aka A Gay Adventurer.) The Ruthvenian is a book of vampiric lore featured in many interconnected books, comics, and films by Donald F. Glut. It is named after the Ruthven family, the most famous member of whom is the Lord Ruthven featured in John Polidori’s “The Vampyre.” Armand Tesla is the occult scholar and vampire played by Bela Lugosi in the film The Return of the Vampire. The trip to Would Newton (or Wold Newton, as it is better known), along with the murders occurring prior to same, were depicted in Eckert’s story “The Wild Huntsman” (The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 3, Portraits of a Trickster, Michael Croteau, ed., Meteor House, 2012.) The Countess Nadine Carody is from Jesús Franco’s horror film Vampyros Lesbos. Colonel Bozzo-Corona, Leo Lecoq (aka Lecoq de la Perière, Monsieur Lecoq’s father), and the Castle of Monteleone are from the Black Coats novels by Paul Féval. Ziska is from Alexandre Dumas père’s play The Vampire. Mondego is a relative of Fernand Mondego from Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The Giaour is from the poem of the same name by Lord Byron. Durand is the future alleged father of Violet Yvonne and her sister Hélène. M. Durand and Violet’s activities in Spanish California are detailed in Eckert’s story “Zorro’s Rival” (More Tales of Zorro, Richard Dean Starr, ed., Moonstone Books, 2011.) Hélène Durand is the mother of Andrea de Felipone (aka Sir Williams) and his half-brother Armand de Kergaz in Ponson du Terrail’s Rocambole novels. Jean-Marc Lofficier identified Hélène as Violet’s sister in his article “The Tangled Web: Genealogies of the Members of the French Wold Newton Families – Rocambole and Fantômas” (found on The French Wold Newton Universe website.) Thénardier is a relative of Madame Thénardier and her son from Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Misérables. Kramm is the ancestor of Dr. Cornelius Kramm from Gustave le Rouge’s Le Mystérieux Dr. Cornélius. Gerolstein is the father of Rodolphe de Gerolstein from Eugène Sue’s Les Mystères de Paris. Count Aubri is from Peter Josef von Lindpaintner and Cäsar Max Hegel’s opera Der Vampyr. Count Yorga is from the films Count Yorga, Vampire and The Return of Count Yorga. Given his reappearance in the 1970s, Yorga must have been resurrected sometime after his death at Dr. Holmes’ hands in this story.

Green Lama: Scions

The Green Lama investigates a cruise ship that has crashed on Liberty Island, all but one of those aboard having killed themselves. Two gangsters that work for Pete Barry witness the crash while disposing of a body. The Lama’s ally Police Lieutenant John Caraway captures crime lord Tzu-hao Ming-yu, who claims to be “the son of Doctor Fu—” Caraway first read about the Lama in the gossip section of the Sentinel. The Lama, in his civilian identity of millionaire Jethro Dumont, is interviewed by Betty Dale of the Herald-Tribune. One of Betty’s coworkers is crime reporter Luke Jaconetti. The Lama’s agents Gary Brown and Evangl Stewart-Brown have a small farm outside Black Rock. Commissioner Woods refers to the Tipton Murders. The crew and passengers of the ship were possessed by the Old Ones. Betty remarks that now she knows how Din feels over at the Planet. Falsely suspecting Frankie Annor, Jr. of being a disguised vigilante, Betty remarks, “Next thing you’re going to tell me is you prefer to be called a letter or some kind of arachnid.”  The Green Lama appeared in stories by “Richard Foster” (Kendell Foster Crossen) in the pulp Double Detective. Pete Barry is from Garcia’s story “Dead Men’s Guns,” in which the Tipton Murders occurred. The town of Black Rock and Luke Jaconetti are from another story by Garcia, “The Black Rock Conspiracy.” Both of the aforementioned stories appeared in the anthology The New Adventures of Foster Fade, the Crime Spectacularist, featuring new stories of Lester Dent’s pulp hero, and both had cameos by an unnamed Caraway. Black Rock is also the setting of Garcia and Heidi Black's graphic novel Sons of Fire. Dinamenta “Din” Stevens is Fade’s ghostwriter for The New York Planet newspaper. “Doctor Fu—” is Sax Rohmer’s criminal mastermind Doctor Fu Manchu. The Sentinel is the New York branch of the newspaper published by Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet. Reporter Betty Dale is the girlfriend of Paul Chadwick’s pulp hero Secret Agent X. The Old Ones (also known as the Great Old Ones) are the malevolent alien beings worshipped as gods in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Betty is suggesting that Frankie could be either Secret Agent X or the Spider.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Crossover Cover: The Great Pretender

Author Hector Lassiter suggests to a mysterious woman that he has just met that they go to the Cobalt Club. The woman replies that it sounds better than the Pink Rat. Lassiter and the woman, Cassie Allegre, leave the Cobalt in a cab driven by a man named Moe. The Cobalt Club, the Pink Rat, and Moe “Shrevvy” Shrevnitz are from the Shadow novels. Lassiter’s friend Orson Welles appears in the book, and reference is made to him voicing the Shadow on the radio. However, the comic book story “To Cloud Men’s Minds” (The Shadow Strikes! #7 by Gerard Jones, Rick Magyar, and Frank Springer, DC Comics, March 1990) establishes that Welles (or Grover Mills, to use the pseudonym given to him by Jones) did briefly produce a radio show loosely based on the Shadow’s exploits in the CU. This crossover brings Hector Lassiter into the CU. The Lassiter novel Print the Legend introduced writer Chris Lyon, who went on to appear in his own series of novels by McDonald. Chris’ cousin Tell Lyon is the main character of McDonald’s standalone novel El Gavilan.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Crossover Covers: Challenger Storm

Two of Derrick Ferguson's Dillon stories, which have several crossovers bringing them in, have references to MARDL (the Miami Aerodrome Research & Development Laboratories), the organization headed by Don Gates' New Pulp hero Clifton "Challenger" Storm. Both of the two Storm novels published to date have crossovers. In the first novel, Isle of Blood, set in mid-September to early November 1933, a flashback has Storm learning about his parents' deaths after having dinner at the Mortimer Club. The Mortimer Club is from "Dorothy's New Friend," an episode of the sitcom The Golden Girls, which takes place in Miami. The Golden Girls also brings in Empty Nest and Nurses via crossovers, as well as its spinoff The Golden Palace. In the second novel, The Curse of Poseidon, set in November 1933-January 1934, Storm and the members of MARDL travel to their advanced ship the Independence aboard Flying Platform #1 (F.P. 1), whose skipper is Commander B.E. Droste. F.P.1 was once the subject of sabotage by a spy named Damsky, but Droste’s old friend Ellissen and his future wife Claire Lennartz helped save the day. F.P. 1, Droste, Damsky, Ellissen, and Claire are from the 1933 film F.P. 1 Doesn’t Answer, based on Curt Siodmak’s novel F.P. 1 Does Not Reply. A government agent asks Storm to take on a mission related to Miskatonic University’s expedition to Antarctica. This implies that the third book may be a sequel to Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.