Sunday, November 2, 2014

Crossover of the Week

December 1941
            In Casablanca, Doctor Omega requests the aid of Rick Blaine, owner of Rick's Café Américain, who agreed to listen to the Doctor as a favor to Ferrari. Rick tells Omega that Major Strasser will see to it that he receives special treatment from neither the Vichy French nor the Nazis. He also says that Captain Renault doesn’t hand out letters-of-transit to just anybody. Rick is startled as he recognizes the song Sam, his piano player, is performing. In Germany, Omega’s time-and-space ship, the Cosmos has fallen into the hands of Doktor Drexler and his son Frank. Several years ago, the Drexlers reigned havoc on New York City with Ironmen created by the elder Drexler, who was later falsely believed to be dead at the hands of the masked vigilante known as the Spider, who defeated them both. Afterwards, Frank started raving about vigilantes who dressed like spiders, bats, or cats, or who dressed in red, white, and blue or the Union Jack. Unbeknownst to father and son, the Doctor and his companion Fred are spying on them. The Doctor tells Fred not to touch a cube that has a powerful effect on Omega. Three months ago, the Doctor and Fred chose as the current power source for the Cosmos a meteor, which shared many properties with vril energy, that some believed originated from an exploding planet. This meteor had traces of solidified krypton gas and sometimes radiated a green glow. Omega calls Noel Essaillon, a Frenchman who has written about time travel, a fool. Back in the present day, the Doctor says that as a backup plan, the Nazis will bury Doktor Drexler’s newest batch of Ironmen to be awakened when the Fatherland has regrouped. Fred refers to them as “Sleepers.”
            Short story by Paul Hugli in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 9: La Vie en Noir, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2012. Doctor Omega is from the novel of the same name by Arnould Galopin, as is his companion Fred and his ship, the Cosmos. Rick Blaine, his Café Américain, Ferrari, Major Strasser, Colonel Renault, and Sam are from the film Casablanca. Although the year of this story is given as 1942, this is incorrect. Rick Blaine’s appearance here takes place contemporaneously with the beginning of Casablanca, which itself takes place in December 1941. Frank Drexler and his father battled the Spider in Norvell W. Page’s pulp novel Satan’s Murder Machines. The vigilante who dresses as a bat is the Batman. The vigilante who dresses as a cat is probably the Black Cat, aka Hollywood stuntwoman Linda Turner, whose adventures were published by Harvey Comics. The vigilante who dresses in red, white, and blue is Captain America. In the 1960s, Cap battled Drexler’s second batch of Ironmen, known as “the Sleepers.” The cube is the Cosmic Cube, which contains mysterious energies that allow its wielder to transform reality itself. In the Cube’s first appearance, it was utilized by Captain America’s foe the Red Skull. The Skull was also the one who originally proposed the creation of the Sleepers, though obviously Doktor Drexler was the one who actually produced them. The vigilante dressed in the Union Jack is the aptly-named Union Jack, Cap’s teammate in the superhero group known as the Invaders. Although most comic book superteams’ exploits do not take place in the CU, it has been established that a version of the Invaders existed in the CU, albeit for a much briefer period of time than their Marvel Universe counterparts. The vril energy is from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel The Coming Race. The meteor is a piece of kryptonite, a radioactive fragment of Superman’s home planet Krypton, which is deadly to the Man of Steel. Noël Essaillon is from French author René Barjavel’s science fiction novel Le Voyageur Imprudent (aka Future Times Three.)

1 comment:

  1. I remember when the Cosmic Cube appears in the Captain America movie, the Red Skull exclaims something like "And those fools are searching in the Desert for the Ark of the Covenant."

    I don't how that fits in with the CU, if it does at all, but it was certainly interesting.