Sunday, December 14, 2014
Crossover of the Week
Occult detective Ravenwood opens a jazz club. Guests at the grand opening party include a famed industrialist named Stark and his much younger fiancée, A.J. Martin from the Associated Press, a scientist named Dr. Erskine and his wife, and former actress Margaret Grace, who was flown to New York by ace pilot Lance Star. Ravenwood remembers a recent visit to Los Angeles where a thrilling golden-haired woman came to his aid against some shady characters.Short story by Bobby Nash in Ravenwood: Stepson of Mystery, Ron Fortier, ed., Cornerstone Book Publishers, 2010. Ravenwood was the subject of a series of stories by Frederick C. Davis in the pulp magazine Secret Agent X. Journalist A.J. Martin is one of Secret Agent X’s many aliases. The industrialist named Stark and his fiancée are the future parents of Tony Stark, aka the Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man. Dr. Erskine is meant to be the same scientist who created the super-soldier serum that empowered another Marvel hero, Captain America. In the original account of Cap’s origins, “Meet Captain America,” the scientist’s name was given as Dr. Reinstein. Later writers revealed that “Reinstein” was an alias given to him by the United States government, and that his true name was Dr. Abraham Erskine. However, the Dark Horse Comics miniseries The Shadow and Doc Savage: The Case of the Shrieking Skeletons, set in 1937, has him answering to the name Reinstein (along with his daughter Bernie) well before Doc Savage tells him about the Super-Soldier Project at the conclusion of the adventure. In the CU, Reinstein was likely his true name and Erskine the alias, rather than vice versa as in the Marvel Universe. Also, Bernie Reinstein stated in The Shadow and Doc Savage that her mother was long dead. Reinstein must have remarried in the two years between his encounter with the Shadow and Doc and his attendance of Ravenwood’s gala opening. The year of this story is conjecture, but it must take place before Steve Rogers was injected with the serum in 1940, in the aftermath of which event Reinstein was fatally shot by a Nazi agent. The golden-haired woman is the pulp adventuress the Domino Lady, whose stories in the “spicy” pulps were chronicled by an author using the nom de plume “Lars Anderson.” Margaret Grace is mentioned in Nash’s story “Target: Domino Lady,” and also appears in his Box 13 story “The Mystery of the Menacing Manuscript.” Ostensibly a character from the Canadian pulps, Lance Star is actually an original character created by Nash.