Sunday, January 11, 2015

Crossover of the Week

July 1942
            Thunder Jim Wade and his aides Dirk Marat and Red Argyle battle the Nazi mad scientist Baron Victor von Hammer and his son Franz, who have abducted Professor Isaac Levi in the hopes that the scholar can lead them to the lost civilization of Hyperborea, planning to use its secrets to take over the world. Von Hammer is actually Baron Victor von Frankenstein, the illegitimate and long-lived son of the legendary Baron von Frankenstein and a barmaid he bedded while hunting his creation, while Franz is really one of the younger Baron’s own creations. A Bedouin aiding Wade and company against Frankenstein’s living corpses uses the language of ancient Stygia. The Bedouins invoke the name of Mitra. Levi’s daughter Lise says that her father witnessed the execution of a member of the Frankenstein family who created a creature that killed dozens of people in his and nearby villages, and a member of her mother’s family lost an arm fighting against one of the Frankenstein monsters. This ruined his dreams of being a soldier, though he did become a police officer. Lise tells Wade about traps in Hyperborea, the first being the anger of Zath, the lord of spiders and the earth. Wade and company store their Thunderbug ship in a warehouse owned by a doctor colleague of Wade’s who uses his vast fortune and amazing mind to save the world. Marat refers to the time Argyle destroyed an Oparian outpost by accident. Frankenstein, who has captured Wade and friends, tells Wade that he once defeated Bulldog Drummond in London. Zath served Bel, the masked maker of chaos. A statue of Louhi, witch queen of Hyperborea, appears. The second trial of Hyperborea is the many mouths of Xotli, the Atlantean lord of blood. Wade, Frankenstein, and the others are attacked by the witch men of Hyperborea. Louhi tells Frankenstein that she was ancient when his people were food for the Elder Worms and slaves to her people and their Acheron rivals, and that only ancient Gagool and Ayesha have lived nearly as long as her. She subjects Wade and the rest to the Trial of Bori, and thinks of a barbarian who nearly killed her thousands of years ago.
            Novella by Frank Schildiner, Pro Se Press, 2014. Thunder Jim Wade appeared in five stories by “Charles Stoddard” (a pseudonym for Henry Kuttner) in the pulp Thrilling Adventures in 1941. The elder Baron Victor von Frankenstein and his creation are from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, of course. The younger Victor was formerly known as Victor Saville, the protagonist of Robert Myers’ novels The Cross of Frankenstein and The Slave of Frankenstein. Hyperborea is from Robert E. Howard’s stories of Conan the Barbarian, as is Stygia. Mitra is a deity from the Conan tales. Bel is from the Conan story “The Queen of the Black Coast.” Acheron appears in The Hour of the Dragon and other Conan tales. The member of the Frankenstein family that was executed is from the Hammer film The Curse of Frankenstein. Creative mythographer Chuck Loridans has identified this member of the family as Victor Frankenstein III, the son of the former Victor Saville and the grandson of Shelley’s Victor. The police officer who lost an arm to one of the Frankenstein monsters is Inspector Krogh from the Universal film Son of Frankenstein. Zath is from L. Sprague de Camp’s novel Conan and the Spider God. Louhi is from de Camp and Lin Carter’s Conan story “The Witch of the Mists.” Xotli is from de Camp and Carter’s novel Conan of the Isles. The witch men of Hyperborea are from de Camp and Carter’s “Legions of the Dead.” Wade’s doctor colleague is Doc Savage. The New York warehouse owned by Doc is used for the storage of his many vehicles, and is disguised as the headquarters of a business called the Hidalgo Trading Company. The lost city of Opar in Africa is from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books. Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond is from a series of novels originated by H.C. “Sapper” McNeile, and continued after McNeile’s death by Gerard Fairlie. The Elder Worms are a reference to Howard’s Bran Mak Morn story “Worms of the Earth.” Gagool is from H. Rider Haggard’s first Allan Quatermain novel, King Solomon’s Mines, while Ayesha is the title character of Haggard’s novel She and its sequel and prequels. Bori (or Borri) appeared in “Twilight of the Grim Grey God” by Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Sal Buscema, Conan the Barbarian #3, February 1971, Marvel Comics. The story was adapted from Howard’s “The Grim Grey God Passes,” which featured the Norse god Odin rather than Borri.

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