September 16-23, 1989
CRIME OF THE ARTS
The Voice teams up with a woman named Dana to take down the militia to which the man who disfigured her belonged. The hero uses his father’s gas gun, and quotes the First Master Detective, “Watson, you see, but you do not observe.” The Voice uses a meditative technique one of his honorary uncles taught him rather than go to sleep. The Voice compares a female scientist working with Dana’s victimizer to the original Victor Frankenstein. The woman’s father worked at a secret facility that reprogrammed people located near a town in upstate New York. The Voice calls his friend Curt Van Loan of Havens International Media. The Voice uses his Uncle Kent’s mental trick to fall asleep nearly instantly, and teaches Dana his Uncle Jethro’s technique for reducing pain without drugs. The Voice remembers seeing a picture of the militia’s leader in the New York Clarion. The Voice thinks that Matt Helm would have taken a practice shot at a tree, but he can’t alert whoever is approaching. Dana compares the militia’s headquarters to Fu Manchu’s lair, but the Voice replies “If old Fu owned this place, we’d probably be dead by now.”
Story by Erwin K. Roberts in Casebook of the Voice, Modern Knights Press, 2014. The Voice’s father is the pulp hero Secret Agent X, who was created by Paul Chadwick under the pen name “Brant House.” The First Master Detective is Sherlock Holmes. The Voice’s honorary uncle who taught him the meditative technique is Michael Traile, “the Man who Could Not Sleep,” the archenemy of Donald E. Keyhoe’s pulp villain Dr. Yen Sin. The reference to “the original Victor Frankenstein” is consistent with numerous books, comics, and movies in which relatives and descendants of Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein engage in experiments of their own. The secret facility near upstate New York is Doc Savage’s Crime College. Curt Van Loan is the son of Richard Curtis Van Loan, aka the Phantom Detective, who appeared in a titular pulp magazine by several authors using the pseudonym “Robert Wallace.” Van Loan’s girlfriend in the original pulp stories, Muriel Havens, is Curt’s mother; her father, Frank Havens, was the publisher of the New York Clarion newspaper. Uncle Kent is Kent Allard, alias the Shadow, while Uncle Jethro is Kendell Crossen’s pulp hero The Green Lama, whose real name was Jethro Dumont. The references to Matt Helm and Fu Manchu could be interpreted as allusions to fictional characters, but given the Voice’s familiarity with a number of other heroes and villains, I am treating them as valid crossovers.
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