Monday, October 19, 2015
Crossover Cover: Hellboy: Oddest Jobs
As I've stated before, I take Hellboy crossovers on a case-by-case basis, as some fit easily into CU continuity, and some don't. This particular anthology of prose stories contains four stories with crossovers that do fit, in my opinion. In Brian Keene's "Salamander Blues," Hellboy encounters a group of mermen who are holding people hostage, and concludes the National Guard is not coming, and neither is the army or the FBI or Black Lodge or any of the other alphabet-soup agencies. Black Lodge is a covert occult organization that exists across Keene’s multiverse, including several works that have been incorporated into the Crossover Universe. In Barbara Hambly's "Repossession," set in the summer of 1962, Hellboy battles a demon hunter who is seeking notes left behind by Abdul Alhazred, author of the Necronomicon. In Gary A. Braunbeck's "In Cupboards and Bookshelves," Hellboy’s latest case brings him to Cedar Hill, Ohio, a town featured in a series of short stories, novellas, and novels by Braunbeck. "Feet of Sciron" by Rhys Hughes is particularly crossover-heavy. Hellboy recruits Foggy Dicks, a porn star that can generate ectoplasm, for a sex magic ritual in order to prevent the planet Nekrotzar from colliding with Earth, battling King Sciron in the process. Nekrotzar was drawn towards Earth by Marvin Carnacki, the current director of the Carnacki Institute, founded by his ancestor to rid the natural world of paranormal threats. Hellboy says most people think the original Carnacki was William Hope Hodgson’s fictional creation, just as many other authors pretended their subjects were fictional: Arthur Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes, Jules Verne with Phileas Fogg, H.G. Wells with Dr. Moreau, M.P. Shiel with Prince Zaleski, and Maurice Richardson with Engelbrecht. He also says Liz Sherman and Abe Sapien are at Mount Snaefell in Iceland. Foggy replies that he remembers Verne wrote a book about two explorers. Hellboy simply smiles in response. In Nekrotzar, the monster-hunting demon receives a riverboat ride from writer Philip José Farmer, who has been resurrected there after his death. Hellboy reveals to Foggy that billions of years ago Nekrotzar actually did collide with the Earth, which was merely a cloud of stardust then. Earth congealed around Nekrotzar, trapping Sciron’s palace in what would become the younger planet’s crust, forty miles under what is now Iceland. This Carnacki Insitute is clearly a separate group from the one seen in Simon R. Green’s Ghost Finders series. Engelbrecht is from Maurice Richardson’s book The Exploits of Engelbrecht. The subterranean world Sciron’s palace inhabits is the one seen in Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Philip José Farmer, of course, revealed the existence of the Wold Newton Family to the world, and wrote several chronicles of events in the CU. Farmer’s appearance here evokes his Riverworld novels, albeit as homage rather than a true crossover. This story must take place after Farmer’s passing in 2009, although it was published earlier than that.