Monday, February 29, 2016

Crossover Movie Poster

A sequel to Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film, which takes place in a divergent timeline from the “mainstream” Trek universe/Crossover Universe. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott and Keenser visit a bar by the Port of San Francisco where the tables have a rotating light-up billboard for Slusho, a fictional soft drink appearing in other Abrams productions, including Fringe, Super 8, Cloverfield, Alias, and the 2009 Star Trek film, as well as the television series Heroes, which was not created by Abrams.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Crossover of the Week

Mid February–October 1931
Jim Anthony asks his friend Eddie Phipps if he is coming to the next meeting of the Baltimore Gun Club. After Phipps is attacked by a strange man-monster, Jim tells an old man to call Healy in Homicide, and tell him he said there’s been trouble at the Suydam Building. Healy refers to “that thing last year with that Yogami fellow—,” to which Jim replies “Yes. The so-called Werewolf of Red Hook.” One of Phipps’ murderer’s other victims is named Guster Wooster. A man who unsuccessfully tries to kill Jim commits suicide by taking a distillation of Mariphasa Lupinum, the Tibetan Moon Blossom. At the Gun Club, Jim and his sidekick Tom Gentry meet Count Zaroff, whom a castaway named Rainsford falsely claimed died on his island a few years ago. Another Gun Club member, Otto DeLancy, asks Jim if he was in New York when Bertie Freis left. Jim replies he was in Paris on a case involving a band of thieves, Les Vampires. A murderous fiend called Fantômas was also involved in this case. Jim thinks of a Gun Club member named Ironcastle. Jim and Tom battle a group of Tcho-Tcho. Zaroff says the Tcho-Tcho tried to kill him while he was in Tibet, searching for the elusive Mi-go. The word Leng pops into Jim’s mind. Franklin Pike reminds Jim of their trip to Maple-White Land, and of someone named Ki-Gor who was also present. Pike refers to Leng as the Doorway to the Lost Valley of Carcosa, and tells Jim about a swami in New Orleans, “Chanda-something.” Jim requests his butler Dawkins have certain tools from his laboratory delivered to the Freis family burying ground at New York’s Wildwood Cemetery. A captured Tcho-Tcho claims to be a member of the royal guard of the King in Yellow. Jim sees Zaroff speaking to a man called Allardravitch, who, like Zaroff himself, was once part of the Czar of Russia’s inner circle. Zaroff invites Jim to hunt with him on an uncharted island, far west of Sumatra, which is inhabited by prehistoric animals. Allardravitch sneers at Jim’s use of mercy bullets, which prompts Jim to tell him not to confuse him for the bronze man. Traveling to the island, Jim and Zaroff spot a ship in the distance called the Venture. Zaroff tells Jim how an old German named Lidenbrock put him up in his lodge during the Great War, and told him he and his uncle went on an expedition to the center of the earth many years earlier, where they also encountered prehistoric animals. Lidenbrock’s uncle told him of a previous, aborted attempt to enter the earth’s core, through an opening on the island Jim and Zaroff are visiting. That ingress was sealed, but not before creatures from the core migrated through it and settled on the island. Aboard the Venture, Jim and Zaroff meet filmmaker D. W. Cecil De Cent, his leading lady Dana Sparrow, the elderly captain of the ship, and Jack the first mate. Dana grew up in an orphanage, with her father unaware of her existence. Jim finds a book written by one of the Weta-people, who sailed to the island from the Gray Havens after the return of the king, but cannot read it. Zaroff tells Jim there are signs of a giant anthropoid on the island. Dana refers to “that Doctor Wildman in the pulps.” The ape’s unveiling in New York draws a lot of celebrity attention, including that of the Celebrated Feral Child of Africa, who has a personal interest in apes, giant or otherwise. De Cent, about to unveil the ape, tells Jim’s Comanche grandfather Mephito he has filmed the strange monoliths and ruins of the Indians in Dunwich. The ape escapes thanks to Zaroff’s scheming, and climbs to the top of the Empire State Building with Dana in his paw, only to be shot down by airplanes.
Jim Anthony: Super Detective Volume Two, Airship 27 Productions, 2010, composed of two novellas, “Death in Yellow” by Joshua Reynolds and “On the Periphery of Legend” by Micah S. Harris. Jim Anthony appeared in the pulp Super Detective. The Baltimore Gun Club seen here is the New York branch of the club seen in Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon. The Suydam Building is named after Robert Suydam from H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook.” The Mi-go are a race of Yeti from Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness.” Leng is a plateau in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, first described in “The Hound.” Dr. Yogami and the Mariphasa Lupinum (or Mariphasa Lupina Lumina) are from the film Werewolf of London. Guster Wooster is presumably an American relative of P. G. Wodehouse’s most famous character, Bertie Wooster. Count Zaroff, his island, and Sanger Rainsford are from Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game.” Xavier Mauméjean’s story “The Most Exciting Game,” which is set in 1930, also portrayed Zaroff as a member of the New York branch of the Gun Club. Les Vampires are from Louis Feuillade’s 1915 film serial of the same name. Fantômas is a French pulp villain created by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. Hareton Ironcastle is from J.-H. Rosny aîné’s L’Étonnant Voyage d’Hareton Ironcastle, as well as Philip José Farmer’s translation and adaptation, Ironcastle, which revealed Ironcastle was a member of the Baltimore Gun Club. The Tcho-Tcho race were created by August Derleth as part of the Cthulhu Mythos. These Tcho-Tcho must have been the result of interbreeding with humans, as they are noticeably taller than the race is described to be by Derleth and other authors. Maple White Land is from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. John Peter Drummond’s jungle hero Ki-Gor’s first adventure must have actually taken place years before its 1938 publication in Jungle Stories Magazine. Carcosa is originally from Ambrose Bierce’s short story “An Inhabitant of Carcosa,” but also appears in Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, which Lovecraft incorporated into the Cthulhu Mythos. The Swami Chandraputra is an identity assumed by Randolph Carter, the protagonist of Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, in the story “Through the Gates of the Silver Key.” He also appears under that alias in Lovecraft and Hazel Heald’s story “Out of the Aeons.” Wildwood Cemetery also hosts the grave of the allegedly deceased Denny Colt, also known as the Spirit. “Allardravitch” is actually the shadowy hero who was a spy for the Czar during the Great War.. The uncharted island is Skull Island from the classic film King Kong. The Venture is also from King Kong. “D. W. Cecil De Cent” and “Dana Sparrow” are aliases for Carl Denham and Ann Darrow, while the captain and first mate are Captain Englehorn and Jack Driscoll; all four appear in the film. The giant ape is Kong himself, of course. The bronze man is a famous pulp hero of the 1930s and ’40s, of whom Rick Lai notes, “Doc wouldn’t have been using mercy bullets regularly until 1932 (The Phantom City). However, Doc might have experimented with mercy bullets like Anthony in early 1931. Doc would have abandoned them to avenge the deaths of his father (The Man of Bronze) and favorite tutor (The Land of Terror) during May–July 1931.” Axel Lidenbrock and his uncle Otto are from Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. The connection between the subterranean world visited by the Lidenbrocks and Skull Island was first proposed by Micah S. Harris in The Eldritch New Adventures of Becky Sharp. Although that novel takes place in an alternate universe, apparently the connection is true in the CU as well. According to The Eldritch New Adventures of Becky Sharp, Ann Darrow was the illegitimate daughter of Becky herself (from William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair) and Lord Eugenides, an analogue of the jungle lord. Unlike the jungle lord, Eugenides grew to adulthood during the Victorian era, with his own counterparts to Jane and La. The Ann Darrow of the CU is probably the daughter of Becky Sharp and the time-traveling future version of the jungle lord (aka John Gribardsun) seen in Farmer’s Time’s Last Gift. The Grey Havens (aka Mithlond) are an Elvish port from J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings. In Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Philip José Farmer revealed an iconic pulp hero’s real name as James Clarke Wildman, Jr. However, Dana’s reference to Doc Wildman as a pulp character should not be taken literally, since his pulp magazine did not begin publication until 1933, two years after the events of this story. The Celebrated Feral Child of Africa is the jungle lord. Although Harris places Kong’s unveiling in April, shortly after Denham and company return from Skull Island, Kong’s rampage took place in October in the CU. More likely, Kong spent months in quarantine before being officially exhibited. Dunwich is from Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror.”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Crossover Covers: Crown of Worms

In Seattle, Vampirella enters into a temporary alliance with Dracula, King of the Vampires, in order to defeat a Lovecraftian worm-creature called Yag-Ath Vermellus.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Crossover Cover: Something's Fishy

Cassie Hack faces off with Mary Shelley Lovecraft, who compares her to “that red devil boy with the tail” and claims she’s “compelling, though maybe not so well loved as the Summers girl,” referring to Hellboy and Buffy, respectively.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Crossover Cover: Urban Gothic

A group of suburban youths returning from a Monsters of Hip Hop concert (headlined by Prosper Johnson) become stranded in an abandoned house in the Philadelphia ghetto and hunted by subterranean mutants. The kids were present at a Ghost Walk in LeHorn’s Hollow the previous Halloween, but it was closed down after several people were killed inside, before the kids could get in. Leo once lived with the Graco family for two weeks; the father, Timothy, wrote comic books. One of the mutants wears a shirt with the slogan I GOT CRABS IN PHILLIPSPORT, MAINE, and another wears a ball cap with the Globe Package Service logo. One of the mutants, Scug, swears to Ob. Prosper Johnson is a minor, but important, character in Keene’s mythos, figuring most prominently (so far) in his story “Slouching in Bethlehem.” The events behind the massacre at the Ghost Walk are told in Keene’s novel Ghost Walk. Timothy Graco is the main character of Keene’s novel Ghoul. Phillipsport, Maine, first appeared in Mark Williams and J. F. Gonzalez’s novel Clickers; that series (the latter books being cowritten between Gonzalez and Keene) takes place in an alternate universe, but there must be a version of Phillipsport in the CU. Globe Package Service appears in several Keene works, including “Scratch” and Kill Whitey, and is a branch of the Globe Corporation. Ob is one of the Thirteen, and is the main villain of Keene’s The Rising series.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Crossover Cover: A Dozen Black Roses

The heroic vampire Sonja Blue encounters the vampire sect known as the Camarilla. The Sonja Blue series is already in the CU via a mention of the Aegrisomnia, an occult tome from that series, in Collins’ Cthulhu Mythos story “The Land of the Reflected Ones,” among other crossovers. The Camarilla are from White Wolf’s role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. The game presents a very different take on the nature of vampires than most accounts set in the CU, as well as a version of Dracula that is difficult to reconcile with most stories involving that infamous nosferatu. Therefore, this story must feature the CU version of the Camarilla, and does not import the continuity of Vampire: The Masquerade wholesale.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Crossover Cover: Death Comes to Pemberley

In 1803, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and his wife Elizabeth become involved in the mystery of the murder of Elizabeth’s sister Lydia’s husband George Wickham. Mr. and Mrs. Knightley (from Jane Austen’s novel Emma) are described as the most important people in Highbury, and Wickham’s last employer is identified as Sir Walter Elliot (from Austen’s novel Persuasion). Miss Caroline Bingley is still alive at the time of the novel’s events, which does not fit with her death in 1795 in Win Scott Eckert’s story “The Wild Huntsman,” and therefore I consider this novel an AU.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Crossover Cover: The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal

This collection features occult detective Simon Feximal and his biographer and lover, Robert Caldwell. In "The Caldwell Ghost," Feximal says the Third Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual, on which he and his fellow ghost-hunter Carnacki had done such perilous research. The Saaamaa Ritual and Carnacki are from William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. In "Remember, Remember," Mr. Lownie, editor of the Chronicle, tells Caldwell that Feximal is at Hartley House "with Miss Kay and Dr. Berry. Carnacki’s in Ireland chasing some haunting, else he’d be there too, I hear." According to Robert, "that list encompassed the best-known ghost-hunters in England, with the exception of the reclusive Dr. Silence." Dr. Silence is the title character of Algernon Blackwood's collection John Silence. In "Devils on Horseback," Feximal is a member of the Diogenes Club, to which he had been nominated by one of his more peculiar acquaintances, a Government man whose intellectual capacity is matched only by his corpulence. Both Simon and Caldwell are members of a club called the Remnant, whose members include Dr. Silence, Thomas Carnacki, and Dr. Nikola. The Diogenes Club and the corpulent Government man (Mycroft Holmes) are from the Sherlock Holmes stories. Nikola is a supervillain created by Guy Boothby. In "The Writing on the Wall," Feximal and Caldwell encounter the occultist Karswell. Dr. Silence appears, and the Saaamaaa Ritual and John Watson are mentioned. Karswell is from M. R. James’ story “Casting the Runes.” Dr. John Watson is Sherlock Holmes’ best friend and biographer.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Crossover of the Week

John Taylor battles Sir Francis Varney, the King of the Vampires, who is trying to turn the Nightside into a homeland for the undead. Appearing or mentioned are: Tsothagua Tequila; Jack Drood; the Street of the Gods; Kor; Julien Advent; Something from a Black Lagoon; the withered and mummified arm of the original Grendel monster, presented to the Adventurers Club by Beowulf himself, back in the sixth century; an ex-Ghost Finder; some kind of Boojum; the Suicide Club; Dracula; and Rassillonn’s Restorative.
Novella by Simon R. Green in Tales from the Nightside, Ace Books, 2015. Sir Francis Varney is from James Malcolm Rymer’s penny dreadful serial Varney the Vampire. Tsothagua Tequila is a reference to Tsathoggua, a Great Old One created by Clark Ashton Smith as part of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Jack Drood is from Green’s Secret Histories novels; his appearance here places this story before the short story “Question of Solace.” The Street of the Gods is from Green’s Hawk & Fisher novellas Winner Takes All and The God Killer. Kor is from H. Rider Haggard’s novel She. Julien Advent is an alias for the titular hero of the 1960s British television series Adam Adamant Lives! Something from a Black Lagoon is a reference to the Universal horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon. The original Grendel monster and Beowulf are from the Old English epic poem Beowulf. The ex-Ghost Finder must have been a former member of the Carnacki Institute from Green’s Ghost Finders series. The Boojum is from Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Hunting of the Snark.” The Suicide Club is from Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of the same name. Dracula needs no introduction. Rassillonn’s Restorative is a reference to the Time Lord Rassilon from the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Crossover Covers: Blood Communion

Private investigator Harry D’Amour joins forces with the Female Cenobite to prevent Pinhead from remaking the world in his own twisted image. This crossover links Barker’s P.I. Harry D’Amour to the Cenobite Pinhead from Barker’s story “The Hellbound Heart,” as well as the film Hellraiser and its sequels.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Crossover Covers: Batman '66 Meets the Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Batman, Robin, and Batgirl join forces with Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin when THRUSH has several of the Caped Crusader's foes broken out of Arkham in exchange for their joining the organization. Mr. Freeze and the Siren steal a ray gun called a “moleculator” from a facility in London. One of the scientists at the facility is named Dr. Quatermass. Dr. Bernard Quatermass is from the British science fiction television serial The Quatermass Experiment and its sequels.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Crossover Cover: Tangled June

Dave Garrett, a disbarred lawyer turned private investigator in Philadelphia, contacts a fellow P.I. named Saxon to do some background work on a case. Les Roberts’ actor and private eye Saxon is in the CU through Robert Randisi’s Miles Jacoby novel Stand-Up. This crossover brings in Neil Albert's eye Dave Garrett.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Crossover TV Series: The Middleman

Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine's comic The Middleman features the title character and his sidekick Wendy Watson battling threats to the world for the Organization Too Secret to Know (O2TSK). There have been several Middlemen throughout history. In the story "The League of Professional Jealousy," Dr. Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker set out to destroy Dracula, only to find they have been beaten to the punch. Soon after, Phileas Fogg returns to the Reform Club after finishing his eighty-day trek around the world, only to find out his time has been beaten by the same person who stole Van Helsing’s thunder: the Middleman. Van Helsing enlists Nikolai Tesla to help him and Fogg get their revenge, which involves Van Helsing spreading rumors of a demonic hound in the moors of Devonshire. However, Tesla actually helps the Middleman outwit Van Helsing and Fogg. Learning there are now reports of a seemingly real "Hound of the Baskervilles" in Devonshire, the Middleman later sends a letter to Holmes and Watson telling them he has already solved the mystery, and he is off to the high seas, where a maniac has been ramming cargo ships with a submarine. This story is a parody, and Van Helsing and Fogg are both out of character. Additionally, the year is given as 1897, whereas in the CU Dracula took place in 1887, Around the World in Eighty Days in 1872, The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1888, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1866–1868. Therefore, I place the comics in an AU. However, the comic does have a TV adaptation with crossover references of its own, which fits much better into the CU. The O2TSK is also mentioned in The Librarians episode "The Librarians and the Apple of Discord."

In "The Sino-Mexican Revelation," the Middleman and Wendy visit Schlermie Beckerman Memorial Square and Alfred Necessiter Memorial Hospital. Beckerman and Necessiter are from the movie
The Man with Two Brains. In "The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum," the Middleman has a rendezvous with Wendy at Lyon Estates. Wendy discovers a bomb is hidden at Twin Pines Mall. Ida, the Middleman’s android assistant, says a headless murder victim lived at Eastwood Ravine Drive. Lyon Estates and Twin Pines Mall are from the film Back to the Future. Eastwood Ravine Drive is named after the Eastwood Ravine from Back to the Future Part III. In "The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation," Eleanor Draper’s honors include the Egon Spengler Memorial Award and the Ivo Shandor Medal. Both individuals are from the movie Ghostbusters. In "The Clotharian Contamination Protocol," a NASA employee is named Lethbridge-Stewart. A "Zygon-Rated" containment box appears. The Nakatomi Protocol expands the vents in Middleman HQ to human size, allowing the Middleman to crawl through them in case of an emergency. A Clotharian bomb has writing on it in Aurebesh. Lethbridge-Stewart is probably related to the CU counterpart of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart from Doctor Who. The Zygons are an alien race also seen in Doctor Who. The Nakatomi Protocol appears to have been inspired by John McClane crawling through the vents of the Nakatomi Plaza building, as seen in the movie Die Hard. The Aurebesh language is from the Star Wars film series. In "The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome," the Middleman and Wendy investigate the theft of a Beryllium Sphere and an Oscillation Overthruster. A collection of stolen doll eyes is made of polydichloric euthimal. The Middleman has a phased polaron cannon in his weapons archive. Beryllium spheres are from the movie Galaxy Quest, while the Oscillation Overthruster is from the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. Polydichloric euthimal appears in the movies Outland, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and The Relic, based on Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s novel Relic. Outland must take place in an alternate future. The future seen in the Terminator movies is also an alternate timeline to the established future of the CU. The novel Relic has already been established as taking place in the CU, so the events of the movie must occur in an alternate reality as well. Phased polarons are from Star Trek.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Crossover Cover: Django/Zorro

Django Freeman teams up with the aging Don Diego de la Vega to battle the self-styled “Archduke of Arizona.” This story takes place after the events of Tarantino’s film Django Unchained, which occurred in 18581859. However, the film The Mask of Zorro (which is referenced in Jess Nevins' "A Root That Beareth Gall and Worms" and John Allen Small's "A Fate Cast in Silver") has Don Diego definitively dying in 1842. Therefore, I consider this particular story an AU.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Crossover Covers: Black Pulp

This anthology contains two stories with crossovers. In Gary Phillips' "Decimator Smith and the Fangs of the Fire Serpent," boxer Achilles "Decimator" Smith turns vigilante after the death of his sister. He meets inventor Abe Kaufman, who tells him, "When I was back east, I did some work for a few vigilantes you might say. I belonged to a kind of a loose association of scientists who helped out the best way we could." Abe’s brother Rocco adds, "You heard of that bloodthirsty joker with the weird laugh and the slouch hat in New York? Abe designed a few gadgets for him through his operatives." This is a reference to Walter Gibson's most famous character, of course. Decimator also appears in his boxing days in Phillips' story "Demon Slaves of the Red Claw," a crossover between the Spider and Operator #5. The other story relevant to this blog is Derrick Ferguson's "Dillon and the Alchemist's Morning Coffee." The Alchemist’s Morning Coffee is a method of encoding digital information in human DNA devised by Dr. Alejandro Candu of the Henderson Institute of Alternative Technologies. The nation of Khusra is mentioned. Dillon’s friend Wyatt Hyatt has been hacking into government agencies’ computers since he was a kid, including hacking into CTU’s computer core when he was thirteen. Dillon mentions another friend, Elisa Hill. This story takes place during the eight-month gap between Chapters 1 and 2 of Dillon and the Pirates of Xonira. The head of the Henderson Institute of Alternative Technologies is Dr. Sylvester Henderson, whose brother Mongrel is the protagonist of a series of stories by Ferguson in Airship 27 Productions’ anthology series Mystery Men (& Women). Ferguson’s 1930s adventurer Fortune McCall is a Prince of Khusra’s Royal Family. The CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) is from the television series 24, which features fictional U.S. Presidents and massive terrorist attacks, including a nuclear device being detonated in Los Angeles. Presumably, as with the Spider novels, the true details of Jack Bauer’s adventures have been exaggerated and distorted for dramatic effect. Elisa Hill is the main character of Percival Constantine’s Myth Hunter series.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Crossover of the Week

July 1996
Former police officer Bowen Chadwick (secretly the superpowered vigilante known as the Blaster) watches a news story on National News Net, a part of Havens International Media, delivered by Curtis Van Loan. In a flashback to the circumstances under which Chadwick gained his powers, Sergeant Sampson Jones tells Special Agent Simmons, “I do not care if the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover comes up to me with a request signed by the ghosts of Eliot Ness, Wyatt Earp, and Sherlock Holmes; I will not relinquish control of this environmental travesty.” Van Loan later introduces Chadwick to another vigilante, the Voice, who needs his help against a right wing militia. The Voice says, “If it weren’t for the women and children in the compound, I’d be sorely tempted to use my honorary Uncle Dick’s scorched earth methods. Go Mack Bolan on ’em.” After the militia is defeated, a helicopter picks up the Voice and Chadwick; the crew of the aircraft refers to the pilot as String.
Short story by Erwin K. Roberts in Casebook of the Voice, Modern Knights Press, 2014. Havens International Media is an outgrowth of the Daily Clarion newspaper owned by Frank Havens, an ally of the Phantom Detective (aka Richard Curtis Van Loan). The Detective’s girlfriend in the pulp stories was Muriel Havens, Frank’s daughter; Curtis “Curt” Van Loan is their son. Sergeant Jones is almost certainly mistaken about Sherlock Holmes being deceased, and was probably fooled by Holmes faking his death in 1957. The Voice’s honorary Uncle Dick is Richard “Dick” Wentworth, better known as the Spider. Mack Bolan, the Executioner, is the protagonist of a series of novels by Don Pendleton and others. It has been suggested Bolan is Wentworth’s son. The helicopter pilot is Stringfellow “String” Hawke from the television series Airwolf.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Crossover Covers: Gaslight

These three anthologies contain stories of Sherlock Holmes encountering the supernatural or other remarkable cases. The first anthology, Gaslight Grimoire, included many crossovers, most of which Win included in the original volumes. The only one not included, which will be in the new volumes, is "Red Sunset" by Bob Madison. A private investigator asks an elderly, decrepit British consulting detective to assist him in a case involving a missing man, who upon being discovered by the American detective attacked him, forcing the detective to fire three bullets into him, which had no effect. The British sleuth deduces the younger detective works for either the Chandler or Continental agencies. The person responsible for the man’s strange condition is a Romanian Count, who mentions the Dutch doctor. The elderly British detective is Holmes. The Continental Detective Agency is from Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op stories, and the American detective is the Op himself. The Romanian Count is Dracula, while his Dutch foe is Doctor Abraham Van Helsing. This story takes place during World War II, and the P.I. claims Holmes was smuggled out of London when the Blitz began, his continued existence being considered vital to British morale. This conflicts with the events of Anthony Boucher’s story "The Adventure of the Illustrious Impostor" and Manly Wade Wellman’s "But Our Hero Was Not Dead," both of which portray Holmes as still residing in London in 1941. References to Marshal Antonescu’s overthrow in Rumania would seem to place this story in 1944. However, Holmes says he is over a hundred-years-old. Since Holmes was born in 1854, he would be only 90 in 1944. The feebleness and brittle bones displayed by Holmes in this story are inconsistent with references in several pastiches set in the CU to his discovery of a Royal Jelly elixir that arrests the aging process. Given all these factors, this story cannot take place in the CU.
The second anthology is Gaslight Grotesque. In William Patrick Maynard's "The Tragic Case of the Child Prodigy," Holmes and Dr. Watson attempt to rescue young violin virtuoso Arthur Tremayne’s mother from the influence of occultist William Frawley. Back in Baker Street, Holmes tells Watson he will fetch Billy the page and see if young Mr. Pons is interested in learning the proper way to play the violin. Watson is married to Mary Morstan, which places this story before the Great Hiatus. August Derleth’s sleuth Solar Pons studied the art of detection under Holmes, who must have taught the ten-year-old Pons how to play the violin as well. In Neil Jackson's "Celeste," Holmes and Watson investigate the salvaged ship Mary Celeste alongside Dr. Joseph Jephson, whose father Habakuk was one of those who disappeared from the ship in 1872. Jephson says a diary allegedly written by his father is a hoax. The diary is a reference to Arthur Conan Doyle’s story "J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement." Both Doyle’s and Jackson’s stories offer different solutions to the mystery of the historical Mary Celeste than Philip José Farmer’s The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, and therefore neither can take place in the CU. Doyle’s story also takes many liberties with the known true facts of the case. In Stephen Volk's "Hounded," Dr. Watson attends a séance where the Hound of the Baskervilles is conjured up. The late Sherlock Holmes forced Watson to write a mostly fabricated account of their encounter with Hound, including the false claim the beast was not in fact supernatural in origin. The spiritualist’s house contains a painting of a unicorn by Harvey Deacon and books by, among others, occultist Paul Le Duc; both individuals are from Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story "Playing with Fire." Professor George Challenger is mentioned as a believer in spiritualism. A reference to Rudolph Valentino places this story sometime between the 1914 events of "His Last Bow" (1914 also being the year Valentino began acting) and the star’s death in 1926. This story must be an AU.
The third anthology is Gaslight Arcanum. I covered Kim Newman's "The Adventure of the Six Maledictions" in a previous post. The other crossover stories are all AUs. In "The Comfort of the Seine" by the aforementioned Stephen Volk, Holmes recounts his time in Paris, where he learned the art of detection from the supposedly deceased Edgar Allan Poe, then living under the name Dupin. Among the cases they investigated were the affair of the so-called "phantom" of the Paris Opera and the case of the horla and its tragically afflicted seer. These are references to Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera and Guy de Maupassant’s "The Horla." Dupin is portrayed as a completely fictional character created by Poe. In Lawrence Connolly's "The Executioner," Frankenstein’s Monster revives Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty after their fatal battle at Reichenbach Falls. In Kevin Cockle's "Sherlock Holmes and the Great Game," Holmes, discussing his fictionalized exploits with Watson, refers to "Challenger’s nonsense." This story portrays Holmes as having been granted insights by a mystic Zulu dagger given to Watson in Afghanistan rather than being a natural deductive genius.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Crossover Cover: Heart-Shaped Box

Things take a paranormal turn for the worse when aging rocker Judas Coyne purchases a ghost online; other items among his collection of the strange and macabre include books by Aleister Crowley and Charles Dexter Ward. Ward is the main character of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, linking Joe Hill’s interconnected works to the Cthulhu Mythos, and thus the CU.

Thursday, February 11, 2016