Sunday, June 11, 2023

Crossover of the Week

February 1944


In Mexico, the Avenger battles his old foe Sun Koh, who is impersonating the Mayan god Kukulkan, and the Sons of the Feathered Serpent, who are trying to get their hands on the Aztec gold that finances Benson’s crimefighting activities. Cole Wilson drives an open-topped Hirondel Roadster. Cole’s fiancée Heather is headed to Hollywood to talk to producers about starring in a remake of a Rhonda Terry jungle movie. General Leslie Groves, impressed by Benson’s imposture of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, says “I don’t think even Basil Karlo or Lon Chaney, Sr. could have fooled my men.” Benson names others capable of remarkable disguises, such as a Japanese criminal called Kaijin Niju Menso. Smitty asks if he should contact “the usual archaeology types”: Smith, Jones, and Littlejohn. In Central Asia, Benson once met an elderly Norwegian explorer named Sigerson, who had a brilliant deductive mind. The archaeologists connect Rosabel Newton with a retired criminologist in New Jersey named de Grandin, who says the Sons of the Feathered Serpent are strongest in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Hidalgo, and Nicaragua, and that they were united in the nineteenth century by a revolutionary named Don Ignatio. There was a string of feathered serpent killings in London in the '20s, and a “Quetzal” spy ring in the States a few years ago. Rosabel also contacted a friend of Professor Smith’s, Sir Lionel Barton, as well as Professor Rolfe at the University of Arizona, who told her about a series of Yaqui uprisings in the 1820s instigated by an individual called Don del Oro. Don Manuel Garcia, brother of Juan, tells Benson that Satan, Iblis, Mara, Erlik Khan, Ravana, Loki, Angra Mainyu, Tezcatlipoca, and many more are all reflections of the first evil figure, Kathulos of Atlantis, also known as Baal Seepa, the Lord of the Dark Face. He also claims that Mithras, Jesus, Horus, and Buddha are all pale shadows of Assurah, the Phoenix. Besides Uxmal and the cache used by Benson and discovered by Nellie Gray’s father, the Seven Cities of Gold include Cibola in Arizona, near the Lake of Fire, Omoxotl in Guatemala, el Valle de los que desaparecieron in Hidalgo, and Tucumai in Brazil. The Plumed Serpent cult was revived in 1923 by a wealthy landowner named Don Ramón and his compatriot General Viedma. Sun Koh’s aide Dr. Peters, the inventor of the katascope, refers to vril rods. Garcia says Sun Koh knows all the hidden places built by the Atlanteans, including Uxmal, Opar, Thule, and the realms of Prester John. Hal Mervin is another of Sun Koh’s aides. Inspector Madero works with Justice, Inc. on this case. 

Story by Matthew Baugh in The Avenger: Double Feature 2, Moonstone Books, 2020. Sun Koh appeared in the German pulp magazine Sun Koh – Die Erbe von Atlantis, written by Paul Alfred Müller. Don Manuel Garcia, his brother Juan, Dr. Peters, his katascope, and Hal Mervin are from the Sun Koh novels. The Sons of the Feathered Serpent are from the first Doc Savage novel, The Man of Bronze. Littlejohn is one of Doc’s aides. The country of Hidalgo and el Valle de los que desaparecieron (a Spanish translation of its English name) are also from the Doc Savage novels. The Hirondel is the car driven by Leslie Charteris’ character Simon Templar, the Saint. Ms. Terry is from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and the Lion Man. Heather’s offered role is also referenced in Win Scott Eckert’s novel Hunt the Avenger. Opar is from the Tarzan novels. Actor Basil Karlo is better known as Batman’s foe Clayface. “Kaijin Niju Menso” is Japanese for “The Fiend with Twenty Faces,” the alias used by the archenemy of Edogawa Rampo’s detective Kogoro Akechi. Professor Horatio Smith is from the movie Pimpernel Smith. Jones is Indiana Jones. Sigerson is an alias used by Sherlock Holmes during the Great Hiatus, as revealed in Doyle and Watson’s “The Adventure of the Empty House.” Jules de Grandin is Seabury Quinn’s occult detective. Don Ignatio is from H. Rider Haggard’s novel Heart of the World. The feathered serpent killings in London in the 1920s are a reference to Edgar Wallace’s novel The Feathered Serpent. The Quetzal spy ring is from the Shadow novel Quetzal. Omoxotl is the home of the Xinca Indians who served the shadowy vigilante. Sir Lionel Barton is from Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu novels. Professor Rolfe is meant to be the adopted son of Dr. James Rolfe and Paviva from the movie The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold. Cibola is the eponymous city in that film. Don del Oro is the villain of the movie serial Zorro’s Fighting Legion. Kathulos is from Robert E. Howard’s “Skull Face.” Baal Seepa is from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Maracot Deep. Assurah, the Phoenix is from Henry Kuttner’s Elak of Atlantis story “Beyond the Phoenix.” Tucumai is from Fritz Leiber’s novelization of the movie Tarzan and the Valley of Gold, which has been declared canon by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Don Ramón and General Viedma are from D. H. Lawrence’s novel The Plumed Serpent. The vril is from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Coming Race. Inspector Madero is José Manuel Madero, the protagonist of “Geoffrey Homes’” (Daniel Mainwaring) mystery novels The Case of the Mexican Knife (aka The Street of the Crying Woman) and The Hill of the Terrified Monk (aka Dead as a Dummy). 

This writeup is one of hundreds included in my book Crossovers Expanded: A Secret Chronology of the World Volume 3, which will be published by Meteor House! Like the first two, this volume is an AUTHORIZED companion to Win Scott Eckert's Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Volumes 1 and 2!

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