Friday, May 3, 2024

Crossover Cover: The Black Bat and the Purple Scar: Faces of Fear


The Black Bat teams up with the Purple Scar to investigate dead gangsters seemingly turning up alive thanks to a villain called Mr. Mask. The Bat uses smoke bombs given to him by his friend and fellow crime fighter Captain Hazzard. Lt. McGrath summons Inspector John Burks to the scene of the Bat’s encounter with a group of crooks. Burks says he has heard the Bat gives McGrath as many headaches as he gets from Secret Agent X. Police photographer Dave Dejune meets with Betty Dale of the Herald about the return of one of the gangsters. The Purple Scar, in his secret identity as Dr. Miles Murdoch, is visiting New York City for a medical conference, staying at the Waldorf Anthony. Betty attends a press conference, as does Steve Huston of the Clarion, who says old man Havens had a fit because Betty and the Herald scooped them. Lawyer Paul Westland asks at the conference, “Who elected Agent X, the Black Bat, or the Phantom Detective to hunt down criminals?” The Bat’s gas bombs were made by Professor MacGowen, the head of research at Hazzard Labs. The Black Bat, whose stories were primarily written by Norman A. Daniels, appeared in the pulp magazine Black Book Detective. The Purple Scar’s stories were told by John Endicott in Exciting Detective in the 1940s. Captain Hazzard appeared in a one-shot pulp magazine by “Chester Hawks” (Paul Chadwick). His adventures have been continued in a series of novels by Fortier. Professor Washington “Wash” MacGowen is one of Hazzard’s aides. Secret Agent X appeared in stories by the pseudonymous “Brant House” (originally Chadwick, then other writers) in a titular pulp magazine. Inspector Burks is from that series. Daily Herald reporter Betty Dale is X’s love interest and closest ally. The Waldorf Anthony is the hotel owned by Jim Anthony, whose exploits were written by “John Grange” (a penname used at different times by Victor Rousseau Emanuel, Robert Leslie Bellem, and W. T. Ballard) in the magazine Super-Detective. The Phantom Detective, Steve Huston, the Clarion newspaper, and Frank Havens are from the pulp magazine The Phantom Detective, written by various individuals using the pseudonym “G. Wayman Jones” and then “Robert Wallace.”

This crossover is one of over a thousand covered in my book Crossovers Expanded: A Secret Chronology of the World Volume 3, coming this summer from Meteor House! All three volumes are AUTHORIZED companions to Win Scott Eckert's Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Volumes 1 and 2!

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