Sunday, June 9, 2024

Crossover of the Week

January 1936


Bruce Wayne is staying at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, which he thinks of as a missing link between Gotham and Metropolis. Bruce’s father Thomas told him that before they came together to start the hotel, the Waldorf and Astor families had invited him to their individual hotels several times. Bruce’s butler Alfred Pennyworth answers a phone call from “Miss Lane.” Bruce thinks this is Lois Lane, but Alfred says it was her eldest sister, Margo, who has connections to the Cobalt Club and Lamont Cranston. In the 1920s, Cranston was an advisor to General Cho Tsing, then studied under Marpa Tulku in Tibet, along with Shiwan Khan. Cranston’s other identities include Clifford Gage and Kent Allard. Officially, Bruce is in New York to launch WayneTech, a scientific subsidiary of his family’s business empire, which he seeks to expand. In doing so, he has met with Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards, whose son Reed is also a potential genius. Alfred drives Bruce to a meeting at the Empire State Building, where they are greeted by a man who is one of the world’s top chemists, despite his apelike appearance. On the 86th floor, they meet an elegantly dressed Brigadier General, who tells Bruce his friend Harvey Dent shows promise to be an outstanding attorney, and a tall, extremely thin man who wears a monocle over a damaged eye. Bruce is ushered in to meet Clark and Kent, who know he was motivated by the tragedy of Park Lane, also known as Crime Alley. During his stay in England, Bruce spent some time with an old beekeeper in his cottage on the South Downs of Sussex. Clark asks Bruce to escort his cousin Patricia next time she’s in Gotham. Getting on the elevator, Bruce runs into Britt Reid, the publisher of the Daily Sentinel, and his valet Kato. Kent asks the latter if he spent any time in Tibet studying with the Sâr Dubnotal. 

Short story by Xavier Mauméjean in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 16: Voir Dire, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2019; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de l’Ombre (Tome 26), Jean-Marc Lofficier, ed., Rivière Blanche, 2020. Bruce Wayne will soon become Gotham City’s most famous vigilante, Batman. Bruce’s parents, Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, were murdered by Joe Chill in Park Row (to use the correct name), later known as Crime Alley. Alfred Pennyworth is the Dark Knight’s butler. WayneTech is the research and development branch of Bruce’s company, Wayne Enterprises. Harvey Dent will later become Gotham’s District Attorney, until his face is scarred by an acid-wielding criminal, leading to him becoming the gangster known as Two-Face. Metropolis is Superman’s hometown. Lois Lane is the Man of Steel’s coworker at the Daily Star (later renamed the Daily Planet), and later his wife. Her sister is an agent of the shadow-cloaked vigilante. Philip José Farmer jokingly proposed the relationship between the two in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. The shadowy hero frequently impersonates a wealthy globetrotter, often seeking information at the Cobalt Club. The General is from the Shadow novels The Fate Joss and The Teeth of the Dragon. Tulku is from another entry in the series, Masters of Death. Khan battled the vigilante in that book and three others before it. Gage is another of the slouch-hatted crimefighter’s aliases. Howard Stark is the father of Tony Stark, better known as Marvel Comics’ armored hero Iron Man. Nathaniel Richards’ son, Reed, will later be known as Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Marvel hero team known as the Fantastic Four. The 86th floor of the Empire State Building is the headquarters of the bronze man. The apelike chemist, the Brigadier General, and the thin man are three of his aides. The old beekeeper is Sherlock Holmes. Doc’s cousin is from Lester Dent’s pulp novels. Britt Reid is also known as the Green Hornet. Kato is Reid’s chauffeur and his partner in his war on crime. The Sâr Dubnotal is an occult investigator from the French pulps. Although this story is dated January 1938, Bruce Wayne’s debut as Batman has been placed in Early May 1936, since the first Batman story, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” was a swipe of the Shadow novel Partners of Peril, which Rick Lai placed in that period in his book Chronology of Shadows: A Timeline of the Shadow’s Exploits. Therefore, I am instead placing it in January 1936. 

This crossover writeup is one of over a thousand included 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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