Monday, May 10, 2010
Over the years, fans of popular fiction, be it books, movies, comics, pulp magazines, or whatever have often played the game of what would happen if this character from this story met that character from that story? This has resulted in countless long and earnest discussions by aficionados and in reams of fan fiction . But when the writers, producers and directors of popular fiction wonder the same thing, what you get are crossovers. Tarzan meets Batman. Alan Quartermain, Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man fight Fu Manchu. Robert B. Parker's private eye Spenser teams up with Parker's police chief Jesse Stone and Jesse Stone end's up dating Parker's other PI Sunny Randall. The cast of the Beverly Hillbillies show up on Petticoat Junction. Characters from ST. Elsewhere find their way to the bar from Cheers. Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jason Gridley communicates with Mars, teams up with Tarzan, and visits Pellucidar. Frankenstein's monster fights the Wolfman and Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes meets pretty much everybody sooner or later.
In his new book, Crossovers Volume 1, author Win Scott Eckert does an amazing job of chronicling these kinds of team ups and by amazing I mean he has come up with stuff that even a long time fan boy like me didn't know about. I mean I knew Frankenstein's monster had battled Dracula and Tarzan, but I didn't know the creature had fought Mr. Hyde or visited Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. I'm only about halfway through Crossovers and I'm already compiling a nice list of books I need to track down. There are crossovers out there I need to read.
Crossovers Volume 1 covers the period from the dawn of time to 1939. Yes, the dawn of time. You'll read about how Lin Carter's Thongor of Lemuria crosses over with H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos and how Don Glut's caveman Tragg connects to Glut's own barbarian warrior Dagar the Invincible. I've written here at Singular Points about how Richard Tierney's Simon Magus ( a character from the Bible) met Karl Edward Wagner's Kane (another biblical character. Spell it Cain.) but in Crossovers there are accounts of Simon's connections to Conan the Cimmerian, Red Sonja, and believe it or not, Frank Herbert's Dune novels.
Win Scott Eckert is considered the go to guy for information about the late Phillip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe but the Crossover Universe is much bigger and Crossover shows us that team ups between various literary characters were already coming fast and furious by the time a meteor hit the ground in Wold Newton, Yorkshire in 1795, slightly irradiating two coaches full of travelers (including characters from Jane Austen's books) and creating the generic material for many of the 'supermen' who would appear in fiction over the next several decades. Farmer's concept is well represented but there are many more Crossovers than even Farmer imagined. As I mentioned above, Sherlock Holmes is probably the champ of Crossovers, teaming up with everyone from Doctor Who to Annie Oakley and fighting Fu Manchu, Dracula, and the Martians from War of the Worlds.
Anyway, as you can probably tell, I'm very taken with this book and I think any fan of pop fiction will be as well. It's fascinating reading and just a lot of fun. Crossovers is available from Blackcoat Press (see link at bottom of post) and from Amazon.com. Not sure when volume two, which covers 1940 to the future, will be out, but I'm already looking forward to it.