Brad Mengel

In Philip Jose Farmer's A Feast Unknown, The Lord of Trees and Keeper of Secrets (Mad Goblin) (1968): James Cloamby (Claymore)/ Lord Grandrith/ The Tree Lord (John Clayton/ Lord Greystoke/ Tarzan) and his wife Clio (Jane) encounter Doc Caliban (Doc Savage), "Porky" Rivers ("Ham" Brooks), "Jocko" Simons ("Monk" Mayfair), Trish Wilde (Pat Savage) whilst battling the Nine in A Feast Unknown. Monk and Ham supposedly die. The Lord of Trees and Keeper of Secrets adds William Greir "Pauncho" Van Veelar (Monk's son) and Barney Albany Banks (Ham's son), James Murtaugh (James Moriarty Jnr b 1881, son of the second Prof. Moriarty) and George Edward Challenger are all referred to. It would appear that these events culminate with Tarzan moving to Pellucidar as seen in Bunduki and to Doc Savage faking his death in Greatheart Silver.

Greatheart Silver (1973) This novel consists of three linked novellas that originally appeared in the Weird Heroes series edited by Byron Preiss. The first novella "Showdown at Shootout" gives possibly the largest crossover of Wold Newton characters ever printed. Almost all of the participant are disguised so I have given their true identities in brackets after their pseudonyms. Present at the showdown are: Greatheart Silver, Fenwick Phomby/ Ken Tallard (Isaac Tawmby/ Kent Allard/ The Shadow), Pete Ruse (Pete Rice), The Mad Fokker/ 8-ball and The Blimp Kernal/ Dr Krogers (G-8 and Dr Kreuger), The Long Ranger and Pronto (The Lone Ranger and Tonto), Scorpio/ Kraken and Geoffery Justkid/ Dr Headbone/ Headbone Slayer (The Scorpion/ The Octopus and Jeffery Fairchild/ Dr Skull/ The Skull Killer), Dr Sen Sen (Dr Yen Sen), Dr Fyu-men Chu and Sir Daines Neighland Smythe (Dr Fu Manchu and Sir Denis Nayland Smith), Dr Terminal (Dr Death), Dr Negative and Jim Binde (Dr No and James Bond), Won Fang and Valiant Kilgore (Wu Fang and Val Kildare), Dan Fooler (Dan Fowler), Secret Agent Ecks (Secret Agent X), Doc Ravage, Porkchop and Chimp (Doc Savage, Ham and Monk), Dick Windworthy/ The Arachnid (Richard Wentworth/ The Spider), Dick Bendsome/ The Punisher (Richard Benson/ The Avenger), Doc Barker (Doc Harker), Dude Onley/ The Silver Simoleon (Dade Solo/ The Silver Buck), Jed O'Hill/ The Green Llama (Jethro Dumont/ The Green Lama), Gary Adieu/ Captain Lucifer (Cary Adair/ Captain Satan), The Red Masquer (The Crimson Mask), Donald Diablo/ The Vermillion Mage (Don Diavolo/ The Scarlet Wizard), Esteban Hatcher/ Luna Head (Steve Hatcher/ The Moon Man), Richman Curtwell Van Debt/ The Phantom Dick (Richard Curtis Von Loan/ The Phantom Detective), James "Bearcat" Guerdon/ The Gurgler (James "Wildcat" Gordon The Whisperer) Operator no. 4+1 (Operator #5), Tony Winn/ The Black Night Owl (Tony Quinn/ The Black Bat), The Green Sheet (The Green Ghost), and Dirk Alone/ Captain Nothing (Kirk Allyn/ Captain Zero).

It is also revealed that Greatheart is a descendant of Long John Silver and works for Bendt Micawber, a descendant of Wilkins Micawber from Charles Dicken's David Copperfield. Apparently everybody except Greatheart died at Shootout (Tombstone) which causes problems as some of the figures in this story such as Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Avenger and James Bond were all demonstrably alive after this date.

However it is my hypothesis that these members of the Cobalt club all were attracting too much attention, Doc Savage by the Nine, The Avenger's cover in the ISD must have been blown, Bond's encounter with Irma Bunt as seen at the end of James Bond the Authorised biography by John Pearson led to Bond needing to disappear, the Shadow was severing ties to retreat to Shambala, etc. So in various meetings at the Cobalt Club (as seen in the Prince Zarkon series) these heroes decided to fake their deaths in one last great showdown.

Which brings me to The Grandrith/ Caliban books. It is my understanding that the main problems are the half brother relationship of Tarzan and Doc Savage and how to fit it into the Chronology of Doc Savage (it fits very well into the Tarzan Chronology). The first can be explained easily Farmer made the relationship closer to highlight the comparison and contrast of the two heroes. This dramatic license is similar to Farmer changing the date of birth for Tarzan in Times Last Gift and Burroughs obscuring the relationship between William Cecil Clayton and Tarzan and hiding the adoption of Korak.

    As to the second problem it has a simple explanation, the teleporter seen in the first issue of DC Comics Doc Savage Miniseries. The tale spun by Dennis O'Neil about Doc being transported across the universe and relativity explaining his lack of aging was a fiction created by the Nine who required Doc to disappear for some reason (possibly to work on a Time Machine?). Doc was forced to fight the Nine when he tried to see his Grandson Chip when he was born (or to attend the funeral of his son). Monk and Ham faked their deaths to avoid capture by the Nine and their sons took over for a period as seen in the Grandrith Caliban trilogy. The Nine appeared to have become aware of the deception and it was necessary for all to die again in Showdown. It has come to my attention that Cordwainer Bird in "New York Review of Bird" met the Shadow with an acknowledgment that it took place after the Showdown confirming the possibility of my theory. (If this was indeed the Shadow that met Silver and Bird and not one of his agents purporting to be the Shadow for deceptive purposes or quite possibly deluded into thinking he was the Shadow. The story that he told Bird about killing Margo Lane always sounded a bit fishy to me)

As best I can figure the Chronology of events in Doc's life runs thusly: In 1888 the events of the Priory School Kidnapping and Murder took place, as described in A. C. Doyle's Adventure of the Priory School. Farmer's representation for this was to make Doc's father into Jack the Ripper. (It has been speculated by my colleague Dennis Power that Wildman was a suspect in the Ripper murders. It is possible that he was friends with some of the young aristocrats hanging around Prince Albert Edward who were suspects)

Prior to The Man Of Bronze in the Late 20s to early 30's Monk and Ham are married and both families are close. This closeness remains after the wives leave their husbands and remarry. (Date is speculation based on the fact that both boys were old enough to fight in the Korean War as well as Monk and Ham being single in all the supersagas (this could have been another misdirecting ploy by Dent to make Ham and Monk appear to be skirt chasers when they were actually happily married. Thus protecting the families of Doc's Aides) Also Pauncho is not Monk Jnr (as seen in the Captain America novelization The Great Gold Steal) and so the two must be half brothers.

Circa 1931 Doc was inducted in the ranks of the Nine and was informed that several of his relatives had already done so including his father. Given that this took place after the death of his father Doc could not ask him about it, so the claim that his father was part of the Nine could be lies created by the Nine.

It appears that the bizarre sexual rites referred to in the first Grandrith/Caliban books were fictions foisted upon Farmer by his publisher Essex House. The true rites can be found in The Other Log of Phileas Fogg also by Farmer who hints at this on the back cover of 1982 Baen edition of the novel thusly "MUTANT SUPERMEN About a hundred years ago a group of mutant supermen began playing a major role in it is no accident that Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Nemo and Doc Savage were (are?) contemporaries" the only place Doc Savage and Tarzan are mentioned in the whole book suggesting that the two men were indeed agents of the Eridanean group known as the Nine.

Skipping ahead into future, some time after Up From the Earth's Center Heinz Wessel acting on the orders of the Nine, lures Savage to Central America to stage his disappearance. The Nine have some larger plan for Savage. Doc is not only aware of the plan and probably helped design and execute it. The hiring of Beau Falkner's father a suggested in DC's Doc Savage miniseries appears merely to be a ruse to confuse the enemy (Cappellans???) and suggests that at least Monk and Ham are aware of the plot.

Doc works in secret until 1968 when he accidentally discovers the death of his son.The grief at the loss of his son may account for some of the unusual behaviours Doc displays in A Feast Unknown. Doc in his anger eventually teams with his third cousin to smash the Nine who have ruined his life.  Like Tarzan, Doc was shocked to find how vast the organization of the Nine really was. For the first time in his career he faced an opponent that was getting the better of him. Because of their intimate knowledge of his family and friends they had the ultimate trump card against him. Atlhough he had taken measures to hide his family and his friends' families, the Nine had discovered the new identities of some of his companions families and taken a brutal and savage vengeance. Realizing that the Nine will win this war if he fights it by conventional means he secretly institutes through his aides a master plan to remove themselves from the picture. Doc discovers that other "Old" Heroes have need to disappear and through several meetings at the Cobalt Club they plan and eventually stage the very public Showdown at Shootout.

It is unclear as to how many, if any, died in those events but several deaths at least were faked. Doc proceeds to fight a guerrilla war against the Nine for almost twenty years but Monk and Ham return to a normal life much sooner. It appears that Jake Speed may be a member of the Cobalt Club given his awareness of the Executioner and the Destroyer and was merely stating known facts about Doc. Finally Doc feels it is safe for himself to return to the world and stages his triumphant return also through the same teleporter that made his disappearance possible as seen in DC's Doc Savage miniseries issue 3. Wessel may have been part of a last ditch effort to remove Doc or was merely working alone.

The course of Tarzan's life is much easier to describe. All Jack the Ripper rumours are false. According to information given in A Feast Unknown Tarzan was inducted into the Nine circa 1918 but this event could have taken place as early as 1912 and was fictionalised by Edgar Rice Burroughs as a meeting with a witch doctor. He continues living in Africa and undertakes most of Barton Werper novels (There is some debate as to the time frame of the Werper novels. Win Eckert speculates that they take place in the thirties. Whereas Dennis Power says they feel as if they take place in the sixties. I have not read any of these books and cannot say one way or the other but for the purposes of this article lean towards a sixties interpretation) begins to battle the Nine as he is concerned with several decisions made by the Nine. When the Nine seem to be getting the better of him by carrying out threats against his friends and loved ones, Tarzan then moves himself and his Family to Pellucidar around 1971 or 1972 as described in Bunduki. After some time Doc is able to reach Tarzan on Gridley Band Radio and inform him of demise of Nine. Tarzan returns to surface in 1988 as depicted in Tarzan the Warrior by Malibu Comics and lives a fairly eventful life up to the time of Time's Last Gift.

Thanks to Dennis Power for his helpful suggestions

© 2000 Brad Mengel

Return to the Table of Contents