THE WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE
The Wold Newton Articles pages contain several types of articles, ranging from pure information about the Wold Newton Universe (such as Lou Mougin's The Continuing Crossovers Affair and Brad Mengel's The Edson Connection), to more speculative pieces (such as Chuck Loridans' The Daughters of Tarzan), to a mixture a both.
The presence of an article on these pages does not necessarily constitute an integration of that article's theories and speculation into the history described imy own Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology. Rather, the purpose of the articles pages is encourage free thinking, theorizing, hypothesizing, and research into the mysteries of the Newtonverse.
Search The Wold Newton Universe
Mark Brown's Wold Newton Chronicles follows the tradition of featuring the very best in scholarship and articles on Wold Newton topics ranging far and wide.
Dennis Power also presents erudite Wold Newton speculative research on his site The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe.
From now on, please forward your articles to Win, to Mark, and to Dennis. We will consider submissions and coordinate for posting on one of our sites.
2006 San Diego Comic Con, Comics Arts Conference: Myths for the Modern Age
By Win Eckert, John Small, Brad Mengel, Chuck Loridans, and Pete Coogan
Thursday, July 20, 2006:10:30-11:30 am: Comic Arts Conference Session #1: Myths for the Modern Age In the tradition of Philip Josť Farmer's famous hoax biography Tarzan Alive, contributors to Myths for the Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe (MonkeyBrain Books) present their parascholarship with a straight face, treating comic book as the reports of the adventures of real-life people. Win Eckert ("Foreword," Tarzan Alive) brings forward evidence to show that DC Comics' Doc Savage series of the 1990s, dismissed by many scholars because of numerous inconsistencies, in fact portrays events from Doc Savage's life consistent with the original pulp super-sagas. Brad Mengel settles the longstanding question of the Man of Bronze's true family name"Savage" as asserted in the pulps, or"Wildman" as Farmer revealed in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. Chuck Loridans reveals evidence recently uncovered from the files of Richard Henry Benson (aka The Avenger) that suggests that the Jungle Lord may have sired two daughters, Modesty Blaise and Nellie Gray. John Small presents a compelling case that the woman known as Vampirella was born Anita Santiago and adventured with Zorro as Lady Rawhide. Peter Coogan (Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre) pulls the curtain back and discusses the principles of Wold-Newtonry employed in the essays. Room 7B
Here is the presentation. You can either view it in frames with the Outline, with or without the Notes displaying, or in full-screen Slide Show mode. Click the "Back" button on your browser when you are done.
Or watch it all right here:
All rights reserved. The text of this article is ©2006 by the respective authors, Win Eckert, John Small, Brad Mengel, Chuck Loridans, and Pete Coogan. No copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the authors.
Mummies in the Wold Newton Universe 101
By Chris Nigro
(with special thanks to Win Scott Eckert, Ivan Schablotski, Chris Banzai, Gordon Long, and Dimadick)
Mummies are an integral horror element that recurs frequently in the annals of the Wold Newton Universe [WNU], and the idea of "cursed" mummies that become re-animated by various magickal means appear in many disparate sources. Such mummies abound in the WNU, and the possible crux of their origin was implied in "The Mummy Walks" series that appeared in Warren's EERIE magazine during the early '70' (and which I have indexed at The Warrenverse site).
It would appear that in the ancient Egypt of the WNU, the mystically inclined in that society learned even more about preserving life after death in a crude but relatively efficient method than their counterparts in the "real" universe [RU]. Though both preserved the physical body to prevent it from completely rotting away with the drying process known as mummification, which would enable the etheric body (i.e., the ectoplasmic shell that surrounds the astral consciousness of the soul) of the corpse to remain tied to it, and therefore tied to the material plane even after the physical death of the body, in the WNU it appears that this process was developed not simply as a means of survival after death, but also in many instances to cause the etheric body to be trapped within the preserved corpse, thus condemning that human being to an eternal prison on Earth in their own body.
This extremely cruel type of punishment would therefore prevent their souls from leaving their physical corpse and passing on to the afterlife, and from further participation in the cycle of reincarnation unless the body was somehow later destroyed. There appears to be a proliferation of human beings from ancient Egypt (and other cultures as well, including several from South America) of the WNU who have found themselves cursed in such a way that their spirit was trapped within their mummified physical body following their physical death, where it will normally remain in a semi-catatonic state forever (again, unless the body is somehow completely destroyed or mystically "awakened"; see below).
The various mummies who appear in "The Mummy Walks" series (i.e., those animated by the transferred conciousnesses of Michael Harding, Jerome Curry, Arthur Lemming, and Linda Robbins) appear to have been cursed in this fashion, and it was because of this curse that the Amulet of Transference was able to transfer the consciousness of an already living human being into the mummified form, where they would then share it with the consciousness of the human being who once resided within that physical body when it was alive, a consciousness that would continuously struggle with the "visitor" for ascendence, or at least some measure of influence [see my Index to "The Mummy Walks" on The Warrenverse site for full coverage of this terrific Warren series].
Since many of these individuals who were so cursed were invariably murderous former rulers or high-ranking officials in the politics of their ancient society, the influence they would have on the new consciousness who joined their own mummified bodies would hardly be a benevolent one. In other cases, however, the persona of the mind left within the consciousness was that of a man who engaged in an illegal love affair with a high-ranking female member of the ruling class, such as a queen, and was found out and punished by decree of her husband.
In some instances, however, the curse serves a further purpose than simply acting as an eternal prison on the earthly plane. The mummy would become animate under certain circumstances, as the usually semi- catatonic consciousness could be mystically "programmed" to carry out various non-creative but extremely important functions, such as acting to protect certain treasures placed within ancient tombs or to exact vengeance upon individuals who desecrate those tombs, effectively transforming the entity into a sort of bandaged zombie- like security guard. The consciousness trapped within the body could direct the now very physically powerful form of the preserved animated corpse to fulfill these simple but often deadly actions. And since these mummies would be animated corpses, they would basically be immune to most forms of physical harm, such as bullets and stab wounds, and would possess an impressive degree of superhuman strength, often rivalling that of the various man-made monsters constructed by members of the Frankenstein clan or other scientists who attempted to duplicate their experiments on re-animating the dead.
The only things that could usually harm these mummies in a major sense was fire or other extremely dehydrating agents, as the cloth bandages and extremely dried physical bodies could easily catch flame and be consumed, or mystical spells of a sufficiently great extent by adepts or various enchanted objects wielded by anyone, whose power could interfere with the mystically entrapped consciousness and/or supernatural curse directing the mummified beings' actions.
In some rare but notable instances, the original minds trapped within these mummified bodies could gain full conscious control over their mummified bodies once they were "awakened" (generally by having their tombs disturbed and/or their sarcophagus opened, and in some cases they regained full cognizance as a result of their mummified form being subjected to other types of phenomena; see below).
It should be noted that evidence exists suggesting that the creation of mummies in the WNU long predates even the ancient civilization of Egypt. In the short story "The Thing in the Crypt," which featured an adolescent Conan the barbarian on the run from Hyperborea and seeking refuge in an unknown crypt, has the youthful warrior encountering a reanimated cursed mummy. Exactly who this mummy was remains unknown, but the young Conan speculated that this bandaged creature was previously a warrior-king from Valusia and Atlantis, which would make this mummy ancient even in the Hyborean Age. Hence, in the WNU, it can be said that the art of creating cursed mummies goes back well into the great civilizations that existed long before recorded history, possibly into the Age of Atlantis itself.
Based on the available evidence, just as there are different strains of vampires and different breeds of werewolves in the WNU, each possessing many similarities and equally notable differences from each other, it appears that there are at least two distinct types of reanimated cursed mummies in the WNU, both of whom were created by the identical process...but who are distinguished primarily by whether or not the cursed person was himself (or herself) a master of the mystic arts while still living, or whether they personally lacked potent mystical talents when alive.
The first type of reanimated
cursed mummy seen in the various accounts are often able to
restore their mummified corpse to a semblance of full life
(within certain limits) by utilizing their own considerable
mystical talents upon being awakened. Their previous measure of
intensely strong mental discipline and enhanced etheric
fortitude, both due to their mastery of the mystic arts, enable
them to achieve their full level of cognizance almost immediately
upon being awakened.
Examples of this type of mummy, which I will call Sorceror Mummies, include both versions of Immotep and Im-Ka-ra [the latter appeared in Don Glut's pulp novel THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FRANKENSTEIN, Tome #7: FRANKENSTEIN IN THE MUMMY'S TOMB and a short story in Glut's THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FRANKENSTEIN, Tome #10: TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN, which introduced us to a reanimated mummy/man-made monster hybrid created by Im-Ka-Ra to guard a tomb of his treasures in place of the second category of reanimated mummy that I am about to describe].
The second type of mummy, who appear to be much more common in the accounts than the first category, are non-mystical adepts who were subjected to the same type of curse consigning them to eternal etheric imprisonment in their preserved corpses. Because of their lack of intense mystical training while alive, such individuals only rarely gain full cognizance upon being revived. Instead, their entrapped consciousness tends to remain in a highly autistic state, with the reanimated corpse acting only upon simple mystically 'pre- programmed' instructions to protect the valuable contents of certain tombs from intruders and/or to seek vengeance upon those who steal from or otherwise violate the sanctity of such tombs. These mummies are evidently able to "home in on" such stolen items and the individuals who steal them, obviously by a form of sympathetic "etheric resonance" that is likely bestowed upon them by the mystics who 'programmed' the quasi-catatonic consciousness of their corpses. Obviously, non-mystical adepts who are subject to this cursed form of mummification make good protectors of various tombs and objects, whereas mystical adepts who were subjected to this curse would not, for equally obvious reasons. Mummies of this category are sometimes manipulated and controlled by the actions of revived Sorcerer Mummies (as did Im-Ka-Ra) or fully human mystics (as did Yousef Bey).
Reanimated mummies who belong to this second category, which I will call Guardian Mummies, include Kharis, the various mummified servants of Im-Ka-Ra, and N'Kantu, though the latter was a rare case of this type of reanimated mummy regaining full cognizance as a result of a combination of his psyche not being suppressed into semi- catatonia as part of his punishment, and to being subjected to high- intensity elecricity soon after his revival. As I will further note below, certain amounts of electricity (along with other phenomena) can have an adverse effect upon the etheric body of the mummy in question.
Both categories of mummy are often quite large in stature, significantly taller than they were while alive, since the bones of the preserved corpses often stretch out in length after the blood curdles and dries. Sorceror Mummies often were not large or bulky while alive, since they preferred to rely on their mystical skills as opposed to warrior skills in self-defense, so their revived mummies often appear rather thin and frail-looking despite their often great height. Accordingly, they prefer not to utilize the superhuman strength that their revived forms tend to acquire as a side-effect of the mummification, and instead also prefer to rely on their mystical abilities in both combat and in restoring themselves to a semblance of true physical life.
Guardian Mummies, on the other hand, tend to be rather large in mass as well as height, since they were often trained warriors before being subjected to cursed mummification. As a result, upon their reanimation, they tend to utilize their superhuman strength in the absence of having any personal skills in wielding supernatural energies (other than the "etheric resonance" bequethed to them by the mystics who placed the curse upon them, and this ability is entirely instinctual). Guardian Mummies tend to be much stronger than zombies, and rival that of the standard man-made monster in terms of sheer physical might, even if their atrophied muscles may inhibit their speed and agility.
The distinction between these two disparate types of reanimated mummy in the WNU is quite evident, but of course, one can expect cursed reanimated mummies in certain accounts to appear as a combination of the two categories, and there is no rule stating that a reanimated mummy in any particular account must adhere to one category type alone in every which way.
As a perfect example of a reanimated cursed mummy who appears to be a cross between both of the above-described category types, one need only look at the Jerome Curry-Mummy who appeared in "The Mummy Walks" series published by Warren in the '70's (along with Michael Harding, Arthur Lemming, and Linda Robbins, who also appeared in "The Mummy Walks" series). The mummies animated by means of the Amulet of Transference clearly straddled these two categories, as they began as standard Guardian Mummies who were later animated by a fully cognizant human consciousness transferred into the powerful mummified corpse from an external source, and who served their own interests rather than that of some mystically 'pre-programmed' imperative.
In regards to reanimated mummies in general who regained full cognizance upon being revived, classic examples include both ancient Egyptian mystics-cum-Sorceror-Mummies called Imhotep, the first of these appearing in the original 1932 Universal film entitled "The Mummy," the second ancient Egyptian sorcerer bearing that name appearing in the 1990's version of "The Mummy" and its sequel, "The Mummy Returns," along with the animated series and video game exploits based upon the films. Both of these instances occurred in the early 1930's ("The Mummy Returns" occurred roughly ten years following the events of its predecessor), though I am not at this time completely certain of the connection between these two deranged mystics named Imhotep who were both imprisoned within the bodies of their mummified corpses (neither of them, it should be noted, had anything to do with the Imhotep of the RU, whose WNU counterpart was likewise not evil; I am not certain as to the connection between the proliferation of mystics, good or evil, named "Imhotep" in the WNU). Nevertheless, I recommend that all interested parties read the article "Mummy May I" by creative mythographer Kurt Roberts, who tracks the history of the WNU Imhotep family and offers various speculations on all of these matters.
Both evil versions of Imhotep in the WNU managed to fully restore themselves to complete physical life and vitality utilizing ancient Egyptian (and possibly also Babylonian) magick, and both were destroyed by various adventurers utilizing mystical power and/or power objects against them (the first Imhotep, for example, was destroyed by a high priestess of Isis calling upon the goddess's power for protection). It should also be noted that the two evil versions of Imhotep were Caucasian, which distinguishes them from the non-evil Imhotep (who had a counterpart in the RU), as the latter was of the Negroid race.
The first Imhotep was the mystically adept high priest care-taking the Temple of the Sun in the 18th Dynasty of the ancient Egyptian civilization, and he attempted to steal the sacred Scroll of Thoth to utilize its powers for resurrecting the dead under certain circumstances to attempt to revive his deceased lover, Princess Anck- an-es-en-amon. He was caught and subjected to cursed mummification as punishment.
Upon being accidentally revived in the early 20th century (specifically, 1921), about ten years following his revival he took on the human identity of Ardath Bey, and attempted to restore the consciousness of his dead lover in the body of a woman named Helen Grosvenor, whom he believed to be a reincarnation of his lost love, also by utilizing the Scroll of Thoth; he failed and was destroyed by Helen reciting an ancient spell asking for protection from the goddess Isis.
The second Imhotep was punished via cursed mummification by engaging in a love affair with a woman who was the wife of Pharaoh Seti I, his commanding officer, and then killing him in order to have her as his own wife. Upon his resurrection in the year 1923, the second Imhotep also curiously took on the identity of Ardath Bey, again suggesting a connection with the other prominent Imhotep of the WNU (but I'll let other creative mythographers figure this whole mess out). Again, I recommend all interested parties in reading Kurt Roberts's online article "Mummy May I," which explores the issues raised here involving the Imhotep families of the WNU.
Other prominent Sorceror Mummies to appear in various WNU chronicles who are worth mentioning include the following two:
The insidious Aman Ho-Tep appeared in 2000 to battle Elvis Presley of the WNU, the latter of whom apparently survived by switching places with an Elvis impersonator in the late '70's. This was chronicled in the movie "Bubba Ho-Tep" (2002).
The second example was perhaps the only instance of an Incan mummy appearing in a WNU chronicle, as opposed to Egyptian or Aztec. What is also interesting is that this second example is a female mystical adept, who came up with a rather unique but deadly mystical means to temporarily regain a semblance of full life, which may have been borrowed from another type of supernatural entity.
The Inca Mummy Girl was accidentally revived by one Rodeny Munson in 1997 when he attempted to take an ancient sacred Incan seal from her tomb. The Inca Mummy Girl restored her living status by kissing another person, a process enabling her to steal all of their etheric energy (i.e., 'life force'), which caused the human in question to wither and die, and the mummy girl (real name unknown) to temporarily achieve the appearance of a beautiful teen girl. This occurred in a manner similar to the process used by a succubus, such as Satanna Hellstrom (who appeared in a series in Marvel's VAMPIRE TALES comic, as well guest starring in other Marvel comics). The Inca Mummy Girl then took on the identity of a female foreign exchange student Empada, who showed up at Sunnydale High. She was defeated and seemingly destroyed by Buffy Summers, the famed Vampire Slayer. This incident was chronicled in "The Inca Mummy Girl" episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," 1997 season.
A second prominent example of a preserved mummy regaining full consciousness and sentience in the modern world, this one being of the Guardian Mummy classification, was Prince N'Kantu, who was not an evil or unscrupulous man, but was the heroic and daring Prince of the Swarilis tribe of North Africa, who were captured by the military forces of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amon-Set, and forced into indentured servitude. N'Kantu sought to slay Amon-Set to free his people from slavery, and though he succeeded, he was captured by Amon-Set's high priest Nephrus and punished by being mummified alive, where his body would serve as a permanent prison for his soul on Earth. Upon having his tomb unearthed in the early 1970's, N'Kantu's now totally insane psyche was able to re-animate his physical body [his musculature must have had some heavy duty mystical reinforcement to prevent it from totally atrophying!] and going on a destructive rampage in late 20th century Cairo, until a serious instance of electrocution knocked him insensate for several months and restored his sanity in the process (it seems that electrocution was a good way of reviving the consciousness trapped within "living" or "cursed" mummies in the WNU, as also seen in the film "Screaming Face of the Werewolf"). Upon his second revival several months later, N'Kantu had regained his full human consciousness and personality, with no trace of aberrant behavior or insanity.
From that point on, N'Kantu, the "Living Mummy," has wandered the modern world, as THE OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE Vol. 1 put it, "searching for a reason to exist." N'Kantu the Living Mummy first appeared in the four-color SUPERNATURAL THRILLERS #5, published by Marvel Comics in 1974, and beginning with issue #7, he had a series in that book which lasted for the duration of the title's existence, where N'Kantu faced various menaces. There is every reason to believe that N'Kantu had a near-identical counterpart in the WNU. He is also the only truly heroic (as opposed to "anti-heroic") reanimated mummy to ever appear in the WNU, to my knowledge.
Examples of other important cursed mummies who appeared in the WNU chronicles, these being of the standard Guardian Mummy category who did not regain full sentience and instead had their entrapped consciousness forced into simple-minded but very lethal servitude to the mandates of a specific imperative, included the following.
Perhaps the most well-known was
Prince Kharis, who first appeared in the 1940 Universal film
"The Mummy's Hand," and then proceeded to appear in a
classic movie series.
Prince Kharis lived even further back in the past of ancient Egypt than either version of Imhotep (over 3,000 years), and had an illicit romance with Princess Ananka, the daughter of then reigning Pharaoh Amenophis. When Ananka died, Kharis committed the crime of attempting to revive her by stealing a scroll laying at the foot of a statue of the goddess Isis in the Temple of Karnak, which told how to use the sacred mystic herbal tana leaves to revive the dead under certain circumstances. He ended up captured, his tongue removed from his mouth to prevent him from speaking any further blasphemy, and was then subjected to the exceedingly cruel punishment of cursed mummification, his etheric body forced to remain in his intered physical corpse for eternity.
However, his cursed form was later co-opted by the priests of Arkhon, who buried it near the tomb of Ananka, where they utilized magicks to acquire power allegedly drawn from the deity Amon-Ra to insure that the mummy would become re-animate if her tomb was ever desecrated so as to defend the contents of her crypt.
At the turn of the century from the 19th to the 20th, Kharis was revived when Ananka's tomb was entered by archeologists, and the Mummy was utilized against them as a weapon of destruction by the modern day high priest Professor Andoheb. Though the Kharis-Mummy was rendered insensate following this incident, he returned in several other films whose exploits occurred at different points throughout the 20th century, "The Mummy's Tomb" (1942); "The Mummy's Ghost" (1944); and "The Mummy's Curse" (1945). The reincarnated Princess Ananka also ended up becoming a modern day Guardian Mummy, and at one point, Kharis was controlled by a mystic named Yousef Bey, who may have been related in some fashion to Ardath Bey. The story of Prince Kharis was retold by Hammer Films in their version of "The Mummy," released in 1959.
Kharis also had a first cousin, the similarly named Klaris who suffered a similar cursed fate for unknown reasons, and who appeared in the film "Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy" (1955). This cursed mummy was utilized for millennia by a secretive Egyptian cult of mystics, led in the mid-20th century by a personage called Semu. The Klaris-Mummy was used by this cult to guard the tomb of Princess Ara. He was revived during the 1950's when the tomb was raided, and this mummy was destroyed after an incident involving the two bumbling immortal individuals of the WNU popularly known as simply "Bud" and "Lou," but whose designated names, harkening back to their Stone Age roots, were Ollu and Buszla [though their true aspect was never revealed in any of Universal's Abbott and Costello films, as these two had taken on numerous different identities throughout the millennia to cover their lack of physical aging, and they were simply depicted in each Universal film as entirely separate individuals with near-identical personalities and personal relationships; other famous duo's they had inspired in contrived simulations of their recorded exploits included Laurel and Hardy, Mutt and Jeff, and Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. See Dennis Power's great online essay "Immortal Befuddled," which covers and establishes the origin and probable history of these two immortal bumblers in the "consensus" WNU].
A well-known South American member of the Guardian Mummy category in the WNU is the Aztec Mummy, who was a cursed mummy utilized by the ancient Aztecs to guard a treasured, mystically powered mask, first appearing in the Mexican film "The Aztec Mummy" (1959). The Aztec Mummy was revived in the mid-1950's by a costumed criminal known as the Bat, who steals the mask and inadvertently revives the bandaged corpse, and who also becomes the perennial nemesis of this mummy. The Aztec Mummy returns in three other films, "The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy" (1959); "The Curse of the Aztec Mummy" (1959); and "The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy" (1964, where the mummy gains additional supernatural shape-shifting totemic powers). The Aztec Mummy not only battled the super-villain known as the Bat, and additionally faced a powerful cyborg created by the criminal (this mechanized entity was not truly a robot, as the film title suggested), but also ran afoul of Mexico's super-heroic wrestlers, the Angel and the Wrestling Women, in two respective incidents. Rumor has it that a new Aztec Mummy has recently been unearthed in the WNU of the early 2000's.
Finally, it should be noted that the horror host entity known as the Crypt-Keeper, star of EC Comics' classic horror anthology title, TALES FROM THE CRYPT [he first appeared in CRIME PATROL #15, and his horror stories completely took over the book two issues later and transformed it into THE CRYPT OF TERROR, named after the feature he hosted in CRIME PATROL, though the title was later changed again to its more familiar name of TALES FROM THE CRYPT], as well as an eponymous popular TV series based on the book, an animated TV series called "Tales From the Crypt-Keeper," and a few movies (such as "Demon Knight" and "Bordello of Blood") was the progeny of a deformed two-headed man named Enoch (possibly a non-posthuman mutant) and a cursed ancient Egyptian female mummy of the Guardian Mummy category, whose consciousness was trapped in her physical body, though she never truly became animate (unless briefly opening her eyes count; her entrapped spirit spent most of its time in blissful catatonia). The origin tale of the Crypt-Keeper (which introduced his mummified mom) was told in the story "Lower Berth," which appeared in TALES FROM THE CRYPT #33 and this establishes that the Crypt-Keeper, one of the most notorious of all of the 'Horror Host' entities in the WNU, actually has a cursed mummy for a parent [though I don't even want to know how daddy Enoch accomplished this conception with a partner who had a withered husk of a body!]. And the Crypt-Keeper's mom makes for one of the very few female cursed mummies to appear in any chronicle [see my online essay on Horror Hosts over on The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe for more info on the possible nature of the Crypt-Keeper and other horror host entities].
The intention of this essay was to describe the two distinct types of mummies who have appeared in the WNU, and how some mummies may indeed straddle the two categories. Re-animated mummies obviously play a very important role in the horror-oriented history of the WNU, and are an integral part of that reality's paranormal landscape.
All rights reserved. The text of these articles is ©2006 by the author, Chris Nigro. No copying or reproduction of these articles or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted without prior written permission and consent of the authors.