Although this initially sounds like exactly the sort of over-ambitious and possibly sinister task the Companions of Silence had in mind, there were two major differences between James Anthony's plans and those of the Companions. The first was capability: thanks to the "snowflake" super-computer (see below), Anthony was actually capable of directly changing the world, unlike the Companions, who could only scheme their way to power. The second difference was the other members of the conspiracy. Most of the Companions were ordinary men united by a drive and desire for power. Anthony's companions were, in their own way, as extraordinary as Anthony himself, although their stories, due to the misinformation (perhaps deliberately) spread by their biographers, are confused.
At this point I will temporarily interrupt my linear narrative to explore James Anthony's six companions, pictured at right in an artist's sketch. (That is Doc Brass in the middle) . I will work from the left and refer to them by the codenames they acquired (much) later. Untangling the history of this strange character has taken some doing, especially because, like one of James Anthony's other companions, the events of the "Scorpion" were fictionalized not once but three times, and in very different ways.
As best can be figured at this late date, the life of the "Scorpion" is something like this:
In 1932 Tony Quinn, a wealthy young bachelor and Assistant District Attorney for the city of Chicago, was unhappy with the poor quality of life and shocking level of crime in his city. More distressing for him was the number of criminals who escaped the punishment of the law, whether through technicalities or police corruption. One day in 1932 a gang of thugs, trying to destroy evidence that was to be used against them, threw acid into his office and on to his face. Quinn was blinded. Other, lesser men would have been broken by this, but Quinn was only made more determined by this. He vowed revenge, and began training himself to become a weapon for justice against criminals. He put himself through a rigorous program, to develop his body and heighten his other senses, so that he would be as capable without sight as other men were with the sense. And then, just before he was to begin his work on the streets, he underwent a secret operation wherein he was given the eyes of another man. This gave Quinn back his sight, but also gave him the ability to see in the dark.
Quinn did not make this news public, but instead continued to pretend to be blind. During the day he continued to work within the law. (The older readers among you may vaguely remember newspaper articles during the War from Chicago about "The Blind D.A.") At night, however, he put on black cape, black hood, black shoes and gloves, black mask and cowl, and became the "Black Bat," a crimefighter universally feared in the underworld.
While Quinn was, by all accounts, a stable, well-adjusted (if angry) man before the acid attack, his blinding and subsequent training program seem to have in some way unbalanced him, for his actions as the Black Bat were, like those of his compeer The Spider, violent to the point of cruelty. The Black Bat had no compunctions about using his .45s on his enemies, and on the corpses of the criminals that he'd killed he left behind a bat-shaped scar, usually on their foreheads.
The Black Bat began fighting crime in the summer of 1933, and quickly became notorious both for his rate of success and for the number of criminals he killed. Rumors about him spread so quickly that there were said to be several separate "Bats" or "Black Bats" fighting crime. This explains why, between 1933 and 1939, three different fictional series starring "the Bat" or "The Black Bat" were published, and why each hero was so different from the others. In fact only the first "Bat" series was close to Quinn's alter ego.
The circumstances under which he met James Anthony are unknown, nor is it known at what point the adventures chronicled by Quinn's autobiographers became completely fictional, rather than based on factual rumors. It is only suspected (by me, among others) that he began to taper off during World War Two, perhaps for the same reason as James Anthony. But it is certain that after January of 1945 all of the published stories about his exploits were entirely fictional. What happened to Quinn in the Adirondacks ensure that.
The second character was, at one time, one of the most famous men in America. His sudden disappearance just before World War Two sparked was a source of some mystery at the time, and the prominence of his son, during the 1950s, did not resolve the mystery. After extensive research, however, and no small amount of risk to myself and my family, I can now reveal the final fate of Tom Swift.
Those of you not schooled in the intricacies of the Swift family tree can read Dr. Power's article on him and his relatives, but for those of you not able to get to that article, I will briefly recap his background.
Percy Blakeney and Henry Burlingame were two of the original Wold Newton Eighteen. From them came Artemus Gordon, a figure of some note in the history of America's West. A distant cousin of his was Barton Swift, who gained fame as an agent of the American Secret Service active, like Artemus Gordon, on the American Frontier during the 19th century. Barton Swift married and in 1890 fathered a son, Tom Swift.
Tom had all the inventive genius (and more) of his distant relatives, the Morgan clan (see my article "An Extraordinary Family of the Wold West") (Personal note to Jess: Stop tacking these "humorous" titles on to my articles! The only one who finds them amusing is yourself!), and by the turn of the century was turning out a wide range of inventions. At age 12 he began adventuring, exploring and fighting crime on first a small scale and then later around the world. In 1910 Edward Stratemeyer, publisher of a number of successful series of juvenile biographies, including those about the "Hardy Boys," reached an agreement with Barton and Tom Swift to pay the Swifts in exchange for exclusive rights to their stories. Stratemeyer and the best author in his stable, Howard Garis, then began writing fictionalised versions of Tom Swift's adventures. These versions were published through 1941, at which time Stratemeyer abruptly stopped the series.
The truth was that, contrary to what the Stratemeyer series published, Tom Swift did not remain a boy adventurer for decades, but aged normally, so that in 1941, the time of his last published adventure, he was 51 years old. (Because of his strong Wold Newton-influenced genes, however, he looked to be only in his 30s) He had continued to adventure and fight for good through the intervening years, not even letting his marriage slow him down. Tom had met Elaine Dodge in 1924 following the latest attempt on her life. (Hers was not an easy existence for several years) A whirlwind romance followed, with Elaine abruptly dumping her long-time beau Craig Kennedy and taking up with Tom. Tom and Elaine married in 1925, and she gave birth to their son, Thomas Barton Swift, in 1930. (We will take up the story of Thomas Barton Swift below)
Like Quinn, Swift's first meeting with James Anthony is unknown. Because of the fictionalisation of Swift's adventures and Stratemeyer's crude but effective writing skill it cannot be known for sure when or even if Swift, like Quinn and Anthony, lessened his street activities to plot with Anthony and the other five members. But it is not unreasonable to assume that at some point before the publication of the last "Tom Swift" novel, Tom Swift and His Magnetic Silencer (1941), Swift more-or-less retired from active adventuring and began scheming. His hopes and plans were the same as Anthony's and Quinn's, and unfortunately he shared their fate....
The personal history of the “Aviator” is, like that of his companion Tony Quinn, something of a mystery. Although he had only one biographer, that writer (aptly labeled “the Ed Wood of his era”) continually revised, in the stories, the background of the “Aviator,” so that by the time his last fictionalized appearance was published, ten years later, he’d had no less than three separate origins. I have, not without a great deal of trouble, been able to untangle the extremely confused story of the “Aviator,” and briefly relate, however imperfectly, the life story of Terence X. O’Leary.
O’Leary (1890-1945) was orphaned as an infant. No evidence is to be found about his birth parents or their background, but given O’Leary’s red hair, freckles, and the note with his real name attached to his swaddling clothes, it would seem they were Irish. O’Leary was left in a hospital in Boston’s South End and adopted by a German couple, a pair of second-generation immigrants who thought of themselves as American but who still spoke German at home with their own parents. O’Leary was raised as an American but was also well-informed about German history and culture and was fluent in German.
As soon as he was old enough (17) he enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry. He served four terms with them, performing honorably. In 1914 he resigned his commission and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. His activities between 1914 and 1917 are unclear, although there is evidence pointing towards his involvement both with the Legion and the Escadrille Lafayette. After the United States’ entry into the war in 1917 he re-enlisted. Through 1917 he was active with the Army in Europe, carrying out a number of commando-style raids deep into enemy territory. In 1918 he transferred (or was transferred; the American military’s records on his career are frustratingly spotty) to the 1st Aero Squadron of the Aeronautical Division of the Army’s Signal Corps, at the time the only extant group of fliers in the American military. He began training other pilots and quickly organized a like-minded group of fliers into the 417th Squadron, the “Black Wings Pursuit” group, and using them against the enemy, so that by the time the “U.S. Army Air Service” was established in May 1918, the Army had an experienced and war-savvy group of fighter pilots.
The Black Wings Pursuit Squadron fought against some of the worst, most evil and villainous men that the Germans had to throw at the Allies during the war. In fact, there is some slight evidence to support the theory that the bizarre and outré enemies who repeatedly dueled with the Black Wings Pursuit Squadron and with Airman O’Leary himself were in some way connected with the malfeasors who so dogged the Black Eagle and G-8, two of the other, most notable airmen during World War One. It is not known whether these men–Herr Doktor Krueger, Baron von Stilzer, Baron von Todschmecker, Count Joseph von Krassner, and many others–operated under one unified command or were only loosely joined together, but several equipment and supply manifests dated in 1918 show that the German military high command sent and fulfilled orders for them as a unit, rather than individually.
O’Leary’s actions between World War One and World War Two are poorly documented. Some evidence exists to support the idea of his working as a mercenary and pilot-for-hire during the 1920s, and we know that in 1934 and 1935 he helped the Ethiopians against the Italians, becoming known to his troops as the “Green Lion of Judah.” His final publicly-known activities were in 1935 and 1936, when with his best friend Captain McGuffy he was embroiled in hostilities on the south Pacific island of Lataki. Details regarding this conflict remain scarce due to the American government’s determination that all accounts bearing on the Latakians remain Classified, but apparently O’Leary and McGuffy were instrumental in preventing Unuk and Alok from using esoteric and advanced technology to pursue an aggressively expansionist foreign policy. (There is also a hint, slyly confirmed by a demure “No comment” from Pentagon officials, that Unuk, the High Priest of the “God of the Depths,” was in some way involved with the religionists who were the subject of harassment and arrests by the Federal and state governments in places as various as Louisiana and Massachusetts starting in the 1920s)
O’Leary’s activities after the Lataki Incident are unknown, but at some point in 1936 or 1937 he became involved with James Anthony’s group, and was a member of it until that final, horrible day in 1945.
“The Jungle King"
The so-called “Jungle King” is a somewhat nebulous figure, for the particulars of his life are in several respects very close to those of Lord Greystoke, so much so that without the evidence I’ve accumulated one would suspect the “Jungle King” to have been a fictional character. My esteemed colleagues Drs. Power and Brown theorised that the “Jungle King,” whose fictionalised accounts were published in the 1930s under the name “Ka-Zar,” was in fact only the garbled stories told about Lord Greystoke by the drunkard and braggart Sanderson. I regret to inform Drs. Power and Brown that my research does not bear this theory out, and that there was a historical “Ka-Zar.”
The “Jungle King,” aka “Ka-Zar,” was actually David Rand. This surname may be familiar to you if you’ve read my earlier article, “An Examination of the Effect of Meteoric Radiation on Canines,” butchered with a supposedly humorous title and posted at Jess Nevins' site. Another man, similar to Lord Greystoke in several particulars, was “Kioga,” the discoverer of and immigrant to the Polar island “Nato’wa.” Kioga’s real name was “Daniel Rand.” Both Daniel and David were in fact members of an extended family, many of whose members turned out to be extraordinary in some way.
The history of the Rands actually begins in the 14th century, when John Randolph, the third Earl of Moray, was killed. Randolph (?-1346) was a staunch supporter of the young Scots king, David II, and of the cause of Scottish independence. Moray fought several battles against the English; he escaped the slaughter at Halidon Hill on 20 July 1333 but was taken prisoner in 1335 and spent five years as a "guest of the English crown." He was successfully ransomed in 1340 and immediately renewed the struggle. He accompanied David II on his invasion of England in 1346 and was killed, commanding the Scots right wing, at the Battle of Neville's Cross on 17 October 1346.
History records Randolph as having had no issue and the earldom of Moray becoming an extinct peerage, with the Moray estates being first assumed by Randolph's sister Agnes, Countess of Dunbar, and then being distributed among supporters of the English cause. But my investigations into the matter, and many days spent crawling through the archives of several small Scottish towns, have uncovered a different story.
Randolph bore a son by his wife and cousin Isabel Stewart. This son, being of the family of a wanted criminal (in English eyes) and the subject of enmity from his aunt Agnes, fled Scotland, determined to hide his line and wait until such time as he could return to an independent Scotland and claim his lands. He never achieved his goal, and the Randolphs stayed in London, eventually shortening their name to "Rand."
Joseph Rand (1840-1902) emigrated from England and began work in New York City as a carpenter. His first child was John Rand (1870-1905), who took over the family business and made it extremely profitable. John's son, by Constance Bishop (1874-1905), was David Rand (1905-1945). In 1908 John, on a scouting trip to Africa in search of ironwood for specialty furniture, took Constance and David with him, as was his practice on long trips. Unfortunately for the family, while flying over "the heart of the Congo" (actually near the border of modern Gabon) their plane lost power (it had been sabotaged) and crashed. David was the only survivor.
David later related the story of what happened after that: he was adopted and raised by "Zar the lion" and taught "the skills of the jungle" and "the languages of the beasts of the jungle," so that by the time he was 18 he, "Ka-Zar" ("son of Zar") was a bronzed god and master of the area of the African jungle in which he lived.
There are a few...difficulties...with this account, however. We must accept that David was raised by what he thought was a lion and that he gained skills very similar to Lord Greystoke's; we know from the historical record that these are simply facts. But the ideas that there would be a lion in the jungles of the Congo, where no lions live, and that this lion would be intelligent enough to teach David Rand both human languages and the ability to speak with animals, strains credulity. We know that Lord Greystoke's upbringing was the result of his adoption by the mangani, an exceptionally intelligent race of primates. However, we know of no such feline race.
This, though, does not mean that none ever existed. We know from fossils that the Panthera genus was far more widespread in the Pleistocene era, with big cats and actual lions existing in Europe and the Americas. We also know that the competing species of Panthera genera survived until less than 2000 years ago. And we know, from other examples (see my article on dogs affected by the Wold Newton meteor strike(s)), the animals were capable of being altered or mutated to near- and above-human levels of intelligence.
It is therefore my theory that the animal which adopted and raised David Rand was not a lion, but was a cave lion, one of the Panthera leo spelaea. The cave lion, whose pelt was the largest felid that ever lived, 25% larger than modern lions and longer and heavier than the modern Siberian tiger. Archaeological finds have shown that the last known cave lions died out around 1 C.E. in the Balkans, so it is not impossible that surviving members of the species could have survived even later in more remote areas of the world. I further theorize that "Zar," David Rand's adoptive mother, was the product of a genetic offshoot of the cave lion species, and was the last surviving member of a new sub-species, the Panthera leo spelaea farmera, or "Farmer Lions," which were created when an earlier cave lion was exposed to the effects of the “city of the grey apes” (see my earlier article, “An Extraordinary Family of the American Frontier”) and gained enhanced intelligence and perhaps longevity from the city’s radiation.
The obvious objection to my theory is that a carnivore with the size and capabilities of the cave lion would have become dominant and replaced man. It must be remembered, however, that feline intelligence, however enhanced, is not the same as human intelligence, and that even super-intelligent cats would still be prey to their instincts and would still have little cause for teamwork. It must also be remembered that the larger a carnivore is, the greater the amount of meat it must eat every day and the larger an area it needs for hunting and breeding. It seems clear that the intelligence of the Panthera leo spelaea farmera was used to prolong each member's line, rather than the species as a whole, and that the concerted teamwork of far more numerous humans would have easily overcome the isolated Farmer Lions.
How "Zar" survived in the Congo will of course never be known, but there are certainly caves in the jungle, and the various species of the jungle and extremely isolated section in which she lived would provide her with enough meat to survive. Where she picked up human languages will never be known, either, but we might suppose that she watched with curiosity or hunger the Twa and other human tribes in the area. Her adoption of David Rand might have been her attempt at being a mother; with no other Farmer Lions in the area, she would not be able to mate or breed, and so David Rand's evolution into "Ka-Zar" would have been a vicarious parenting on the part of "Zar."
I will return to "Ka-Zar" below.
Joseph Rand's second child was Lincoln Rand (1871-1911). Lincoln became a specialty shipbuilder and was very successful, creating yachts and wooden ships for Society members of New York. He married Anne Robbins, and they had a son, Daniel, in 1908. In 1910 the Rands were vacationing, boating off the coast of Alaska with an Inuit guide, when they were pulled by a current to a until-then undiscovered island north of Siberia, called "Nato'wa" by the natives. These natives, descended from a tribe of Native Americans who had tried to cross back over the Siberian land-bridge but were diverted to "Nato'wa" and trapped there by an earthquake, befriended the Rands. A hostile tribe attacked the Shoni (the tribe harboring the Rands) and killed the Rands, leaving only Daniel alive. Daniel was adopted by Mokuyi, the leader of the Shoni tribe, and was raised as one of them, being given the name "Kioga." Kioga gained the skills of the natives in much the same way that Lord Greystoke and Daniel's cousin David had, but was driven from the Shoni due to prejudice against his skin color. Kioga and his friend Aki, a pet polar bear, later returned in triumph to the tribe and became its leader. Kioga's later history is not known, although there is evidence that he helped the Allies repel a German invasion of Nato'wa during World War Two.
Joseph Rand's third child was Jack Rand (1872-1939). Jack entered the Army and became a career officer. Jack's son, John (1894-?) grew apart from his father following Jack's divorce from his wife. John kept his father's name but wanted no more contact with the Rands. After a few years wandering around Europe and Africa John became a sportsman, tour guide, and adventurer. While in the Budongo Forest of western Uganda he discovered a tribe of Kakwa engaging in a ritual using the organs of red-tailed monkeys. This ritual seemed to give the Kakwa greatly prolonged life spans. John took several monkey organs with him back to America and began experimenting upon himself, and after several setbacks and the forcible opposition of a foreign nobleman and an American millionaire, he discovered the formula. This was in 1919. 20 years later he still looked and felt like he was 37-years old, and his friends and family were beginning to become suspicious. So he engineered a disappearance for himself and left the United States for six months, returning under the new identity of "Rex Rand." When the War broke out he traveled to England and volunteered to fight for the Allies. He was assigned to a volunteer commando unit made up of Americans and called the "Yankee Rangers." With the Rangers John fought against the Axis. He disappeared in Italy in 1943 and was presumed killed there.
Joseph Rand's fourth child was Alex Rand (1873-1961). Alex went through law school and became an Assistant District Attorney for the City of New York. His son, Miller (1901-1944), became a criminologist, but his main obsession was inventing, something he had a talent at. Beginning in 1929 he fought criminals in New York City as a vigilante, always going after those that the law could not or would not touch. He made use of a special electrified wand and electrical bulletproof vest, thereby gaining the nickname "the Electrical Man." In 1941, in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, Miller volunteered for the Army. He was killed storming Omaha Beach in 1944.
Joseph Rand’s fifth child was Barry (1880-?). Barry, the last of Joseph’s children, was the favored son, and was given every privilege available, with the expectation that he would follow John into the family business and eventually assume the role of President of it. Barry repaid him by living the life of a gentleman of leisure, extending his schooling several years beyond what was necessary and then traveling widely in Asia and Africa. Barry was abroad when Joseph died and later when John’s plane went down, and did not return to the United States for either funeral. It’s possible that Barry never heard about these deaths until much later–he seems not to have returned to America until after 1912–but it seems more likely that some sort of rift between Barry and the rest of the family drove him away and kept him away. Barry later achieved a short-lived fame during World War One as the flyer “The Red Falcon.”
David "Ka-Zar" Rand, after reaching manhood, began fighting crime and wickedness, first in the jungle and then, as his horizons grew, outside of the jungle and then outside of Africa. He learned English and visited America and Europe. He had several adventures through the 1920s in America and Europe, and eventually, becoming curious about his parents, began investing his family background. He traced his family genealogy far enough that he was able to reconstruct a claim to the lands of the Earl of Moray, and in 1935, after extensive wrangling with the English legal system and the then-current owners of the Moray properties, he was restored to his ancestral home.
At some point in the mid-1930s he was put in touch with (or himself contacted) James Anthony. What evidence there is suggests that they were partners for at least a decade, fighting evil and planning for the future, up to the day in 1945 when everything went wrong....
The “Agent,” like Anthony’s other companions, has a somewhat confused and contradictory backstory. This is probably deliberate on his part, as it would not do for too many facts of his life to become publicly known. Too, the demands of the pulp magazine industry in the mid-1930s led the pseudo-biographer of the “Agent” to invent at least one conflict in the fictionalised biography of the “Agent.” Even with this disinformation I have, at long last, been able to sort out the facts and can now present some of the true biographer of James “Jimmy” Christopher, more commonly known as “Operator #5.”
Christopher was in fact the son of a man of equal capabilities and achievements, and it is not unreasonable to spend some time exploring Christopher’s antecedents.
One of the most decorated and celebrated British soldiers of the first half of the 19th century was Major Richard Sharpe. Although his biographer has faithfully recounted Sharpe's many adventures in the service of the British crown, one fact that was not brought up was the byproduct of Sharpe's love for and relationship with Jane Gibbons, the niece to Sir Henry Simmerson. Following Sharpe's visit to England in the summer of 1813, in what would become known as the "Sharpe's Regiment Affair," Gibbons became pregnant with Sharpe's child. Sharpe left the country to resume service with the British Army, leaving Gibbons and her family with an awful dilemma. This was solved in the traditional way: Gibbons and her guardians left on a year-long cruise. When they returned, she was no longer pregnant, and relatives of Gibbons in America, the Norroys of Baltimore, had received a newborn infant.
This child was Vincent Norroy (1814-1887). Vincent's two children were was John (1842-1911) and Laura (1843-1900). (We will take up the story of Laura Norroy later) John's only son was Yorke (1863-?), and it is with Yorke that the line of the Norroys truly becomes interesting. (Vincent and John were average men, from all accounts, with little about their lives to interest anyone. It is as if there were some gene for heroics and it managed to skip two generations) Yorke attended Harvard, majoring in what would now be known as "International Relations" while also becoming a stand-out on the stage. After Harvard he traveled around Europe for a few years, and then moved from his parents' home in Baltimore to New York City, where he lived the life of a gentleman of leisure, throwing celebrated parties, acting in various plays (he became known as the "foremost amateur actor in the United States"), and becoming a model for upper class fashion in New York City's 300 in the 1890s and 1900s. He was regarded, by society, as a dandy with an exquisite taste for clothes and with no brains whatsoever.
This was only a ruse, albeit one that Norroy maintained for years with stunning thoroughness. The truth of the matter is that Norroy was one of America's first and best counter-intelligence agents. Working for the government under the title of "diplomatic agent," Norroy was involved in a number of diplomatic, military, and espionage coups from the 1890s through the 1930s. Some facts of his personal life are known, although even today many of the files regarding Norroy are Classified. He was recruited by the State Department when he was 25, and spent several years being "trained" in his work in various places. He spent years in Peking and, in his own words, "almost every civilized country, some barbarous ones, and some entirely savage." Among his accomplishments were several defeats of German (fictionalised as "Saxonia" by Norroy's biographer, a man who himself understood the need for delicacy), Russian, and Japanese espionage attempts in the Americas and Europe, and a long-running feud, successfully won by Norroy, with "the Devil's Chaplain," a criminal mastermind.
Although Norroy's biographer did not publicize this (for obvious reasons), Norroy married, in 1899. His wife, who I have my own reasons for not naming, bore him two sons. Norroy, ever crafty and ever aware that his death would be a boon to America's enemies, took great care in the raising of his sons, making sure that they were both kept safe and that no assassin or spy could trace the two of them back to him. They were given different surnames, and put through separate schools, and though raised as brothers and children of the same parents were as close to only children as it is possible for siblings to be.
The older brother was named "Philip Corrigan" (1900-?). His background is unclear, as Norroy's biographer wholly omitted him from the Norroy biography and Corrigan's own biographers never made mention of Corrigan's upbringing. He first came to attention in the 1930s, when three separate biographers made Corrigan the source for three different series based on his exploits. Corrigan was by then a top agent for the United States government, working out of Washington but focusing on both domestic and international criminals. Like his father, Philip's actions are in large part Classified and unknown, but some information is available. We know, for example, that during the 1920s he'd done work for an unnamed government intelligence agency under the name of "Blair Thompson," and adopted the dog "Silverstreak." (For more information on this, see my previously-mentioned article on the American Wold Newton-influenced canine mutants) Corrigan's actions during the War are unknown, as are his activities, if any, after the War. In large part this lack of knowledge is due to the Classified nature of his assignments, but it is also due to Corrigan's skill at disguise, of which he was a master; many of the strange coincidences that helped America before, during, and after the war might well have been the handiwork of a disguised Phil Corrigan. There is some reason to suspect, for example, that it was Corrigan, heavily disguised and using advanced communication devices, who worked with the police departments of New York and Chicago fighting against a variety of strange gangsters, attracting the notice of a cartoonist and being immortalized as a certain distinctively-featured policeman. Some of Corrigan’s adventures were fictionalized in other media, and he was given certain colorful titles, such as “Secret Agent X” and “Secret Agent X-9" and “Secret Agent K-7.” But until and unless Corrigan's files are declassified we will never know for sure.
The younger brother was named "James Christopher" (1901-?), and it was he who brought the most fame and glory to the family. Like his brother, we may never know much about his childhood, and unfortunately we can no longer ask him about it. It may be that he was trained by his father and idolized him enough to follow him into the murky world of espionage. The first time James, or “Jimmy” as he preferred to be called, gained attention, and the first moment that his pseudo-biographers included in the fictionalisation of Christopher’s life, was in early 1934. And even then it is hard to separate the facts from the legends that have grown around them, due in large part to the mythologizing that Christopher’s pseudo-biographers performed. Christopher, or “Operator #5,” to name his rank (his pseudo-biographers got that much right, at least), did lead a heroic life, but for reasons of salability and dramatic necessity Christopher’s pseudo-biographers exaggerated the deeds of both Christopher and his enemies. They changed names, including Christopher’s father’s, they subtracted people from stories, such as Christopher’s brother, and they added people to stories, such as the stereotypical manservant “Crowe.” The pseudo-biographers also changed the dates of these events, compressing the events of up to fifteen years into the space of 5 years.
We know, for example, that in late 1933 Boston, its boroughs, and the surrounding suburbs as far West as Cambridge and as far South as Hull through a massive power outage that led to widespread looting and robbery. Operator #5 was eventually called in to this case and solved it. However, Operator #5's pseudo-biographers found the idea of Boston being the center of a crime too dull and uninteresting for their audience, and so transferred the location of the story to New York City, heightened the threat and exaggerated the damage, and made the story about a threat to America rather than a heist. The truth was that the blackout was caused by a “Master Wave,” which nullified electricity and radio waves. The “Master Wave” had been used before, during the early 1920s, by the masked gang led by the infamous crime-lord “The Spider.” At that time the Spider (not to be confused with Richard Wentworth’s alter-ego, of course) was in the pay of the Soviet Union, and his crimes were an attempt to overthrow the American government. In 1933 the Spider, still leading his masked gang, was simply interested in profit. But Christopher’s pseudo-biographers felt that robbery was not interesting enough, and so used some of the particulars of the 1920s crimes in their story, rather than those from the 1933 crime. They also dated the story in 1934, rather than 1933.
Another example of this alteration of time, space, and facts in pursuit of a story took place with the notorious “Aztec Uprising” of 1929. The uprising, in the Chiapas state of Mexico, had several parallels with the Chiapas Revolt of the late 1990s: discontented lower class and indigenous peoples living in great poverty and suffering oppression from a corrupt government left, finally, with no recourse except violent rebellion. The 1929 uprising had a few differences from the more modern version, however. While its ethnic makeup was a combination of native ethnicities, it was much more heavily made up of those of Mixtec (Aztec) descent, despite its southerly location. The 1929 rebels had advanced technology at their disposal. The rebels marched northward, towards the American-Mexican border, rather than staying in their home province. And the 1929 rebels were led by a notable figure.
The background of the rebellion is tied up with its leader. In 1902 an American scientific expedition into Chiapas discovered a lost tribe of Aztecs high up in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas north of Pijijlapan. The expedition was slaughtered, with only one infant surviving. The tribe’s prophecies said that one day the “predestined ruler of Karnux” (the prophesied future Aztec empire) would arrive, being fair, with a “skin of burnished silver,” and rescue the tribe. The infant was raised as one of the Mixtecs for the next twenty years, given the name “Ozar,” and assigned the task of “fulfilling the Five Sacred Commands of Mexlitl, the Sun God.” Part of fulfilling these commands was to rid the Mixtec community of its high priests. Ozar did this, finishing in 1924, and was left with a community of Mixtecs who saw him as the ruler of Karnux.
What followed next was predictable. Ozar, though biologically Anglo, was in all important respects an Mixtec, driven by religious impulses to sacrifices non-Mixtec to the various Mixtec gods and to expand the Mixtec empire of Karnux. The writer who later used the “Aztec Uprising” as the source for a series of stories about Ozar was, like many writers of the 1930s, possessed of certain ideas about race, so that the fictional Ozar was a stereotypical White man, with what the writer felt were the morals of a White man. Needless to say, this was not the case in real life. The real Ozar was as self-righteously bloodthirsty as any Mixtec, and as eager to expand his demesne’s limits as any traditional Mixtec Prince or Jaguar Lord.
That, combined with the class and ethnic resentment of the other Mexican peasants who flocked to Ozar’s cause, led him to focus on America as the target for his campaign. In some way he acquired advanced technology, including a “heat ray.” Thanks to a friend I was given access to certain still-unclassified documents from the archives of the German military from World War One. I discovered that during 1916 and 1917 Germany, attempting to persuade Mexico into attacking the United States, sent Mexico some advanced technology. This technology, which was mainly weaponry, was the creation of Count Joseph von Krassner, the enemy of Terence X. O’Leary as the “Black Roc” and one of the best scientists Germany had during WW1. It was this technology which Ozar’s forces used against the American military, and which Operator #5's pseudo-biographers turned into the “deadly, new weapon” of “Montezuma the Third, Emperor of the new-born Aztec Empire.”
Jimmy Christopher was successful in defeating Ozar, of course, as he was in defeating all of America’s enemies. (It should be noted that one of Ozar’s lieutenants, “Gurrhu,” escaped Christopher and fled to London, where he set up an underground temple and began proselytizing. Gurrhu was later stopped by the German detective Harry Dickson.) Christopher’s two most successful accomplishments were later fictionalised as the “Purple Empire” and “Yellow Vulture” sequences, but, as with Ozar, his true enemies and actions were somewhat different from what eventually saw print.
The “Purple Empire” sequence, in the words of one critic, consist of:an assault on American by the hordes of dictator Rudolph I of “Bulkaria”....the conquests of the Purple Emperor over Europe and most of Asia; his invasion of America and the establishment of his headquarters amid the ruins of New York City; the deadly green gas; Diane’s rescue as she is about to be hung from the Liberty Bell on the fourth of July; the attack on the gold train; the battle against the Purple Naval Fleet; Operator 5's destruction of the Panama Canal; the cholera march into Phoenix; the bombardment of San Francisco; the suicide charge of the Canadian Lancers (sic); the destruction of the Maximilian Dam and the Pittsburgh steel mills; Jimmy’s destruction of the giant blimp; the capture of the Chicago by Mongol troops; the Emperor’s pact with the Yellow Warlord; Operator 5's battle to the death with Urslup; the second battle of Valley Forge; the siege that brought the Black Plague; and, finally, the fall of the Purple Empire and the rebuilding of America.All very stirring reading, to be sure, but next to useless as a historical document due to the numerous liberties that Emile C. Tepperman, one of Jimmy Christopher’s pseudo-biographers, took with Christopher’s actions. Had all of this actually happened our history as Americans would be much different. But the truth is somewhat different.
The younger generation will not remember this, of course, for history is no longer properly taught in the schools and the present generation does not care to read about events farther back than Reagan’s first term. But in 1935 a “strange new planet” was detected rushing towards Earth. This sparked a world-wide depression and panic, as people across the world, from Africa to Arabia to Times Square, felt that the end of humanity was nigh. As researchers into the genealogy of the fantastic know, this crisis was averted by Dr. Hans Zarkov, Flash Gordon, and Dale Arden, who traveled to the rogue planet and averted its course.
What most researchers into the history of the fantastic have not explored were the events that took place during the weeks in which the panic gripped the world. Against the backdrop of nation-wide fear and panic a number of figures committed a wide range of crimes, attempting to take advantage of the terror and uncertainty to further their own ends. Some of these figures banded together, combined their resources, and staged an invasion of many American cities. This invasion, however, was not of men but of scientifically reanimated corpses–in other words, zombies. Thankfully, Jimmy Christopher (and, I think, his brother, although there is only a very small amount of evidence to be found linking Phil Corrigan to this adventure) was able to stop the invasion and defeat those responsible for it. The American public, for their part, fairly quickly put it behind them as just one more awful week during the “rogue planet” affair. Unfortunately, Christopher was not able to capture and/or kill the men behind the invasion, so Rodil Mocquino, Zolok, and Rance Mandarin lived and were free to plague other heroes. These facts, of course, was not nearly glamorous enough for Jimmy Christopher’s pseudo-biographers, so they had to change them, and take what was a brief but widespread combat against zombies and mad scientists into a full-scale invasion of America.
The second of Jimmy Christopher’s major sequences, the “Yellow Vulture” story arc, involved the invasion of a still-recovering America by the Japanese warlord “Moto Taronago,” the “Yellow Vulture.” The Vulture’s forces dropped an atomic bomb on Philadelphia, destroyed Washington, Knoxville, and Baltimore, and destroyed Canada. Had the magazine in which the individual chapters of Christopher’s pseudo-biography appeared not ceased publication, the writers would undoubtedly have continued to spin out an imaginative pulp epic. But, as with the “Purple Empire” saga, the truth, springing from the “rogue planet” crisis, was different and less extraordinarily destructive.
In the days immediately after the end of the “rogue planet” affair, countries around the world began the slow recovery from the panic and terror which had gripped them. Damage in some of the cities had been extensive, and many societies had taken shocks from which they would be long recovering. And just as some evil-minded individuals had seized on the “rogue planet” affair to attempt to take power, a few men with conquest on the brain and a hatred for America in their hearts saw the initial days after the “rogue planet” affair as being the perfect time to try to punish America and ultimately conquer it. Like the “zombie invasion” which became the source of the “Purple Empire” sequence, the damage done during this “invasion” was quickly forgotten once the “invasion” was defeated, as Americans, conditioned to accept destruction and horror by the efforts of the enemies of the Spider, Doc Savage, the Shadow, and others, put it behind them and moved on, rebuilding their destroyed homes and concentrating on looking forward. Americans have always had an enormous capability for forgetting unpleasant aspects of their own past, and their behavior after the “rogue planet” affair and its attendant miseries is a good example of this.
The “invasion” which was eventually turned into the “Yellow Vulture” sequence had its beginnings in the Japanese invasion and occupation of Chinese Manchuria, in 1931 and 1932. After the Japanese had secured their hold on the three eastern provinces of Manchuria, in February, 1932, they began sending long-range “reconnaissance in force” units across Manchuria and into Mongolia, apparently in search of advanced technology of the kind that Dr. Fu Manchu, among others, had used against America. One strongly armed unit of Japanese soldiers made the long journey across Mongolia to the Mongol Altajn Nuruu range, following up on information given to them by the Japanese High Command, and found, in a remote section of the mountains, the remains of the “Hellene” civilization. The “Hellenes” were the descendants of Milesians taken prisoner by Darius the Great after the Greek revolt against his rule. After five generations of slavery the Milesians fled northward, joined with a group of Ionians also enslaved by Darius, and fled northeast, over the mountains and into a remote and mountainous part of Mongolia–the Mongol Altain Nuruu. There the Hellenes drove off the local “Sanni” tribe and established their own city-state there. After many centuries of isolation they were found by a trio of scholars and explorers, who discovered that the Hellenes had developed very advanced technology, which they had turned to both warlike and non-warlike uses. The three explorers eventually fled from the Hellenes, and the city-state was attacked and destroyed by local Mongol and Chinese tribes.
The Japanese army unit retrieved what was left of the technology and weaponry and brought it back to Manchuria, where it was sent to Tokyo. The Japanese military scientists could not decipher the technology or duplicate it, and so they set it aside, waiting for the right opportunity to use it. They allowed one of their agents to test the technology in China in 1933 and 1934, in something of the same manner that the Germans and Russians tested some of their new military technology in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, but the majority of the Hellene technology was held back. In 1935 the Japanese decided that the confused situation in America immediately following the “rogue planet” affair was the right time, and so they armed one of their most prized agents–the same one who had used the technology on the poor Chinese in 1933 and 1934–with the Hellene technology and sent him at America.
This agent, known as “Fire-Eyes” for his strange yellow eyes, led a small air fleet on a sneak attack on American installations on the American Pacific coast. Thanks to the efforts of Jimmy Christopher and the air ace “Dusty” Ayres, the attacks were defeated and the air fleet destroyed. No proof was ever found to link “Fire-Eyes” to the Japanese government, and so no further actions could be taken against them.
In an odd bit of synchronicity, a particularly globally-conscious American writer had written about “Fire-Eyes”’ atrocities in China, beginning in 1934. This writer, Robert S. Bowen, kept himself well-informed about events overseas, and so when he heard about the effects of this new technology on the Chinese populace, he incorporated it into a “future invasion” story, never dreaming that “Fire-Eyes” would in fact attempt to invade America using that technology.
At some point during the 1930s Jimmy Christopher, perhaps feeling the effects of his rather vigorous actions over the preceding years, began to retire from active service with the Secret Service. We will never know when James Anthony contacted Jimmy Christopher, or even if it was Christopher who contacted Anthony. But we do know that they worked together with increasing frequency towards the end of the 1930s and through the first half of the 1940s, and we of course know what happened to Anthony and Christopher in 1945....
“Hark” is very similar to the “Agent,” in that his personal history is confused and contradictory, made worse by the conflicting fictionalised biographies written involving him. But I have finally gathered enough information that I can describe with some confidence the true biography of “Hark.”
“Hark” was Chinese, of Manchu descent. His childhood remains unknown; he took care to conceal his beginnings, and record-keeping in China during the 19th century was often erratic, at best. Several of the men who fought with “Hark,” including Val Kildare, John Hardy, and Michael Traile, were certain that “Hark” was of royal blood and not too distantly related to the Ch’ing emperors, especially the Dowager Empress Tz’u-hsi and China’s last emperor, Tsai-ch’un. Undoubtedly those men had evidence to support their assertions, but if it exists I’ve not been able to locate it. I have, too, found no evidence at all of the childhood and adolescence of “Hark,” and so cannot give his real name. I will therefore continue to refer to him as “Hark.”
Hark was, as mentioned, 100% Manchu. At some point during his teenage years he went West and attended one of the Oxbridge schools. (I’ve been unable to find his school records, as they appear to have been expunged by the college) After graduating he returned to China and continued his training, learning the ancient Eastern sciences to accompany his firm grounding in Western sciences. When he was sufficiently skilled, and had created enough weapons and creatures (Hark was as learned and inventive at the biological sciences as he was at the chemical and physical ones, as capable of creating new poisons as he was at inventing his own personal immortality formula) he left China and made his way to England, accompanied by three ships of his own troops. His intent was to war upon the West and make the nations of the whites suffer as they had made his beloved China suffer.
He first conflict with the West took place in 1895, when he had several of his biologically-engineered creatures let loose in England. He then took his revenge upon Barris, an American Secret Service agent who had clashed with him in China. He announced his arrival in the West, in 1896, with a series of attacks on English shipping, including the Royal Navy itself, using some of his own weapons to sink the English ships. His efforts were defeated by John Hardy, a British naval rating. In revenge Hark, in his identity of “Yen How,” sought out Hardy and killed him in a duel, but by then Hark’s forces had been defeated. (When this clash was fictionalised the writer, a racist and hateful personality, drastically altered the facts to support his own bigotries)
In the decades following he terrorized London as the triad leader “Quong Lung;” fought Sexton Blake as “Prince Wu Ling,” the leader of the “Brotherhood of the Yellow Beetle;” fought Dixon Brett in England as “Fan Chu Fang, the Wizard Mandarin” and “a veritable archangel of evil;” terrified the Philippines, Great Britain, and America as the supremely evil “arch-murderer of the century” “Mister Chang;” dueled with Phil Corrigan (under the guise of “Botak,” an adventurer and soldier of fortune) in Java as “the Orange Lantern;” frightened New York as he fought Donald Carrick, the “Human Hound,” as “Li Shoon;” pursued the heiress Elaine Dodge across the world, for reasons of his own, in the identity of “Wu Fang;” stole nerve gas from the U.S. government, again as “Wu Fang;” dueled with Val Kildare, one of the Secret Service’s best agents, as “Wu Fang” again; and, finally, fought Michael Traile, the legendary “Man Who Never Slept,” as “Doctor Yen Sin.” In each of these battles Hark was neither aided nor hindered by Fu Manchu, which begs the obvious question as to why two very similar personalities, each with conflicting aims, were not at war with each other. My theory is that Hark was in no position to challenge the power of Fu Manchu and so avoided a conflict he knew he could not win, while Fu Manchu saw Hark as a stalking horse, something that would draw out and possibly eliminate real and potential enemies.
It was not until the early 1930s, however, that Hark encountered the man who would change his life and philosophy. The exact details are unclear, but they seem to have followed the pattern of Hark’s previous conflicts: he had begun an enterprise, this time in America, aimed at badly hurting a country of whites, only to be faced with and battled by a white hero, in this case James Anthony. But this time Hark’s opponent, at the culmination of their duel, did not simply attempt to kill him, as Hark’s earlier enemies did. Hark’s opponent, facing him across a flaming laboratory, reached out to him, tried to persuade him that they did not need to kill each other, that they could work together, to make a better world for both their peoples.
Something in Anthony’s words reached Hark in a way that other, previous entreaties had not. Hark underwent a change of heart, and set aside his vendetta. From that point forward he began working with Anthony and, later, Anthony’s companions, to make a better world for everyone, not just the Chinese. This change of heart, however, was not passed on to Hark’s daughter, a shadowy figure about whom little is known except for her antipathy for the West.
Next: The Seven
The Modern Age
Some Unknown Members of the Wold Newton Family Tree