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06 April 2009

Stalking Whitechapel

I've been having loads of fun over at Warren Ellis's Whitechapel forums these past few weeks, what with the weekly Remake/Remodel of golden age characters going on. Here's a few samples of what I've been up to (all descriptions come from Jess Nevins by way of Whitechapel):

Ivan Brodsky was created by “Victor Rousseau,” the pseudonym of Victor Rousseau Emmanuel (Jim Anthony, Clifford, Ronald Gowan, Professor MacBeard, Dr. Martinus, Pennell, Shawm, Thorne), and appeared in eleven stories in Weird Tales in 1926 and 1927, beginning with “The Case of the Jailer’s Daughter” (Weird Tales, Sept. 1926).

Ivan Brodsky is a Big-Headed Dwarf Genius Occult Detective.

Ivan Brodsky, the “Surgeon of Souls,” works as a “professor of nervous diseases” at a London hospital. He is a “dark, sinewy, undersized man, with a great head absurdly disproportionate to his body, and flashing eyes that seemed to pierce through you and read your thoughts.” He is “a cross between two races whose blend of shrewdness and mysticism was probably accountable for the production of so remarkable a personality as his own.” He is unassuming and doesn’t socialize, but is “all-dominating” in his hospital, where he performs experiments for treating “obscure brain lesions.” He is an expert hypnotist who receives cases from around the country. His particular cases involve psychic matters of reincarnation and possession, and he believes in an “oversoul” to which individual souls return, so that the execution of a brutal murderer will “be the release of just so much additional force of evil” to the oversoul.



Moris Klaw was created by Sax Rohmer (better known as the creator of Fu Manchu) and appeared in a series of stories in 1915 in the All-Story Cavalier Weekly and which were later collected in The Dream Detective (1920). Klaw is something of an occult detective, ala Dr. Silence and Carnacki, but most of his cases dealt more in psychic than in overtly magical phenomena. Klaw is a tall man, stooped and gaunt with age, usually wearing threadbare clothing and looking unkempt. He lives in a poor part of London, not far from Wapping Old Stairs, in a "decayed curio shop" of most unpleasant seeming. It is also inhabited by a parrot, which shrieks "Moris Klaw, Moris Klaw, the Devil's come for you" when someone enters the store. Klaw is an antiquarian, full of oddball information, but his true advantage, and the thing that is of most use to the police (who are welcoming of his help), is his clairvoyance, which is heightened when he sleeps. It is not uncommon for Klaw to sleep at a crime scene. When asleep, he is more receptive to psychic impressions; when he sleeps, Klaw takes in all sorts of information, and uses it to explain things to both the other characters and the readers. Klaw is full of self-regard, and his speech of is full of self-satisfaction and affectations.

Klaw is helped by three other characters. Searles, the narrator… Detective-Inspector Grimsby of New Scotland Yard works as Klaw’s contact with the police. And Isis, Klaw’s daughter, lithe, dark, and mysterious, aids him; she is the one with access to Klaw’s notebooks, and her French accent and smoking of cigarettes indicates what other aid she might be able to give in the service of Klaw.


The Bat was created by Eden Phillpots, under his pseudonym of "Harrington Next," and appeared in Number 87 (1922). The Bat is Paul Strossmeyer, a Yugoslav trade representative who grows concerned with the short-sightedness of various world politicians, especially with regards to the discovery and application of atomic energy. So Strossmeyer begins a series of terrorist acts, from the disintegration of the Albert Memorial to the destruction of various Christian Science churches to the assassination of several politicians, from Britain, Japan, America, and Russia. In each case the assassination was done by a needle-thin puncture near the heart and the transmutation of various elements of the body. Also in each case, a mysterious figure was seen near the crime; this figure, the Bat, is larger than a man, has glowing eyes, and leaves behind a foul stench.

Strossmeyer is the Bat, who worked with radioactivity for decades and discovered Element 87, which allows for the easy splitting of the atom and the production of enormous amounts of energy. Strossmeyer used Element 87 to power his flying suit, his weapons, and his bat-shaped aircraft, which can fly through the upper atmosphere at 100,000 miles an hour.

It all ends badly for Strossmeyer, of course, who destroys his fortress and then heads off into space to kill himself.
I'll probably be doing one of these each week until Warren gets tired of hosting the darned thing, and I'll post the occasional collection of the best here. Now I'm off to work on that Captain Justice vs. Irma Vep remake....

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