Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Dream team is my creative endeavor to pull together a team of five characters with different origins to full fill a mission of my choosing.
Mission: In 1939 FDR learns from his occult adviser Edgar Cayce that the Axis powers are in the process of recovering the fabled six Lemurian Artifacts of Power. Three have already been recovered by mercenaries and are hidden in the cities of San Francisco, London and Cairo. Of the other three, one is hidden in the Amazon basin, and an elite team of German SS is looking for it. Another is in Tibet and a team of Japanese occultist guarded by Imperial military police are close to discovering its location. The third is hidden in King Solomon’s mines in Ethiopia, and the Italian Army is currently searching for it. Desperate that the Axis doesn’t get hold of the powerful artifacts Roosevelt puts together a crack team of agents to recover the ones in the hands of the mercenaries and find the missing ones before the Axis does.
Perimeters: The characters chosen must have been in a story set between nineteen-thirty-nine and forty. (I was going to say the thirties but there are some really cool characters who were first published in 1940.) The story can contemporary or written in modern times, but must be set between 1930 and 1940. Only one character per source material. Since this is a prolonged mission that will take place in both urban and wilderness environments, characters should have a verity of skills and be self-sufficient if cut off form support.
Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones Jr.
Source: Indian Jones Movies, Young Indian Jones Chronicles
Role: Team leader
Skills: Archeology, fighting
Pros: Rugged man of action
Cons: “Snakes it had to be snakes.”
Oh come on, don’t tell me when you found out that we were selecting characters for a pulp-style adventure that Indiana Jones wasn’t the first one you thought of. Kevin Smith had described Indy as the American James Bond. And he’s absolutely right in that. He is an expert on occultism, and Archeology. He can fight with pistols, whips and his fists, and the whole time woe the ladies.
Indy is almost Dr. Jones alter ego. But unlike many superheroes he not superpowered. He gets hurt, he makes the wrong call he suffers from petty human foibles such as vanity, the desire for glory and lust. But he triumphs sometimes completely on sheer determination. We love him because he is human, but a human with great skills and guts. He is more fleshed out in the short lived Young Indian Jones Chronicles. Though not the first world trotting two-fisted archeologist, Indy has set the bar, for all the Tom, Dick, and Laura Crofts to come.
Source: Doc Savage Novels.
Role: Second in command.
Skills: A little of everything and butt kicking too.
Pros: Trained for adventure under her famous cousin.
Cons: A little to head strong if she doesn’t like the plan.
Patricia Savage is Doc savages second cousin (And as theorized by Phillip Jose farmer his lover.) In ways she is a female version of Doc, the greatest of all pulp/cliff-hanger heroes. Though often portrayed as a blonde, she has bronze skin and hair color like her kinsman. She carries a forty-five revolver sawed of trigger she fires by fanning the hammer (I know the picture of her I have has a trigger, but I just couldn’t find any other picture of Pat I liked) and is a deadly shot. She is one of the few people besides his handpicked Fabulous Five that Doc allows to accompany on his missions. Though maybe not an expert on everything, like Doc she still knows more about adventuring than most heroes of the time. It is also important to remember what she is not, she’s not the hapless potential damsel in distress that many women where in the pulps.
So why did I chose Pat over Doc. Well this is about the team. Doc Savage is the ultimate pulp hero, but he is more solo character than a team player. Now I know he has his fabulous Five, but they are all experts in their field, chemistry, engineering, law etc., but Doc trumps them all. Doc is a Mary Sue, even if he is a well written and enjoyable Mary Sue, but he still is one none the less. With Doc on the scene all others are relegated to back up players. I can’t see Indy playing second fiddle to anyone even someone as accomplished as Doc.
Source: The Green Hornet.
Role: Driver, martial artist.
Skills: Driving, combat, oriental languages and culture.
Pros: team player, great back up, also learned a lot of espionage skills from the Green Hornet.
Cons: More experienced in an urban setting than a wilderness one.
Kato was the Green Hornets valet/driver/enforcer and may have been inspired by Admiral Robert Evans Japanese valet, also named Kato, who legend has it eventually commanded a ship in the Japanese navy. Kato is unassuming and the ultimate team player and back up. It doesn’t hurt that he was played in the 1960’s by the epitome of cool Bruce Lee. In ways Kato is a jack of all trades, fighter, investigator, driver and mechanic. The mechanic role I think would fit well for the team if they are out on their own and their equipment breaks with no chance to replace it.
Kato was originally from Japan, but when Japan invaded Manchuria it was changed. First to Korean then Filipino. Latter version have him being from China. (Kato: I was born in the city of Shanghai. Britt: I love Japan.) For the team I am going with the Filipino version. We know he knows karate but this way he could also be a master at Eskrima Filipino knife and stick fighting. Also the Philippians is more rural than Japan so may have more wildness survival skills. Finally opposing Japanese expansion might be why he would leave his friend Britt Reed.
Source: Ace Drummond Serial and newspaper comic strip.
Skills: Pilot, investigator
Pros: The team has to get around the world somehow.
Cons: Knows Asia very well, less traveled in South America or Africa.
Ace is a top pilot. He is very savvy with the technology of his time. He was able to figure out how The Dragon was electrocuting pilots and save a co-pilot and prevent himself from succumbing to a similar fate. He can fly anything with wings from sea-planes to fighter craft. He is also able to track down sinister Dragon and his cohorts. And as a plus when played by John King in the serials he has a fabulous sinning voice.
Ex-pat pilots are one of the archetypical pulp heroes. From Baloo the bear in Talespin to Catherine Zeta Jones Sala in The Phantom. Why chose this one over any other. Well basically because Ace was created by none other than World War One ace Eddie Rickenbacker. That gives him a leg up on all the others when he was portrayed in air combat. Why even famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart, wanted to see the set of the serial, and that is a great endorsement.
Source: Real Life
Role: Explorer and wildlife expert.
Skills: Survival and hunting
Pros: Street savvy as well as jungle trained.
Cons: getting a little old by 1939.
Frank Buck is a real life person whose life seemed to be based on a pulp adventure. Born in 1884, he won $3,500 in a high stakes poker game and used it to finance his first adventure overseas. He started by going to Brazil and exporting exotic birds back to the US. This made him a metric ton of money. He traveled the world supplying zoos with exotic animals for eighteen years. When the great stock crash hit he was left penniless so his friends staked him $6,000 and he made a second fortune.
I like placing a real human being in with my team of factious heroes. And since his motto was bring them back a live, he is very familiar with traps, and this could really help Indy out. And due to his experience with poisonous snakes he could step in when the team had to deal with them. Also Frank Buck’s survival skills are top notch.
Honorable mention/Backups: Batman (everything goes better with Batman), Doc Savage (the man of bronze himself) Tarzan (Who couldn’t use an apeman), Elijah Snow (As a century baby he was active in the 1930’s), Jake Cutter (tales of the Gold Monkey’s pilot with the one eyed dog.) Pat Ryan (Obie Won to Terry form Terry and the Pirates fame), Dick Tracy (The ultimate G-Man) The Phantom (The world’s first costume hero) The Comedian (The anti-hero from The watchmen active in the thirties), The Green Lama (A rare 1940 Buddhist hero). Mandrake the Magician (Stage magician extraordinaire) G-8 (Pilot who occasionally fights the supernatural) Frankie Cooke (Angelina Jolie in an eye-patch) Domino Lady (Blonde bombshell with a .45 and knockout drops) Prince Namor (Fling raging Alatean) The Lobster (AKA Lobster Johnson, Hellboy’s universe version of pulp Batman