4The Lone Ranger Is the Green Hornet's Uncle
One is a mysterious masked cowboy, the other a contemporary superhero most recently portrayed by the guy from Knocked Up. At first glance, it would seem like the only things the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet have in common are that they both fight injustice and they both have racial stereotypes for sidekicks.
Not pictured: Pancho, Batman's subservient sidekick/caddy.
Turns out all that stuff runs in the family, because they're actually related. The Lone Ranger and Green Hornet are owned by different companies now (and their movie rights are held by competing studios), but the original radio shows aired on the same Detroit station in the 1930s and shared one character -- Dan Reid, the Lone Ranger's young nephew in the Wild West. Dan also appeared as an old man in the other show (set in the '30s) because he was Green Hornet's dad. This was basically the same character played by Tom Wilkinson in the recent movie.
Making him around 150 years old.
So the Green Hornet is actually the Lone Ranger's great-nephew, but much like the bastard child of a congressman, the family connection can't be openly acknowledged since the Ranger was sold to a different company in the '50s. They still have the same last name (Reid), and their personal histories remain entwined; they just can't mention any of that anymore because, from a legal standpoint, that would be like a character in CSI coming out and saying he's the illegitimate child of Matlock and Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote.
Some Green Hornet comics have gotten around this by showing a Lone Ranger-type dude but just not naming him:
Green Hornet #1 (1989)
"No, see -- he's the Lonely Ranger."
By the way, they've also thrown a couple of extra generations into the family tree to explain how the Green Hornet can still be set in the present (much like Batman) without having to say that his great-uncle was dressing up like a cowboy in World War II or something.
So when the new Lone Ranger movie comes out next year, with the guy who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network as the Ranger and Johnny Depp pulling a no doubt racially sensitive and restrained portrayal of Tonto, keep in mind that the main character there is actually a relative of Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet.
The bloodline has somewhat diluted over the years.
Oh, and guess who else was recently cast for a part in The Lone Ranger? Tom Wilkinson. Apparently he'll play a villain, but we're hoping he'll actually turn out to be the Lone Ranger's young nephew who inexplicably looks the same age he did when he appeared this year in The Green Hornet.
"It's been a busy year."
3Conan the Barbarian and Cthulhu: Best Buds Forever?
One is an action/fantasy hero famously portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his once mighty pectorals. The other is perhaps the most significant creation in 20th-century horror literature and H.P. Lovecraft's signature character. A Conan/Cthulhu connection seems unlikely, if not impossible -- and probably would be if not for the fact that their creators were BFFs.
Their dapperness united them.
H.P. Lovecraft and Conan's creator, Robert E. Howard, published their most famous stories in the same pulp magazine, Weird Tales. The two writers became friends in the 1930s, and as friends often do, started slipping references to each other's work in their stories. For example, the very first Conan story mentions Lovecraft's "Old Ones" and explicitly named Cthulhu in the original draft. That's right: Conan's adventures were part of the Cthulhu mythos from the beginning.
Get the ftaghn out.
There are numerous other references to Lovecraft in Conan stories, but we'll admit they don't seem so shocking now, what with Cthulhu showing up pretty much everywhere these days ...
There's also that Simpsons episode where Homer helps him deal with his fear of escalators.
However, this is different because Lovecraft himself included several shout-outs to Conan in the original Cthulhu stories -- one story features a character from Cimmeria (Conan's homeland) who is named after Conan's nemesis, and another mentions the Serpent Men of Valusia, best known as the bad guys from the cheesy Conan cartoon:
In fact, in that same cartoon (as in Robert Howard's stories), the Serpent Men worship a snake god called Set -- that's another name for Yig, one of Lovecraft's Old Ones. Incidentally, the Snake Men from He-Man are thinly veiled rip-offs of the Serpent Men (just as He-Man is a thinly veiled rip-off of Conan) and worshipped practically the same ancient snake deity. And say, what did Skeletor's lair look like, again?
"In his house at R'lyeh, Dead Skeletor waits dreaming."
The snake monsters and such are probably the only connection to Lovecraft that still survives in the Conan franchise -- just take a look at the trailer for the new movie. As Conan's popularity exploded (and the character started being dumbed down for other media), most Cthulhu mythos references ended up being edited out of his original stories and ignored by subsequent writers.
"Edited out" in this case means "forcibly removed from the memories of."
But hey, at least he didn't become an overused Internet meme.