The Amazing Lanes
Dedicated to Mark Brown & Dennis Power, for inspiration, research, suggestions, and helpful hints
The saga of the Lane family begins in Montréal, Québec, with three brothers, Thomas, Hondo, and Lazarus Lane. The brothers forebears were British Loyalists who had come to Canada after the Revolutionary War. The history of those who remained in the United States may someday be chronicled elsewhere.
Thomas Lane was the older brother of Hondo Lane, who operated in the American Southwest from the mid 1860s to about 1875. Hondo is most likely the grandfather of New York débutante Barbara Lane, as well as of Barbaras cousins, sisters Lois and Margo Lane (see Wold Wold West and The Magnificent Gordons).
Hondo left home at young age and traveled North America, finally ending up in Arizona by the 1860s. He took an Apache wife, but, tragically, she was killed. In the early 1870s, he met a woman named Angela Lowe, née Reinhardt. She and her son, Johnny (b. 1868), had been abandoned by her husband. Hondo and Angela Lowe left Arizona and moved to a ranch in California, where they were married. Hondo also adopted young Johnny.
Hondo and Angela Lanes daughter, Muriel, was born in 1873. After Hondo struck it rich gold prospecting, the Lanes moved back East and settled on an estate near Hondos birthplace, the Hudson Bay area - but on the American rather than the Canadian side of the Bay.
Hondos adopted son, Johnny Lane, was attracted to the theater and eventually became known as the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day. He took the stage name "Drury," after the famous London theater. When deafness forced Drury Lane to quit the theater, he retired back to his estate on the Hudson, which he had inherited from his father. He renamed the estate "The Hamlet," and, restless in his retirement, turned amateur crime-solver, involving himself in several cases in the early 1930s. Drury had one daughter, the maverick socialite Barbara Lane, who was briefly married to Gotham City Police Detective James "Wildcat" Gordon in 1927 (see The Magnificent Gordons).
Hondos other son, Samuel Reinhardt Lane, was born in 1879 and had a bent for science. He studied physics at university and received his Ph.D at a comparatively young age. The money from his fathers estate financed his familys well-being and his continuing science experiments. He had three biological daughters: Linda, born in 1915; Lois, born in 1917; and Lucy, born in 1920. Samuel Reinhardt Lane also had one adopted daughter, Margo.
Linda Lane married a man named Tompkins, who happened to be the older brother of "Tailspin" Tommy Tompkins. Their daughter, Suzie Tompkins, was thus the niece of both Lois Lane and Tailspin Tommy.
As for Lois, at a young age, rebelling against her father and wanting to prove that she could survive in the world without the familys wealth, she set out on her own. She moved to Metropolis, proved herself as a reporter for the Daily Star, and eventually married fellow reporter Clark Kent. Their son Joel Kent was born in 1949.
The story of Margo Lane is more complex. She was born Mary DeLorn in New Orleans, c. 1910. Her mother was an African-American woman named Eula DeLorn, her father an unnamed New Orleans politician, who refused to acknowledge the child. Mary changed her name to Margaret, moved to Chicago, and was briefly married to broker Dick Evans in 1928. The marriage lasted one year before he apparently committed suicide amidst an embezzlement scandal. She fled Chicago, changed her name again, to Margo, and eventually met Lamont Cranston, a shadowy figure who offered her a position in his organization. She accepted.
In 1931, in order to prevent unscrupulous characters from making a connection between Cranston and Margo, Cranston arranged for twenty-year-old Margo to be legally adopted by Dr. Reinhardt Lane, who was also an "associate" in Cranston's organization. Margo Lane spent several years establishing her identity as a wealthy New York socialite about town. She also came to view Reinhardt Lane as the true father she had never known. Finally, late in 1934, Margo received a call from a gentleman named Burbank, and the real fun began.
In 1949, Kent Allard, the man Margo knew as Lamont Cranston, closed up his operations in New York City and prepared to depart for the mystic land of Shamballa. He left Margo with a gift, and their son Kent Lane was born in 1950. Kent Lane went on to become a private eye, although only one of his cases has ever been recorded.
Muriel Lane, the daughter of Hondo and Angela, was born in 1873. At fifteen, Muriel fell in love with a New York City gentleman named John Dale. (Dale was the nephew of Erica Dale, who married Evelyn Gordon; see The Magnificent Gordons.) With some reluctance, Muriels parents acquiesced to the marriage. Even without their approval Muriel would have married Dale anyway. Muriel brought a rather hefty dowry to the marriage, although John Dale was wealthy in his own right. He was a member of the St. James Club, one of the largest safe manufacturers in the United States, and a very prosperous man. The Dales had three children, Jimmie (b. 1888), Martin (b. 1892), and Annette (b. 1895).
Jimmie Dale was a wealthy clubman about town. He had attended Harvard and graduated at twenty-one. He participated in his fathers business for a few years, but quit upon his fathers death; Jimmie had leanings towards more artistic pursuits than business. (As we shall see, gifted artists also run in other lines of the Lane family.) In 1911, he created the masked identity of the gentleman thief, the Gray Seal, in order to battle the underworld and crooked businessmen. Although he was sought by the police, he used his "criminal" activities to aid the helpless and defeat evil schemes. He was dedicated to justice, striking quickly and leaving only a small sticker, a gray seal, as evidence of his presence.
Jimmie Dale married Marie LaSalle in 1920 and their twin daughters, Betty and Beatrice, were born in 1921. Young Betty Dale, following in the footsteps of her relative, Lois Lane, Betty Dale interned as a reporter and worked a crime beat in the mid-to-late 1930s, and she was the girlfriend of "Secret Agent X," although she knew him in his identity of journalist "A.J. Martin." Beatrice Dale acted as a secretary and companion to criminologist Ascott Keane in the late 1930s. Keane's arch-enemy was Doctor Satan.
After Jimmie Dales death, his estate passed his daughters, with the exception of some very important papers. Regarding The Grant-Robeson Papers, Philip José Farmer has stated: "These stories and others by Grant and Robeson have been in a small safe in a residence on Riverside Drive in Manhattan. Your editor was recently made aware of this when the estate of the late J***** D***, a wealthy manufacturer of safes, was inherited by a cousin, L***** C*******. (The names are not revealed because of the wishes of the latter.) It seems that Mr. D*** was an admirer of the works of Grant and Robeson. One reason for this was that Mr. D*** had been, in the early part of the twentieth century, a fighter against crime whose exploits pioneered the paths for Doc Savage and the Shadow -- not to mention the Spider."
Jimmie's younger brother, Martin Dale, was also, naturally, a wealthy New York playboy. In young adulthood, Martin Dale was unjustly convicted of a crime and incarcerated for a time. It was this experience more than any other which led him to create the identity of The Picaroon, gentleman cracksman, in 1921. During his exploits as the Benevolent Picaroon, Martin managed to do good deeds, solve mysteries, and rescue damsels. He performed most of his capers to benefit animals, stealing a wealthy persons valuables and offering to return them upon a ten percent donation to the Society for the Protection of Animals.
Little is known about Jimmies and Martins sister, Annette Dale, except that she married a man named Michael Arden. Mr. Arden's mother, whose first name was Dale, was the granddaughter of pioneer French space explorer Michel Ardan. One branch of Michel Ardan's descendants had emigrated to the United States and their name was Americanized and changed to Arden.
Michael Arden and Annette Dale's daughter was born in 1916. Given that Dale was a family name in both of their families, the choice of Dale as their daughter's first name was an obvious one. Dale Arden was an exceptionally good-looking girl and attracted much attention. Unfortunately, she disappeared along with Raymond "Flash" Gordon during the Rogue Planet Crisis of 1934 (see The Magnificent Gordons).
Revisiting the 19th Century, we do know that Hondos younger brother, Lazarus Lane, followed Hondo out West when he came of age. By the late 1800s, he had settled in California and found work as a bank teller. His true claim to fame, however, was his exploits as the masked hero, El Diablo.
We now return to Hondo Lanes older brother, Thomas. Thomas and Samantha Lane had two children. Harrison L. Lane was born c. 1840, in Montréal, Québec. His brother Henry Lane was born in 1845. When Thomas died in 1850, his widow Samantha married a man named Jekyll, who adopted the children, Harrison and Henry Lane, and moved the family to London, England. Mr. Jekyll persisted in calling young Harrison by his middle name, Leonard, much to the young mans annoyance. The family situation was an unhappy one for the children, and as Leonard Jekyll achieved adulthood, he was ready to break with the family and return to Canada.
According to The Jekyll Legacy, Dr. Henry Jekyll's brother moved to Canada in 1863 and changed his name from Leonard Jekyll to Harrison Lane. In truth, he was only reassuming his birth name. However, he waited several years to do so. His daughter Hesters birth certificate reads Hester Jekyll. I believe that the name change was prompted by Leonards continuing correspondence with his brother Henry. The news of Henrys increasingly bizarre science experiments, coupled with the reports of his adoptive father's continuing mistreatment of their mother, Samantha, prompted Leonard to make a final break with the Jekylls, cut off all communication with them, and change the family name back to Lane. This probably happened in 1869, just after Leonards wife Amy Durrant died.
Although The Jekyll Legacy states that Hester Lane was the only issue of Harrison Lane, her mother was long dead and her father hardly ever spoke to her before his death. Therefore, Hester was not aware that there was an older half-sibling. Upon his return to Montréal, Leonard Jekyll (Harrison Lane) had married and had a son. For reasons unknown, the mother deserted Jekyll and took the child, Andrew, who had been born in 1864. Harrison then remarried to Hester's mother, Amy Durrant, in 1865.
Hester Lane was born 1867. She was raised in Montréal, Québec, and knew nothing of her heritage. Her mother Amy Durrant died c. 1869. Upon Harrison Lanes death c. 1884, Hester moved to London in 1885, was subsequently identified as being related to Dr. Henry Jekyll, and inherited the late doctor's estate (although he wasnt really dead, see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Tooth and Nail). She became embroiled in events reminiscent of the first Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. After the events of The Jekyll Legacy, Hester (Lane) Jekyll remained in London. All that is known of her later life is that she eventually married a man named Waverly. Their son, Alexander, was born in 1892 in Northampshire.
In the early 1900s, the Old Port section of Montréal was subject to some strange events. While all the details have yet to be fully recorded, it is sufficient to reveal that this city, which lies upon the St. Lawrence River, was subject to a visitation by a rather strange submersible vehicle known as the Nautilus. Exactly what Captain Nemo (as the Indian Prince Dakkar was known to call himself) was doing in Québec Province, following the events of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, remains unknown. However, birth records from the time demonstrate that a child, Jacques Nemo, was born in Montréal in the year 1903. Jacques mother was Lisle Jekyll (b. 1883), who in turn was the daughter of Andrew Jekyll and Michelle Land. Michelle (born c. 1862) was the eldest daughter of French-Canadian harpooner Ned Land and Marie Chauvelin. (When Philip José Farmer wrote Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, he was unaware of this older daughter.) The descendants and lineal relationships of Ned and Marie Lands other two daughters, Arronaxe (born 1869) and Edwina (born c. 1865), have been described in Farmers Doc Savage.
Captain Nemo, having finished his business in Montreal, departed aboard the Nautilus for shores unknown, leaving Lisle to raise the child on her own. Young Jacques Nemo, who inherited his fathers dark features, was understandably angry with his father regarding this abandonment. That anger, in conjunction with the distress attached to having a last name that labeled him "no one," led him to legally change his name to "the only one," Solo.
Jacques Solo did not exhibit any extraordinary tendencies that one might expect from a descendant of the Chauvelin and Land lineages. In fact, he was a narcissist, a philanderer, and a neer-do-well electrician at a Montréal hotel.
Solo passed on his dark features and womanizing tendencies to his son. His son, however, was a not a neer-do-well. The sons mother was a talented chef and part-time actress. Her influence resulted in an remarkable man. Napoleon Solo was born in Montréal in 1932. He served in the Korean War, received a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, and his adventures combating the forces of THRUSH have been well documented.
That Napoleon Solo and Alexander Waverly were very distantly related probably accounted for the older mans rather avuncular attitude toward Solos womanizing and other shenanigans.
Andrew Jekyll and his wife Michelle Land had another daughter in addition to Lisle. Marie Jekyll was born in 1885. She married an American named Morley and settled Muncie, Indiana. They had two sons, one of whom moved to the southern United States and made it big in the tobacco business, eventually taking over the company. The second son of Marie Morley was named Earl Gavin Morley and was born in 1908. He moved to Gary, Indiana, and married a woman named Emma Strong.
Emma was the daughter of George Strong, Jr., originally of Baltimore, and transplanted to Indiana. George, Jr., was the son of George Strong of Baltimore, Maryland, and Beatrice Conyngsby of London. George, Jr.s sister was Hazel Strong, Jane Claytons best friend. After Hazels niece, Emma, married Earl Morley, their son was born in 1942. His name was Simon.
Simon Morley served in the Army in Viet Nam before eventually ending up in New York City, working as a sketch artist and photographer. He disappeared without a trace in 1970. He was reportedly seen again in 1973, but these reports remain unsubstantiated.
Undoubtedly there is a new generation of Lanes, whose exploits have not yet been revealed. Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for further avenues of research.
Dennis Power has written An Addendum to the Amazing Lanes. He has also kindly created The Amazing Lanes Family Tree Part I and Part II in graphic format, with a few speculative additions of his own, which also can also be viewed by going to his site, The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe.
Bloch, Robert, and Norton,
Andre, The Jekyll Legacy
Brown, Mark K., The Magnificent Gordons, The Wold Newton Chronicles
Burroughs, Edgar Rice, the Tarzan novels
Chadwick, Paul (aka "Brant House"), Secret Agent X pulp novels
Chaffin, Glenn, and Forrest, Hal, Tailspin Tommy Tompkins comic strip
Chaykin, Howard, The Shadow: Blood and Judgment, DC Comics
Eckert, Win, The Shadow Chronology, The Wold Newton Universe
El Diablo stories, DC Comics
Ellis, Mark, and Eckert, Win, The U.N.C.L.E. Chronology, The Wold Newton Universe
Ernst, Paul, the Doctor Satan stories
Farmer, Philip José, Tarzan Alive
-----------------, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life
Finney, Jack, Time and Again
------------, From Time to Time
Gibson, Walter (aka "Maxwell Grant") and others, The Shadow pulp novels
Jones, Gerard, and Barreto, Eduardo, The Shadow Strikes! comic series
Kindzierski, Lovern, Tooth and Nail, in Tarzan numbers 15 and 16, Dark Horse Comics
L'Amour, Louis, Hondo
Landon, Herman, "The Benevolent Picaroon" and other Picaroon stories
Moore, Alan and O'Neill, Kevin, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Nevins, Jess, Pulp and Adventure Heroes of the Pre-War Years
Packard, Frank L., The Adventures of Jimmie Dale and other Jimmie Dale (aka The Gray Seal) novels
Power, Dennis, Wold Wold West, The Secret History of the Wold Newton Universe
Queen, Ellery (writing as "Barnaby Ross"), the Drury Lane mysteries
Raymond, Alex, and Moore, Don, Flash Gordon comic strip
Siegel, Jerome, and Shuster, Joseph, Action Comics and Superman, DC Comics
Stevenson, Robert Louis, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Verne, Jules, From the Earth to the Moon
-----------, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
-----------, The Mysterious Island
with thanks to:
Dennis Power for suggesting Hondo and Drury Lane
Jean-Marc Lofficier for suggesting the Michel Ardan/Dale Arden connection
Return to The Wold Newton Chronicles
The Amazing Lanes was written for the sole purposes of entertainment and information. All rights reserved. The text of this article is © 2000-2003 by the author, Win Eckert. 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 author.