Timothy Crowley the First

I first met Tim Crowley at a mixer organised by the Phantom of the Moon. The Phantom of the Moon was crazy, but not a bad guy for all that, so his parties were usually well attended. This would have been in the mid-thirties or so. I’d like to be more specific about the date, but we were attacked by Gregorian Chronoklepts, and lost several weeks of real time, so I can’t be exactly sure.

Anyway, Tim Crowley was one of the top guys in science hero circles at the time. From his otherdimensional base that co-existed with Central Park, he fought demonic incursions and criminal conspiracies with equal aplomb. The man had style, and half the guys in the room that night wanted to be him.

I was in the half that didn’t, mostly because of what my mother had told me about Crowley’s horrifying disfigurements and curses. The people who envied him did so from sheerest ignorance – the greater part of his glamour was just precisely that. And his arch-enemy was the deadliest man alive.

Because Crowley had been disfigured in a clash with Doctor Armageddon – or Doctor Destruction as he’d been then. Crowley had eventually triumphed, but not before the Doctor managed to infect him with some hideous concoction of his own that mixed all the least attractive symptoms of smallpox, leprosy and a few diseases the Doctor had invented himself. For the rest of his life, a portion of Crowley’s magical might would be used to halt the progress of the disease, although it would eventually claim his life.

Crowley had wanted to meet me, too, which was flattering. He hadn’t yet encountered the Doctor under his new nom du crime, and he wanted to be ready for their inevitable re-match. We started talking about that, but ended up covering pretty much everything under the sun before the night was through (much to the chagrin of several science heroines who had set their respective caps for Crowley that night), and begun a friendship that would last another thirty years. In fact, I was the only person present when Crowley died.

Both the first thing and the last thing that he said to me were about the Doctor. The arch-enemy thing is weird like that.