Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reading Room: SIR LEO "End of a Legend"

...Victorian-era adventurer Sir Leo Wooldrich encounters a Lovecraftian-type being lurking in the appropriately-named Black Lake...
This two-part tale from New English Library's Dracula #1 & #2 by writer/artist Jose Bea and co-writer Luis Vigil was the only Sir Leo story published in Warren's HTF Dracula anthology which reprinted #1-6.
The series continued in #7 through #12, which have never been reprinted in the US, so most American fans have never seen them...unless they keep checking this blog, where we'll be re-presenting them over the next couple of months.

Today, The Nerdist did a feature on comic book/graphic novel supernatural sleuths HERE.
Sadly, the writers don't seem to acknowledge any supernatural detectives existed before 1980, so they neglect cool characters like Sir Leo and Fero: Planet Detective!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reading Room: SIR LEO "Thing from the Lake"

Besides futuristic barbarian Wolff, the 1970s horror anthology Dracula featured...
...a Victorian monster-hunter done in a wild, semi-psychedelic style by Jose Bea (The pen-name for writer/illustrator Jose Maria Bea Font).
You'll find out if a lead projectile will stop the creature (and if it doesn't...what will?) in our next exciting entry!
This first part of a two-part tale from Dracula #1 (1971) was co-written by Luis Vigil.
The Sir Leo series was published irregularly in Dracula (1971), a 12-issue partworks magazine* by Great Britain's New English Library, the first two Sir Leo tales made their American debut in Warren Publishing's HTF Dracula TPB in 1972 which reprinted #1-#6 of the British Dracula's run.
The remaining tales from #7-#12 have never been published in the US.
We will be presenting the complete Sir Leo strip (including the unseen-in-the-USA stories) on this blog over the next few months.
Watch for it!
*Partworks magazines are a limited series issued from weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
They usually run 12-24 issues for each volume.
When the final issue in a volume is published, the publishers offer a wraparound cover to make the complete set into a hardbound book. 
The buyer is offered the option to bind the magazines themselves or send the set to the publisher who professionally-binds the mags and sends the bound volume back to the customer.
This concept is extremely popular in Europe, but has never caught on in America, despite numerous attempts.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reading Room: NOT WHO YOU THINK: GRIMM "Haunting of Castle Tuber"

The concept of a man battling supernatural threats with unique weapons isn't new...
...but, when that man is a "Grimm", well that idea's just 75 or so years old!
Funny, I thought it was vampires that didn't cast reflections in mirrors, not zombies!
And that "I never" line is straight out of Bram Stoker's Dracula!
(Happy 165th, Bram...)
This story initially-appeared in Harvey's War Victory Adventures #3 (1943-44) and, less than a year later, reappeared in Elliot's Bomber Comics #1 (1944), where the series ran for the four-issue duration of the title's publication.
The "Don Weaver" credit is probably a pseudonym since it doesn't appear anywhere else in comics besides on this series.
While it's a fascinating coincidence, I doubt the producers of the TV series Grimm even know about this incarnation of the concept.
Interestingly, Grimm bears marked similarities both to Zero: Ghost Detective, and the first appearance of Fero: Planet Detective, both of whom preceded Grimm.
And, as of his next appearance, Grimm switched from being a "Ghost Spotter" to operating as a "Ghost Doctor"!
(And, yes, he makes "haunted house calls"...
Geez, it's like I'm talking to a bunch of 12-year olds...)