Copyright 2012 Freeman Presson, all rights reserved
I’ve been jonesing to see Occult Detective Illustrated (featuring the classic Magus-detective Dr. Landon Connors) since the first samples showed up at Bob Freeman’s blog. When I actually got hold of it, it exceeded my first impression: I looked at it and said, “This cover is worth the cover price.” It has great composition, hidden and manifest occult symbols, and expresses the character of the detective perfectly (my photo doesn’t do it justice, but I use my own when I can). The book is a typical 32-page comic format, but the cover and inside papers are of superior quality, that says “you are going to keep this for a long time.”
I already knew the author knows what he’s doing, occult-wise. All of the symbols and charms used are either traditional, or they are takeoffs on themes from famous fiction (like that infamous “spell of making” from Excalibur). The eldritch writing on the upright column on the cover, for example, is in a traditional magical script (no, I will not translate it for you — geek out on it). Seals from traditional grimoires abound; one panel even has the Sigillum Dei Ameth as a background.
The four vignettes are basically setup for subsequent issues of ODI, or for the upcoming graphic novel, Oddfellows Serenade (with Chris Wilson). There are two current adventures, a bit of an origin story, and an introduction of Landon Connors’ familiar (who is riding around in the traditional black cat meatsuit).
The artwork is generally noir style (and sometimes reminds me of S. Clay Wilson’s comics), but there’s a completely different feel to the childhood-memory story, appropriately so. All of it is rich in detail, nicely balanced, and draws the eye along like all good panel art. There’s a demon and a cat that are especially well-drawn; see if you agree.
The stories are short, vignettes really. This whole comic is like a tray of crafty and savory appetizers (but you can eat the same one over and over). SO, BOB, DON’T MIND ME, I’M JUST GOING TO NURSE THIS GLASS OF PROSECCO UNTIL YOU GET THE MAIN COURSE OUT HERE. And give the maître-d’ the Tennessee stink-eye. And do my best to look like I’m working on a really scathing review of your whole restaurant … ahem where was I? Oh, yeah, I was telling you (the reader, if you’re still here) to buy this comic. Buy two; he did say it was a limited run. You’re going to want to add Dr. Connors to your friends list; you might even like him better than Harry Dresden, because he stays closer to real magic (occasionally backed up with a Big-Ass Handguntm).
[Complimentary review copy from the publisher gratefully acknowledged, opinions my own, your mileage may vary, etc.]
SERIOUSLY? Nobody has contacted me to say they figured out the inscription on the front of the comic? Do I have to offer a REWARD or something? “Give this man a drachma, since he must profit by what he learns.” WHO SAID THAT?