Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor Volume #2

Dark Horse Comics' second volume of the collected Occult Files of Dr. Spektor showed up at the comic book store last night. Coincidentally, the cover DH used for the book was the front cover of Dr. Spektor issue #10, which was the first issue I bought off the stands. I remember it well because I bought the comic because of the cover. I had no idea who Dr. Spektor was or why the mummy bursting in through a window was out to get him, but it didn't matter. The image caught my attention and I had to get that comic book. Can't recall where I bought it but I believe it was at the drugstore/diner that was next to the Men's Clothing store that my mother's father owned for many years.
As Spektor Writer Don Glut explains in the introduction to volume 2, this issue marks the point where he was really starting to hit his stride and challenging the staid conventions of Gold Key comics. Gold Key, the successor to Dell Comics had a fairly strict set of guidelines for their comic books and one of the things they considered a no-no was continuity. They didn't want any two part stories or any stories that used reoccurring villains or flash backs to earlier issues. Glut wanted to do all of these things in the titles he wrote, because he felt maybe that way Gold Key could actually compete with the 'Big Two' comic book publishers, DC and Marvel. A long time comics fan himself, Glut knew what fanboys liked. He also tried to write more realistic characters and to show his characters changing over the course of the series.
The stories in volume two feature reoccurring villains, flashbacks to earlier issues, and a continuing story line where Spektor becomes a werewolf for three issues. In the introduction, Glut (pronounced Gloot) tells some humorous anecdotes about how he got these things past the editors. Some nice bits of comics history. Also within the span of these issues, Glut began to solidify his concept of the Lovecraftian style deities, the Dark Gods, and he began linking Dr. Spektor to another title he wrote for Gold Key, Dagar the Invincible, a sword and sorcery comic I've blogged about before.
In the next volume in the Dark Horse series we should see Glut's biggest team-up/crossover event at Gold Key where one of the characters from Dagar actually crosses time to help Dr. Spektor fight an ancient sorcerer and the Frankenstein Monster too. For a preview, check out my blog post from 2007:

I find that these solidly written comics hold up very well after close to 40 years. The best thing for me about these collections, is that owing to spotty distribution back in the day, I never got a complete run of Dr. Spektor, and though I bought quite a few back issues over the years, I think there are two stories that I still haven't read, which should show up in volumes 3 and 4. So I still have a couple of 'new' issues to read. Plus, these volumes collect obscure Dr. Spektor appearances from Gold Key's various mystery and horror digests and anthologies, some of which I don't own. This makes me happy.

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