In Comics: The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor: Volume 4
Written by Donald Glut
Art by Jesse Santos
Doctor Spektor sets off on his final set of adventures to investigate what otherworldly beings plague humanity.
Doctor Adam Spektor is a researcher of the supernatural, pursuing mysteries across the globe and beyond. His studies lead to face offs with leviathans, mummies, ancient demons, and other-worldly deities. His assistants – including girlfriend Lakota Rainflower, his cousin Anne, the psychic Elliot Kane, and more – help Spektor investigate the mystic evils that plague man, but his relationships strain from his occult obsessions.
This fourth and final volume from Dark Horse collects the last seven issues of the mid-1970s comic series from original publisher Gold Key (other Gold Key characters like the Owl and Doctor Solar make cameos). The table of contents can confuse this by listing eight issues. That’s because the “final” issue 25 is a reprint of the first issue with a variant cover, with only that cover in this book.
Being a fourth volume, it’s actually not difficult to jump into. Doctor Spektor is from a time where every issue was expected to be someone’s first, so it has a reasonable amount of exposition to get the readers in without bogging them down. Each issue is a fairly stand-alone adventure, with all references explained well enough. Some references may even pique interests in checking out the previous books (Spektor used to be a werewolf?).
With that said though, you’re left wondering why Spektor searches out the abnormal, how he makes a living from it, and more importantly, what he has a doctorate in. You won’t find these in the previous volumes though. The book was cancelled, and as co-creator/author Donald Glut explains in the introduction, the origin story was planned as the next issue before the book was put on the chopping block.
Despite its untimely demise, Doctor Spektor is an intriguing supernatural mystery series, although it’s honestly and sadly not as surreal as I would have thought. I’m glad this volume explores some more Lovecraft-inspired mythology over the generic vampires, werewolves and mummies. The negatives? The characters take their relationships over melodramatically, and the mysticism seems solved too quickly, but that was the pacing of the day. Get everything in and out in one issue, with as much impact as possible. It doesn’t always help the story, but The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor manages through.
First off, you have to remember that this is truly a pre-digital comic of its day. The hallmarks of color bleed and over-inking are present throughout the work. I’m a fan of the covers. They’re look very surreal and even horrific in some cases. They look more like paintings than simple comic covers, with soft and detailed brush strokes to get everything just right. I wish the interior art was painted the same, but that would have taken even more months just to create a single issue. Even with the simpler penciling, inking and coloring, the interior is decent.
Is the book worth it? This trade is listed at $49.99. It only contains seven issues, so that’s about $7 an issue, too much even today. Especially since the book was cancelled in the first place for poor sales. The only bonuses are the hardback cover, an introduction by author Donald Glut, and excerpts from Doctor Spektor’s occult files (which were included in the original issues’ printings).
With such a small issue count and unremarkable bonuses, I can’t justify the high cost for anyone but a big Spektor fan from the ‘70s, needing their fix. If a cheaper softcover comes down the road, it’ll be a much easier recommended read.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10