Written by Steven Peros
Illustrated by Barry Orkin
Colors by Chris Summers, Studio Haus
Letters by Marshal Dillon
Edited by J.C. Vaughn
Published by Our Gal Pictures
Page Count: 96
Priced at $19.99
Available on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/Stoker-Wells-Order-Golden-Graphic/dp/B07YBFBQ3K
H.G. WELLS, the author of numerous turn of the 20th century sci-fi classics such as The War of The Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and the Island of Doctor Moreau, and BRAM STOKER, the author of Dracula, find themselves embroiled in a time travel adventure of epic proportions. Marooned in the distant future by a crazed acolyte of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Bram and young Herbert must contend with subterranean monsters, elfin beauties, and bloodthirsty supernatural megalomaniacs.
Alright, I admit it, I’m a sucker for RPF fiction. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the acronym, (R)eal (P)erson (F)iction is a writing genre similar to fanfic, but involving actual figures from history. STOKER & WELLS falls in this camp, but is ultimately much more than that. Blending the tropes of horror with that of science fantasy, the best way to describe it is WEIRD FICTION, which just so happens to be my favorite genre. This being the case, it does not mean that all Weird Fiction automatically gets a thumbs up from me, and that I’ll pick up any old thing that bills itself as such. More often than not I’ve wasted whole afternoons on drivel that I should’ve screened better before attempting to read it.
This, however, was not the case with Stoker & Wells.
The first thing that drew me in was the art. Barry Orkin has a style that lends itself to detail. This is evident in the intricate facial expressions of the characters as well as the expertly-designed architecture of not only Victorian Era London but also the dilapidated structures of a far-future world. Coupled with this he designs some pretty glorious grotesqueries and some incredibly sinister vampires to boot. The panels are well laid out and every image seems to arrest the eye. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as one would expect of a straightforward horror tale. There’s a vein of humor running throughout the story, and Barry captures this expertly with his penciling. The colors pop off the page, and the quality of the lettering is way beyond average, making the overall art in this book an even greater joy to look at.
But what about the story, the plot, the dialogue? Breathe a sigh of relief, folks. Simply put, they are every bit as good as the art. Kudos to Steve Peros for that. The back-and-forth between Stoker and Wells is well-written and gave me a couple of laugh out loud moments, always a good sign that the writer ‘gets’ his characters. For a 96 page book the story flows logically from one scene to the next, with just the right amount of unexpected twists and turns to keep you on your seat. Action seems to be the order of the day, and to describe this book as an adrenaline-filled roller coaster of fun is an understatement. Of course I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that it is extremely satisfying, and left me wanting more. This book might be a quick read, but it’s something I’ll keep coming back to; a sure sign of a riveting and original graphic novel.
For the purposes of this review, we’ll be using the Morlock Skull rating system.
The Art: Dynamic, intricate, compelling. 5 out of 5 Morlock Skulls.
The Story: Funny, frightening, entertaining. 4 out of 5 Morlock Skulls.
If you are a horror fanatic, lover of fantasy, or even a fan of faux history, STOKER & WELLS: Order of the Golden Dawn is a must read. So go pick up a copy while stocks last, true believers. You won’t be disappointed.