Back in October, shortly after the launch of the Occult Detective Quarterly Kickstarter, we welcomed co-editor John Linwood Grant to Black Gate to tell us a little about his exciting new project. Here’s what he said, in part.
I was always a Carnacki man, staunch and true. An Edwardian adventurer, willing to admit that I was afraid, but determined to stiffen that lip and see the game through. And as a follower of William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki the Ghostfinder, I quickly took to games like Call of Cthulhu when it first came out in the eighties. The dedicated investigator pitted against almost indescribable horrors had an obvious appeal. It turned out to be a shock, because unlike our usual, intriguing fantasy RPG campaigns, in CoC we died a lot. A real lot. We were, generally, doomed.
So when we decided that we would launch a new magazine, Occult Detective Quarterly, we knew what we wanted. Someone even suggested that Doomed Meddler Quarterly would be a good alternative name. We wanted tales of psychic detectives, amateur supernatural sleuths, embittered foes of the Dark, and people who ended up having to investigate malevolent forces against their wills. New Lovecraftian terror was welcome, as was old-fashioned pluck. Stories from Carnacki to Constantine, with terrified innocents thrown in along the way.
The first issue of the magazine is now available, and it’s exceeded my expectations in virtually every way. We are witnessing the birth of a major fantasy magazine.
[Click the images for bigger versions.]
To start with, it’s packed with content — including fiction by Ted E Grau, BG author Joshua M Reynolds, Willie Meikle & David T Wilbanks, Aaron Vlek, and others — terrific non-fiction, and gorgeous interior art by Wayne M. Miller, Robert Freeman, and Mutartis Boswell, with logo and headers by Bob Freeman.
(While we’re on the topic of Occult Detectives, check out Joshua Reynolds long-running Black Gate series exploring the most famous paranormal investigators in literature, The Nightmare Men.)
Here’s a couple of samples of the interior art: Wayne M. Miller’s full-page illo for David T. Wilbanks & William Meikle’s gorilla P.I. story “Got My Mojo Working” (below left), and Robert Freeman’s deliciously moody piece for Amanda DeWees’s occult tale “When Soft Voices Die” (right).
While the big draw for me is the fiction, I’m quite intrigued by the non-fiction this issue, which includes a 5-page color section on a classic relic from my childhood, the 1970s Gold Key comic Dr. Spektor, written by Charles R. Rutledge. Rutledge grabbed my attention with his opening paragraphs, in which he proved himself to be a true kindred soul.
When people ask me who is my favorite occult detective, I’m pretty sure they expect me to mention Manly Wade Wellman’s John Thunstone or Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin, and as worthy as those two stalwarts may be, my very favorite occult detective is actually a comic book character, Doctor Adam Spektor, created by Donald F. Glut.
My introduction to Spektor was in the pages of his eponymous comic book The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor, issue #10, in 1974. The cover featured an Egyptian mummy crashing through a window into a costumed ball and menacing a man in a black Inverness cape, and young woman dressed as a Native American maid. Being a kid raised on the Universal Studios Mummy films, how could I resist?
Sam Gafford’s design and layout for the magazine is top notch, especially for the non-fiction. Here’s a sample from Rutledge’s Dr. Specktor piece, and the first page of the reviews section by Dave Brzeski and James Bojaciuk.
Here’s the complete tale of contents.
“Got My Mojo Working,” David T. Wilbanks and William Meikle
“When Soft Voices Die,” Amanda DeWees
“Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You,” Adrian Cole
“Orbis Tertius,” Josh Reynolds
“MonoChrome,” T.E. Grau
“Baron of Bourbon Street,” Aaron Vlek
“The Adventure of the Black Dog,” Oscar Dowson
OCCULT LEGION: “The Nest” William Meikle
The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor, Charles R. Rutledge
The Man Behind Doctor Spektor: An Interview with Don F. Glut by Charles R. Rutledge
“How to be a Fictional Victorian Ghost Hunter (In Five Easy Steps),” Tim Prasil
By Dave Brzeski and James Bojaciuk
The cover this issue is by Terry Pavlet. See the complete contents of issue #1 here.
We last covered Occult Detective Quarterly in a Kickstarter report by John Linwood Grant, How to Be a Doomed Meddler.
Occult Detective Quarterly is edited by Sam Gafford and John Linwood Grant. Issues are $13 each; subscriptions are not currently available (far as I can tell, anyway). You can purchase copies at the Electric Pentacle Press website.