"A Bronze Age Comic That I'd Never Read…" – Mark Waid Talks Doctor Spektor

Doctor Spekter: Master of the Occult is the fourth of Dynamite's new comic series based on the classic Gold Key characters. Series writer Mark Waid talks to Dejah Of Mars scribe Mark Rahner about taking on the lesser known character and how Spektor compares to the classic occult detectives from literature, comics and film.

Spektor01CovSubFrancavilla (1)MARK RAHNER: I'm a lifelong comic nerd, but Doctor Spektor was never on my radar. What made you want to resurrect him?

MARK WAID: Kind of exactly that. That he wasn't on anyone's radar. Do you know how hard it was for Nicky to find a Bronze Age comic that I'd NEVER read? That made it attractive as assignments go, though–there was no revival of the past forty years to be compared to!

Layout 1MR: You've updated the character. For one thing, there was no reality TV when he debuted with Gold Key in 1972. What else have you done to him in his 2014 incarnation?

MW: Seriously, I think the spirit (no pun intended) of the original is preserved–the core concept that we're following the adventures of a man who not only lives in a world where vampires and werewolves and ghosts are real but who has the vast physical resources and research to combat them. What we have done is update the look and give more nuance to his motives.

Layout 1MR: Are there hardcore fans of the original run who've trolled you? "Why'd you change him, you hack?" Or is he obscure enough that you can get away with anything you want?

MW: It's like a blank check so far. How liberating to work with a great character whose adventures had great art and whose comics covers were so memorable…and yet has no hardcore fans. It's like finding a hidden diamond.

Layout 1MR: I'm a sucker for occult investigators – Kolchak, The X-Files, Dr. Thirteen, Harry D'Amour … How is Spektor different?

MW: He is insanely, crazily, stupefyingly rich, for one. Like, Scrooge McDuck rich. Rich enough to be able to hire teams of scientists to figure out what the modern-day chemical equivalent of "eye of newt" is if he needs it for a spell.

Layout 1MR: In the first issue, you link Spektor with other Gold Key characters. What can you say about that without giving too much away?

MW: That this was in my original pitch, unchanged: what could stun a man who takes the undead and magic and the paranormal for granted? Answer: costumed superheroes come to life.

Layout 1MR: To paraphrase a crack from one of the supporting characters, what kind of journey are you sending Doctor Spektor on?

MW: I'll let you in on a secret: his journey's not as shocking as his assistant, Abby's.

MR: What would he do in a confrontation with John Edward?

MW: Exact rightful vengeance for all of the unspeakably horrible things he's put suffering people through in order to turn a profit on their grief.

For more on Doctor Spektor: Master Of The Occult #1, click here

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.