Steven Peros - Stoker & Wells: Order of the Golden Dawn
The writing in Stoker and Wells Order of the Golden Dawn has a different feel than most comic books. The author, Steven Peros, is a writer for television, so that makes sense. Maybe a better way to put it is that the writing has a different feel than most comic books of the past couple of decades. There is a ton of story packed into the 96 pages and I feel that it would take twice as many pages when written by a lot of other creators. Barry Orkin provides the illustration and is solid in the year 1894 and four thousand years forward in the year 5894.
I love this density, no wasted pages, no filler. The writing style makes This a grand adventure going from turn of the century London to a future so far flung it feels alien.
Of course, the inspiration for this tale has two impeccable sources in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. I would say it relies more on the Time Machine than Dracula, but there are plenty of original elements as well. The comic book is a blending of the two novels and the framework is the fictionalized meeting of the two authors in their “real life” and them getting swept up in a journey that becomes an inspiration for both of their famous books.
It may sound strange to take two properties and combine them, but it works in this case. Comics is a medium of hybrids, with many characters drawing inspiration from multiple sources. The author takes the Dracula Lego set and the Time Machine Lego set and uses them to create something fresh and new.
Abraham Stoker and Herbert Wells are thrown together on a project for famed London stage actor Henry Irving. This leads to a fantastical demonstration of time travel by a character named Silas Embleton at a gathering of the Order of the Golden Dawn.
Wells, being the more adventurous of the two, instigates an investigation which results in both authors being forced by gunpoint into a familiar looking time machine and sent to a future world. The future is like the original novel with the new wrinkle of a mysterious overlord in a dragon shaped castle. This setups up a more direct conflict enemy to drive the plot and a race against time for our protagonists.
Being familiar with Dracula and the Time Machine obviously adds to the enjoyment of this book and knowing a little bit of the biography of Bram Stoker and H. G. Wells is a bonus. If you have never read either, I highly recommend it. The Time Machine is the shorter, easier read of the two.
If you enjoy these classics of literature, I recommend giving this graphic novel a try. I originally picked it up through a crowdfunding campaign, and it can now be found on Amazon. Check out Steven Peros on Twitter at https://twitter.com/StevenGPeros.
NOTE! The follow up sequel to this book is Stoker & Wells: The Ashes of Revenge and it is available NOW on Indiegogo! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stoker-wells-the-ashes-of-revenge#/
If this sounds like your kind of adventure, pick up both books on the campaign.