How does magic work in the modern age? That’s what Mark Waid is asking in the 2014 Dynamite series The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. Based on the 1970s Gold Key title of the same name, this new ongoing series follows a Las Vegas-style showman who’s made a celebrity career on hunting monsters and unveiling the truth behind mysterious and supernatural events. Waid aims to pull back the curtain on the idea of magic and Spektor is at the forefront, mixing stage magic, real magic and a little bit of theatrics.
Set to debut in April 2014, The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor is part of Dynamite Entertainment’s line of titles coming out of the classic Gold Key library. Newsarama spoke with Waid to get the inside word on the magic he hopes to make with this series.
Newsarama: So Mark, how’d you come to be involved with this Dynamite relaunch of the Gold Key characters?
Mark Waid: Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci talked to me about the big reveal a few months ago and when it comes to cooking up ways to revive forgotten comics characters, I can't seem to keep my enthusiasm in check.
Nrama: And we’re glad for it! But I’d argue that of the four titles being announced, The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor is the least known among them. That being said, what made this a story you wanted to do?
Waid: The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor plays to two of my fascinations: celebrity and the art of illusion. My take on Doctor Spektor is that he's a Criss Angel-like showman who's built a very telegenic career on the "outing" of vampires, ghouls and ghosts – the paranormal – which are very real in Spektor's world but which he enjoys vanquishing, particularly when there are cameras rolling. But when he himself finds something going on in the world that seems impossible and unbelievable to even him, he dedicates his fortune to investigating it – and the toll it takes on his career and peace of mind is incalculable.
Nrama: This isn’t your first time writing magic-based stories – I remember your recent Doctor Strange miniseries fondly. You’re known as someone who really thinks a concept through, so what is magic in your mind for this series?
Waid: Good question – but not the question that needs asking. Again, in this world, the legends of myth are very real; so the true puzzle is, what phenomenon could possibly be so fantastic that it seems outlandish given that reality? Spektor himself is no sorcerer, he's just an astoundingly wealthy super-celebrity who's made his bones as a monster hunter. Now he has to ask who the real monsters are...!
Nrama: Although the title carries Spektor’s name, in his original stories he had quite a cast of characters with him such as his secretary Lakota as well as several assistants. Will any of them be joining Spektor in this relaunch?
Waid: Lakota almost certainly – but others, as well. There's plenty of room to expand that cast. I only hope all of them make it to the end of the first issue. I wouldn't bet on it.
Nrama: You’ve done almost everything in the industry from retailer to writer to editor, journalist, and even publisher. You know your history as well, so how do you see these Gold Key characters sitting in the pantheon of comic book heroes, and where do you see them fitting in as new titles in 2014?
Waid: Clearly, they're interesting names and interesting core concepts; if they weren't, there'd be no interest in reviving them. But knowing the other writers and artists involved, I have every faith that, in a small and managed and well-built universe of their own, they can find a whole new audience.