Writer: Steven Peros
Artist: Barry Orkin
Colorist: Chris Summers, Studio Haus
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Our Gal Pictures, LLC
What would happen if Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells met each other in Victorian England before either one of them created the novels that would bring them fame? That’s what Stoker & Wells: Order of the Golden Dawn by writer Steven Peros and artist Barry Orkin imagines. Chris Summers and Studio Haus are on colors while Marshall Dillon brings his lettering expertise to the book.
Designed as the first book in a trilogy, the fictional tale centers on Stoker and Wells in London 1894, where Wells is a 20-something with very little money or direction (and who certainly loves the ladies) and Stoker is a middle-aged, much more serious man who needs a little push to finally do what he should be doing—writing. After hearing about a possible time machine created by a member of a secret society in the city, Wells, much to Stoker’s chagrin, decides that his curiosity is just too much and he must break into where the machine is hiding. Soon they find themselves thousands of years in the future where they meet a variety of characters that will inspire them to write their greatest novels—The Time Machine and Dracula.
The comic is Peros’ first run at a graphic novel. Previously, the writer found success as a screenwriter and playwright, and his cinematic approach is evident in how the story is crafted. The book moves quickly, with enough action to keep you invested and plenty of humor to put the tale on par with any modern buddy adventure film. The personalities of the titular characters are well-defined, and Wells’ reckless behavior is the perfect foil for Stoker’s cautious practicality.
Orkin’s art and panel layouts are well-paced and create a natural flow for easy reading. And a story about these two acclaimed genre writers wouldn’t be complete without vampires, blood, and monsters, all of which are present once our heroes go deeper into the future world.
Stoker & Wells: Order of the Golden Dawn is a fun what-if story. It’s an interesting premise that mixes actual history with science fiction and horror in a nicely packaged adventure. For those who are familiar with The Time Machine and Dracula, the nods to each book are plentiful, and by the end you are given a fictional version of how these two storytellers crafted their greatest novels.