Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scorpio Rose [Comics]

One of the interesting things about Scorpio Rose, a 1983 Eclipse mini-series, is how it came about. Writer Steve Englehart explains in a text box that in 1980, he was trying to sell DC two stories featuring the universe's resident female magician, Madame Xanadu. At the time, according to Englehart, "the universe's favorite game was something called 'Screw the Freelancer." Freelancers were paid peanuts because there weren't many companies making comics, and those companies retained all rights to the freelancers' work and ideas--in other words, there simply weren't the creator-owned characters and series that are common today. According to Englehart, he "took [his] stories and walked" and, when word spread, he was contacted by Eclipse, a new company on the scene that was willing to pay creators what their work was worth, and let them retain the rights.

Thus, Scorpio Rose consists of stories originally set to feature Madame Xanadu. In their reworked Eclipse form, the main character is still a female magician--but her origin is quite different. Originally a gypsy girl in the late 1600s, Scorpio is assaulted and raped by a daemonic entity possessing the body of a man named Igor Gravesend. In a manner that's not really explained, the attack gives Scorpio the gift (or curse) of immortality. In the next three-hundred years, she tries to track down Gravesend while also ensuring that occult dangers don't harm any other innocents. The main story, set in the modern day, sees Scorpio trying to keep a mystical tome, The Book of Fleshe, out of the hands of thieves. However, her possession of the book somehow puts the daemonic Gravesend back on her trail, and she's forced to flee into a mystical dimension inhabited by a former spurned lover.

Plot summaries of most comics, especially supernatural-themed ones, always lose a lot outside of the atmosphere of the book. It's actually a pretty interesting read, and certainly quite different than most of what DC, for example, was putting out at the time. The artwork and coloring are also quite well done. The mini-series was planned to be three issues long, but only two issues ever came out--leaving the story disappointingly unfinished and making it seem odd how a text box in the letters page bragged about how many copies the comic sold. (my guess for cancellation? delays by the creators--the first issue is dated January 1983, while the second issue is dated October--a comic better be pretty damn good for readers to wait eight months between installments!) Each issue also features a back-up strip featuring a new character named Doctor Occult, tasked here with performing an exorcism--it's also a pretty good story and also unfortunately unfinished.

1 comment:

alex said...

I actually got those two issues.
and a crossover between her and warrior nun areala.
In my opinion, this was a good character with an interesting background. The rape is dramatic, and her damaged part of her soul kind of feels like how one would feel if they got raped: damaged.To bad the potential was lost here.

i actually want this character revived. her backstory is interesting, and so are the characters and their interactions.
and she'd be completely badass.