Saturday, May 31, 2014

Doctor Orient

Doctor Orient
Doctor Orient 1
by Frank Lauria
Bantam Books 1974

Occult detectives have been around since the 1850s, and have continued into the modern era with the likes of Kolchak the Night Stalker and the X-Files.  Doctor Orient is in the subcategory that a lot of early Doctor Strange comics are in - the occult detective that doesn't leave the house.

Occult has a posse, mostly students developing psychic abilities.  There's Claude Levi, dentist and hypnotist; Argyle Simpson, actor and adventurer; Hap Prentice, baseball player and mindreader; the open minded Catholic Bishop Redson, and sassy secretary Sordi.

They're up against Susej, a pseudo-Satanic cult leader and former priest who serves the Clear One.  Susej increases his power through human sacrifice and the devotion of talk show viewers that witness his miraculous healing powers.

Most of the action takes place in some incorporeal form.  Dreams, visions, the astral plane, or some other metaphoric space.  Simpson has the decency to leave the house and get captured, the most anyone does in the whole book.  The rest is all fasting, meditation, and watching TV.  Lots of TV.

Everything is tossed into the mix here.  Psychic powers, astral travel, I Ching, exorcism, voodoo, reincarnation, even poltergeists.  It all has a very 70s charm to it all, I just wish they'd leave the house more.

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