Victorian Undead

Victorian Undead is a series of comics about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson dealing with the supernatural. The first series Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs. Zombies is a six-issue American comic book limited series published by Wildstorm. The series was written by Ian Edginton, with art by Davide Fabbri. The story is set in Victorian England and follows Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson in the midst of a zombie outbreak. It was followed by Victorian Undead Special: Sherlock Holmes vs. Jekyll/Hyde (one issue) and a second series Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula (five issues), which sees Holmes and Watson helping to track down the title character (Count Dracula) before he kills Queen Victoria.

Victorian Undead
Publication information
PublisherWildstorm
ScheduleMonthly
FormatLimited series
Genre
Publication dateJanuary – June 2010
No. of issues6
Main character(s)Sherlock Holmes
Doctor Watson
Creative team
Written byIan Edginton
Artist(s)Davide Fabbri
Letterer(s)Saida Temofonte
Colorist(s)Carrie Strachan
Editor(s)Ben Abernathy
Kristy Quinn
Collected editions
Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs. ZombiesISBN 1-4012-2840-2
Victorian Undead II: Sherlock Holmes vs. DraculaISBN 140123268X

Publication history

The first series ran in early 2010[1] and the second in early 2011 – as Wildstorm folded during that period, the last three issues were published directly by the parent company, DC Comics.[2]

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs Zombies (Plot)

Issue 1: The Star of Ill-Omen

In 1854, a strange comet enters over London, releasing little fragments in which one fragment penetrates into a street pump near Broad Street in Soho. Five months later, Soho suffers what appears to be a cholera outbreak. Doctor John Snow and Reverend Henry Whitehead investigate the outbreak. While Snow postulates the cause for the outbreak, Reverend Whitehead discusses a recent confession from a tanner's apprentice about the dead coming back to life. Soon afterwards, one of Snow's deceased patients is resurrected as a zombie in front of a shocked Snow and Whitehead.

By 1898, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson investigate a charlatan who has been hypnotizing unsuspecting people into revealing their secrets. The charlatan turns out to be an advanced automaton and is disabled during a struggle with Holmes and Watson. The two are perplexed at this discovery, in which Holmes deduces that the machine was controlled by an unknown person, who personally knows Holmes. Meanwhile, two workmen at an underground railway construction yard come across a corpse. One of the workmen sees a gold ring on the corpse and greedily attempts to appropriate it, but the corpse comes to life and bites him. The zombie is decapitated by the other workman, but he is also attacked and bitten by his coworker, who turns into a zombie.

At Baker Street, Holmes and Watson later study the automaton and are then urgently summoned to Scotland Yard by Inspector Lestrade over what appears to be a murder between the aforementioned workmen before they are brought to one of the zombified workmen and a functioning head of the discovered zombie. However, Holmes and Watson are forced to call off their investigation by British Secret Service agents.

Issue 2: The Skull Beneath The Skin

Despite being warned by British Intelligence, Holmes and Watson continue their investigation and search for where the zombie was discovered. The two dig into the earthwork and find themselves in an underground city dating back to ancient London. They then find a corpse pile and look into its contents to find that some of the corpses are barely a year old. Soon they are surrounded by a horde of zombies. Being driven to a corner while learning that shooting the zombies in the head will effectively dispatch them, Holmes and Watson are saved by the arrival of heavily armed and armored Royal Marines led by the former's brother, Mycroft Holmes. After saving Holmes and Watson, Mycroft escorts them to the surface and proceeds in providing them answers.

As Holmes and Watson are being escorted, Sebastian Moran spies them from afar and travels to Whitechapel, where he reports his news to his master - an undead Professor Moriarty.

Issue 3: Written in Blood

At the Diogenes Club, Mycroft debriefs Holmes and Watson of their government's knowledge about the undead. In 1854, the Broad Street cholera outbreak was in fact a zombie outbreak, in which more than a thousand people were killed and turned into zombies in the Soho district. Initially the government failed to understand what they were dealing with until the aid of Dr. John Snow, who had prior experience with the undead, strenuously contained and culled the outbreak. In the aftermath, the entire events were covered up as a cholera outbreak and Snow kept his silence after promises were made in improving public sanitation. The source of the outbreak, however, remains unknown and there has not been any undead incidents since the last forty years until now. Holmes analyzes his brother's information and the recently discovered zombies, and believes that someone is creating and corralling the undead.

Meanwhile, Holmes' deductions are proven correct as the culprit, Professor Moriarty, has been creating an undead army in several secret locations throughout London, and releasing them to start another, but much larger, outbreak. Holmes and Watson bear witness to the outbreak and flee to the safety of Baker Street. There Holmes ties the connection of the zombies in 1854 in concurrent to a comet, as the source of the outbreak for carrying an alien disease, after reading a book written by Moriarty; concluding that his nemesis is behind this and noting that he was thought to be dead.

Issue 4: And Death Shall Have No Dominion

In a flashback to 1891, Moriarty survived his confrontation with Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls. Here Moriarty, severely wounded, is found by Sebastian Moran and inoculated with a serum based on the disease which created the undead, transforming him into a zombie but retaining his intelligence. In the present, the undead have overrun London. From Whitechapel, Moriarty reveals to Moran that he never intended to use the outbreak to force the government to yield to him, but instead desires to spread the outbreak further and forge an undead empire. Moran is morally perturbed by his master's intentions and attempts to kill him, but is infected in the process before escaping with his life.

At Baker Street Holmes and Watson, along with Mrs. Hudson, have barricaded inside. However, they are saved by the military that was sent out by Myrcroft Holmes. As they are evacuating the premise, a dying Moran finds Holmes and Watson, informing them of Moriarty before expiring.

Issue 5: The Earth Shall Give Up Its Dead

The undead have taken London with Moriarty reigning from a captured Buckingham Palace. Holmes and Watson have relocated to Windsor Castle, being used as a command center by the British government. They are granted an audience with Lord Bellinger, the Prime Minister, who informs Holmes that his government had anticipated another outbreak only because after previously discovering foreign agents were found attempting to steal the undead remains from the Soho outbreak for their respective nations in order to cultivate the undead virus as a biological weapon. As of now, Moriarty holds the ultimate deadly weapon in the world. Holmes heavily advises Lord Bellinger that the only option to contain and neutralize the exponentially growing outbreak is to scorch London at the cost of losing the nation's capital.

Holme's advisement is soon put forward as the Royal Navy is set to bombard London after the undead have broken through Westminster Bridge. However, Holmes is aghast to learn that the government intends to let Moriarty be burned along with London rather than having him dealt with directly. But thanks to Mycroft, Holmes and Watson are provided with a launch into London to face Moriarty themselves. Before leaving, Holmes implores Mycroft of how Trelawney Hope, the current Secretary of State, became tasked in tactical deployments in which his brother explains that Hope succeeded from his predecessors of the Home Secretary, who fell to the zombies, based on a contingency plan.

Holmes and Watson land in Whitechapel after deducing Moriarty's location from the clay soil found on Moran's footwear. The two enter a slaughterhouse where they are confronted by an apparently very-much alive Moriarty.

Issue 6: Inferno

Holmes confronts Moriarty's automaton about how the earlier one had mesmerized Trelawney Hope. Hope realized that his safe and the contingency plan were compromised and had engaged Holmes, who in turn was able to undo Moriarty's control of Hope's mind. Moriarty makes taunts about his reign as monarch. After blinding the automaton Holmes and Watson escape into the streets of Whitechapel. They make there way into the Underground and come out of a secret station that leads into Buckingham Palace. Holmes has deduced that is where Moriarty is based on the comments he had transmitted via the automaton. Watson separates from Holmes after being reminded to follow the plan.

Naval ships in the Thames River open fire on central London. Meanwhile upstairs in the Palace Holmes encounters Moriarty who he manages to badly burn with a grenade that also sets the room on fire. While he admits that it will be hard to kill Moriarty, Holmes says he can still break him since the "body is only a system of pulley and levers." Moriarty is beaten in the fight and Holmes beheads him. Out on a balcony Watson fires a flare and Mycroft Holmes, aboard an airship, heads for the signal. Holmes tries to finds Moriarty's head as Watson enters the burning room and says that there is no time. The two run from the Palace as the airship approaches and then begins to drop bombs. The second Great Fire of London is shown burning away the "plague." Sailors pull the last of the zombies out of the river with fishing nets.

Three months later London is being rebuilt as Holmes and Watson discuss the revenant event, with Holmes noting they are "venturing into the unknown." In the final panels Moriarty is shown in an underground lab, and he has staples in his neck as he works on the brain of a detached head on the table.

Victorian Undead II (Plots)

Jekyll & Hyde

In 1899, nearly a year after the revenant attack on London, as the city continues to rebuild, Holmes, having completed recreating his lost files, is contacted by Mr. Utterson regarding the recent strange behavior of his friend Dr. Henry Jekyll, including his role in the death of a young girl and a mysterious assistant known only as "Edward Hyde". Investigating Jekyll's lab, Holmes and Watson's examination of the tissue consumed by dead flies in the lab reveals that Jekyll has access to a revenant, but a confrontation with Jekyll that night reveals that he is the revenant; having suffered a psychotic breakdown from stress prior to the revenant outbreak that fractured his personality, Jekyll initially maintained control through a serum provided by a Limehouse herbalist, but after he was attacked by a revenant and his supplier killed in the fire, he was forced to ration his supply and restrain himself, the infection having resulted in him retaining his own mind while under the serum's influence while occasionally reverting to his other persona and revenant instincts, as well as escaping his confinement on some occasions. With no way to contain Hyde as he escapes his house, Jekyll begs Holmes to kill him while he is still himself after being injected with the last of his serum, with Watson mercifully shooting his head off.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula

It is one year later (1900), and contacted by a maritime insurance company to investigate the deaths of the crew of the schooner the Demeter, Holmes and Watson's investigation of the solicitor's office that took custody of the ship's cargo reveals that the entire household has abruptly died of the bubonic plague, and they are attacked by a group of gypsies before being saved by another group. Talking with their saviours, Holmes and Watson learn that the other group are known as the Szgany, who serve the vampire known as Count Dracula.

Meanwhile, Lord Godalmning has introduced Queen Victoria to Count Dracula, claiming that the Count is an expert in diseases of the blood and will be able to treat the condition that curtails the royal family. In reality, Dracula and Godalming intend to unleash an infection on the empire - using the diseased earth brought to Britain via the Demeter, Dracula taking the throne in the ensuing chaos. As Holmes and Watson track the boxes of earth to Carfax Abbey, they discover Professor Abraham van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, Doctor John Seward and Quincey Morris at the abbey already, the two groups exchanging information before they are attacked by the vampire Lucy Westenra and a group of Dracula's 'get', half-deads animated by his blood as plague carriers. Having destroyed the plague-carriers and driven Lucy away, the group meet up at Baker Street to discuss their separate approaches to the current investigation, including Godalming's betrayal and the suicide of Jonathan's wife Mina after Dracula bit her (Lucy escaped being staked because Godalming tipped her off). As they ponder how Dracula made contact with the firm that arranged his arrival in Britain, the group are visited by Mycroft Holmes, who reveals that Godalming was an agent of the Diogenes Club sent on a mission to investigate old legends as means of acquiring an 'alternative arsenal' for Britain after the revenant attack, only to betray his country for power.

Tracking Dracula to his new lair based on where the boxes were delivered, they discover the dead Godalming - drained by Lucy when Dracula became frustrated with him - and Dracula's brides, with Seward being killed before Lucy allows the brides to be destroyed and shield her before fleeing, dismissing Dracula as an antiquated fool for following old superstitions (apparently since she was turned in modern times, her undead form is a bit more resistant to holy symbols like crosses). Using Toby the bloodhound - wounded during the revenant attack on London but still possessing his keen nose - the group tracks Dracula to the Palace, where they manage to expose him during a royal ball. Dracula attacks and kills the Queen, then tries to escape while Holmes and Morris jump on Dracula's transformed bat-like form and force him to land in a nearby construction site. Morris dies of his injuries before Holmes manages to cut a vital rope so that the scaffolding impales Dracula, and Holmes then beheads him, thus ending his threat once and for all (it is also revealed that the "Queen" was an actress hired to impersonate her). However Holmes deduces this is just the start of the world becoming more known to supernatural forces.

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award is an annual award presented by the Classic Horror Film Board to honour outstanding works in horror in film, television, home video, and publishing, as voted on by the general public. Victorian Undead has received a nomination in 2010. [3]

Collected editions

Both series have been collected into trade paperbacks:

  • Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs. Zombies (collects first series, 144 pages, Titan Books, December 2010, ISBN 0-85768-051-X, Wildstorm, October 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2840-2)
  • Victorian Undead II: Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula (collects one-shot special and second series, 144 pages, Titan Books, December 2011, ISBN 0-85768-880-4, DC Comics, October 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3268-X)

Notes

  1. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (October 28, 2009). "Edginton Unleashes Holmes vs. Zombies". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved November 7, 2009.
  2. ^ Victorian Undead II at the Grand Comics Database
  3. ^ Prepolec, Charles (24 February 2010). "AWARDS: SHERLOCK HOLMES ON THE RONDO HATTON CLASSIC HORROR AWARDS BALLOT". www.sherlocknews.com. Retrieved 4 November 2013.

References

External links

Brides of Dracula

The Brides of Dracula are characters in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. They are three seductive female vampire "sisters" who reside with Count Dracula in his castle in Transylvania, where they entrance men with their beauty and charm, and then proceed to feed upon them. Dracula provides them with victims to devour, mainly infants and children.

Like Dracula, they are the living dead, repulsed by sunlight, garlic and religious objects. In chapter three of the novel, two are described as having dark hair, and the other as blonde.

Count Dracula in popular culture

The character of Count Dracula from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, has remained popular over the years, and many films have used the Count as a villain, while others have named him in their titles, such as Dracula's Daughter, The Brides of Dracula, and Dracula's Dog. Dracula has enjoyed enormous popularity since its publication and has spawned an extraordinary vampire subculture in the second half of the 20th century. More than 200 films have been made that feature Count Dracula, a number second only to Sherlock Holmes. At the center of this subculture is the legend of Transylvania, which has become almost synonymous with vampires.

Most adaptations do not include all the major characters from the novel. The Count is usually present, and Jonathan and Mina Harker, Dr. Seward, Professor Van Helsing, and Renfield usually appear as well. The characters of Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra are occasionally combined into a single female role. Jonathan Harker and Renfield are also sometimes reversed or combined. Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood are often omitted or, occasionally, combined into one character.

Davide Fabbri

Davide Fabbri is a comic book artist. He has worked mainly for Dark Horse Comics on various Star Wars series. Also worked for Dynamite

and recently for DC Comics.

In 2010, he worked on Victorian Undead, written by Ian Edginton for Wildstorm. This series pitted Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson against a legion of undead zombies. It was nominated for a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards in 2010."Being a fan of science fiction, and doing my work almost entirely abroad, I found it enjoyable the idea of returning from Italian readers with a publication of this kind".Davide Fabbri talking to 'Marcello "Mars" During' about 'Kepher', an Italian comic series he illustrated all the covers for, published by Star Comics in 2012.

Ian Edginton

Ian Edginton is a British comic book writer, known for his work on such titles as X-Force, Scarlet Traces, H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and Leviathan.

List of Wildstorm titles

WildStorm started publishing comics in 1992. Since then, they have published an increasing number of titles, both in the Wildstorm fictional universe and in various creator-owned titles.

Under the most recent sub-imprint structure, all Cliffhanger and Homage titles were published under the Wildstorm Signature Series sub-imprint, all WildStorm properties were published under the Wildstorm Universe sub-imprint, and all licensed properties were published through the Wildstorm sub-imprint.

However, in August 2006, WildStorm dropped all sub-imprints in order to simplify the line for retailers and customers, consolidating their output under a single "Wildstorm" label.

List of zombie novels

This is a list of zombie related novels that are notable themselves or by notable authors.

Lucy Westenra

Lucy Westenra is a fictional character in the novel Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker. She is introduced as Mina Murray's best friend, the 19-year-old daughter of a wealthy family. Her father is mentioned in the novel when Mina says he was a sleepwalker, and her elderly mother is simply stated as being Mrs. Westenra. In the 1931 Universal production, she is called Lucy Weston. In the 1958 film Dracula, she is called Lucy Holmwood, Arthur Holmwood's sister, who is engaged to Jonathan Harker.

Professor Moriarty in other media

Professor James Moriarty is the fictional archenemy of Sherlock Holmes in some of the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He has appeared in several forms outside of the original stories.

Revenants in fiction

In fantasy fiction, a revenant is a sentient creature whose desire to fulfill a special goal allows it to return from the grave as a creature vaguely resembling an intelligent zombie or jiangshi. Another possibility is that a powerful wizard returns a dead hero from the past to make him go on a quest that no living human would dare to undertake. Such a revenant may be just as intelligent as it was in life but its will is usually bound by the wizard who summons and controls it.

Merriam-Webster's definition of revenant is "one that returns after death or a long absence." In that the subject returns from death, one can easily see an association of the term with the undead in fantasy and horror fiction. On the other hand, unlike zombies, the revenant's "long absence" does imply a certain anachronism in its eventual return.

The term often implies some underlying motive of revenge prompting the return.

Revenants exist primarily in role-playing games, fantasy fiction, science fiction, and horror fiction.

Ryan Sook

Ryan Sook is an American comic book artist, known for his work on books such as Seven Soldiers: Zatanna, X-Factor and The Spectre. His style has been compared to that of Mike Mignola, Adam Hughes, and Kevin Nowlan.

Sherlock Holmes pastiches

Sherlock Holmes has long been a popular character for pastiche, Holmes-related work by authors and creators other than Arthur Conan Doyle.

Their works can be grouped into four broad categories:

new Sherlock Holmes stories;

stories in which Holmes appears in a cameo role;

stories about imagined descendants of Sherlock Holmes;

and stories inspired by Sherlock Holmes but which do not include Holmes himself.

Steampunk

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century British Victorian era or the American "Wild West", in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. However, steampunk and neo-Victorian are different in that the neo-Victorian movement does not extrapolate on technology while technology is a key aspect of steampunk.Steampunk most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retrofuturistic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technologies may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or of the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt, and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative-history-style presentations of such technology as steam cannons, lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine.Steampunk may also incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The first known appearance of the term steampunk was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.

Tom Mandrake

Tom Mandrake (born 1956) is an American comics artist, perhaps best known for his collaborations with writer John Ostrander on several series, including Grimjack (from First Comics) and Firestorm, The Spectre, and Martian Manhunter from DC Comics.

Tony Moore (artist)

Tony Moore is an American comic book artist, whose work consists mainly of genre pieces, most notably in horror and science fiction, with titles such as Fear Agent, The Exterminators, and the first six issues of The Walking Dead.

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