Dark Horse Comics 2015
Created & Written by Peter Hogan
Created & Illustrated by Steve Parkhouse
After surviving a crash landing that destroys his spaceship, a stranded alien hopes to live quietly undercover in Patience, USA, masquerading as Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle—a semi-retired doctor—until his home world can find him. He has some alien powers of empathy and the ability to mask his odd appearance from most people, which comes in handy after the local mayor and police chief both ask for Harry’s help. Harry replaces the town’s murdered doctor and solves the mystery of his death before discovering that the contents of a strange old briefcase may implicate the deceased physician in another murder!
This really is one of the most charming, entertaining and interesting books i’ve the pleasure to be reading. That Harry has found himself in Patience with a Doctor’s practice and a full load of patients, semi-retired or not, with friends and a possible love interest not to mention just a full life that makes him happy is remarkably well told by Peter. Don’t discount the wonderful interiors by Steve either because that helps to really establish how Harry and the characters feel without having narration to tell us.
I loved seeing him at work and the myriad patients he’s had to deal with and the range of things that he’s treating people for. The young man with the itchy problem yeah that made me laugh and it was in stark contrast to the young woman before him. This whole sequence of showing him with his patients really does a lot more than you realize because it shows that he’s beloved by the townsfolk and is really good at his job plus it fleshes out his character even more for us and you can’t help but like Harry and be a fan of his.
When we get to Harry’s obsession with books, which I share with him, we get where the title of this story comes from. An old sixties sexy spy series written under the alias Rex Monday and it’s A Sam Hain Mystery the kind of books people don’t read but collect for the cover art. So according the book store owner Rex Monday supposedly lives in town but no one knows the real name behind the alias but that’s not going to stop Harry from investigating and finding out who it is though I have a sneak suspicion about who it is.
Peter is capable of doing something very few can do anymore and that’s naturally tell a mystery story that harkens back to days when these stories weren’t so sensational or flashy just good old fashioned mystery story telling. What’s the saying everything old is new again and being able read stories like this just have this ability to make you feel better. Great characterization, clues with plenty of intrigue and twists to draw the reader in and get you engaged in what’s happening.
It’s stories like this one that makes Dark Horse one of my favorite companies.