I couldn’t find a decent online cover gallery for Tales of Jerry. Jane Oliver published 11 issues of the series but I wasn’t able to find a page that featured images of every one. Most cover images are terribly low rez. I will add a link here if I find a good compilation.
The world is, and has been, full of unnoticed pioneers. They go unheralded because they took the road not taken and either no one followed or someone else followed in such a noisy way that the original pioneer was forgotten. This happens in all realms of human endeavors – art, invention, commerce, philosophy, physical exploration – you name it. I have an admiration for the unsung explorer, even when (sometimes especially when) they went down a path I wouldn’t travel myself.
One such pioneer was Jane Oliver. Most of what I know of her is from the article linked to her name here. She was a cartoonist who published her own work from 1976 until cancer killed her in 1992. She was a woman practicing an art form mostly done by men. Her stories were about vampires and rock and roll. She doesn’t have an entry in Wikipedia. Neither does Wikipedia have an entry for Tales of Jerry, her primary comix endeavor. I met her once, briefly, in 1992, shortly before she passed away. She asked if I’d be interested in contributing anything to Tales of Jerry. I don’t remember my exact answer but I suspect that I was non-committal. Jerry (a series about a red haired hippie vampire) wasn’t really my thing.
25 years later I’ve finally gotten something done. Cheers Jane!
I’m not a Dracula fan, either of the original novel or most of the movie versions. It’s not that I dislike the character or vampires. I’m just not a fan. I really enjoyed Tomb of Dracula, the comic book series by Marv Wolfman/Gene Colan/Tom Palmer, but that bore little resemble to the original novel.
Anyway. The literary Dracula had a mustache. The most famous version of Dracula was played by Bela Lugosi. Without a mustache. I fixed that.
Utrecht looked up. He tilted his head back and forth as if attempting to get a better view. He turned to me, his mask expressionless as always. He said, “It’s like trying to see something at the bottom of a pond but the reflections get in the way. I can almost see a castle sitting on a skyscraper.”
Uncle Boris nodded. He said, “Vladmir is very old and very powerful. He has built glamours around his home that no human would see through.”
Utrecht nodded. “If he’s got a castle, he’s probably got an army?”
The slight uplift in Boris’s shoulders indicated a shrug. “There will be more of my kind in residence than anywhere else in the world. They will all be under Vladmir’s thrall. We face overwhelming odds.”
Nia glared back defiantly. “I didn’t want you! I waited until you were gone. I knew you wouldn’t fit!” she snarled.
Kaitlin did not back down. “Like Jason fit? Like Kurt fit? Your little fucking family was a disaster to start with!”
Nia clenched her fists and squeezed her eyes tightly shut. In measured tones she said, “You don’t know what it’s like being alone, night after night. I didn’t ask for this either. I lost everything. I just wanted someone to keep me company. I tried so hard to be careful.”
Uncle Boris rose from the arm chair and slid between the women. He held up his hands for silence. First Nia, then Kaitlin turned their eyes away from each other and looked at the ground. Boris nodded. He said, “We are no longer human. We cannot choose our family from their ranks. We either must form bonds with our own kind or we must find bonds with others who are outside of the herd.”
Kaitlin barked a laugh. “Hunters? Like, vampire detectives? Vampire cops? Fuck. I’m just a kid. I just fucking graduated from high school. The only time I dealt with cops was when the neighbors called them ’cause the parties were too loud. Then I just hid out in the back of the house until they went away.”
I echoed her laugh. I said, “Kaitlin, you are giving yourself little credit. You have not been a kid for three months. I know you have survived more this summer than you would have thought was possible.”
Leon smirked. He said, “Why would I want to stop? This isn’t a corruption. This is a dream. I spent my living life trapped among the sheep. I was one of them. Too afraid to take what I wanted. Too trapped in the need to make a living. Needing to be careful that I didn’t stick out too much or I’d lose everything I had. And what I had was shit. I was worthless and so was my life. That stupid son of bitch didn’t curse me. He set me free.”
Kaitlin snarled, “You’re killing innocent people. You’re killing children!”
Leon threw his arms wide, leaving his chest open. “No one is innocent. The minute we come into the world we start to fall. If I killed children I’d just be saving them from falling further into sin and despair. That’s if I killed children. I don’t. I bless them with the same chance I was given.”
Kaitlin sat on the couch, legs pulled up to her chest. She said, “I won’t do it. I won’t put on the glamour. I won’t pretend that I’m still alive. If I’m going to be a fucking monster I’m not going to hide it.”
I said, “That is admirable but it will limit your options for survival.”
She lifted her gaze and stared at me. “What makes you think I want to survive? I have to fucking eat people! I don’t want to eat people! I don’t want suck on them until I feel them die! It’s horrible!”
I looked into her black eyes. I nodded. I asked, “Shall I kill you then?”
Lisa wiped her eyes, dragging her mascara down her cheeks. She stammered, “He said his name was Count Darkon. That he was … ” At this she began to giggle, “the Lord of the Eternal Night and the Immortal Emperor of Blood.” The giggling turned to laughter and the laughter to hysterical whoops that caused her to gasp for breath. I gently pushed her to the sofa and sat her down.
At last she contained herself. She patted her hair but only succeeded in pushing it farther out of shape. She said, “He sounded like that vampire guy in the movies. Only not like that guy. Like that guy sounds when people make fun of the way he sounds.”
I nodded. I had no idea who she was referring to but I did not want to sidetrack her.