Since the beginning of his comics career in 1987, writer and artist Mike Wolfer has worked on numerous comics titles, from Night of the Living Dead to Casper, the Friendly Ghost; from Friday the 13th to The Three Stooges; from Lady Death to Wendy, the Good Little Witch. Over the past few years, he’s been associated most closely with dozens of series licensed by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., including The Land That Time Forgot, Pellucidar, The Moon Maid, The Monster Men, and many others. In fact, Wolfer now works for ERB, Inc., as a production and design specialist, as well as helping shepherd the renowned company’s new graphic novel releases featuring Jane Porter, Victory Harben, and more. It was through that association that his first professional prose work has been published, the novelette Victory Harben: Clash on Caspak and the upcoming Beyond the Farthest Star: Rescue on Zandar.
But in all that time, he has never published a full-length prose novel. Until now. Wolfer is probably best known for his erotic horror comics Widow and Daughters of the Dark Oracle, so it’s only fitting that his first self-published novel will be Daughters of the Dark Oracle: Doll of the Dead. The gothic erotic horror opus details for the first time the shocking origin of the popular character Ragdoll, and the funding and premiere release of the novel will be through Kickstarter in a campaign launching Friday, August 5th.
Doll of the Dead is the first in a proposed series of novels set in the Daughters of the Dark Oracle universe and includes such characters as Countess Bathory, the Wolfwoman, the Siren, and other legendary creatures who dwell in the shadows of eighteenth-century Europe. Ragdoll is perhaps the most exciting and tragic figure of all, the creation of a scientist who has built his perfect mate from specially selected pieces of untold cadavers. As we’ll see, the supernatural is very real in the DOTDO world, and ingrained in every physical component of the patchwork being is the memory of the violence inflicted upon the original owners of those body parts, and every one of those murders must be avenged in a most brutal, gory fashion. Doll of the Dead is a tale of love, loss, lust, and vengeance with a decidedly feminist perspective, and fans of classic Hammer horror films will feel right at home in the lush, historical setting.
The novel will be made available in two published formats in the Kickstarter campaign. The first is a retro-‘70s “pocketbook” paperback, available individually for $20 or as part of a $35 Collector’s Set. The Collector’s Set includes the 348-page paperback novel, a 7” x 4.5” Kickstarter-Exclusive Validation Plate, and a 9” cloth bookmark torn from the costume worn by model and letterer Natalie Jane during the cover and Validation Plate photoshoots. The Collector’s Set paperback comes autographed by Wolfer and Natalie Jane. The other print format is a 240-page Deluxe Hardcover Edition, featuring a photo cover jacket beneath which is a full-color printed case wrap sporting a haunting and alluring photo of Natalie Jane as Ragdoll that will only be found on this Deluxe Kickstarter Edition, autographed by Wolfer and Natalie Jane and priced at $75. Future printings of the book available through booksellers will not include the photo case wrap.
One aspect that sets the Daughters of the Dark Oracle series apart from other novels is that it is an interactive concept, rather than simply a reading experience. In the novel, we see the cartomancer Madame Sabina employ oracle cards to foresee possible terrors in the future of the novel’s characters. As a fun enhancement, Wolfer has created real-world counterparts of those oracle cards as physical rewards offered in the Kickstarter campaign. For several years, the Daughters creator has produced 8.5” x 5.5” oracle cards featuring his artwork and has offered them as rewards in his various Kickstarter campaigns. In all, over sixty cards have been produced and were recently collected into a boxed set that will also be available in the Doll of the Dead campaign. Backers will not only be able to hold in their hands the cards that appear in the novel but will also be able to use them just as Madame Sabina does, creating an interactive experience that goes beyond the printed page (but for entertainment purposes only!). Additionally, both formats of the novel include multiple interior Oracle Card illustrations by Wolfer that highlight his detailed erotic horror style.