By Aaron Sagers
Doctors Moreau and Frankenstein should make room for a new member of their league of extraordinarily grotesque gentlemen, for there is a new mad scientist in pop culture. Making his debut in “The Resurrectionist,” a new book from Quirk Books, Dr. Spencer Black has very curious theories about human evolution and mythological beasts. And in an MTV Geek exclusive, you’ll see exactly what we mean.
Written and illustrated by artist Eric “E.B.” Hudspeth, the subtitled “Lost Work of Spencer Black” is a fictional biography of a 19th century physician who devises a theory that human mutations and deformities are simply evolutionary leftovers from a time when minotaurs, harpys and chimaeras roamed the planet. As told by the “biographer” Hudspeth, Black’s theories lead the madman to a life with a carnival, and peculiar research involving freak show acts. Additionally, “The Resurrectionist” contains more than 100 of Black’s drawings in the “Codex Extinct Animalia,” a “Gray’s Anatomy” of these mythological creatures.
Hitting stands May 21, “The Resurrectionist” is a stunning hardcover tome that merges fantasy and science-fiction. The pages shown here are a first peek at Black’s “Fawn-Child” specimen, a human boy evolved from a satyr. First-time author Hudspeth joined MTV Geek for a brief interview to discuss the book, along with why the Fawn-Child is an essential element to Black’s work.
MTV Geek: How would you describe the overall story of “The Resurrectionist”?
Eric Hudspeth: It’s a classic mad scientist story about somebody who develops the notion that our ancestral past were mythological creatures. He tries to unlock this and through his journey, he loses credibility inside the community and he’s forced to do a sideshow carnival act to perpetuate the science. And like all mad scientist stories, it ends in disaster.
Geek: Where does the Fawn-Child exist on Dr. Black’s journey?
EH: The Fawn-Child is the apex; it’s the center of the story as far as the progression and degression of his conventional science. It is where he goes from being a brilliant, modern scientist – destined to benefit the world – to being a brilliant scientist who is more than likely going to hurt the world.
Geek: What does the doctor think when he first encounters this specimen?
EH: He is trying to find a cure for birth defects by studying birth defects and abnormalities. When he discovers the Fawn-Child, instead of seeing a uniquely misfigured human form, he sees it as a satyr. This is an epiphany for him. He believes, through this, that he’s not only proven that Mother Nature doesn’t make mistakes, but that we’re trying to rekindle this past. So he thinks, within this Fawn-Child, is a cure, so to speak.
Geek: Black goes on to examine and hypothesize about many mythological creatures, so why might the Fawn-Child remain special to him?
EH: When he analyzes the creatures at the end, he talks about their plausibility and how they would have fared in the world of prey, predator and natural selection. He rates the Fawn-Child high because of its small size, human brain and possibility of surviving – much like a deer survives the evolutionary lines for millions of years. He thinks a satyr would have survived much the same or better, because of its intellect. The fawn is one on his list that he thinks might still be able to survive.
Geek: Out of all the creatures you deal with in the book, which character is the most disturbing to you?
EH: I think maybe the Harpy (which is depicted on the book’s cover). That’s why I chose it as a primary figure. The assimilation of the bird legs and the wings joined into human form, and the larger breast bone and tissue … the more you process that, the less beautiful something like that would be. With the harpy, in folklore, there’s two depictions. One is a beautiful creature and the other is horrendous. If you were to run into something like that in person, it would be like you’re a small worm at the foot of a falcon. You’re doomed, and it’s quick and terrible.
Read an exclusive excerpt of “The Resurrectionist” right here!