Bishop Olek's Devil is a short story that acts as a prequel to the 1946 miniseries featuring the same creative team. It introduces the character of Doctor Howard Eaton, who alongside Professor Trevor Bruttenholm would become a founding member of the B.P.R.D.
Publication History[edit | edit source]
The eight-page story was one of three published on Free Comic Book Day in May 2008. The story was collected in the trade paperback B.P.R.D.: 1946.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
In 1939, Eaton is working at the British Museum when he is introduced to Bruttenholm. Together they are sent to eastern Galacia to investigate claims by a "Lord Marko Petrov", who claims to have a long lost grimoire the "dialogus goetia" a legendary book supposedly written by a Ukranian clergyman, Bishop Oleksander, who in 1592 sold his soul to the devil in exchange for arcane knowledge. After a months travel, Eaton and Bruttenholm arrive at Petrov's manor.
In their first night in the manor, the pair are locked in their room by the manor staff and they hear an unsettling weeping sound. The next day they meet the bed-ridden Lord Petrov, who claims to have forged a path to the extra-dimensional crypt in which the dialogus goetia was kept in order to claim it over two centuries ago. He invites Bruttenholm to take the book. Petrov attempts to tempt him with the power the book will give him but Bruttenholm feigns an uncertainty on the books authenticity to end the encounter.
During the night, Bruttenholm and Eaton escape their room and sneak into Petrov's room. There they are confronted with the sight of the ageing lord being drained by a parasitic demon, which in appearance looks like a monsterous starfish. In their flight, Eaton reaches for the book so they don't lose it. Upon touching the book, Petrov's body turns to stone and shatters and the monster turns its attention to the new host, Eaton. Bruttenholm quickly instructs Eaton to throw him the book so that he becomes the focus of the monsters attention. During his attempted escape, the ghostly voice of Petrov is heard attempting to persuade Bruttenholm that the rewards of the book are worth the nightly visits of the books demonic gaurdian. Bruttenholm is shown into the secret chamber of Bishop Olek where he replaces the book in the dead Bishops hands, thus ending the curse and immediate threat of the monsterous gaurdian.
Eaton reflects on his experience and how Bruttenholm has inspired him to pursue a life of fulfillment and adventure.
References, Style, and Discussion[edit | edit source]
The use of the supporting character Eaton's first person narrative as a witness to the actions of the primary protaginist, Bruttenholm, is reminiscent of Watson re-telling the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. In some ways the story is also stylistically similar to early supernatural detective fiction, such as William Hope Hodgson's adventures of Carnacki the Ghost Finder.
The "guardian" is stylistically similar to the guardian demon from M.R. James' classic ghost story "The Treasure of Abbot Thomas". This is supported by the words "Depositum Custody" being found in the crypt, a reference to the "Depositum Custodi" of the same story (translation: "keep that which is committed to thee"). James was also fond of using haunted (sometimes occult) antiquities similar as the Dialogus Goetia.
The occult grimoire known as the Dialogus Goetia may have been inspired by the legends surrounding the Codex Gigas and other real world historical grimoires.
|B.P.R.D. Trade Paperback Order|
|B.P.R.D. – Volume 9: 1946|
|Bishop Olek's Devil