While perusing the discount bin of a local comic book shop a couple weeks ago, I came across issue number five of the Bozz Chronicles, dated September 1986. The cover illustration consisted of an oddly shaped individual in spats, with a tail, apparently floating through the air while being shot at by a chap with mutton chops, wearing a pith helmet, in a hot air balloon. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
I paid the requested 50 cents, and took it home to discover a captivating tale about a stranded space alien, in Victorian London, aided by a Lady of the Night with the stereotypical heart of gold, and a rough and ready cowboy from the American West.
Further research online revealed the Bozz Chronicles, created and written by David Micheline and illustrated by Bret Blevins (except for book 4, illustrated by John Ridgway), were published in 1985/86 as a mini series of six parts. A graphic novel collection had also been printed, which is available for purchase on eBay.
The collection is a delight. It has all the elements of classic pulp fiction set against a Victorian backdrop: mad scientists, witchcraft, suspicious chief inspectors, demons, plucky street urchins, megalomaniacs and even an African safari. The aspect I found most entertaining about the series is the steampunk atmosphere that permeates the story line (my favorite example of which being the Self-locomoting, Steam driven Temporal Transfer Machine), all this a couple years before author K. W. Jeter even coined the phrase ‘steampunk’, back in 1987.
Granted, the art style might seem somewhat old fashioned by today’s standards (the *cough* depiction of the female lead, especially), but all in all some solid, amusing and engaging storytelling. Well worth the $15 I paid for my copy.