Nerding Day: Dr. Spektor Gets Dumped 🌭

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite doctor wizard, who’s also a smug 1960s swinging bachelor. That’s right, I could only be referring to Gold Key Comics’ Dr. Spektor. The superhero who is like Dr. Strange, except worse in every possible way, including his skills with women because this is the issue where Dr. Spektor gets his ass kicked by an owl and then gets dumped.

Unlike Doctor Strange, Dr. Spektor is not a real doctor. He’s more like one of those chiropractors that sell male enhancement supplements. Honestly, that would be more impressive. I don’t think Dr. Spektor even has a real job. His full name might be Dorian Reynoldo Spektor, and he’s doing some creative abbreviating. And you should know Dr. Spektor is also fully human– he has no real superpowers other than a pretty good memory and a large library of occult books. He’s a man who has read too much, and his job seems to be Scooby Dooing around the country with his girlfriend to point at supernatural creatures and go, “Yup, that’s a ghost. I’ve got a whole book about them, and that is what they look like.”

Our story today, “NIGHT OF THE OWL!” opens with Dr. Spektor and his girlfriend, Lakota Rainflower, a Sioux woman, riding in the car together. And because this comic was published in 1976, he refers to her as Pocahontas and asks her why she seems sad. To which she responds, “You mean you don’t know?” This conversation is a relationship 911 on multiple levels, but Dr. Spektor remains unbothered.

He’s instantly like, “Thank God, something more important popped up. I almost had to listen to my girlfriend’s feelings instead of hunt ghosts. Can you even imagine?” The thing Dr. Spektor and Lakota have stumbled upon is Dr. Spektor’s cousin Anne being menaced by an oddly sexual bird man with thick thighs. I’m proud to announce this owl has awakened absolutely nothing in me. However, I do have the urge to crush some Duolingo today for some reason.

The fact that this buff owl keeps mentioning how pretty Ann is will be important later. It turns out Cousin Anne has a lot going on. Her dad was recently obliterated in a house explosion after becoming inspired by Dr. Spektor to dabble in the occult. You might even say this whole thing is all Dr. Spektor’s fault. Luckily, it’s also a convenient way to escape an awkward conversation with his girlfriend.

Dr. Spektor knows exactly how to deal with a problem caused by the sinister book known as the “Demonomicon.” He’ll have to fight it using his own copy of the very same book, the “Demonomicon”. Did he get it in a two for one deal at Occult Party City and gift one to his favorite cousin in lieu of a sympathy card after his wife died? Who’s to say? It’s important to remember that no one can prove anything.

I feel like Dr. Spektor didn’t need his copy of the “Demonomicon”; he just wanted to make sure everyone understood that his cousin didn’t own a book he didn’t have. His whole thing is books. It’s all he’s got. Using the “Demonomicon”, we learn the buff owl is not a Harlem Globetrotter in disguise. It’s a demon named Andras, who, much like a regular bird, thrives on chaos. As Dr. Spector quietly reads in his private library, Andras goes around literally ripping planes out of the sky and prying railroad tracks out of the ground for fun.

Back in his library, Dr. Spektor sips some tea, avoids his girlfriend, and decides they need to have a seance to contact his dumbass ghost cousin and ask how they can get rid of Andras, even though it seems like Dr. Spektor has access to all of the same information as his cousin. Dr. Spektor is suddenly like, “fuck it, this, the book is really long and I think a seance would be cooler,” which is true. But it turns out they can’t contact Dr. Burton’s cousin since the medium thinks the guy is still alive. Convenient excuse, medium!

Now, I bet this whole time you’ve been wondering if there’s an owl man running around, are people going to blame retired superhero who is not technically Batman, The Owl, for all of Andras’s destruction? You’re absolutely right, my friend. The Owl has sought out Dr. Spektor to file a copyright complaint on the Owl Demon.

You have to wonder if this whole story was a way to remind Dr. Spektor readers that The Owl exists because there really isn’t any reason for him to show up other than an owl demon giving the man-shaped owl community a bad name. He serves no real purpose in the plot, but we obviously have to include him in the demon owl story, right? After all, we all remember his classic catchphrase, “BY THE WAY, IN CASE YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE THIS OUTFIT I’M WEARING, MOST PEOPLE KNOW ME BY THE NAME OF… … THE OWL!

The cops show up to arrest the owl (not The Owl) for tearing airplanes out of the sky with his bare hands and he scampers off into the night. Dr. Spektor tries to convince the police that the bird they’re looking for is actually a demon but no one buys it and Dr. Spektor is very clearly used to that, so he just kinda dips. On their way back from the failed seance, Andras attacks and kidnaps Anne. Dr. Spektor’s plan to shriek, “ROLL UP THE WINDOWS, QUICK!!” does not work.

Dr. Spektor’s next idea is to “try to stop Andras somehow,” but it fails, because Andras is a supernatural demon and he is an ordinary man named Doctor. In fact, it’s such a useless gesture Lakota is genuinely offended he didn’t ask her to help. I mean, why not die respecting her?

Lakota could probably have taken that owl. If she pictured Dr. Spektor’s face on him and let out some of her frustration about dating a man whose job is solving the occult problems he caused, Andras would be dead as hell. Instead, we learn Andras has some kind of hypnotic powers that make Lakota and Dr. Spektor unable to fight him. Who knows why he bothered. Maybe it’s hard to get liquid nerd out of demon feathers?

Andras also uses his bird hypnosis on Anne to prevent her from running away. He flies her into a tree and says, “You live here now, Anne! I know it’s not the condo with a fenced-in yard you were hoping for, but it’s home, Anne! Don’t fall out of our home, or you’ll die. Sorry, about the mind powers. I promise it’s mostly a safety thing, not a sex thing. Okay bye, I have to go destroy. Ha! Heee! Haa-Haaahh!” I don’t know why I’m paraphrasing when I can show you the full riveting speech:

This is a great villain monologue. Andras’s motives are so clear. He wants to cause chaos and hang out with Anne. The fan fiction for these two writes itself. Sadly, Lakota is not as jazzed about Anne finding eternal love with Andras as I am. In fact, she’s pretty pissed at Dr. Spektor and has the wild idea that all of this is a little bit his fault somehow?

He could have taken this woman to TGI Fridays in the first panel of this comic and they would still be together. To make matters worse, The Owl returns, and Lakota does not like his vibe because she wonders if “a sane man would risk his life taking the law into his own hands.” Hey, “Doctor,” are you hearing this? You, the man who fights ghosts– who is currently looking to fist fight a hypnotic superbird of Satan with no plan? Dr. Spektor should really see the writing on the wall here, but he’s too busy hanging out with his cool new friend in the owl costume. He misses every single sign she gives him, and she is not subtle:

And that’s a wrap on Lakota. He will never see her again, but he’s too distracted to realize that. His cousin’s spectral form shows up to tell him which tree Anne is in, so he’s got to go rescue her. The Owl tags along, and they have an epic showdown with two regular owls, which the comic book tries to convince us is the pinnacle of danger. These hollow-boned creatures are predators, but their primary prey is mice. Almost any adult man should be able to fight an owl. If a combined weight of eight pounds of grouchy bird is a threat, these two superheroes are doomed.

But it’s actually worse than two men going into a ring with a couple owls and walking out defeated because the owls aren’t real. They’re an illusion created by Andras with his hypnotism skills. Learning this is how Andras’s hypnotism skills work makes me wonder what Anne thinks she’s been doing this whole time she’s been stuck in a tree with him. Did she think he was Taye Diggs? Haha, I hope not because the big twist of the comic is that this whole time, the owl demon was, in fact, her father. That’s why he was so obsessed with Anne, because, as Dr. Spektor so eloquently puts it, he still wanted to “possess” his daughter. Anne is like a cool lava lamp, or a tennis racket that he left behind when he went full owl.

I did not get the vibe of fatherly affection coming off that bird demon. He was trying to get his cloaca wet. I know that he was possessed by a demon, but this is still so messed up, and no one acknowledges it. There’s no awkwardness. They banish the demon and Anne drives off into the sunset with Bird Daddy.

Dr. Spektor returns home to finally learn how hard he has been dumped. She hit him with the “please don’t try to find me” in her goodbye letter. That’s the ultimate dump. Not only are they broken up, she doesn’t want him to know her address. That’s how sick of ghosts this woman is. “SILENT FUCKING RAGE,” he thinks to himself.

At least she had the decency to leave behind a framed photograph and a tomahawk for him to remember her by. He should have seen this one coming. He asked her to help save his cousin from bird marriage to her Dad, and she literally said, “I have a bad headache!” That last panel is a man truly defeated both romantically and physically by an owl. Dr. Spektor may have sent him back to hell, but Andras won this issue.

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