Created by Cynthia von Buhler
Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics stepped briefly out of its hard-boiled shell for the 1920s period piece fantasy-tinged limited series. The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini, set in the surprisingly sexy world of 1920s magic. Plucky, kinky, rabbit-loving MINKY WOODCOCK (she’s a penpal of Agatha Christie!) is tired of being dismissed by her private detective father, Benedick Woodcock of Benedick & Son, who only sees her as a secretary. So when Daddy’s out of town, she decides to tackle a case on her own — one that involves spiritualism, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the death escape artist Harry Houdini (and the conspiracy theories still swirling around it) and a lot of Jazz Age naughtiness.
American artist Cynthia von Buhler (aka “Countess von Buhler”), a gleefully eccentric artist, performer, playwright and children’s book author, both writes and draws this saucy and stylish take on the shamus game. Nobody’s going to mistake her for Jack Kirby, but her style grows on you.
Currently, von Buhler is hard at work trying to raise fundsvia Kickstarter to stage The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini as “an immersive play.”
Audience members will witness Harry Houdini’s final days through an immersive theater experience in which they are assigned a character to follow and then view events through that character’s point of view. They might find themselves attending a séance, helping the magician rehearse backstage, sipping absinthe in a speakeasy, spying on an affair in a hotel room, witnessing an attempted murder, visiting Houdini in his hospital room, or viewing his body in the morgue. All attendees “travel via train” to watch Houdini’s final month of performances, including his iconic Water Torture Chamber act, in Rhode Island, Montreal and Detroit. General Admission participants choose between being a “Spiritualist” or a “Pragmatist.” VIP guests follow Harry Houdini or Minky Woodcock, receive the best seats in the house for the stage portions of the show, and are invited onstage to inspect the Water Torture Chamber. Audience members are encouraged to come back again to follow other key players and see alternate facets of what actually led to Houdini’s fateful death. Evidence is revealed, but the truth is left up to the theatergoer to decide.
If all goes well, the play will be staged in Autumn 2018 in New York City.
Even better, though, is that a second comic series, this time with Minky investigating the death of a Zeigfeld Girl, is expected in 2019-20.
- THE GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI
(2017, Titan/Hard Case Crime Comics)
Four issuesWritten and drawn by Cynthia von Buhler
You’ve just gotta love the alternate cover (pictured) by legendary pulp artist Robert McGinnis.
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COLLECTIONS
- THE GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI | Buy the book | Kindle it!
(2018, Titan/Hard Case Crime Comics)
Written and drawn by Cynthia von Buhler
- Minkywoodcock.com: The Evidence
Was Houdini murdered? You be the judge.
The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini Immersive Play
The official Kickstarter page.