The Spider

The House of Dolmann


Dolmann - more than a bit madAnother story taken from Valiant, 'The House of Dolmann' wasn't actually one of the seven main staples of Vulcan. However, the self-contained four page episodes made it the perfect space-filler whenever something else took a break, and the strip's quirkiness fit in with Vulcan's fantastical bent perfectly. Crucially, it was much more interesting than 'Kelly's Eye' or 'Saber - King of the Jungle', which is why it gets its' own page here, and they don't, despite being mainstays. Sorry, fans of those two, that's just the way it is. The Valiant ran the strip from 1966 to 1973, with the weekly strips drawn by Eric Bradbury (who also worked on 'Mytek the Mighty' for the same comic). The strip first appeared in the 11th nationwide edition of Vulcan, replacing 'Saber' for a fortnight. After a week break itself, it then appeared once more to stand in for the Spider for the 14th issue, getting the colour cover to boot. It was then dropped entirely until the ('posthumous') Vulcan Annual, which contained three Dolmann strips.

Dolmann takes tactical counsel from... himself?The premise is fantastic for this one. Eric Dolmann was a secretive crime-fighting inventor who created a force of crime-fighting, remote-control robots (usually referred to as puppets). He goes around thwarting all sorts of criminals, from racketeers to gangsters (but usually types grounded in reality). On paper, the various 'dolls' had no personality, their dialogue all being spoken through them by Dolmann himself. As with Robot Archie, though, this doesn't really hold up to that much scrutiny, unless Dolmann is basically mental, or has time to bicker with himself in different voices when he's trying to do something else at the same time.

The Mole digs for victoryDolmann's puppets were a varied bunch. Most used was sumo wrestler type Togo, the bruiser of the group. Raider, a pint-sized British commando, was used for stealthy scouting and also added his firepower in battles, and was probably seen more than any other bar Togo. Others included Elasto, who could could stretch his body Reed Richards-style; Micro, who contained a speaker and a microphone and was either used for contacting the authorities or spying on criminals; Mole, who had digging claws for hands and a splendid moustache/beard combo; Metallo, who could transform into any object; Giggler, a jester who generally just freaked out the bad guys; and Astro, who piloted the helicopter-like Dolmobile the group moved around with.

'The House of Dolmann' was popular, but didn't perhaps have the cachet of the really big names of the time. However, the puppets are central to Wildstorm's Albion series, where the title character from 'Bad Penny' (Fleetway's answer to 'Minnie the Minx', featured in Smash! and created by Leo Baxendale) is revealed to be Dolmann's daughter, one of the leads of the series.