In researching a Halloween comic for Greystone Inn, I found out about Constantine Rafinesque, a Philly-born botanist who taught at Transylvania University (it really exists… in Kentucky), did a little cross-pollination with the dean’s wife, and was abruptly dismissed. He levied a CURSE on the institution and… well, you’ll just have to read the comic.
Rafinesque was a fascinating figure. I put some more information about him at the bottom of the post, if you’re interested…
I was always sad that the storyline didn’t get the recognition it deserved when it appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News as part of a three-week storyline. So, when I launched Phables — my Eisner-nominated series of comics about life in Philadelphia — I reformatted it into a “Phable.”
The following year, I revisited the story with a sequel. After all, the previous year had made me somewhat popular with the campus of Transylvania University, and I wanted to return a little bit of that love with a modern-day look at their campus. It is also notable as the first appearance of Mac’s father, who was an homage to the Van Helsing character created by Bram Stoker.
I’ll also take just a moment to tell you about my special Halloween comic that collects the best Halloween-themed stories from 13 — thirteen — years of my comics. You’ll get spooky specials for Greystone Inn, Evil Inc and Phables — 80 pages of chuckles and chills!
OR… you could support my ongoing work in comics through Patreon. It doesn’t take a huge commitment. You can become a Patreon supporter for as little as $1 a month.
But if you sign up to back me at the five dollar level, you’ll get this Halloween comic — and every past and upcoming Evil Inc monthly eComic — for FREE.
Constantine Rafinesque, the rest of the story…
I had way more stuff than I could cram into the storyline. Here’s the rest:
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz (1783-1840) was called “the Daniel Boone of Botany.”
Although he was not appreciated during his lifetime, scholars now recognize his amazing contributions to science.
For example, his 5,400-line epic poem discussed a theory of evolution that predated Darwin’s by more than 20 years.
And he was the first to classify over 100 species of plants and animals.
One such classification stands out among the rest. A gentleman who had welcomed Rafinesque into his house was awakened in the middle of the night by a tremendous clatter.
When he went to inspect the disturbance, he found a mostly-naked Rafinesque, wildly running about the room, swatting in the air with the handle of the host’s favorite violin.
The disheveled house guest was chasing bats, convinced that they belonged to an undocumented species.
And Rafinesque was the first to document them.
While spending the night in the house of John Jay Audobon.