BOOK OF VISHANTI
CAGLIOSTRO: KING OF THE GYPSIES
Plot for a 3 x 5-Page Story
by Roy Thomas & RJM Lofficier
1. DOC studying the BOOK OF VISHANTI, looking frustrated. He can’t seem to find the answers he is looking for. The answers pertaining to...
2. FLASHBACK to ANNUAL: the battle (if one can call it that) between CAGLIOSTRO and his brother VIC. By Vic’s account CAG is a dangerous man; DOC wants to know more about him...
3. FLASHBACK to DOC’s encounter with SISE-NEG disguised as CAG from MARVEL PREMIERE #13. This took place in Paris in the late 18th Century around the time of the Affair of the Necklace (1780s)...
4. DOC pensive: ...But this was NOT the real CAG that Doc fought... He’s NEVER met the real CAG... And there’s nothing about him in the BOOK OF VISHANTI...
5. DOC pulls another book from the shelves. However there is ANOTHER book he can check...
1. CLOSE-UP on the BOOK (see REFERENCE in DR. STRANGE #8) – it is IL LIBRI DI CAGLIOSTRO – the BOOK OF CAGLIOSTRO himself!
2. FLASHBACK to MARVEL PREMIERE #12: DOC removing the book from its funny gargoyle stand.... The book which DOC removed from Mordo’s castle after that fateful journey through time...
3. DOC opens/studies the BOOK. And now thanks to that Book, DOC will learn the secrets of the man known as... CAGLIOSTRO!
4. BIG PANEL: KING OF THE GYPSIES (TITLE). Show a younger version of CAGLIOSTRO as drawn in IRON MAN #149 dressed in Gypsy clothings (sort of like Indians from India) sitting on a throne, with court around him, dancing girls, etc. They say the Gypsies originally came from India, and they were right. (The word Gypsy was thought to come from Egyptian but they really came from India.) We are around 1000 AD.
1. FLASHBACK TO IRON MAN #149: Show the old CAG doing mystic mumbo-jumbo in his sanctum. The man history would know as AL-TOTHAS and CAGLIOSTRO was KING OF THE GYPSIES; he held the Talisman of the Voivodes and was already accounted as a mighty sorcerer.
2 FLASHBACK TO IRON MAN #149. Show CAG doing magic business with DOOM. Some said he even had received a visitation from an iron-clad wraith from the future (DR DOOM) with whom he had shared much occult knowledge.
3. FLASHBACK TO IRON MAN #149. DOOM gives CAG a chestful of jewels. The wraith had given the King a treasure to purchase more rare herbs and talismans so he could at last accomplish his dream...
4. CLOSE-UP on Old CAG looking hungry for immortality. ...For the King dreamed of nothing less than – ETERNAL LIFE!
5. A totally black cloud comes out of nowhere during a complex magic ceremony. Old CAG looks panicky. But then during one of his rituals, he unleashed – THE PLAGUE!
1. THE EXODUS. Led by Old CAG the entire gypsy tribe is forced to flee westward. We do not know if it is the Plague or their fellow Indians who drove them away but they began their migration westward
2. BIG PANEL: MONTAGE The Gypsies traveled through Persia, Armenia, Egypt, Ancient Greece and Romania and the Tribe spread, becoming ever more diverse, being called Romani and Egyptians, its very origins known only to its Elders...
3. OLD CAG dealing with ANCIENT GENGHIS in his cave. Everywhere they went the King bargained for more Occult Knowledge, until ONE DAY HE FOUND WHAT HE WAS LOOKING FOR!
4. Continue same scene. In a cavern in the Middle East the OLD MAN IN THE MOUNTAIN (yes! it IS the ANCIENT GENGHIS!) told him of – THE IMMORTAL NINE!
1. MONTAGE of NINE CLOAKED FIGURES by the POOL OF BLOOD (See TOMB OF DRACULA #15). Once every century the NINE would meet by the mystic POOL OF BLOOD which was LIFE ITSELF, as they had done since time immemorial, and they would partake from its life-giving essence.
2. The ANCIENT GENGHIS’ loose lips, perhaps succumbing to the wiles and hidden spells of persuasion of OLD CAG, reveal that if ONE could not come and ANOTHER showed up in his/her place, by their Ancient Law he would become one of the NINE.
3. Old CAG tries to blast ANCIENT GENGHIS but his spells bounce back. CAG could not kill the ANCIENT GENGHIS who was too powerful...
4. Show Old CAG murdering an Egyptian Wizard. ...But he was strong enough to kill another of the NINE, TOTH, AL-TOTHAS from EGYPT, the author of al-chemy, and of the Emerald Table...
5. CAG showing up by the POOL OF BLOOD when the other EIGHT show up. And on that fateful day, the KING OF THE GYPSIES at long last achieved his dream and became one of the IMMORTAL NINE!
1. LARGE PANEL. Show THE NINE (favoring CAGLIOSTRO) meeting/drinking by the POOL OF BLOOD. CAGLIOSTRO has become AL-TOTHAS and his appearance has begun to change. Make it a younger dark-haired, more western-looking transitional form between Old CAG and the CAG of later years. TITLE: THE IMMORTAL ENEMY
2. SPOTLIGHT some of the others: THE YELLOW CLAW, drop a hint of his “brother” FU-MANCHU right behind him...
3. ...the AGED GENGHIS, and the young ROMAN whom DRACULA met...
4. And leave a few with their faces hidden behind the cloaks so that we have room to add more names later.
1. AL-TOTHAS in his Gypsy HQ (a luxurious wagon with all kinds of magical artifacts) – he is listening to an old Vampire-Witch. But even he now was truly immortal, AL-TOTHAS was ever seeking more power. As the influence of the gypsies grew small and diminished, as his tribe kept breaking up, he sought other ways to increase his worldly dominion... And one day (circa 1500) he heard of the DARKHOLD... The legendary BOOK OF SINS!
2. The Vampire told him his LORD AND MASTER, COUNT DRACULA, had blackmailed MURGO, the best thief among all gypsykind, to steal the BOOK from the VATICAN where it was kept. AS soon as he heard about it, AL-TOTHAS knew he had to have the book...
3. FLASHBACK TO DR STRANGE #15. CAG stops MURGO. Same copy.
4. FLASHBACK TO DR STRANGE #15. CAG blasts MURGO and takes the BOOK. Same copy.
5. FLASHBACK TO DR STRANGE #15. But by doing so CAG had earned the eternal enmity of DRACULA who would prove a formidable foe in centuries to come!
1. CAG performing alchemical experiments, dead vampire hanging on hooks behind him. AL-TOTHAS was concerned about being able to reach the POOL OF BLOOD... Over the centuries, many had tried to kill him and take his place among the NINE already... In the DARKHOLD he found an easier way to prolong his life, a synthesis or duplication of the POOL OF BLOOD, less potent, less long-lasting, but easier to make... That only required the BLOOD OF A VAMPIRE!
2. Show the trio of OLD AL-TOTHAS, young BALSAMO (looking like the modern-day CAG) and beautiful, blonde LORENZA (see DRACULA LIVES). To cover his tracks, CAG decided to “kill off” AL-TOTHAS and replace him with another person. He took under his wing a young Italian would-be warlock named GIUSEPPE BALSAMO (born in Sicily in 1743) and for a while they traveled throughout Europe with Balsamo’s wife, LORENZA.
3. AL-TOTHAS and LORENZA go through a Mystic Ritual in which CAG’s essence is transferred into BALSAMO’s body. Then with LORENZA’s help (for she had cast her lot with him), AL-TOTHAS killed Balsamo and took his place!
4. He became the so-called COUNT AL:ESSANDRO DI CAGLIOSTRO. Together, the “new” CAGLIOSTRO and the beautiful LORENZA became the darlings of the Court of Louis XVI, gaining much influence and secret power... Until 1785 (or about) and the arrival of...
5. COUNT DRACULA!
1. FLASHBACK TO MARVEL FANFARE #42, PAGE 4: They had battled several times by proxy over the intervening centuries, and they battled again. First CAG used an ethereal being who claimed to be from the future (CAPTAIN MARVEL)...
2. FLASHBACK TO MARVEL FANFARE #42, PAGE 8: ... To steal the Blood of Dracula but that didn’t work out and he sent her back to the future.
3. FLASHBACK TO DRACULA LIVES #5 – The scene with the giant invisible hand – then they fought face to face in Versailles...
4. FLASHBACK TO DRACULA LIVES #5 – That is when DRACULA turned LORENZA into a Vampire!
5. FLASHBACK TO DRACULA LIVES #6 – CAG telling MONTPLIER that he must leave France to attempt to find a Cure for Lorenza.
1. FLASHBACK TO DRACULA LIVES #3 – Behind him he had left DUBOIS and his living gargoyle, but that plan too failed for the Vampire was too powerful!
2. The arrival from SISE-NEG (humanoid form) inside CAG’s deserted sanctum see MARVEL FANFARE) in Paris. With CAGLIOSTRO gone, his standing at the court shattered (The Necklace Affair erupted in 1786), the sorcerer from the future briefly impersonated CAGLIOSTRO in order to be abler to access his copy of the Darkhold.
3. FLASHBACK to MARVEL PREMIERE #12. This is when SISE-NEG met and fought DR. STRANGE looking for MORDO.
4. FLASHBACK to MARVEL PREMIERE #12. And eventually departed from that century plunging back through time.
5. Left behind in the deserted sanctum: the BOOK OF CAGLIOSTRO. But he had not resisted the impulse to start writing an account of his progress, and left behind him a book IL LIBRI DI CAGLIOSTRO!
1. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION STORMS THE BASTILLE. 1789. The French Revolution erupted, throwing Europe into chaos. TITLE: THE ENDLESS ONE.
2. CAG in the Vatican talking to the MONTESI. CAGLIOSTRO had gone to Rome with Lorenza in 1790 seeking a cure. But the DARKHOLD only told how to kill vampires, not cure them and the MONTESI was equally powerless!.
3. So finally he did what had to be done. In 1791, he staked LORENZA and put her soul to rest.
4. Afterwards he decided the time had come for a new identity, so he arranged for another doppelganger / golem to be imprisoned in the Castle of Saint Angelo (originally the tomb of Roman Emperor Hadrian in ancient times). The Inquisition sentenced him to death but his sentence was changed by the Pope to life imprisonment. He is said to have died on August 26, 1795.
5. The reports of Cagliostro's death were not believed throughout Europe and only after a report commissioned by Napoléon did people accept the fact Cagliostro was actually dead. But in fact Cagliostro lived on!
1. CAG writing in book in his gypsy sanctum. The KING OF THE GYPSIES returned to his people and reclaimed his belongings – he continued writing the BOOK OF Cagliostro that had been started by SISE-NEG.
2. A shadowy figure carrying away the Darkhold against the bloody background of the guillotine. The DARKHOLD however had disappeared in the flame and torment of the French Revolution. No one knew how or where.
3. CAG on board a schooner ship crossing the Atlantic. Resuming his quest for power, the early days of the 189th century saw him leave a trouble Europe torn by wars and social revolutions...
4. CAG conferring with BROTHER VOODOO in the jungle. ...He visited Haiti to learn the secrets of Voodoo from the then-Brother Voodoo of that era, perhaps hoping to somehow resurrect LORENZA,
5. CAG sees BROTHER VOODOO expunge a zombi. But he learned that the curse of the zombi was even worse than vampiric half-life...
1. CAG meeting the beautiful MARIE LAVEAU. FLASHBACK TO DR STRANGE #10. From there he traveled to New Orleans where he met MARIE LAVEAU. Same copy.
2. FLASHBACK TO DR STRANGE #10. CAG falling in love with MARIE. Same copy, add that MARIE made him at last forget LORENZA.
3. FLASHBACK TO DR STRANGE #10. CAG performing voodoo rituals with MARIE and entrusting her with the secrets of immortality. Same copy.
4. CAG in Brazil partaking in more native rituals. CAG was still king of the gypsies. His people had spread to the far ends of the Earth. They had soaked up Occult Knowledge wherever they went. Having mastered voodoo, next he traveled to BRAZIL where he learned the secrets of the MACUMBA.
5. CAG in TIERRA DEL FUEGO. In Tierra Del Fuego he learned the secrets of the BRUJAS.
1. CAG in China. The Early Days of the 20th Century saw CAG in China, where he learned the secrets of the Soul-Stealers.
2. CAG in Tibet. See MARVEL PREMIERE #9. Then to Tibet where he learned from the so-called LIVING BUDDHA of the CRYPTS OF KAA-U.
3. CAG siphoning off blood from prisoner vampires held on crosses (see DR STRANGE ANNUAL BARON BLOOD story). All this time, replenishing his immortality by preying on the vampires of far off lands and cultures.
4. CAG marrying LUBYA in a Gypsy Ceremony. And back to Europe, finally, where he met the beautiful gypsy witch LUBYA who became his Queen, the QUEEN OF THE GYPSIES, and who would become LILIA’s grand-mother.
5. .... And the mother of the Sorcerer who would grow up to become known as TABOO, who would achieve the dream of reclaiming the Darkhold once lost by his father!
1. CAG on an ocean liner, tuxedo, wealth, party, beautiful women, etc. Meanwhile, CAGLIOSTRO went on, traveling the world, enjoying a life of luxury and pursuit of occult knowledge... A brie dalliance with the wealthy American Mrs Kubbard produced an unintended heir who in his delusion would one day claim to be his reincarnation (DRACULA LIVES #1).
2. CAG in the Tango Bars of Buenos Aires. During WWII CAG stayed far away from the global conflict, spending time enjoying the high life in Argentina among his old sorcerous colleagues. Being King of the Gypsies he was welcome everywhere there were gypsies.
3. DOC using the MONTESI FORMULA to zap all vampires out. Suddenly when DR. STRANGE struck and destroyed all vampires, CAG found his supply of previous vampire blood cut off!
4. He began a frantic, and ultimately fruitless search to find an alternative, and learned that even the POOL OF BLOOD had been destroyed by the accursed DRACULA a few years ago... (TOMB OF DRACULA #15)
5. FLASHBACK TO ANNUAL. ...Until he located VIC STRANGE!
6. DOC closes the book. He says: And I know what happened next. This is most dangerous man, far more dangerous than I thought, and he will bear watching, for when we meet , as we are fated to do, no one, not even I, can tell for certain who will emerge victorious!
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Snood: That is pretty sweet!
Way to tie together so many characters. I love that stuff.
I would love to have seen that make print.
JM: Me too! :-)
Snood: I have a few questions:
(1) The Plague was shown to have been caused by the Cat People before (Adventure into Fear#22 and What If I#35/2).
I'm not sure, but was there more than one Plague? Different locations? What time period had you meant?
JM: I meant some kind of generic mystic Black Shadow, nothing specific. The King of Gypsies basically screwed up and released some nasty stuff that forced his people to flee, or got them kicked out. The date of 1000 AD for the departure of the Gypsies from India, I must have gotten from the Encyclopedia Britannica. That's where I used to look for things like that before the Internet! :-) I'd be curious if you check me out if indeed I was reasonably right. I don't recall where I came up with that date.
Snood: I had NO idea myself, but in checking a Google search, I found this site: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1923/stories/20021122002209200.htm which said this:
There are an estimated nine million Roma in Europe, some six million of them in Eastern Europe. The Roma originally came to Europe from central and northwestern India in three waves of migrations between the 5th and 12th centuries. Historians of the Roma say they were fleeing religious persecution in India but there is little historical proof of this claim. Most Roma have become sedentary and hardly anyone now speaks the Romani language, reportedly a dialect of their original Indian tongue.
So 1000 AD seems to be right in line with that.
(2) According to the BoV showing Drac + Cagliostro's "giant hand" encounter, Dracula correctly surmised that Cagliostro had long since lost the Darkhold.
In this story you have him losing it during the French Revolution, a few years later. What's up with that?
JM: Obviously I screwed up. Likely, what happened was that Roy wrote the caption in the ealier BOV about CAG losing the Darkhold before, and I plainly forgot that he had done so when I wrote the CAGLIOSTRO BOV. My bad. I guess the easiest answer is that Dracula surmised wrong.
Snood: I'll buy that. Cagliostro certainly had no
reason to make Dracula aware that he still had it.
(3) Was Taboo Lilia's father, or was she his mother?
Lilia was supposed to have been the daughter of Miarka, who was Nikolai Mordo's mistress, indicating she would have been Strange's foe Karl Mordo's half-sister. Does that mean Miarka would have been the daughter of Cagliostro and Lubya?
JM: Yes. Bravo for your deductive skills! If my memory serves I worked it out as follows: Cag married Lubya; they have two kids, Taboo and Miarka. Miarka has an affair with Nikolai Mordo (Baron Mordo's Dad) and gives birth to Lilia. It just made SO MUCH sense! I was really happy about that bit!!! It explains so much of what happened later.
Note that I also worked in the crazy wannabe Cagliostro from that DRACULA LIVES #1.
Snood: Yep, Jackson Kubbard. This stuff is the
Marvel Zombie's favorite type of story!
Also, for the interested: As you guys revealed in Dr. Strange III#8/2, Baron (Karl) Mordo later seduced his half-sister's daughter--also named Lilia, before nearly killing her after he gained the location of the Book of Cagliostro from her. Lilia survived to have a daughter, Astrid, who would much later get revenge on her father.
(4) I take it from your placement of the DuBois affair that you found the 1769 date as originally printed to be a mistake.
JM: Yes. Most definitely. That made no sense
historically. Fitting the CAPTAIN MARVEL story within the DRACULA LIVES sequence
was a bit awkward too, if I recall. There should be more time between DL2 and
DL3. I definitely located the SISE-NEG sequence after CAG's departure, though.
Snood: Also, what have you been up to in the last decade or so?
JM: Oh god, so much! Lots of comics, mostly in France, but a few in the States though. Some Elseworlds, STRANGERS at Image. Tongue*Lash at Dark Horse.
Check http://www.lofficier.com for details. Also recently I started my small press publishing company http://www.blackcoatpress.com and I still run my talent agency http://www.hollywoodcomics.com !
Snood: So, be sure to write Marvel and tell them you want to see this
story see print!
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