CONRAD JEAVONS

Real Name: Conrad Jeavons

Identity/Class: Human (1930s era)

Occupation: Butler/Assistant to Hodiah Twist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Hodiah Twist, "Inspector"

Enemies: Madam Angela, Hellhound of Ravenflight, Christina Lawrence, Jeffrey Winters

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: An apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1930s

 

 First Appearance: Vampire Tales#2/6 (Oct. 1973)

 

Powers/Abilities: Reasonably competent and resourceful fighter (he managed to slay both a vampire, albeit catching it off guard in bat form, and a werewolf, albeit after it had been decapitated), loyal, pragmatic, not afraid of confronting the supernatural.

 

Height: 5'9" (by approximation)
Weight: 150 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Blond

 

 History:
(Vampire Tales#2/6 (fb)) - Conrad Jeavons was a trusted friend and/or manservant to the wealthy Hodiah Twist when Twist's fortune was wiped out during the Stock Market crash of 1929, which in turn led to Twist's wife committing suicide.

(Vampire Tales#2/6 (fb) - BTS) - Having lost his original home to his financial woes, Hodiah relocated to Manhattan with Jeavons.

(Vampire Tales#2/6 (fb)) - As a result of his double trauma, Twist retreated into a fantasy personality patterned after the character of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, recasting himself as a Holmes-like detective, and Jeavons as his Doctor Watson-like assistant. Out of loyalty as well as respect for his friend's tragic loss, Jeavons played along, noting also that his friend's temper was now much shorter than previously, especially when anyone pointing out the similarities between Twist and his inspiration, presumably because it threatened to puncture his fantasy.

(Vampire Tales#2/6 (fb) - BTS) - Twist's earlier cases remain unrevealed, but despite his eccentricity and obviously unbalanced mental state, his deductive powers proved of use to the police, to the extent that they sometimes called on him for assistance in tricky investigations; he also gained a reputation for having "hypnotic eyes." His living conditions improved slightly too, as he and Jeavons moved into an apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Despite the building itself being far from extravagant, Hodiah ensured the interior was decorated to dismiss all suggestions of poverty. However, his financial woes were not completely resolved, as he sometimes failed to pay his utility bills for months at a time, despite Jeavons regularly reminding him.

   In the early 1930s Manhattan suffered a string of killings where the victims had been found drained of blood and with their throats savaged.

(Vampire Tales#2/6 - fb) - Soon after this a New York Police Captain (whom Twist called "Inspector") called on Twist for help.

(Vampire Tales#2/6) - The "Inspector" sought Twist's aid in solving the seemingly inexplicable murder of Leroy Hayes, an African-American man whose body had been found drained of blood in a locked room on the wharves. Hearing the police officer mention this detail, Jeavons expressed puzzlement, but Twist disagreed that it held much mystery, reasoning that the culprit had merely used a magnet to pull down the metal latch from the outside. Playing along in his expected role, Jeavons congratulated his friend for his "marvelous deduction," then watched as Twist examined the corpse. Moments later a figure darted from the shadows of the warehouse in an attempt to flee, but Twist quickly tackled him to the ground. Jeavons jumped to the conclusion that this had to be the murderer, but Twist corrected him, as a closer look at their captive showed him to be a derelict, who had presumably fallen asleep in the building only to awaken from his drunken slumber to find the police present, prompting him to hide until he thought he might be able to slip out. Twist explained to Jeavons that the derelict could not be the killer since Twist had noticed multiple shades of lipstick around Leroy's wounds, suggesting his assailant had been a deranged woman. Making their farewells to the police captain, the pair returned to their apartment.

(Vampire Tales#2/6) - Back home Twist took a seat in front of the fireplace, so Jeavons brought him a drink then left him to ponder over the mystery. Moments later the sound of something shattering brought Jeavons racing back into the room to witness Twist holding the remnants of a vase while standing over a stunned intruder, Teddy Durrance. Jeavons congratulated Twist for handling the problem so well, and Twist asked Jeavons to fetch a canter of rum to give to the slowly recovering Teddy, but Teddy made the mistake of angrily demanding to know if Twist thought he was, "Sherlock Holmes or sumthin'." As Jeavons shouted in vain for Hodiah to hold back, the enraged detective smashed another vase on Teddy's head. Sighing, Jeavons noted that was their last vase. Needing a moment to calm himself, Hodiah instructed Jeavons to watch their intruder while he fetched the drinks instead.

   Once Twist was out the room, Jeavons helped Teddy to his feet and apologized for Twist's rough actions, explaining how his friend's temper had been shorter since losing everything in the stock market crash. This failed to placate Teddy, who asked if Twist had always been so nuts, prompting Jeavons to forcibly insist his friend was not, explaining about the death of Twist's wife and stating that his friend was merely trying to survive a grim reality. This too failed to calm Teddy, who began to shout at Jeavons that everyone was trying to survive a grim reality, but before the row could escalate Twist returned with a tray of drinks, and demanded Teddy explain himself. Teddy revealed that he had believed Hodiah and "his people" had murdered his friend Leroy because Leroy had dared to visit a brothel, Madam Angela's, located far downtown from Harlem and staffed by white women. Just as he said this, the apartment was suddenly plunged into darkness; Twist wondered what nefarious deeds were behind this sudden blackout, but Jeavons, momentarily exasperated and slipping out of character, lit a candle and pointed out that despite his reminders Twist had failed to pay the electricity bill for the last three months.

   Following up on Teddy's lead, Hodiah and Jeavons headed over to Madam Angela's, and Hodiah instructed his friend to enter the premises posing as a prospective client and provide a distraction while he reconnoitered the premises. Greeting Jeavons at the door, Madam Angela informed him that it was almost dawn, noting that they normally closed up at that time, but as Jeavons mumbled, trying to figure out a plausible excuse to be let in, one of the prostitutes, Christina, informed Madam Angela that she was famished and so would be willing to accommodate the late arrival. Christina led Jeavons to her room, and to his dual embarrassment and fascination began to disrobe, then suddenly shocked Jeavons by transforming into a bat, passing through a leather-skinned, half-human form on the way. Shocked and struggling to comprehend that he was facing a genuine vampire, Jeavons wondered if Twist had suspected the truth all along (he hadn't). Now fully a bat, Christina flew at Jeavons, but he managed to dodge out the way.

    Without changing back, bat Christina opened the room door to let more vampires in, and Jeavons fled out the fire escape and fled across the rooftops from one building to the next, followed moments later by a swarm of bats. Taking refuge behind a chimney, Jeavons evaded his pursuers momentarily, then, spotting a weather vane, he snapped it off and when a bat flew overhead, he impaled it. The force of the blow stunned the winged creature, and it dropped over the side of the building he was now atop onto a cross lit with neon. Fleeing down the fire escape, Jeavons wondered why the vampire he had struck was now turning humanoid again and appeared to be dead, since he knew that if he was truly facing vampire then neither impalement on a metal weather vane nor a neon sign should be truly fatal. However, now at ground level he saw that the sign was a cross, explaining why it had been so effective. Seeing that the neon cross adorned the front of a Salvation Army mission, Jeavons rushed in, then dodged to the side of the door. As he had hoped, moments later the remaining vampires pursuing him flew through the door, failing to spot him off to the side in their haste. Before they could take in their surroundings, Jeavons slipped back outside and pulled the door shut behind him, trapping the vampires in a room adorned with numerous crosses, in the presence of multiple people of true faith, and with the sun imminently due to pour into the mission's large windows.

   Not knowing how his friend had fared, Jeavons rushed back to the brothel and spotted Twist exiting it with Madam Angela, as the detective had successfully hypnotized her and now intended to force her to face the dawn, since Twist was sure Angela's claims to be a vampire were delusions. Wanting evidence to show the police captain what had truly happened, Jeavons shouted to Twist to stop, but he was too late, and the rising sun's rays struck Angela and turned her swiftly too ashes. Standing over the burning remains, Jeavons bemoaned the fact that the "Inspector" would never believe them.

(Amazing Adventures#32 (fb) (see comments)) - Twist and Conrad Jeavons traveled to Ravenflight Manor to investigate murders on the nearby moors that had been attributed to the Hellhound of Ravenflight. Examining the latest victim, Twist deduced that the murders were the work of a human murderer who had taken pains to make them look like a beast's, noting that while a jagged gash showed where the victim had supposedly been savaged by the creature's teeth there were no scratches on the man's remains, with Twist stating that an animal's kill would not be so clean. Additionally, he pointed out that the tracks left differed in depth from imprint to imprint, which Twist felt indicated they were man-made. But as Twist expounded his theory, he was suddenly attacked by a very real Hellhound.

(Marvel Preview#16 (fb) - BTS) - In 1937 (see comments) a string of grisly murders took place on Manhattan's elevated trains, all happening on nights of the full moon across the space of several months. Twist joined the investigation, and spotted what the police had missed, that no train was ever used twice. Since only one remained as yet unused in the killings, Twist predicted the murderer would be among the passengers on that line during the next full moon. A fortnight before that date, Jeavons suggested to Twist that since the killings happened on full moons the murderer could be a werewolf, but Twist dismissed this as hackneyed and preposterous.

(Marvel Preview#16) - On the night in question Jeavons accompanied Twist onto a train on the relevant line, with the detective explaining to his friend why he believed it might lead them to their target. They boarded a carriage containing four other passengers - the dancer Gladys Jones, who immediately judged them to be a pair of weirdos; the curmudgeonly retired soldier Colonel Witherspoon, who scowled at them, with contemptuous disdain; the middle-aged amateur detective Mildred Argot, who showed only detached interest; and fourteen year old Jeffrey Winters, a lover of heroic tales who immediately became fascinated by Twist's Sherlockian garb...and who was secretly their killer, as he was also a dangerous werewolf.

  As Twist bemoaned to Jeavons about the decline of the elevated trains and insisted that New Yorkers would never accept having only the subway to rely on, Jeffrey got out of his seat and went into the adjacent carriage. Twist noticed the boy visibly recoiling at something therein, so he and Jeavons went to see what had caused this reaction. It proved to be the remains of a recently slain man (Randy, whom Jeffrey had killed only minutes before Twist and Jeavons boarded the train).The other passengers also followed, curious to see what was causing the fuss. Twist instructed his fellow passengers that it would be best if they remained seated, prompting the uncooperative Witherspoon to demand to know who the detective thought he was that he thought he could tell them to do anything, but Twist rebutted by pointing out he worked with the police and that he would be asking the questions. Hearing Twist identify himself, Mildred informed him that she had heard of him, stated that she prided herself on having a perceptive ear and eye and introduced herself, adding that she assumed he had likewise heard of her. This assumption was immediately shot down as Twist somewhat curtly responded that he had not. Jeffrey inquired whether Twist was a hero like Doc Savage or the Shadow, prompting Twist to reply he was not familiar with either. Gladys responded in disgust at the thought of being forced to stay on the train in the presence of a corpse, and insisted that she would be getting off at the next stop. In answer to this, Twist stated that none of them could be allowed to leave until the murder was solved, but did agree that they should all disembark together at the next stop to wait for the authorities. To prevent this, Jeffrey covertly cut power to the lights, then in the darkness swiftly ran from one end of the car to the other in wolf form, slipping past Twist in the dark and using his immense lupine strength to bend all the exit doors, trapping everyone in the carriage. Still unaware of the killer's true nature, Twist nevertheless correctly deduced that their prey had trapped them after hearing his intention to alert the authorities, though Jeavons wondered whether their opponent might have been spurred into action by Gladys' words instead. Pulling candles from her voluminous purse, Mildred offered them to Twist, allowing them to restore some light to their situation, though their limited glow left much of the carriage shrouded in darkness. Softening his previous stance towards Mildred, Twist stated that he was in her debt as she had shown a noteworthy willingness to help.

   Terrified that she was about to die, Gladys bemoaned that her mother had always said she would come to no good, and Witherspoon cruelly retorted that in his estimation she had a bad beginning too. As the train pulled into a station, Twist and Jeavons attempted to prise the doors open to no avail, and while their attention was focused there, Jeffrey swiftly murdered the colonel and took a swipe at Twist's head, who had his back to the carriage while examining the door, but missed because the train suddenly lurched forward, causing Twist to stumble and duck at the crucial moment. When Jeavons pointed out that their predicament meant no one could get in either, Twist completed the thought - that the killer had to be still in the car with them. Gladys came over to demand Twist stop playing games and let her off, insisting she was not staying just so the colonel could insult her, Twist could subject her to his "Victorian melodramas,"  and she could be forced to stare at Randy's remains. At her mention of the colonel, Jeavons noticed Witherspoon's absence from his seat, and as the group moved closer they discovered Witherspoon's corpse, his tongue ripped out and skull crushed, and the body suspended from a hanging loop.

   As Twist lifted Witherspoon's body down, Jeffrey rejoined the group in human form once more. Mildred asked to examine the body, positing that Witherspoon had been killed by having oxygen injected into his veins, causing an air bubble that stopped his heart. When Twist pointed out Witherspoon's much more brutal and very obvious fatal injuries, an undeterred Mildred responded that this did not rule out her theory. Twist declared to Jeavons that Mildred was "bonkers," but suggested they let her amuse herself examining the body while they instead locate exactly where Witherspoon had been slain. As they moved from the corpse, Twist put an avuncular arm on Jeffrey's shoulder and ushered him along with them, asking the boy his name. Answering the question, Jeffrey added that current events weren't like the Saturday matinees, noting that when people were killed in the monster or cowboy movies it was never this bloody. Seeking to drew the boy's mind away from such lurid things, Twist tried to make conversation by asking Jeffrey what he wanted to be when he grew up, suggesting either a train engineer or a cowboy-hero? Jeffrey admitted he didn't really understand much that was happening to him lately, adding that when he was near ladies like Gladys he started feeling strange. Laughing at the thought that the boy was naturally confused about puberty and beginning to notice girls, Twist advised the lad that what he was experiencing was quite natural. Twist began espousing his philosophy on life, saying the boy should make select people important in his life and stand fast by them, and keep a sense of importance about whatever he did, and not let the world take that away, but the more practically minded Jeavons interrupte, reminding Twist that they still had a pair of murders to solve, with the culprit evidently in the blackened train car with them. As he said this, Mildred called over telling him not to worry, as she believed she had solved the case, stating to Twist that she knew he had tried his best but that he should have consulted her earlier. Sardonically, Twist asked her what she surmised, suggesting that perhaps she thought everyone aboard the train was the killer, and Mildred confirmed that was indeed her theory.

  With the investigators' attention focused on Mildred, Jeffrey became the wolf again, stunned the inattentive Gladys with a blow from behind, then doused the candle. As the carriage was plunged once more into total darkness, Twist called to Jeavons to remain alert and monitor every inch of their car, but despite this intended vigilance, Jeffrey grabbed Mildred and threw her bodily through one of the car windows. Her body lodged half in and half out of the carriage, and though Twist quickly came to her aid, he immediately realized that the impact had killed her. Meanwhile Jeffrey reverted to his innocent looking human appearance. Noticing that neither Gladys nor Jeffrey had audibly reacted to the incident from their end of the carriage, Twist and Jeavons hurried to check on their safety, and found Gladys just waking up, with her head on Jeffrey's lap. The boy asked Twist why he seemed to be unafraid despite what was happening, and the detective told him that heroes were those who decided on a course of action and followed it to the conclusion despite the dangers they encountered on the way, a sentiment that Jeavons immediately endorsed. Impressed, the boy told Twist that Hopalong Cassidy couldn't have said it better, prompting the detective to state that the boy had friends with uniquely bizarre names. Twist then turned to Jeavons, noting that they needed to relight the candle and under no circumstances should any of them leave the presence of the others. Shifting off of Jeffrey and standing up, Gladys bemoaned that they would all die on the train, then waxed philosophically about how everything was dying anyway and how her life had turned out. Twist meanwhile pointed out to Jeavons that since (in his estimation) neither Gladys nor Jeffrey were capable of such slaughter, they were left with only one alternative, and Jeavons asked if he meant his suggestion, a werewolf. Lowering his voice to a whisper, Twist rebutted this as absurd, instead believing that one of the victims they had presumed dead must actually be still alive and the killer. Jeavons vocally disagreed, saying that was as far fetched as his werewolf theory, but Twist insisted that the colonel could have faked his demise with some clever make-up and approached Witherspoon's corpse, demanding he stop his pretense.

    Behind them Jeffrey began to look distressed, and as the boy clutched his head, Gladys suddenly realized something was wrong, and tugged at Jeavons sleeve so that he too turned. Together the pair witnessed Jeffrey's transformation into his lupine form; focused on Witherspoon, Twist missed the change but was swiftly alerted to the werewolf's presence by Jeavons, his rebuke to his friend for continuing to perpetuate his "nonsensical" theory dying in Twist's throat as he looked into the beast's eyes. The creature advanced menacingly on the terrified Gladys, seemingly having forgotten about the others, but Twist leapt between Jeffrey and his prey, then blew burning ash from his pipe into the werewolf's eyes. Roaring in agony, the werewolf instinctively sought to reach cool open air, ripped through the carriage roof and leapt out onto the top of the train, ignoring Twist's cries as he appealed to Jeffrey to fight his curse. Ignoring Jeavons' pleas to let Jeffrey go and leave him for the police to deal with, Twist pursued, insistent that he had to try and save the boy, rather than let him continue to suffer under his lunar affliction. Jeffrey ran along the top of the racing train, and when Hodiah called to him the werewolf turned to face him, thus failing to notice a bridge the train was fast approaching. One of the low beams caught the werewolf, instantly decapitating him, but despite this the now headless monster continued moving, stumbling towards Twist with arms flailing like it was seeking fresh prey. Down in the carriage, Jeavons glanced round for a weapon and suddenly recalled the silver dagger pendant Mildred Argot had been wearing round her neck. Taking it, Jeavons climbed onto the train roof, but not before the headless werewolf reached Twist and bore him to the ground. As its talons began ripping through the soft flesh under his jaw, the detective fought futilely to push it away. Racing to his friend's rescue, Jeavons stabbed Jeffrey, and the finally slain werewolf''s limp body fell from the speeding train. Twist reached out as if trying to bring the boy back, then realized the inadequacy of his actions. As Jeavons cradled his injured friend, Twist stated in broken sentences "Jeavons, my friend, let us see if we can retire...this whole business. I do believe everything is dying...All is coming to an end." Clinging to Twist, Jeavons insisted that wasn't true, responding that "NO! This train, for one thing, good friend! It goes on." And as the train continued to hurtle on, Twist asked his "yes, but to where? Where and what?" (see comments)

Comments: Created by Don McGregor (writer) and Rich Buckler (penciller) and Carlos Garzon & Klaus Janson (inkers).

   In Amazing Adventures#32, set in the future on Earth-Killraven, Hawk (one of Killraven's Freemen) remembers how "in 1995" (when Hawk was 15, "over twenty years" ago), his father (name unrevealed) liked to immerse himself - to the point of addiction - in the virtual reality universe of the world of Hodiah Twist. The specific adventure referenced here is the Ravenflight one mentioned above. Though not outright stated, the landscape resembles the moors seen in various adaptations of Hound of the Baskervilles, implying that Twist and Jeavons have traveled to England. We only see a brief excerpt from this story, and it's hard to be sure whether the VR participants are controlling the characters as if in a game, or merely experiencing a set story from the perspective of the characters. As such how accurate any aspect of the tale is to "real" events in Twist and Jeavons' lives is impossible to say. Heck, given that the VR ends with Twist apparently about to be savaged to death by a wolf-like creature, the VR drama might be a massively inaccurate portrayal of Twist's demise during his werewolf encounter, shifted by the simulation from a crowded Manhattan El train to the desolate English countryside. 

   The date of the werewolf incident isn't given in the story, but we do have some clues as to when it took place. Gladys mentions that if they die on the train they'll never know if La Guardia will get re-elected as mayor; while she could be saying this any time after he was initially elected (1933), her comment gives the impression that it's close to the time that he needs to run for office again, which happened in 1937 and 1941. Gladys, who appears to be no older than her late twenties, remembers his previous campaign, in 1933, and recalls that the repeal of prohibition (in December 1933) temporarily put her out of work, which counts against the story taking place in 1941. Additionally, the elevated trains went into serious decline around the late 1930s, with the Sixth Avenue line closing in 1938 and other following over the next few years. So it would seem most likely that the werewolf on the El incident took place some time in 1937.

   Though it's not explicitly stated, the end of the werewolf encounter feels very much like Twist has suffered fatal injuries. The description of Twist feeling "the taloned bone carving through the soft underside of his jawline" is at minimum a serious wound (and might result in contracting lycanthropy), and perhaps even fatal if his throat's been ripped out, and Twist's fatalistic statements about "retiring the whole business...everything is dying...coming to an end" combined with Jeavons' bizarre rebuttal where he points out the train is still going, plus them both uncharacteristically calling one another "friend/good friend" during the exchange, gives it the feel of Jeavons trying to comfort his dying friend.

   The cover of Marvel Preview#16 features Twist and Jeavons in rare color images, but depicts Jeavons as somewhat stockier than he does in the actual stories, and has Twist wearing the kind of cap Jeavons wore in his Vampire Tales outing, rather than the deerstalker Twist habitually wears.

Profile by Loki, expanding on the sub-profile first written by Jean-Marc Lofficier for the Hodiah Twist entry.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Conrad Jeavons
should not be confused with


images: (without ads)
Amazing Adventures#22, page 23, panel 1 (main)
Vampire Tales#2/6, page 66, panel 3 (headshot)
Vampire Tales#2/6, page 66, panel 2 (upper body shot)
Vampire Tales#2/6, page 69, panel 7-8 (impaling a vampire)
Vampire Tales#2/6, page 71, panel 8 (full body shot)
Marvel Preview#16, page 15, panel 5 (with candle)
Marvel Preview#16 cover (Twist and Jeavons)


Appearances:
Vampire Tales#2/6 (October, 1973) - Don McGregor (writer), Carlos Garzon (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Amazing Adventures#32 (September, 1975) - Don McGregor (writer), Craig Russell (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Marvel Preview#16 (Fall 1978) - Don McGregor (writers), Gene Colan (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Richard E. Marschall (editor)


First Posted: 10/24/2021
Last updated: 10/24/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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