Minky Woodcock

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 of escape artist Harry Houdini (and the conspiracy theories still swirling around it) and a lot of Jazz Age naughtiness, sexual and otherwise.

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. Her words and pictures are decidedly bold–nobody’s going to mistake her for Jack Kirby, but her style grows on you.

And yet for all Minky’s in-your-face feistiness, ya gotta love a gal with a pet rabbit. Called “Agatha,” after you know who…

As a follow-up, von Buhler staged 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. 

As far as I know, the play was staged in Autumn 2018 in New York City. (I’m sure my comp s got lost in the mail…)

Even better, though, is that a second series, The Girl Who Electrified Tesla, showed up in 2021. It was a shocking new historical caper involving some rich guy named J.P. Morgan who wants Mindy to investigate some eccentric inventor by the name of Nikola Tesla. Plus… pigeon feeding. And Nazis!!!


Multi-talented Cynthia von Buhler, aka “Countess von Buhler” (don’t ask), is a force of nature–a critically acclaimed American artist, illustrator, performer, playwright, author, illuminati gatekeeper, animal rights activist, certified weird chick, and possibly the most interesting woman alive (somebody should tell Dos Equis). Her work has won awards from the Society of Illustrators, her three-dimensional paintings have been displayed in galleries and museums around the world, and she has collaborated on art projects with Steven Spielberg, Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker, and done book covers for Harry Turtledove, Scott O’Dell, Jane Yolen, and Lawrence Block. She also writes, directs and produces immersive theater, and used to be the lead singer in a couple of rock bands, The Women of Sodom and Countess, the latter garnering her a development deal with MCA Records. She has also written and illustrated books for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Viking, Random House, Titan/Hard Case Crime Comics and Dark Horse Comics.


  • Cover by Robert McGinnis!

    (2017, Titan/Hard Case Crime Comics)
    Four issues
    Written and drawn by Cynthia von Buhler

    (2021 Titan/Hard Case Crime Comics)
    Four issues
    Written and drawn by Cynthia von Buhler


  • THE GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI | Buy the book Kindle it!
    (2018, Titan/Hard Case Crime Comics)
    Written and drawn by Cynthia von Buhler
  • THE GIRL WHO ELECTRIFIED TESLA  Buy the comic | Kindle/ComiXology it!
    (2021 Titan/Hard Case Crime Comics)
    Four issues
    Written and drawn by Cynthia von Buhler



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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