The Finger of Lenin
Directed by Jyrki Pitka and Risto L.J.Tuominen and starring Noora Piili and Antti Reini, The Finger of Lenin is a Short Finnish film coming in around 25 minutes in length. It tells the story of how Octobriana infiltrates an anarchist group that has stolen Lenin's finger in order to use its DNA to create a secret weapon.
Now available on YouTube.
The Finnish Connection
Back across the Atlantic again and a group of Finnish self publishers, Reima Makinen, Petri Tolppanen and Timo Niemi produced a couple of Octobriana comics in the early '90s. Makinen first discovered Octobriana in 1987 when organising a comix art show, part of which concentrated on comics in socialist countries. Octobriana and the Tenth Circle of Hell was the most ambitious (Octobriana ja helvetin X piiri in Finnish) being an A5 comic album with a print run of 500 - 150 of which remained unsold as they were never bound.
The mantle was next picked up American Larry Welz, in the pages of his erotic comic Cherry's Jubilee, surfacing in 1992.
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright
British cartoonist Bryan Talbot was the first to include the character in his own work. Octobriana appeared in book one of his Adventures of Luther Arkwright trilogy , an ambitious and ground breaking graphic novel published in the 80s. Talbot was drawn to the character after reading the Telegraph article by publisher Tom Stacey in 1971, he included her in Arkwright as a tribute the bravery of her creators and was unaware of the truth behind the books publication.
Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
The underground cartoonist John Linton Roberson introduced Octobriana, along with a number of other public domain comics characters into his ongoing Vladrushka series in 2012, styling her as the title character's long-lost sister.
Umělec / AARGH! Magazine
At the turn of the century, the Czech writer and art historian Tomáš Pospiszyl became interested in Octobriana and did much of the work that uncovered the truth behind Petr Sadecky's book. He wrote his findings up in the art magazine Umělec and ultimately published a book about the whole affair, sparking a new interest in Octobriana in the Czech Republic.
After thirty yeras of roaming the globe Octobriana finally found herself returning to Prague when Czech magazine AARGH! published a comic strip by Karel Jerie along with an article in 2002.
David Bowie / Amanda Lear
David Bowie was the first person to try and adapt Octobriana for his own work. Around the time Sadecky's book was published, Bowie seems to have developed a fascination with the character and planned to produce an Octobriana movie. Paul Kinder of the Bowie Wonderworld site pointed me in the direction of his pages covering some diaries Bowie wrote for a teeny magazine called Mirrabelle in the 1970s that tell the tale.
Bowie actually planned to make an Octobriana movie for a while, but the project seems to have fallen through. His diaries tell of how Amanda Lear was lined up to play the lead role and also apparently recorded an album of Octobriana songs! Where are they now?
The Octobriana Seduction
The next episode in the Octobriana saga was courtesy of the long running British comic 2000AD. In 1998 (Progs 1112 - 1116) the Nikolai Dante story The Octobriana Seduction appeared. Octobriana dies in the tale and has dark hair rather than the usual blonde, artist and writer Simon Fraser doesn't want to be held responsible for the murder of a comics legend and reliably informed me she is not the real Octobriana, just a kind of she devil wannabe.
Back in the early days of the World Wide Web, pop Star Lady Ferry (no, I've never heard of her either) claimed to have made her name in the 80s European music scene before going on to star in an Octobriana film. According to her (now gone) website:
Around this time (mid 1990s) she made the cult classic 'The Return of Octobriana: Journey to Outer Mongolia' filmed entirely on location in Italy and in the Gobi Desert, in which she sported a catsuit of ruby glitterdust and donned green space-age lenses. (Whilst filming a scene in which she had to tumble down a sand dune she unearthed a prehistoric nest of protoceratops eggs, dated at 65 million years BC, which now sit proudly in a Mongolian Museum.)
None of this is verifiable, but never the less it adds to the Octobriana myth.
This single by Kevin Dunn was originally released in 1981 by DB Records and again in 1981 by Armageddon Records. The subject of the song is Lydia Borisovna Gal, alledged member of the PPP.
Also now available on YouTube.
Kevin Dunn was a member of The Fans, a cult band from Atlanta, USA.
The first Octobriana domain to be registered was Octobriana.com. It is currently languishing in cyber-limbo, but was launched as a purely pornographic site and had no connection with Octobriana other than in name.
The Case of the Contagious Brain
In the early years of the 21st century the Octobriana meme began to spread and the internet is now filled with an almost endless supply of reinterpretations of the Soviet She Devil, but the next most significant publication was written by indie comics writer Steve Orlando and illustrated by Chaz Truog. Published by Poseur Ink in 2011, it appears to be available in a number of formats.
Octobriana has become more and more familiar to comics readers since she arrived on the scene in the early 1970s.
As many believed Octobriana was the creation of an illegal underground organisation in Kiev, the character is in the public domain (copyright free) and a slow trickle of creators using her image from eighties into the nineties has over flowed across the internet and her guises are now too many to catalogue in detail.
If you believe I have missed anything significant then please get in touch and I will attempt to make amends.
Billy Idol is another Octobriana fan. He has an Octobriana tattoo on his arm taken from a picture published in Sadecky's book and has regularly used Octobriana imagery.
The late Ruthi Balansche, who maintained the Idol Chic site initially provided me with this information including an interview with Idol about his tattoo.
After Ruthi died of cancer in 1999, Mike Lavoie designed an Octobriana guitar in her memory which was presented to Idol in 2000.
Over the years Octobriana has regularly inspired and even crossed over into different genres and media. Below are a few examples.
Revolution Comics / Artful Salamanda / Alchemy Texts
British creators Stuart Taylor and John A Short at Revolution Comics came up with the next incarnation in 1996. After publishing a five issue mini series reinventing the myth of the PPP, Revolution comics disbanded but soon after this, but Stuart Taylor kept the tradition up under the banner of Artful Salamanda, and went on to produce another Octobriana mini series, Filling in the Blanks. John A. Short returned with others as Alchemy Texts to produce Armageddon Patrol and an Octobriana Special, published in 2001. John and Stuart have continued to work with the character and are currently working on two Octobriana based documentaries and a book