What to make of Dr. Black, not particularly the most orthodox of heroes or anti-heroes? As written by Brendan Connell, Dr. Black seems to have always existed and yet be utterly unique. He is simultaneously learned and, in certain environments, a bit of a fool. He has some tastes that are quite normal and others that are outrageous. There is always a bit of comedy as a sting in the tail of the more serious stories, and a seeming encyclopedic knowledge on the author’s part of the comic pratfalls of yesteryear in others.
—From Jeff VanderMeer's intro