Sunday, October 31, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Illustrated Dracula

I love Halloween. I love comics. I love Dracula. Here are my favorite comic adaptations of Bram Stoker's story. There have been many graphic novelizations of Dracula and I am working on collecting them all. There was one in particular that I read when I was much younger, but I have not been able to locate it. I barely recall the actual art inside, but I do remember it was a purple digest-sized hardcover (I also had green-colored hardcover of Treasure Island by the same publishing company). If anyone reading this has any information of this edition which must have been released in the late 1970's, I'd be grateful to learn more regarding it and any recommendations for other versions.

The Complete Dracula
(Dynamite Entertainment)

This is the most recent of my collection, written by Leah Moore and John Mark Reppion with art by Colton Worely. It was released in hardcover earlier this year and I have been saving it to read this weekend. I absolutely love the John Cassaday covers that are included in this volume.

Bram Stoker's Dracula Movie Adaptation
(Topps Comics)

I make no apologies for not liking the Francis Ford Coppola film overall. I do think it had its moments, but took too many liberties with the original story to warrant placing the author's name in the title. However, one of the best ideas the short-lived Topps Comics company did was to produce this "graphic album" written by Roy Thomas with art by Mike Mignola. IMHO, it is much better than the film itself and I do not think I can say that about any other comic adaptation.

(Catalan Communications)

At a convention earlier this year, I discovered this reprint of the adaptation artist Fernando Fernandez created for the Spanish edition of Creepy in the 1980's. The painted artwork is absolutely breathtaking! I was very sad to learn that we Fernandez passed away a couple of months ago. I will be sure to seek out more of his work and am particularly interested in his Vampirella stories. While I was gazing at the stunning images he created for the this adaptation, I could very easily see his style applied to Vampi.

Stoker's Dracula
(Marvel Comics)

In the 1970's, Marvel Comics had great success creating new Dracula stories and it was only right that at some point they craft an origin story. Writer Roy Thomas and artist Dick Giordano took up the challenge of serializing the adaptation in Dracula Lives! magazine. Only the series was cancelled before they could finish the job. Thirty years later, Marvel asked if they could finally complete the last hundred or so pages. And I am so glad they did! This is one of the most comprehensively written versions I have ever come across and the art is equally fantastic. I understand Marvel is releasing this now in color and I have mixed feelings about that as Giordano's black and white work gives this a romantic-era feel, but I'll reserve final judgement once I see the new edition for myself. It is a true credit to Thomas that he pens both this and the Coppola adaption and stays true to the source material for each.

Dracula: A Symphony In Moonlight & Nightmares

Out of all the adaptations on this list, this on by artist Jon J. Muth, takes the most liberties with the original text. But it is also one of the most hauntingly beautiful stories I've ever read. It is not a literal graphic translation of Stoker's story, but it captures the tone and mood. The art featured on each page is worthy of hanging in a gallery. It is one of my favorite graphic novels of all time and I long for Muth to return to comics (he is currently illustrating children's books).

Dracula: The Definitive Edition
(Barnes & Noble Edition)

Though it is not a graphic novel, I wanted to make mention of this 100th-anniversary edition of the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker featuring illustrations by Edward Gorey. The hardcover was available exclusively through Barnes & Noble, but I have seen it in the bargain section recently and I encourage any one who does not have this in his/her library to pick it up. As much I love reading adaptations, there is no substitute for the original story.


Anonymous said...

Could this be the missing Dracula book from your childhood ?

NewLegendMike said...

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm afraid that is not the one I am looking for. The Warren magazine is not exactly "kid-friendly" and the one I recall was targeted at young teens.

Dracula Book One is on my list to get at some point though! Love Esteban Maroto artwork!