Comic Book Rewind: Bram Stoker's Dracula
FROM THE PAGES OF COMIC BOOK SPECTRUM
Script: Roy Thomas Pencils: Mike Mignola Inks: John Nyberg Letters: John Costanza
When I was a small child, I was scared of EVERYTHING. I mean I had nightmares about Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty for months. I still remember those dreams too (shudders and holds teddy bear tightly). But eventually, like most fears, my curiosity about horror got the best of me. I began asking my parents questions about scary movies that they had talked about like The Exorcist, The Omen, or Friday The 13th. And like the good parents they were, they didn’t show those films to their 6-8-year-old son, but they didn’t shy away from talking about those movies when I asked questions either. After a few months of inquiring about the horror genre, my father rented a horror/comedy for me called, “Hold That Ghost” by Abbott and Costello. I had watched a couple black and white movies before, but nothing that really piqued my interest. But boy this one did. After the successful viewing, my dad continued to rent more Abbott and Costello comedy/horror movies and eventually we got to “Abbott and Costello Meets The Frankenstein Monster” with Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and Lon Cheny Jr.’s Wolfman in it as well. I was absolutely mesmerized. I already knew about Dracula, but only from cartoons or in edited for tv Hammer Horror movies on Halloween. Bela Lugosi though… was something else entirely.
Fast forward to my teenage years and I am all about the Universal Monster movies, but mostly Dracula. It is during this time that I watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Gary Oldman as the count. I’m going to admit, when I first watched it, I didn’t really care for it past the first 30 minutes, but it grew on me. There was something about the architecture, tone, costume design, and cinematography that just drew me in. I realized that for the first time, I had experienced a love for Film that even made me forget Keanu Reeves’ awful British accent. Around that same time, I began getting into a comic book character called Hellboy, created by Mike Mignola. Over the years to come I would pine over Mignola’s art style and soak up every bit of it I possibly could. Then, in my early thirties, the two worlds met.
I was in a comic shop one day and realized that Mike Mignola had drawn a comic book adaptation of Coppolla’s Dracula movie. IT. WAS. BREATHTAKING. Here I was, starring at my favorite comic book artist’s work of my favorite monster of all time. I immediately checked online and found out that there was a hardback black and white version of this graphic novel and didn’t think twice before I ordered it.
Now keep in mind that Dracula is not only my favorite monster but my favorite novel as well. So to have found this treasure trove is beyond blissful. When I got it home, I immediately dove in and grinned from ear to ear as I saw Mignola’s stark black and white contrast tell the story of my favorite villain capturing Jonathan Harker with his eastern charm and manipulating his way into the streets of London where he would begin his reign of terror. One of the absolute best things I’ve ever seen in a comic book is Mignola drawing Sir Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, holding the three severed heads of Dracula’s brides.
If you like Dracula at all, EVEN IF YOU HATE COPPOLLA’S MOVIE, you will love this book. Honestly a lot of the time I would rather sit and read this instead of watching the movie so I don’t have to sit through Keanu’s accent or Winona Ryder’s acting (she’s a great actress, this just wasn’t her best). It’s the same great story with perfect visuals, without the downsides of watching the movie. It’s by far the best (IMO) comic adaptation of any movie and I highly recommend it for anyone, but especially if you love Dracula or Mike Mignola.
I give this book an astounding 10/10. Go get yours today!!