Monday, January 25, 2010

Dracula Goes Graphic...

Helloooo everybody! I had all intentions of posting a Sunday Salon yesterday, but the best laid plans often get steamrolled. Such is life.

So, it's been ages since I've been to the library, but I decided to make a trip late last week to snag the next in the Woolf in Winter read-along, and of course I found some other goodies that jumped into my library bag.

When I was browsing the teen graphic novels, I happened upon All-Action Classics No. 1: Dracula. One look at the illustrations convinced me to give this one a go. It's the Bram Stoker novel adapted to graphic novel format by Michael Mucci, et al. This is the first graphic novel adaptation of a classic I've ever read, and I just managed to sneak under the wire for the Janauary mini-challenge over at the Graphic Novels Challenge site.

I'm admitting here and now that I HAVE NOT read Bram Stoker's version it its entirity. I started it a couple of years ago, and while I was enjoying it, it got laid aside for one reason or another. I did make it past the creepy shimmy down the tower that Dracula performs, and I have to say, it creeped the socks off me. Really, it made tinglies and prickles run down my spine. Dracula just happens to be one of the pre-loaded e-books on my Nook, so I expect I'll return to it sooner than later. I have a hankering to pick it up for Our Mutual Read.

But back to the graphic novel. As I mentioned earlier, the illustrations are GREAT. The characters are extremely stylized. Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra sort of look like Bratz dolls with their big eyes and fluffy cheek bones, and Dracula himself is a hilarious, anorexic, ugly piece of a count. It's also very moody and cutesy at the same time. It's hard to explain, but if you visit the linked title above, it'll take you to the Google books version, which lets you preview a good portion of the book.

The only thing that bugged me visually was the actual written text. I was soooo not a fan of the text. It was fitting to the illustrations, sort of a rounded, weird font, but it was also hard to read. I found myself re-reading little portions because I couldn't make out a word.

The adaptation part was spot on as far as I could remember. The storyline is basically the same as the novel but with a few funny things thrown in. As I was reading I would occasionally catch a snarky comment by one of the characters that didn't fit with the time period, and there was a reference to the SPCA that made me blink a couple of times. I found these instances to enhance the quirky weirdness of the book rather than disappointing me.

For a first effort reading an adapted classic, it was a great success! I love quirk, so this type of adaptation is right up my alley, and I'm not sure a more serious, straightlaced one would've worked for me. If you're going to adapt a classic to graphic novel format, it seems a sense of humor only helps the situation.

This is my second book read for the 2010 Graphic Novels Challenge. Oh, and FTC, if you weren't paying attention, I got this one from the LIBRARY.


  1. I just recently read this, too. I haven't reviewed it yet, though.

  2. Can't wait to read your review, Kailana!

  3. You know, there are more and more classics going graphic. I bought number one granddaughter three Shakespeare GNs for Xmas and I saw a few Greek Mythology GNs. I am thinking about getting her some of the Greek ones. I know Harold Bloom does not approve, but I think it is a good way for the very young to be introduced to the classics. I am interested in the Dracula one, may check it out. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Wow, EVERY classic is going graphic! I don't know if it's good or bad. On the one hand, it's cool to pique interest in the classics in this way. On the other, hopefully it is an "in addition to" rather than "in place of" situation.

  5. I just had to check out the preview on Google books. Good thing I read the book last year, otherwise I would've screamed when I got to the end of the preview. Talk about a cliffhanger.

    I loved how he kept asking "Do you speak English?"

  6. Oy, it's pain when the lettering in a graphic novel is hard to read. What's the point?

  7. I have to check this out... I am always looking for quailty graphic novels to purchase for my classroom. I think this would be a great addition. Thanks for showing me a whole new side of graphic novels!

  8. Fem, I've noticed that, too. I bet the granddaughter would really like the Greek selections. Like grandmother, like granddaughter!

    Aarti, I didn't realize just how many until this mini-challenge! And I feel sure it'll stay "in addition to." I can't imagine they'd replace the real deal.

    LOL, Jill! Love it.

    Marie, that's my feeling. I don't need anything to disrupt the flow of images.

    Jenna, I think you're right! A few graphic classics would be a great addition to a classroom, and this one is fun.

  9. I think I encountered my first graphic version of classics more than fifteen years ago with The Scarlet Letter (illustrated, I think, by Jill Thompson, one of the Sandman artists), Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven and Other Poems (illustrated by Gahan Wilson), Hamlet and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide (can't remember the artists). There were other titles but some other readers beat me to them when I came back to finally buy them, among them The Count of Monte Cristo :( Years ago and I still have them! Yay!

    Of course while being true to the classics some texts needed to be shortened (except the Poe poems) and I think that's the only drawback. I also had a King Lear graphic novel with the full text and totally heartbreaking artwork. Too bad that one got eaten by termites :)

    I think it's a good introduction as any to the classics. And I understand that the cutesy drawings might pull in readers who probably scoff at stories written uh, aeons ago :)

  10. Lightheaded, thanks for mentioning all these great classics which have been adopted to graphic novel format. I've only become aware of them recently, so I'm adding to my wishlist of reading.


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