Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Graphic Novel A Day: Curse of Dracula

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Gene Colan
Company: Dark Horse
Price: $9.95 ($9.95 at Amazon)

An attempt to basically "relaunch" Tomb of Dracula with all-new characters but in the same vein and with the same creators, Curse of Dracula is, like most of Claremont's post-1990 work, a good example of how you can't go home again. Curse of Dracula does read a lot like Tomb of Dracula in some ways, with a cast of unusual hunters trying to take down the lord of the undead, but in the harsh light of modern comics, the approach looks a bit dated. Wolfman's self-aggrandizing intro, wherein he makes claims of writing horror and scary and that crime fiction and superhero fiction, no matter how good, can never reach such heights, doesn't help. The lead characters are interesting but a bit over-the-top, often featuring characterization that boils down to weird accents, and they don't have the likability or the depth of a Blade or Hannibal King. This Dracula is a sketch compared to the richly developed supervillain of Tomb of Dracula, where the book was as much about him as it was his hunters. And you'd think getting one of my favorite artists (Gene Colan) with one of my favorite colorists (Dave Stewart) would be fantastic, but instead it's merely adequate, and the "digital inking" style just really doesn't suit Colan's work. I'm sounding harsher than I feel, because I did actually read the whole thing, but my general feeling is that you're better off going back and reading the Essential Tomb of Dracula, when these concepts and their creators were fresher.

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