I found “Bram Stoker’s Dracula: The Graphic Novel” for sale at a local discounter and, given the price, decided to pick it up. At first glance, the artwork looked sloppy and the book itself seemed far too short to cover the entire Dracula story.
Adapted from Bram Stoker’s novel by Gary Reed and illustrated by Becky Cloonan, the story section of the book covers 150 pages, and that’s followed by 25 pages dedicated to a “behind the scenes” look. Most modern versions of the text-version are between 400 and 500 pages. So I was a bit concerned about how this slender graphic novel would be able to capture the heart of the book.
But as I read it, I was fully sucked in by the atmosphere Cloonan created. Reinterpreting the main characters with “Emo” stylings, Cloonan matched the somber mood of Stoker’s novel with remarkable precision.
However, it should be noted that since this graphic novel is aimed at young readers (early teens, I imagine), Reed and Cloonan have stripped out some of its gore and sexuality. Still, they managed to retain its sense of melancholy.
Likewise the story in this graphic novel sticks close to the original text, unlike the classic Bela Lugosi film, and Gary Reed should be lauded for his ability to capture the desperation that drove the vampire-hunting team.
My only complaint is that a little exposition here and there would have been helpful. Just some simple stuff that would have explained some of the off-camera events and remind us who’s who and where they’re at.
But beyond those meager problems, Cloonan and Reed’s effort is a real tribute to the horror classic, and a great introduction to it for young readers.
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
$10.99 (but since discounted)
Words: Gary Reed
Art: Becky Cloonan
Three stars out of Four (A worthy adaptation that really captures the mood of the original.)