Archive for the Dracula Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Posted in books, Classic literature, Dracula, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, reviews, Uncategorized, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2011 by Paxton

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Day 4 of Vampire book week. Today, we look at the original vampire novel. The one that began the popularization of the vampire myths. Let’s take a look at Bram Stoker’s original Dracula.

Dracula novel

I really enjoy doing AWESOME-tober-fest. It has given me a reason to read and watch books and movies I’ve always wanted to but never really “sucked it up” and made the commitment to do. Two years ago I read Shelley’s Frankenstein and I was surprised at how readable it was. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And based on that success, I was anxious to read Stoker’s Dracula.

Now, to be fair, I tried to read Dracula once already. It was back in the late ’90s when I was going through my “must read classics” phase. I couldn’t get through it. I remember thinking the first third of the book was good, but it completely fell apart after that.  However, being older and wiser, I thought I could better appreciate it now.  Besides, while not the first vampire novel, it certainly is what made them popular.  Plus it influenced the original Universal Dracula with Bela Lugosi which would further the ingraining of vampires into popular culture.

Like I said, Stoker’s 1897 book was not the first vampire story.  An essay published in the periodical Ninteenth Century in 1885 called Transylvania Superstitions discussed the mythical creatures.  Lord Byron created a vampire story during the same night of ghost story telling that Mary Shelley created Frankenstein.  Byron wouldn’t finish the story but John Polidori would polish it up and finish it as The Vampyre in 1819.  However it was Stoker’s Dracula that popularized the monster.  But it wouldn’t be until Universal’s 1931 movie based loosely (and I mean loosely) on the novel that Dracula would receive the popularity it currently achieves.

Stoker's Dracula

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Batman vs Dracula

Posted in Batman, comic books, Dracula, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by Paxton

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This the is final day of AWESOME-tober-fest 2011 comic book week in which I look at comic books featuring the character of Dracula. Today I’m going to look at the epic battle between the Lord of the Vampires and the Dark Knight Detective.

Batman vs Dracula

Today’s comic is Batman & Dracula: Red Rain from 1991.  Yes, Batman vs Dracula in an Elseworlds tale.  How badass is that? The book was written by Doug Moench and illustrated by Kelley Jones. This was a very popular graphic novel and spawned a cartoon movie that was loosely based on the story.

This graphic novel has Batman investigating a series of murders affecting Gotham’s homeless population. Batman discovers that the murders are by a family of vampires led by Dracula himself. Batman recruits a female vampire named Tanya who recently left Dracula’s family to help lure the vampire legions to the Batcave. Batman is accidentally bit by a vampire but still manages to destroy the majority of the vampire family except Dracula. Dracula kidnaps Gordon and Batman goes after him. Dracula and vampire Batman battle and Dracula is impaled on a broken tree trunk. Batman laments that Bruce Wayne is dead but states that now, vampire Batman can continue forever.

Batman vs vampires

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Marvel’s Dracula Lives magazine (1973)

Posted in comic books, Dracula, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2011 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 4 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2011.  This week I am looking at comic books featuring the character of Dracula.  Yesterday we looked at Marvel’s regular size Tomb of Dracula.  Today we look at Marvel’s magazine sized Dracula Lives.
Dracula Lives
Marvel released Dracula Lives after their comic Tomb of Dracula became popular.  It was a black and white magazine that featured Marvel talents such as Tomb of Dracula writer Marv Wolfman and artists Dick Giordano, Roy Thomas and Gene Colan.  The magazines would feature articles about Dracula movies as well as the actors that played Dracula.  The magazine would also become known for the comic stories featuring Dracula.  Since the magazine was released concurrently with the Tomb of Dracula comic, the stories would, for the most part, keep continuity between the two.  Events that happened in one would be reflected in the other.

Let’s look at some of the more notable comic stories in this magazine.

Dracula origin Dracula Lives 02

In Dracula Lives! #2, there is a Dracula origin story. It’s written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by the awesome Neal Adams. The artwork is truly fantastic. Adams is wonderful. I mentioned his work on Monday when I looked at the book and record set A Story of Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein.  The story involves Turks invading Transylvania and taking Dracula (who is a mortal man) prisoner and planning to use him as a puppet king.  Dracula is injured in battle and taken to a gypsy to keep him alive.  The gypsy reveals herself to be a vampire and the Turks kill her and take Dracula back to their stronghold.  Their the Turks threaten Dracula’s wife and child to make him to their bidding.  The Turks kill his wife, then Dracula reveals that the gypsy turned him into a vampire and he slaughters everyone.  Why he didn’t “vamp out” earlier to save his wife is a mystery.  Dracula then vows vengeance on the entire world for the death of his wife.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula (1972)

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Halloween, holiday, monsters, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2011 by Paxton

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Continuing our look at comic books this week featuring the character of Dracula. Tomb of Dracula Today we look at the classic Marvel comic, Tomb of Dracula.  The first seven issues of the series had trouble keeping a writer.  Gerry Conway, Archie Goodwin and Gardner Fox all took turns.  The book finally took off when Marv Wolfman became the permanent writer with issue 7.  The entire run was drawn by Gene Colan.  Colan didn’t model his Dracula on Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee.  He would use Jack Palance as his model.  Tomb of Dracula became a very popular part of Marvel’s horror comics in the 70s – 80s.

In Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973), the character of Blade the Vampire Hunter would be introduced. 1st BladeAt the time, Blade was just a guy who happened to be immune to vampire bites. He was more Shaft than super-vampire.  In 1998 Wesley Snipes would re-envision the character of Blade for the big screen.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Dell Dracula comics (1966)

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Frankenstein, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2011 by Paxton

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Continuing our Halloween AWESOME-tober-fest, this week we are looking at comics featuring Dracula. Today is one part of a group of comics by Dell that re-imagines the Universal Monsters as super heroes.

Dell Dracula 01 I have previously looked at the other Dell Monster comics for Halloween. Dell picked up the Universal Monster license in the early 60s and tried to reboot the monsters into super heroes.  It was as gloriously insane as you think it was.  I talked a little bit about the Dell Frankenstein comic during AWESOME-tober-fest 2009. I hope to someday revisit that comic for a more in depth review. Next I took a long look at the Dell Werewolf comic for AWESOME-tober-fest 2010.  While strangely awesome and weird, the Werewolf comic had the best plot so far.  They next turned their eyes toward Dracula.  And the above comic laden with ridiculous weirdness was the result.  Check out that goddam costume.  Did he design it in the dark?

The Dracula series only lasted three issue.  Here are issues #3 and #4.

Dell Dracula 03 Dell Dracula 04

The comics are pretty zany. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more entertaining bits.

Dracula origin 1 Dracula origin 2
Here’s the new Dracula’s origin. This guy, Dr Dracula is trying to clear his family name since it’s been smeared by legend. He is trying to cure brain damage with bats…somehow.  He creates a serum, pronounces it a success and then proceeds to let go all of his test bats because his work is done (without testing it?).  Then one of the bats knocks over the serum and it pours into Dracula’s celebratory drink…without him knowing it (of course!).  The serum inexplicably gives Dracula the ability to transform into a bat which, if you think about it as a super power, kinda sucks.

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