Vienna, 1889: Dracula’s brides nail him to the bottom of his coffin. Los Angeles, 1974: an ageing starlet decides to raise the stakes. Crime scene photographer Quincy Harker is the only man who knows it happened, but will anyone believe him before he gets his own chalk outline? And are Dracula’s three brides there to help him… or use him as bait? A pulpy, pulse-pounding graphic novel of California psych-horror from acclaimed creators ALEX DE CAMPI and ERICA HENDERSON.
Warnings: scopophobia, murder scene, eye strain, domestic abuse
Note: Not a YA graphic novel
There is a lot to unpack with my review so I’ll start with the story first – it is pretty much what the synopsis says, like that’s all. It is a pretty straightforward and short story – Dracula is risen again, he is taking new brides, and this photographer gets caught up in the mess because of his own curiosity; Dracula’s last brides (who were also the ones to nail him to the coffin) have come to end him for once and for all, and what better way than to use Harker to get into the castle, so as to say. The ending left me on a confused note as to what exactly happened to Harker due to one particular sentence and I keep wondering – did he also become a vampire? The story feels so unsatisfactory because the plot doesn’t even name the three brides until the extras (the character design stuff, etc) in the end! For main characters and the driving force of the plot, they are not even given names or any characterization beyond their desire to end Dracula. Pretty much same for Harker, too. So it was disappointing both on the plot front and the characterization.
Moving on to the highlight (for me) of this book – the artwork. Whatever frustration I had with the plot, I can’t deny that the artwork set the scene so well I can’t help but throw some redeeming stars at it! The mood of the 70s is rendered in its psychedelic palette and the brilliant storyboard meant that on an artistic level, I was a bit awestruck, even if, at times, the characters weren’t clear enough with the harsh and unusual lighting. It set the tone and the vibe so well! But alas, I will have to warn eager fans about the eye strain you will suffer – particularly if you are reading this in digital format – the fully saturated tones used in this comic are literally a pain in the eyes. I love the artwork but my eyes beg to argue that this pain was not entirely worth it.
Is it diverse? Black main character; WoC characters
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Image Comics, via Edelweiss.
Releases on October 13, 2020