Reviews of Old Comics: Bram Stoker’s Dracula #3

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA #3

December 1992

Bram Stoker's Dracula #3 Page 00It was the boom era for comic books, as speculators drove sales into the stratosphere, where comics sold easily in the five and six figures. Sports Card company Topps, after branching into the non-sports market sought to diversify by launching a comic book line, starting with the licensed comic for the Francis Ford Copolla film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and later expanding into the Zorro and X-Files licenses.

SYNOPSIS:

Dr. Van Helsing has arrived to help his old protege, Dr. John Seward treat an ailing Lucy Wetserna. Lucy’s friend, Mina Murray is being romanced by a visiting Eastern European Prince Vlad. Van Helsing informs Seward and his friends, one of them her fiancee that Lucy has been drained by something  and she is transforming into whatever it is.

Mina’s fiancee, Jonathan Harker has fled Dracula’s castle and made his way to the safety of a convent. Mina visits the ailing Lucy to inform her of the good news and the reequest to join him at the convent in Budapest. Lucy convinces her to go but is exhibiting a horrible reaction to Garlic flowers placed at her bedside by Van Helsing. She attempts to attack a former suitor of hers, Quincey, by biting at his neck, revealing small fangs developing in her mouth. Van Helsing deduces the identity of her attacker as Dracula himself.

In Budapest, Lucy marries Jonathan, forcing Dracula into misery that his love has been torn from him again. He gains revenge by attacking Lucy in her bed and killing her on her transformation into a vampire. At the funeral, Van Helsing orders Dr. Seward to gather Quincey and Lucy’s fiancee, Arthur Holmwood to exhume her body so that he can cut off her head and remove her heart.

After Jonathan and Mina return to London, he chases Dracula into an alley where he is nearly assaulted by a large bat flying past him. Van Helsing’s expedition to Lucy’s tomb finds an empty coffin until Lucy comes down into the tomb carrying a small child, intent on making it her first victim of her undead thirst. They subdue her and as Dracula approaches Mina waiting for her now unconscious husband, they cut off Lucy’s head and drive a stake through her heart. Over the distance, this brings Dracula pain, and he runs off as Jonathan returns to the carriage where he left his wife.

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REVIEW:

Mike Mignola was not well-known when this was published. It was shortly after this that all changed. Mignola so completely captured not only the horror of the film, but even with his own style, managed to convey the brilliant visuals in the scenery and costumes. The unsung hero of this book is the colorist, legendary artist Mark Chiarello, who kept red as the most saturated color in the comic as red, which contrast so well with the white of Lucy Westerna in her vampiric state.

Some of the likenesses are lacking, so if you come at this as a fan of the film, then you’ll be left wanting, so I don’t recommend using this to lure in people that don’t normally read comics. Roy Thomas adapted the script excellently, and Mignola was masterful at conveying the visuals, but a layperson picking up the book will kost likely be turned off by how the likenesses are sacrificed for mood.

 

It’s just a beautiful comic to view, especially if you’re a fan of Mignola’s work on Hellboy or any of his other work.

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NOTES:

The story was collected in  Dracula: Graphic Novel(ISBN #1852864745) which is unfortunately out of print, and now selling for some serious change on the secondary market. The individual issues should not be too expensive if you can find them. They were initailly polybagged with trading cards, but if you’re just out to read the adaptation, forego those copies.

FINAL RATING: 9.0 (out of a possible 10)

Get the entire series for the full effect.