by Jason Delgado
The late, great Bela Lugosi, stage actor turned movie star, who played the original Dracula from Universal’s classic 1931 film, once replied when asked if Dracula would ever end for him, “No, no. Dracula never ends. I don’t know whether I should call it a fortune or a curse, but it never ends.” It may have been a typecasting curse as an actor, but Lugosi’s mark as Dracula is undeniably indelible, and now he gets to live on through a new graphic novel.
For the first time ever, Bram Stoker’s seminal masterpiece novel is combined with the image of Bela Lugosi, to form a gothic dynamic duo. Both are so tied to the lore of Dracula that it’s surprising that this is the first time that they have come together. Needless to say, the pairing is a supernatural fit.
The story of this Legendary Comics graphic novel centers on Dracula moving from Transylvania to England, in order to find fresh blood. The Vampire Prince sets his sights on two beautiful young women, Mina and Lucy, while professor Van Helsing and a group of young men band together to ward off the great evil.
Beautiful artwork by El Garing highlights this adaptation, and the likeness of Bela Lugosi is so strikingly vibrant and realistic that, like Dracula’s vampire victims, you can’t help but be hypnotized by it. The story by Bram Stoker is also a page turner, once it gets moving along. Kudos to Robert Napton and Kerry Gammill for the adaptation, art direction, and editing.
I must admit, I’ve been a big fan of Bela Lugosi and the Universal Monsters ever since childhood, when I had their action figures and awesome playsets. I had a phase in my teen years when the monster posters adorned my bedroom, with a life-size cardboard coffin to boot. They were like the original Marvel Cinematic Universe of their day in terms of popularity, and their universe was also connected by the films in which they starred together, with the comedic duo of Abbott and Costello (Although not nearly to the degree that today’s Marvel Universe is woven together).
One of my absolute favorite movies is Ed Wood, about the worst director of all-time (played as a wonderful eccentric by Johnny Depp), and his unusual friendship with the cantankerous, loveable and relatable, Borris-Karloff-hating-Bela-Lugosi (for which Martin Landau won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar). My love for Lugosi makes this graphic novel an easy sell for me, but I believe that the uninitiated will also enjoy it, if they’re in the mood for a vampire story that builds in suspense.
Halloween may be over this year, but Bela Lugosi lives eternally.
Legendary Comics’ DRACULA, starring Bela Lugosi, graphic novel is available now: https://www.legendary.com/comics/dracula/