McFarland DRACULA Graphic Novel

For the next few Friday's I'm going to go through my work on DRACULA; THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST from McFarland Books.

McFarland is a great publishing house and I'm happy to be working with them again.

I know I've played with DRACULA before, and I can hear a few of you;

"What?  You're doing it again?"
To which I would reply;  "GET OFF MY BACK, MA!"

Ha-- I joke.

But yes, I am revamping, re-doing my original thought on DRACULA for a number of reasons, but the biggest of all is COLOR.  McFarland's publishing is beautiful and I want to take full advantage of the Color process.

When I work I think in either Black and White or Color-- and it's not simply a matter of just coloring the pages I've already drawn.  Those were designed to be BW.  I will re-use pages if they still work, or panel elements but the biggest challenge I'm giving myself is the adaption itself.

Originally, my plan was to do a re-take set in 1930s Europe at the time of the Nazi's coming into power.  It's a period of Evil in the World and seems a natural fit for Dracula.  However, in talking to my editor at McF and giving it some thought I'm going to go back and adapt the story as Stoker wrote it in 1897 and keep it set at the turn of the century.

An even bigger challenge-- and one that's going to anger a lot of faithful Stoker fans, is to keep the story both frightening and interesting, especially after the first 1/3.

I'm annoyed when film-makers try to improve Stoker's story-- often changing the relationships between the characters i.e. making Lucy Seward's daughter, or Mina Van Helsing's!  NO NO NO.

I am going to stay faithful to the characters as they are defined, but I'm going to inject conflict and reality into the book.

In Stoker's original most of the male characters are described as tall, dark and handsome.  To the point that it becomes laughable.  The three male leads are almost interchangeable in their admiration for each other-- in fact the whole book reads like a mutual respect society meeting-- everyone is always astonished at how amazing everyone else is-- and that's just not human nature.

We have negative thoughts, we have dark feelings.  Shouldn't Jack Seward feel jealous after Lucy accepts Arthur's proposal days (hours?) after rejecting his?  Shouldn't someone question the insane theories Van Helsing offers regarding vampirism?

The key here is to be respectful of the source material but inject just enough action and conflict to keep it interesting for us low-brows who can't appreciate the subtle brilliance of characters sitting around a room contemplating life with a cup of tea and a sharpened stake.

We'll see how I do.