Graphic Classics Volume 7: Bram Stoker (2nd Edition)
by Bram Stoker
Review by Gayle Surrette
Eureka Productions Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780978791919
Date: 29 August 2007 List Price $11.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Graphics Classics this time brings us some of the works of Bram Stoker. Not only his most enduring and lasting work, Dracula, but also some of his other lesser known stories: Lair of the White Worm, an excerpt from The Jewel of the Seven Stars -- here called "The Bridal of Death" -- among others. Adapted and illustrated by authors and illustrators who have managed to keep the true spirit of the originals.
The central piece is, of course, Dracula. The story is wonderfully adapted for this graphic treatment, following the original novel faithfully in spirit as well as intent. The illustrations are a bit creepy, but I think that might be because if you carefully study the drawings they're just enough off to get your hackles up. I do have to say Jonathan Harker looked enough like Keanu Reeves to make me smile in some parts. "The Vampire Hunter's Guide" which is a illustrated list of do's and don'ts when hunting vampires that was extracted from the novel is laugh out loud funny in parts and the illustrations are delightfully light to set the tone.
"The Judges House" is a truly creepy haunted house story. A young student rents a house reported to be haunted so that he can study in solitude. He doesn't believe in ghosts and such unscientific tales -- at least until weird things begin to happen. Will he become a believer? Will he listen to the town folk and protect himself? That uncertainty is what keeps us reading.
"The Bridal of Death" is an excerpt from The Jewel of the Seven Stars. Jewel... was also the basis for a 1980 film staring Charlton Heston called The Awakening. There's more than enough creep factor to keep you reading, trying to decide just what is happening. Will the young man find out what's going on before it's too late? Does his fiancée know what's going on? Well, you'll need to either read the original, or this edition of Graphic Classics to find out. The artwork here, at least to me, seemed a bit campy -- but it really works well with the story.
In "Torture Tower" a young couple on their honeymoon seemed to have a talkative man added to their party. The young couple seem to like his company, but as a reader I found him a bit obnoxious -- but to each their own. Their adventures while touring a castle renowned for its torture town leave you wondering about justice and karma. The drawings are more like woodcuts -- blocky and simple -- again fitting the narrative style. "The Wondrous Child" is a fable type story with a few lovely illustrations for the text. Then Lair of the White Worm is another tale of misdirection and false impressions. The novel is well adapted and the artwork is simple and more realistic than some of the other works making the story seem even more chilling.
All in all, it's another excellent volume of illustrated adaptations of famous literature. If you don't want to take the time for the originals, here's your chance to read them in a more streamlined presentation.