• Previews 

    Becky Cloonan’s Dracula is a Gorgeous Collection of Gothic Art [Preview]

    By | April 3rd, 2012
    Posted in Previews | % Comments

    I’m sure every reader of this site is familiar with Bram Stoker’s classic novel “Dracula.” Introducing the most famous vampire of literary fiction in 1897, it has spawned numerous “sequels”, “spin-offs”, adaptations and re-interpretations, and is an absolute staple in any serious readers collection.

    Of course, if you don’t happen to own the book yet (or somehow never read it, even in English class in high school), now would be the time to pick yourself up a copy. On sale next week from Harper Design comes a brand new hardcover edition of “Dracula” with illustrations by famed illustrator and Eisner-award winning comic book artist Becky Cloonan. With over fifty illustrations throughout the entire book, this new edition of “Dracula” really is a sight to behold and is much an “update” of a classic as you can get without changing the original text one bit.

    The text itself remains entirely unchanged, but Cloonan’s artwork adds to it a new dimension that truly enhances the overall vision of the book. With her ever-present musical and influence ringing clear within the illustrated pages, Cloonan brings a brand new gothic vision to the Victorian era novel that brings the characters and their story to life. The illustrations vary from page to page, sometimes emphasizing the characteristics and design of a specific person or illustrating entire sequences over the entire page, swallowing up the prose within. Cloonan even mixes up her own artistic output throughout the book, sometimes delivering spot illustrations that could assumedly be found in her comic work and at other points creating lush visual designs that blend colors and would be very much at home in a framed print on your wall. Overall it is very much in line with the gorgeous work we’ve come to know Cloonan for, and yet it’s still something entirely new.

    All of this praise comes from an obvious personal bias. As a site, we’ve done nothing but praise Cloonan’s work, from her personally published mini-comics to her current work, and Cloonan is very much a site favorite (as anyone reading the site for an extended period of time is sure to know). At the same time, I personally have a soft spot in my heart for Stoker’s “Dracula,” which is very much a book I think everyone should read and experience (especially in today’s culture where vampires are inexplicably so damn popular). That’s why the combined elements of Stoker and Cloonan get nothing but praise, as the two qualities that both talented individuals bring to the table blend together for a gorgeous looking novel. What you get is both a book of art and an amazing story, both of which can stand the test of time together.

    If none of that convinces you, take a look behind the cut for some art from the book. The book goes on sale next week for $17.99, and comes with the (invisible) Multiversity Seal of Approval.

    Harper Design/HarperCollins Press Release

    Bram Stoker’s cult classic Dracula (Harper Design | On sale: April 10, 2012; $17.99) gets a contemporary visual spin through the art of renowned Eisner Award-winning artist Becky Cloonan. This new edition of Dracula, offering the complete unabridged text of the original book with more than fifty original illustrations in the form of horizontal and vertical panels, spot illustrations, and ornate borders will delight Dracula fans. This is a Dracula we’ve never seen before–contemporary, edgy, stylishly macabre with Victorian overtones, and an unusual color palette.

    This gorgeous book will publish at the same time Tim Burton’s film Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, and Jackie Earle Hayley, among others, releases in theaters on May 11, 2012. Dark Shadows is inspired by the TV show of the same name, which ran from 1966-1971. Drawing on classic gothic and horror novels for its storylines, this daily gothic soap opera featured ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and witches; but when the Dracula-inspired Barnabas Collins was introduced in 1967, the show’s popularity soared, testimony to the power of the original vampire figure.

    Continued below

    About the Author:

    Bram Stoker (1847-1912) was born in Ireland and attended Trinity College in Dublin. He joined the Irish Civil Service, then became involved in the theater. He wrote seventeen books.

    About the Illustrator:

    Becky Cloonan is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator who started self-publishing comic books in 1999. Since then her profile has steadily risen, working with publishers like Vertigo, Dark Horse, and Marvel, with editions of her work published in several languages worldwide. Standout work includes Harvey Award—nominated Pixu, and the Eisner Award—nominated Demo and East Coast Rising. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

    By Bram Stoker
    Illustrated by Becky Cloonan
    Harper Design
    384 pp | $17.99 | Hardcover
    On Sale: April 10, 2012
    ISBN: 9780061992155

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."