Thursday, October 10, 2013

Reader's Diary #1073- Bram Stoker: Graphic Classics

At the beginning of this year I once again signed up for the Graphic Novels Challenge, hosted by Nicola (and I look forward to joining again next year.) Not one who likes to bite off more than he can chew (okay, that's not entirely true), I decided to go the basic route, level one, which meant 12 graphic novels read and reviewed in a year. Well, that came and went, but I wasn't quite done. I had two choices (besides quitting), push for 24 books (this marks my 21st) which is Basic, Level 2, or try for the Advanced Play. That one's too difficult to explain, so I'll just cut and paste it here:

Advanced:  For advanced play we are going to play categories.  Players will pick 1 book from each of the 12 categories below.  If you are playing at Level 2 you could double up, choosing two from each category, or use the remainder as free picks.  You only have to read one book from each of the 12 categories.

1. manga
2. superhero
3. classic adaptation (a classic work adapted into the graphic format)
4. memoir
5. fantasy
6. translated from a foreign language
7. a single-issue comic book
8. science-fiction
9. crime or mystery
10. fairytale or mythology (true to the original or fractured, such as Fables series)
11. children's book (specifically written for children)
12. anthology (a collection of short stories by different authors/artists)

The thing is, most of my picks in the basic level just happened to fill up these categories. So, I've decided to knock off the categories I still needed to fill. The Graphic Classics of Bram Stoker fulfills the requirement of #3: Classic Adaptation.

I'm not a huge fan of Stoker, though this is the 2nd review of his works this week. Halloween is coming up, so it just seemed appropriate. And despite my lack of admiration for Stoker's writing, I did quite enjoy this book. More than anticipated, actually. Each story or comic is illustrated by a different artist, 26 in all (this includes the covers and a gallery of one-off illustrations of quotes from Dracula). The only one other than Stoker that I recognized in the whole lot wasn't an illustrator at all, but Mort Castle who wrote the intro.

Still the artwork is impressive and quite eclectic in style. It's not all strictly comic adaptations, some are merely illustrated short stories. However, the variety simply adds to the charm. I wish I liked Stoker's material better, but at least I was introduced to the shockingly violent "The Dualists" and the Poe-esque "The Judge's House." Even those won't go down as favourite pieces of writing, but I think that in the end I had more of a sense of what Stoker was all about beyond Dracula and exposure to a lot of other fabulous talent.

(A complete listing of all the involved artists and writers:
 Mort Castle
Rico Schacherl
Onsmith Jeremi
Evert Geradts
Richard Sala
John W. Pierard
Brandon Ragnar Johnson
Kostas Aronis
Neale Blanden
Skot Olsen
Michael Manning
Jeff Gaither
Maxon Crumb
Lisa K. Weber
Spain Rodriguez
Todd Schorr
Anton Emdin
Todd Lovering
Hunt Emerson
Lesley Reppeteaux
Gerry Alanguilan
J. B. Bonivert
Glenn Barr
Christopher Miscik
Kristen Ulve
Allen Koszowski
Mitch O'Connell

 Note that this only refers to the 1st edition, but a 2nd edition with more material is available.)


Nikki in Niagara said...

Hey! Glad to see you jumping in to finish up the Categories game! I enjoyed this one too and you pretty much summed up why I like this entire series of "Graphic Classics".

John Mutford said...

Nicola: I'm definitely sold on the series, if not on Stoker!