The Illustrated Dracula
Illustration by Jae Lee
Published 2006 387 pages
Young solicitor Jonathan Harker travels from London to Transylvania on a business trip to meet the eccentric Count Dracula. In Dracula’s remote Carpathian Mountain home he discovers that the Count is a blood drinking vampire. Trapped in the Count’s castle after Dracula leaves Transylvania for London he fears for his life.
Meanwhile Jonathan’s fiancée Mina and her friend Lucy prove to be an attractive lure for Dracula when he arrives in England - actually, we all know how the classic Dracula story goes so I think a summary is pretty much superfluous at this point. If you don't know how the Dracula story goes I'm sorry but where have you been hiding? In a cave? Under a rock?
I know they say never judge a book by it's cover but if looking at the cover of this book doesn't make you want to go out and buy it so you can have it for your own I don't know what will!
Filled with fabulous illustrations by the talented graphic artist Jae Lee this is a book any vampire fan should own. Although Jae Lee is a popular comic book illustrator this is not a graphic novel but a copy Bram Stoker's text complimented by forty original drawings by artist Jae Lee.
There are four full page colour illustrations in the novel (not including the one on the cover), the rest are in black and white, some full page but about half of the remaining images are spot images, or partial page pictures. So there isn’t an abundance of art in this book but what there is, combined with the graphic font of the chapter number headings makes a great visual impact.
Jae Lee appears to have been thinking of Count Orlok from the 1922 movie, Nosferatu when he visualised Dracula which is not strictly speaking in accord with the description of Dracula given in the actual text of this book but works to great effect. There are plenty of iconic images in the artwork too with dangling crucifixes, beautiful women with shiny lips, sinister horses and no shortage of mist.
So should you buy Dracula? In my opinion - yes. Dracula is story that suffers from being universally well known, through the medium of film and television plus the 101 references to Dracula in our modern day culture, while at the same time not many people have actually read the book. This is a shame because it’s a great book. The story is narrated through the diaries and journals of all the people involved in it (except for Dracula himself) which helps to make it an appealing read.
So should you buy this deluxe illustrated edition of Dracula? Once again - in my opinion yes. Jae Lee's dark, gothic style of illustration is the perfect foil for this story. The type setting of this novel is beautiful too, a huge improvement on the cramped word spacing and type setting that you get in the cheap paperback versions of this book – making the book even more readable.
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