Ricardo Delgado is well-known for his comic series, Age of Reptiles comics and cites the paintings of Charles R. Knight’s as childhood inspiration. For his latest work, the film and comic artist draws on his childhood adoration of classic monster movies from Hammer and Universal studios, Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula comics, Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, and Aurora model kits to introduce us to his own take on Dracula. Dracula of Transylvania, currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, promises a “bold and bloody take on the Prince of Darkness.”
In 1899, the young Jonathan Harker faces demons, hosts, skeletons, vampire assassins, and rat legions–none of which compares to the Son of Satan himself who imposes his malice and horror on an England teetering into the Modern Era.
Delgado describes his Dracula as “vileness incarnate, a pure thing of Hell,” and in an interview with WWAC, explains that his story offers a whole new perspective on vampire lore. Delgado brings a “solid story that I would describe as The Exorcist meets Lord of the Rings.”
Written and illustrated by Delgado himself, Dracula of Transylvania features concept art in Delgado’s distinctive style as well as tonnes of research and lore housed in the book’s footnotes. “I’m also expanding Dracula’s history on the European continent and the supernatural world around him,” says Delgado, promising lots of fun and scary stuff for fans or newcomers to the world of Dracula. The Kickstarter offers two 8″ x 10″ hardcover versions of the book, coming in at 428 pages of text and gorgeously terrifying black and white imagery, along with an additional 32 pages of full-colour work. Kickstarter rewards include original sketches and stunning lithographs.
Previous renditions of Dracula have fallen short for Delgado, with recent depictions making the monstrous creature a flawed romantic figure. That is not the Dracula Delgado wants him to be and so he’s taken it upon himself to “bring back the badass villain” he has always imagined him to be. “Vader. Sauron. Lector. Dracula. My version is ruthless, amoral, and completely evil. He would give Genghis Khan the shakes. A real nemesis. I wanted a Dracula so evil that if he walked into a crowded room, everyone would run away in terror.”
But a horrific Dracula implies that Jonathan Harker will need to up the ante to deal with him. “He and Mina Murray have to raise their games to an A level, for sure,” he explains. “In my book they are smart, learned, skilled and fearless adventurers. The women in this tory are fully-rounded characters, not just along for the ride. Mina carries around a Derringer, and then there’s the Brides of Dracula. They are fierce, strong predators that don’t give Dracula an inch and make Bellatrix Lestrange seem like a soccer mom. Don’t mess with the women in this story, they are smart, tough and ahead of their time! One of the elements of the story I’m super proud of, the women in Dracula of Transylvania. Well-crafted, all-around characters. At least I think so.
Delgado is no stranger to horror, but he did not truly appreciate it until he saw The Exorcist and The Omen, both of which taught him that the protagonist doesn’t always win and the sun doesn’t always shine in the end so that everyone can live happily ever after. “They taught me that horror and evil just never go away. Kind of like Dracula. He’s eternal. Un-dead.”
Dracula of Transylvania runs on Kickstarter now through March 25, with an estimated publication date from Clover Press of May this year.