Friday, October 12, 2007


ADAPTATIONS BY: (see below)
ILLUSTRATORS: (see below)
PUBLISHER: Eureka Productions
GENRE: Horror and Traditional Literature

FORMAT: Trade Paperback
PAGES: 144 pages
COLOR: Black and white
ISBN-10: 0-9787919-1-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-9787919-1-9

Eureka Productions presents a series of Bram Stoker stories in graphic format for your horrifying pleasure. Edited by Tom Pomplun, these stories are a fantastic way to explore and experience traditional literature. This edition is revised with 48 new pages and offers seven different stories:

adapted by Rich Rainey and illustrated by Joe Ollmann

The Vampire Hunter’s Guide
adapted by Tom Pomplun, and illustrated by Hunt Emerson

The Judge’s House
adapted and illustrated by Gerry Alanguilan

The Bridal of Death
adapted and illustrated by J.B. Bonivert

Torture Tower
adapted and illustrated by Onsmith Jeremi

The Wondrous Child
illustrated by Evert Geradts

Lair of the White Worm
adapted by Tom Pomplun and illustrated by Rico Schacherl

Graphic Classics offers a great way to introduce a classic author to a young, contemporary audience, which is handy for those who do not have access to a lot of literature. The graphic adaptation helps make Stoker’s writing relevant and excited to readers leading to what we hope will be an experience with the original sources.

I must admit that I have not read any of the source material, so I cannot compare the adaptations to the originals. I can, however, discuss the quality of the graphic adaptations as works in and of themselves. While each story is graphically different, the tone and voice of the stories remains very constant, leading me to believe that in most cases the writing is mostly Stoker’s own. Many of the stories focus on revenge; coupled with the fact that there are vampires and ghosts a plenty, this is the perfect graphic novel to curl up with on a dark, windy October eve.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dracula. It was thick with panels, which can be cumbersome in some instances, but not in this case. The story moved well and was intriguing. I also loved the Vampire Hunter’s Guide, the text of which was a straightforward guide on Vampires. The art, however, is where the real creativity came through, allowing for a nice bit of humor. The Judge’s House was a more traditional tale of terror, warning all to beware. It was nicely done: creepy and haunting. The Bridal of Death was less interesting to me. The art distracted from the story, rather than enhancing it. The Torture Tower was a great yarn of revenge. The illustrations were jam packed, maybe a bit too much, but the story was solid and interesting. You cannot help but cheer for the death of the bumbling and egocentric Elias Hutcheson. The Wondrous Child was on the far end of the “comic” scale, in that it was designed as one page of illustration per page of prose. It was a departure from the other stories as it was spiritual in nature as opposed to a horror story. As for the Lair of the White Worm, it was a gory tale, brutal in fact, with an exceptionally interesting female character.

The beauty of this compilation is that each story is its own, being different from the others, graphically speaking. The art is very diverse and allows for a larger audience appeal. Usually I complain about a publisher’s choice to restrict the color palette to black and white. This is one instance when black and white may very well be the better choice. Certainly, a creative argument could be made regarding the use of the black and white palette for artistic expression, rather than for economic reasons. In this case, I am supportive of the choice for black and white.

This is a sample of the art,
without the text, of


This is an illustration

My Rating: Ages 12 and older
Publisher's Rating: Ages 12 and older
All Ages Reads: No rating
Comics in the Classroom: No rating

I have no problems with rating this appropriate, beginning with middle school students; however, I am not sure that most 12-year-old kids would understand the stories.. The language can be a bit dense at times and there are cultural issues that young teens may not understand without help.

Then again, we all know those discerning young students who are craving classic, dense, interesting literature. In the end, I have decided to recommend this for middle school students assuming they are either very astute or that they will receive some scaffolding. Ultimately, I think it will be high school students who will benefit and enjoy the text the most.

Besides the typical and irrational argument that students should never be exposed to vampires, ghosts, ghouls and the like, the only thing that stands out as being inappropriate is one of the illustrations. On page 138, Lady Arabella is on the couch naked. Her leg covers her groin and her breasts are covered by her arm. It is tasteful nudity and is part of the story, but it is nudity just the same. Use your own judgment.

Traditional literature must be in the classroom; this includes graphic adaptations of classic literature. If we are to continue to instill an appreciation of older texts in younger generations, we must, as teachers, find ways to make it relevant to them. Seeing GRAPHIC CLASSICS as an introduction to the classics, gives way for the discerning and inquisitive learner to discover the beauty of the original writers that he or she may have avoided otherwise.

There are several other titles in the series including: Robert Louis Stevenson, O. Henry, Rafael Sabatini, Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, H. P. Lovecraft, Jack London, and Ambrose Bierce. The Mark Twain edition is coming out in December 2007! He is one of my favorite classic writers and so I look forward to that book. Click here for more info.

Highly Recommended
I love the idea of having graphic adaptations of classic literature for reasons discussed above. This was a great title and absolutely should be in any high school classroom and even many middle school classrooms. I look forward to other editions in the series.

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