Adrian Halen of Horror News recently reported that Bela Lugosi will star in a new graphic novel from Legendary Comics, titled ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’. It will be released in 2020… Fans will note that such an event seems peculiar, maybe even impossible, considering two factors: 1) Bela Lugosi has been six feet under for over half a century; 2) Given the medium of graphic novels, in that they are a narrative composed of drawings, it is very difficult for an actor to ‘star’ in them.
But this is where the silver screen legend has fooled us. For the very condition of being dead in this world, has allowed Lugosi to become undead in the graphic novel world. The Lugosi family sought an arrangement with Legendary Comics in an effort to memorialize the deceased patriarch. Statements have been released by both parties:
“There have been great Dracula graphic novels, but to unite Bram Stoker’s novel in a faithful adaptation with the definitive Dracula in the form of screen icon Bela Lugosi is a dream come true. I am grateful to the Lugosi Estate, artist El Garing and art director Kerry Gammill for bringing their passion to this project.” – Robert Napton, Senior Vice President of Legendary Comics.
“On behalf of the Lugosi Family, I want to thank Legendary Comics, especially Robert Napton, as well as artists El Garing and Kerry Gammill, for honoring my father with a stunning graphic novel that features Bela Lugosi as Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” – Bela G. Lugosi (Son of Bela Lugosi)
Check out the cover below:
For those still confused as to how a 1930s actor can ‘star’ in a graphic novel, you are not alone. The language is wanting. Or maybe not. Consider this: Just about everything in the pop culture lexicon about Dracula’s behavior, indeed the behavior of vampires themselves, is rooted in the performance of Bela Lugosi in the original Dracula movie. In Bram Stoker’s novel, the vampire is more of a creature than a tragically seductive man of society.
The benchmark for how vampires are supposed to look and act was set by Lugosi, not Stoker. So, in attempting to reimagine Bram Stoker’s novel in graphic format, it would (ironically) be missing something if Lugosi was not involved. He added the behavior and face that the novel was lacking. And given the detail inherent in the art of today’s graphic novels, it would be difficult to get away with depicting Lugosi without giving him credit.
So, although ‘featuring Bela Lugosi’ may have been a more accurate subheading for the cover, I’m sure the late vampire icon will delight that he continues to be selected for undead ‘starring’ roles… May he rise in peace.