The Illustrated Dracula

This book fails the flip test. If something’s title includes the word “Illustrated”, you ought to see pictures when you flip through it. I didn’t.

There are only 40 pictures in a book of almost 400 pages. No wonder I didn’t see them! Once I went looking for them, I found them generic: a horse’s head. A scary bald man with long fingernails. The same again, only from the back. The same, with a close-up head shot. A woman from the back. A front head shot. A figure in cloud. An arm with strings. A bat. A dog.

The Illustrated Dracula cover
The Illustrated Dracula
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That’s not all of them, but to call a book “Illustrated” implies to me a lot more than these page decorations. They look like convention sketches, single figures for the most part. Where are the full compositions, pictures that involve character interactions or more than one figure?

Four of the images are in color, which means for three of them, black, white, greyish-blue, and touches of red for lips, eyes, and fingernails. The last one radically switches to a burnt orange to go with the black-and-white.

If you’re interested in a nice reprint of the classic vampire novel, and you don’t think $22 is too much to pay for a paperback edition of a public domain work, then you might appreciate the faux-leather-bound packaging with endflaps. (It’s very attractive and in keeping with the tone of the work.) Don’t buy this for Jae Lee’s work, though — it’s thisclose to being false advertising to call it “Illustrated” by him.

(For an alternate viewpoint from my pan, see Focused Totality.)

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2 Responses to “The Illustrated Dracula”

  1. RedDeath Says:

    I totally agree; there are no where near enough images in the book to call it illustrated. I was very upset by this. However, the cover is shocking… More like Nosferatu than Dracula.

  2. WhatAJoke Says:

    I didn’t know what to expect from an ‘Illustrated’ version of Dracula. Seems like a blatant way to make money out of a good story. What can you say about an illustrator that puts his own name at twice the size as Bram Stoker’s, and makes it stand out in red. The best thing Jae Lee did was not to change the original text. As far as the illustrations go, did Jae Lee actually read the book? If he did, he would have noticed that Dracula had a white mustache, thick eyebrows, sparse hair about the temples, but thick bushy hair up top. So why the bald guy on the front (who looks like a woman, by the way). This is just the start. Why the woman holding a baby – why the woman has a crucifix hanging from her lips (not placed on her lips) – neither happened in the text. Why do most of the female characters (not counting the front cover!)look Chinese? And why on the inside back cover is there an “AUTHOR photograph” of Jae Lee. Hey, maybe you’re taking just a little too much credit for this one, Jae.

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