- Posted by Johanna on September 21, 2006 at 5:02 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Bram Stoker; illustrations by Jae Lee
- PUBLISHER: Viking Studio/Penguin Group; $21.95 US
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.
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.)