Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I am Dracula-Enter freely ...(updated 8.18.16)

I have always loved the character of Count Dracula-in books,movies,toys,etc.-so needless to say,as an aspiring artist I've been drawing this guy since i could first draw.

Thanks in part to the literary stuff i recently shared and a brand new project I'm doing with best pal writer Bob Tinnell , which will feature the vampire lord (that's all i can tell you for now-but suffice to say,if you dug THE BLACK FOREST you'll dig this ;o) i thought it would be fun to showcase all the various versions of Dracula I've drawn since that 1st illo from 1980 (in actual fact,i've drawn him before that but have little in the way of copies of that early work)

So here's some of the many Counts that have emerged from my fevered brow in the last 30 odd years (including a few i forgot when i first did this post) ...beginning with those that i did based on the film and comic versions...

1st we have a commission which featured the major Universal Studios versions: Lugosi, Chaney Jr., Carradine and Langella (i was asked to do it in pencil for the fella to ink himself-i hope to do an inked version soon myself):

The next is the very 1st art i ever had published-it was 1976 and i sent in a "fan drawing" to a horror film fanzine called CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT-they put it in their 3rd issue-I was in heaven-i also sent in artwork to several other zines and fan club newsletters (mainly for Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing's clubs) a humble beginning but an important one...

Next we have a true rarity-a painting (i did maybe 2 or 3 paintings like this in my lifetime-not counting a couple murals) i did of Christopher Lee as the Stoker's novel describes the Count-well,at least the mustache is from Stoker anyway...

Then another film related piece, DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE-this was of Paul Naschy, better known as the werewolf star of a series of Spanish horror classics (the art was in the fanzine VIDEOOZE, published by another good friend, Bob Sargent):

The cover for a independent comic company's adaptation of the novel-i didn't get to do the interiors tho i begged to-it's based on the story's visual of the character:

I am a huge fan of Marvel's TOMB OF DRACULA series with Gene Colan doing the art chores-classic storytelling at it's best-and when i found some copies of his pencils of the Count i took it upon myself to do an inkwash from it-this is the result-i felt i captured his ethereal style rather well...he humbly brags...

And here's another take on the Marvel Drac-a fan gets artists to do "minute later" drawings-usually what happens right after a scene on a cover-in this case a TOMB OF DRACULA cover costarring the WEREWOLF BY NIGHT:

Now this next batch of Counts are all the many variations I've come up with thru the years for single illos or stories I've done both before and after becoming a pro-my versions of Dracula-usually based on the novel or inspired by the films.

This is another from the era of those literary pieces-1980-mainly done with marker,it looks like:

this was a "promo" i did for one of MANY stories i drew in the old amateur days-i drew lotsa comic stories back then-usually monster rallies (i got to do a real comic book years later that brought me full circle: THE BLACK FOREST) starring all my favorites (this piece also showed Van Helsing,a werewolf and a mummy) ,but ALWAYS featuring Dracula:

Below is a panel from my early pro days at Comico Comics-my 1st story ever was published in their new talent showcase, PRIMER- soon after i plotted a short tale that would begin a proposed series that was basically a variation on my pre pro days' work (and own design of Drac stayed the same) -i drew it and GRENDAL creator Matt Wagner did the dialog and inks.

To show you how "clever" i was the title of the story was AND ETERNITY SHALL BECKON...

...if the laughter has died down we can continue...

Ultimately the story never saw print-maybe one day-when I'm feeling rather masochistic-I'll publish it here...maybe... (see update below ...:o)

It starred a bounty hunter i created named Josef Talon Falconer-he tracks down a group of men who get taken by a cult who wants to raise Drac from the dead-a kind of sequel to the novel.

Years later i incorporated Falconer into my EAGLE series-never let a good character die:

The next place my version of Drac appeared was in a series called BLOOD OF DRACULA-this was a series i began with writers Mark Wheatley and Ricky Shanklin- i pencilled the 1st 6 issues with Mark's inks-i then laid out the next 6 with a young up and coming artist on finishes: Adam Hughes.

The greatest treat for me was that i got to design the Count-and yes i used the version i had been using for the last few years in my own amateur stories- it wasn't credited to me until many issues later when i put up a stink about it-hey,after all those crappy comics i drew-mainly for my own amusement-i wanted the world to know i did this-lol

This is also the only cover i did for the series-actually i penciled it and another artist did a painting based on the pencils:

Then there was FRIGHT NIGHT!

I was asked by Now Comics to do SPEED RACER-mainly because of my time on ROBOTECH a few years before-which i really had no interest in drawing- i finally agreed to do one issue if they would allow me to do the new FRIGHT NIGHT comic,based on the film-a favorite of mine-it turned out to be a mixed blessing for many reasons but at least i got it outta my system.

A few issues before i quit the book (for those aforementioned reasons) i was able to convince the powers that be to let me do a Dracula story-instead of using the actual Count we composed a tale (i actually got a co-plotted by credit for the 1st time-not always granted in this biz,i'm sad to say) about an actor well known for playing the role on screen, Boris Christopher (whom i based on Christopher Lee the way they based Fright Night host Peter Vincent on Peter Cushing)

The twist would be that he gets attacked by Evil Ed and becomes ,in effect,Count Dracula-at least in his delusional,recently vampirized mind anyway-it was a fun story and my virtual swan song to a series i had high hopes for.

So allow me to add this version of Dracula to my LONG list:

This you may recognize as the Dracula i designed for my aborted VAMPIRELLA comic (see archives):

I was then asked to follow Jose Gonzalez' Drac for the book- this here is a layout page from the series-as far as i got before being dumped (it was done on graph paper-thus the lines):

This is the cover to one of my three X rated Draculas...yup...X rated-hey, I'm all for a little naughty fun on the comics page-this actually only used Drac in a cameo role-the "star" character was a rather nude young vamp who was modeled on Spanish Eurotrash star Lina Romay:

...this next one was an adaptation of the novel, but with much naughtiness added-i only got to do the opening chapter of the series, tho-sad to say-because i thought-even given the erotic take on the novel-i did some of my best artwork for this-below is a direct scene from the novel:

There was a third comic i did starring Dracula but it was a story about how he became a vampire-basically an X rated version of Vlad Tepes before the fangs-it was called DRACULA IN HELL and I'd rather not share the art here-it was a touch TOO extreme for me...;o)

This is yet another redesign of him for another series i was going to do with my characters from the old Primer comic story-it never got beyond this one piece:

Here's another variation done for a commission:

Here is the character of Graf Orlok from my BLACK FOREST book-i included him because he was, at least originally in the silent film NOSFERATU our Dracula- but under another name:

Another take on the Count for a "chapbook" cover, which to date hasn't appeared-but i like the piece and felt it needed to be seen:

a more recent design-not used-for a comic i was going to do with Bob called ONLY AT NIGHT-we didn't do it-it's a long story I'll tell someday (and who knows,i may still get around to drawing it-no,it's not the mysterious Dracula comic i referred to at the beginning):

The most recent attempt at a comic starring my favorite vamp was going to be a dual feature with BARON FRANKENSTEIN, done by Bob and Adrian Salmon-the conceit was a comic "adaptation" of two of director Terry Sharp's most famous classic films (he of course was a fictional character created by Bob and Ade for their book TERRY SHARP-he was a horror film director by day and an adventurer by night-great book-look for it) -we still plan on doing this someday...time will tell...

Our last-and certainly not least-i hope-design is for the new project we're working on called FLESH & BLOOD-it is based on the wonderful Hammer Films movies Bob and I love- we took their approach at the classic horror monsters and built our own story from there-their films are kind of our inspiration,more than source material-I'm hoping to finish the 4th ish...someday....

Then there are the many commissions I've done featuring Dracula...

 And how about the numerous illos I've done for my buddy Richard Klemensen's mag Little Shoppe Of Horrors...

I've recently done a new version of my old unpublished Comico Primer Falconer story for a new book called Dark Tales From The Vokesverse bringing the Count into the Eagle universe...

...which brings us to the most recent Dracula drawing-a cover image from a young readers novel which features Dracula battling a...uhm...I can't say'll see...soon...;o)


An obsession of mine that has produced some very cool work (and some not so cool,i guess) thru the last 32 years...

...and i suspect for the next 32...assuming i can still hold a pencil...;o)

That's All,Vokes!

Bits n Pieces: Literary monsters...

Tho I'm a huge fan of the silver screen,i was also raised on books (and both interests did crossover into each other) -my dad always had lotsa books in the house and encouraged my bro and i to read- i was a fan of the more fantastic stuff: horror, sci fi, etc.-but also the classics-as long as there were great villains-Richard the 3rd was my introduction to Shakespeare (an interest my wifey doesn't share but my daughter is learning an appreciation for ) and the memorable Captain Ahab of MOBY DICK is another fave (tho the book is a tough read.)

Which leads us to our entry today.

When i was still in the learning stages of my drawing (actually i still AM learning ;o) i drew LOTS of stuff-mainly story related-but i also got on a literary kick for awhile.

These pieces below represent a short series i had planned of drawing each of my favorite characters in those novels i read growing up.

They aren't particularly good but i thought it might be interesting to see what my older work looked like in comparison-for those who cared...;o)

These were all done from around 1979 to '80-well before my pro career started.

They were primarily done with ball point pen in a kind of cross hatch style-well,the approximation of the style- i didn't know what to do (and not to do) yet (the irony is i now use a ball point pen in a lot of my inkline work-i guess I've come full circle)

I find the process of the learning curve fascinating (and hoped you might) so here ya go...

As you can see lettering would never be a career choice-lol

This one is supposed to be the creature from FRANKENSTEIN but i guess i never added the quotes.

Obviously my dislike of lettering (the world no doubt is grateful ;o) kept me from using quotes on this one either...

I hope you enjoyed that little side trip into literature by way of my past work...;o)