Adapted by Otto Binder & Craig Tennis, art by Alden McWilliams (Ballantine Books)
No ISBN: U2271
You’re never to young to be exposed to the classics or scared out of your wits, and this delightful remnant from my own far-distant youth always brings back the gory, glory days of Bela Lugosi on TV and trying to sneak in to the latest Hammer Horror at the pictures (too young, not too cheap!) as well as such diverse treats as Famous Monsters of Filmland and other assorted illicit thrills that made we baby-boomers such terrific well-rounded, fully-socialised individuals.
At a time when scary movies, as well as Super-Spies, superheroes and comics in general, were all experiencing a popular revival, lots of strips made the jump to paperback format as publishers courted new markets. Along with lots of Mad collections, newspaper comic-strips, resized black and white comicbook reprints (such as High Camp Superheroes) and a host of other retreads, the occasional all-new item appeared.
One such is this delightfully forthright, faithful and respectful – if tension and terror free – adaptation of Bram Stoker’s gothic classic, adroitly encapsulated by comics and pulp sci fi legend Otto Binder (and Craig Tennis – of whom I know almost nothing other than he was a TV scripter) and drawn by the “deserves-to-be-legendary” Al McWilliams, a superb comics illustrator and draughtsman often confused with and nearly as good as his near-namesake Al Williamson.
The story is as you remember it; effective and pretty rather than beautiful and terrifying, but for a little seven year old it was a treasured item to be pored over, traced and adored, and today’s film fans might be enticed by Christopher Lee’s voluble introduction.
Even though it was reprinted by Manor Books in 1975, I suspect this isn’t the easiest of books to find, and to be completely honest the alternating portrait and landscape layouts make reading it a bit of a juggling act, but still and all I wish somebody somewhere would rescue this little gem from near obscurity. Any opportunistic publishers listening out there?
© 1966 Russ Jones Productions.