By Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colón (Plume/Penguin Group USA)
ISBN: 978-1-59463-058-3 (HB) 978-0-452-29675-2 (PB)
Here’s a handy “heads-up” Horrible History hint if you’re looking for something to set the tone for the Halloween we’re ALL NOT GOING TO ENJOY THIS YEAR, available in hardback, soft cover and digital editions.
As writer and editor, Sid Jacobson masterminded the Harvey Comics monopoly of strips for younger American readers in the 1960s and 1970s, co-creating Richie Rich and Wendy, the Good Little Witch among others, before working the same magic for Marvel’s Star Comics imprint, where he oversaw a vast amount of family-friendly material; both self-created – such as Royal Roy or Planet Terry – and a huge basket of licensed properties.
In latter years, he worked closely with fellow Harvey alumnus Ernie Colón on such thought-provoking graphic enterprises as The 9/11 Report: a Graphic Adaptation and its sequel, After 9/11: America’s War on Terror. In 2009 their epic Che: a Graphic Biography was released: separating the man from the myth of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, universal icon of cool rebellion.
Ernie Colón was born in Puerto Rico in 1931: a creator whose work has been loved by generations of readers. Whether as artist, writer, colourist or editor his contributions have benefited the entire industry from the youngest (Monster in My Pocket, Richie Rich and Casper the Friendly Ghost for Harvey Comics, and many similar projects for Marvel’s Star Comics), to the traditional comicbook fans with Battlestar Galactica, Damage Control and Doom 2099 for Marvel, Arak, Son of Thunder and Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld, an Airboy revival for Eclipse, Magnus: Robot Fighterfor Valiant and so very many others.
There are also his sophisticated experimental works such as indie thriller Manimal and his seminal genre graphic novels Ax and the Medusa Chain. From 2005 until his death in 2019 he created the strip SpyCat for Weekly World News.
Jacobson and Colón together are a comics fan’s dream come true and their bold choice of biography and reportage as well as their unique take on characters and events always pays great dividends. Vlad the Impaler is by far their most captivating project: a fictionalised account of the notorious Wallachian prince who was raised by his enemies as a literal hostage to fortune, only to reconquer and lose his country not once, but many times.
The roistering, bloody, brutal life of this Romanian national hero and basis of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula is a fascinating, baroque, darkly funny yarn, capturing a troubled soul’s battle with himself as much as the Muslim and Christian superpowers that treated his tiny principality as their plaything.
With startling amounts of sex and violence this book makes no excuses for a patriot and freedom fighter who was driven by his horrific bloodlust and (justifiable?) paranoia to become a complete beast: clearly the very worst of all possible monsters – a human one.
Sharp, witty, robust and engaging, with a quirky twist in the tale, this is a good old-fashioned shocker that any history-loving gore-fiend will adore.
Text © 2009 Sid Jacobson. Art © 2009 Ernie Colón. All rights reserved.