Pullbox Reviews: Cult of Dracula #1 – Something old, something new, something gory, something spewed…
- Cult of Dracula #1
- Second Sight Publishing
- Written & Created by Rich Davis
- Illustrated by Henry Martinez
- Colors by Trevor Richardson
- Letters by Ed Dukeshire
- Covers by
- Tiffany Groves
- Sanford Greene
- Georges Jeanty
- Chris Callahan
- Gyula Nemeth
“It’s witchy. It’s wyrd. It’s helter skelter within a hippie Cult dedicated to an ancient blood Goddess.”- Rich Davis
There have been many takes on the classic story of Dracula. Everything from the Count’s origin story, to carrying him into the modern era… it’s been done to varying degrees of success. But where most stories have taken a look at Dracula from the perspective of the original by Bram Stoker, what I haven’t really seen is the angle of ol’ Vlad as the leader of a spooky-ass death cult. That’s where this title goes, and much like Stoker’s original, it takes us through the entire opening of the story without formally introducing us to its title character.
Rich Davis opens Cult of Dracula on a crime scene at a rural church. Investigators and emergency services are trying to process what could only be described as a blood bath, in which everyone inside & out has been systematically slaughtered. It’s pretty grim, make no mistake, and Davis wastes no time in establishing that his story isn’t going to be for everyone. In his own words:
“Cult of Dracula re-imagines the classic Dracula myth within the confines of a Manson Family inspired cult. It’s witchy. It’s wyrd. It’s Helter Skelter within a hippie cult dedicated to an ancient blood goddess. You may know Bram Stoker’s genre defining classic by heart, but you have no idea where Cult of Dracula will take you! It explores vampire the mythologies of many different cultures from all around the world and throughout human history. The book is as much about pagan cults, the occult and pagan culture as it is about vampires.“
Having read the first issue, I can back Davis up on one thing. Cult of Dracula is not taking a straight line approach to adapting Stoker’s classic. There are angles aplenty, with narrative leaps & some impressively off-putting dialogue. I don’t say that to suggest that there’s anything particularly wrong with the writing. Far from that, I’m pointing out that Davis has done a really good job of depicting the meandering stream of consciousness mindset of the truly deranged. And I really like he’s dipping into various myths & backgrounds (fun fact, the idea of the vampire can be found in just about every culture).
He didn’t do it alone. Artist Henry Martinez & colorist Trevor Richardson have latched onto Davis’s off-putting aesthetic & doubled down on the visuals. As you might imagine, a church full of exsanguinated dead people would be a little creepy. Through the use of some good panel arrangements, Martinez portrays it all through the eyes of an investigator taking a “walk through”. While there’s enough gore & splatter to satisfy most horror aficionados, there’s still plenty left unseen or obscured to let the imagination run rampant. And the colors by Richardson do a great job of following that ideal, leaving readers with liberal amounts of red without going overboard and blunting its impact.
Proceed with caution… there are parts of this story that the more sensitive may find offensive. And you might want to buckle up because there are some jumps in perspective throughout the issue that come without much of a heads up. But if you’re looking for something old with something new, & you’re not bothered by mass murder in comicbooks about demon worshiping death cults, give Cult of Dracula a look.