Alberto Breccia's Dracula (The Alberto Breccia Library)
“The psychedelic form, as well as the blatant splashes of color, make this graphic novel a feast for the eyes, while some of its themes will be recognizable to anyone familiar with Latin America’s socio-political atmosphere.”
Alberto Breccia’s Dracula is a graphic novel relating some lesser-known misadventures of the King of the Vampires, as depicted by internationally acclaimed artist Alberto Breccia.
In these five illustrated episodes, Dracula struggles to live up to his reputation and fails valiantly:
The Last Night of Carnival: Dracula pursues a delicious Carnivale lovely only to find she has a champion in a certain caped hero. The vampire is vanquished, but the superhero falls prey to the damsel who has already been turned.
Latrans Canis Non Admordet (His bark is worse than his bite): A visit to a dentist leaves Dracula in an embarrassing position when he attacks a sleeping guest.
A Tender and Broken Heart: Dracula “saves” the life of his unrequited love.
I Was Legend: The horrors of the Argentinian dictatorship send Dracula seeking solace in a church.
Poe? Yuck!: A meeting between Dracula and the writer Edgar Allan Poe doesn’t end well for either.
These stories were originally written and illustrated circa 1982 during the time the general elections in Argentina brought to an end the military dictatorships there. During this period, there was only one place for adult graphic novels, and that was the European market. The stories were serialized in Spain in Comix Internacional, which also carried comics from France, America, etc.
Also included is the essay “Old Blood,“ by Italian comic artist Daniele Brolli, a brief explanation of “I Was Legend” created during the “darkest days of Argentina’s dictatorship, when the military junta was in decline and so all the more vicious and brutal.”
Brolli sees this particular story as the “portrait of a people whom in Brecci’s vision, have no hope of eluding the slow and irrevocable twilight of reason.” Indeed, the vampire’s depredations pale in comparison to the horrors of the dictatorship and would seem the much lesser of two evils.
There is also a short biography on Breccia written by the award-winning Argentinian artist Ezequiel Garcia, who chronicles the progression of his colleague’s life from slaughterhouse worker to teacher at the Panamerican School of Art to his political comics and recognition in Europe in the seventies. He explains how Breccia formed his technique and how he used the short story form to “innovate, narrate, and experiment without repeating himself.”
The psychedelic form, as well as the blatant splashes of color make this graphic novel a feast for the eyes, while some of its themes will be recognizable to anyone familiar with Latin America’s socio-political atmosphere.
It is a tribute to Breccia, who passed away on November 10, 1993, the day celebrated as Cartoonist Day in Argentina.