Caught My Eye: Dracula vs. King Arthur

Guest Post

If there is one comic that most influenced me over any others, then Dracula vs. King Arthur is it. I fully attribute my comic-buying decisions of the last two years to on this title. Before I met Christian at a small comic show in Dallas, I was curious about other comics published from outside the “Big 2” but I was afraid to dish out the money. I picked up issues 1 and 2 of Dracula vs. King Arthur and something changed in me. I saw for the first time that other types of stories were out there, and they were good!

Dracula vs. King Arthur was written by two brothers, Adam and Christian Beranek. They started the small press publishing company Silent Devil to help up-and-coming creators have an avenue to tell interesting and different stories. Dracula vs. King Arthur falls squarely in this category. At first glance, it sounds like it would be super-cheesy, but story is done very well. That’s what surprised me the most when I read it. I figured I was in for some over the top mash-up story, but it turned out to be an intriguing concept. It’s a bit of a mixture between the horror and history genres, but it doesn’t come across as hokey or absurd.

The basic concept of the story is that Lucifer despises King Arthur and all he stands for because he is a champion for God. Even though the events of King Arthur take place centuries before the birth of Dracula, he resents him and needs someone to take care of it. Lucifer finds his champion in one who is the opposite of Arthur in just about every way. The opening sequence of the series does a very good job of showing both men’s paths so that you can see they are very similar, yet took completely different paths. You can tell from reading Dracula vs. King Arthur that plenty of research on both characters and their lore went into developing the story. I think that aspect and how well they blend is what really got me to take notice. They work together seamlessly and don’t leave you rolling your eyes. On top of the intriguing story, all of the characters seem very genuine. You feel they’re actually real people and you’re watching their actions play out.

One of the reasons this series is as good as it is, is because of the artist Chris Moreno. Chris has been involved with several projects, including: Paul Jenkins’ Sidekick for 12 Gauge Comics/Image Comics, World War Hulk: Frontline for Marvel Comics, Johnny Delgado is Dead from Kompany X/Top Cow and The Last Sin of Mark Grimm. His work in Dracula vs. King Arthur is very high quality and is what first gets you to notice the book. He has some great character designs for Dracula, King Arthur and Merlin that really work well for the comic. He does a great job with the action sequences as well as the quieter moments where there’s more emotion from loss and betrayal. This comic was one of his earlier outings as an artist, but he really did a great job of it. The style is somewhat cartoony in that it’s not overly realistic. But like I said in previous reviews, that’s how I like my comics.

This series is a pretty lengthy read and has lots of dialogue, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any action. It has a nice balance of characterization and story movement. I would love for this series to be made into a movie. I think if you took the people who were responsible for producing Rome for HBO and brought Anne Rice on board as consultant, you’d end up with something very close to how Dracula vs. King Arthur reads.I strongly encourage you to keep an eye out for Christian Beranek and Chris Moreno, because I think both of them are going to be all over the map before too long. Also, keep your eyes peeled of all things Silent Devil. They put out some good quality comics that are definitely worth the money.

Dracula vs. King Arthur
Writers: Adam and Christian Beranek
Art: Chris Moreno
Colors: Jay Fotos
Letters: Nick Beranek and Heather Addley
Silent Devil
Released 2001