Written by: Matt Molgaard
In the case of Frank Frazetta’s Dracula Meets the Wolfman, Steve Niles whips up a classic tale with very few original twists but a highly rewarding conflict and some gratifying battle scenes. The graphic novel, which shouldn’t really qualify as a graphic novel so much as a one-shot, offers mystifying visuals and a smooth, well-paced narrative. The internal conflict of the Wolfman is present and accounted for while the arrogance of the age-old Dracula is prominent. Everything is right in the world of horror fiction.
There’s no need to leap into a lengthy synopsis of the story, as it’s about as cut and dried as imaginable. Nicolae Bulinski is in love with a poor peasant girl. He’s also afflicted by a serious case of lycanthropy, but worse yet is the fact that Marta, his love interest, is being ushered into the arms of the one and only Count Dracula. The ensuing showdown is everything genre fans have come to expect.
Francesco Francavilla’s art shouldn’t go down the unsung hero, outshined by the distinction of Steve Niles’ name. Francavilla creates some gloriously grim images that are near impossible to take your gaze from. His depiction of both the Wolfman and Dracula is brilliant, as he effectively relays their emotions – primarily rage and confusion – through the pencil. In the book’s latter portions you can really see the pain of the hairy one, it’s in his eyes. Dracula is also a damned dark figure with a tangible menace in his stature.
Niles steps up and, as is normally the case, tells a fantastic story. Niles throws a few minor curveballs in the story, and while they’re not completely baffling twists, they’re impacting. Steve takes an iconic clash and creates a contemporary relevancy despite still working with a period piece. This is a damn well-told piece of work here.
If vintage Universal monsters are your bag, you’re going to worship this book. There’s enough of each creature’s character shining through to summon some sympathy as well as memories of sublime films of yesteryear. But there’s also just enough savagery to remind us that Frank Frazetta’s Dracula Meets the Wolfman has a comfortable home on the market today.