While vampires might be the ‘hot’ monster right now, thanks to shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, some of us are old enough to remember when vampires were ‘hot’ because of shows like Dark Shadows. Dynamite Entertainment brings us a graphic novel collection of Barnabas Collins’ induction in to and the first years of vampirism.
I never watched the television series, though I was certainly aware of it, so I am not sure if there’s any divergence from the series’ storyline. Even so, I don’t feel that having any prior knowledge of the series is necessary, and perhaps, in some ways, even preferable since it does establish Barnabas Collins’ beginnings. Author Marc Andreyko and illustrators Guiu Vilanova and Patrick Berkenkotter have done a very nice job of giving us a Victorian/Gothic feel while at the same time there was a sense of the 1960’s/1970’s television series shining through. I’m not quite sure how they accomplished this but it is a nice nod the original series.
Engaged to be married, Barnabas is encouraged by his uncle to have a quick fling with a young maid named Angelique. Though a generally upstanding young man, Barnabas is a product of his times and, though feeling somewhat guilty, proceeds with his one night dalliance only to discover that Angelique is his fiancée’s maid. What he doesn’t discover, until much too late, is that Angelique is also a witch, and now also a woman scorned, and she curses him and the Collins family.
The development of the character of Barnabas is really nice. He is conflicted and by no means an angel. He recognizes that it is his own fault for what has happened and he will live forever (literally?) torn by grief.
I really enjoyed this book and will look forward to future Dark Shadows installments.
Looking for a good book? If you enjoy the popular vampire fiction, this graphic novel, bringing back (and establishing the origin of) Barnabas Collins, is a real delight.
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Dark Shadows: Year One
author: Marc Andreyko
artists: Guiu Vilanova, Patrick Berkenkotter
publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
paperback, 128 pages