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Finding some form of entertainment in this world is a pretty easy proposition. We have games and shows and internet info and all of these different things can entertain us endlessly. One might even say that our culture is based around, not around what we produce or achieve, but what entertains us. We all have our shows or blogs (this one WINK) that we keep up with on a weekly basis and we can even find comfort in the routines that we establish.
It is similarly a simple task to find people that are skilled at what they do in the realms of entertainment. We can find a comedian whose comedy specials amuse us and who we are compelled to dvr their special appearances on sitcoms that we don’t even like. We can find intense joy in a nearly impossibly successful sports play, pulled off by the guy that we are rooting for. Singers, dancers, whatever we are entertained by is just waiting to find us on television.
Maybe routine is not your thing and you prefer to find your entertainment in innovation. You can read magazines and blogs about new inventions or even new versions of things that have already been established. You can utilize Stumbleupon.com and see things that you have never seen before every time you click your mouse. You can read and study concepts that you know nothing about until your an expert and derive intense joy from knowledge. Innovation is all around you and available to be seen or even achieved at your fingertips.
I find that the rarity, the hat trick, if you will, is finding something that features someone that you follow routinely that provides you entertainment, but does it in a new and innovative way. It is from this holy grail of entertainment that I write to you today. Today, I am reviewing Dracula: Company of Monsters by Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory with art by Scott Godlewski. It is produced by BOOM! Studios and achieves the trifecta of being: an entertaining work, created by trusted talents, and still conceptually innovative.Dracula: Company of Monsters sees the tried and true tropes of vampirism brought into corporate America. A mega corporation is on it’s last legs and is trying desperately to avoid going down in flames. In a last ditch effort, they take one of the younger trustees and utilize his scholarly skills to study and provide access to the dark arts. Through his work, they achieve their goal of bringing Lord Dracula to life in the modern age, but things do not go as expected.
In fact, very little in this book goes as expected and it is in the twisty-turny plot that we find innovation. There is a freshness to the way that things are presented. The story is rich with historical back up so that when Dracula does things, there is a weight to his actions. This character comes off the page as intimidating whether he’s dripping blood in the rain, hands stained with death or when he is in a suit occupying somewhere that he is simply not supposed to be. He is a true presence in this comic book. Godlewski draws a great Dracula and he was the perfect choice for this book. The situations are tense and at times it seems like the only person that you can hope survives is Evan. Evan is the story’s protagonist and a willing accomplice to all of the evil misdeeds for most of the story. It’s pretty scary and very definitely weird.
You don’t think about what would happen if a board room drama show were filled with vampires, but truth be told, it is pretty weird. Dracula has immense wealth saved over the years and is briefly even a corporate threat. This comic book reads like someone was sitting in a meeting at a faceless fortune 500 company and thought to themselves “I wonder what it would be like if Dracula was my boss.” Then the immensely talented Kurt Busiek (Astro City) and Daryl Gregory (Pandemonium) took that idea and said “Ok, lets make Dracula scary by diving into the history of the character, making him larger than life, and then transport him to today.” That is essentially the pitch for this comic. It was great in the fact that the story was really fleshed out. It was surprising in the fact that it sounds silly, but is awesome. I said on my Facebook wall the other day that “It is for interesting little titles like this that my blog exists.” If someone were to suggest that I read this comic, I would laugh in their face heartily, but here I am gushing over it. You should take a page from my story, skip pessimism, and just check it out. That’s where the best part of this story comes in.
Usually I cap my posts with a link to buy the collected comic book somewhere, but today I have a special treat. That’s because BOOM! studios is serializing the story and putting the whole thing online as a webcomic. That’s right, you can go to draculacomic.com RIGHT NOW and read the first eighty-eight pages of this comic for free. Then, if you like it, you can go buy it at Instocktrades.com for $9.09. This truly was an entertaining experience by one of my favorite creators, Kurt Busiek, doing something new and I hope that you will like it.
~ Scott Deaux ~
After you read the 88 page preview, tell us how you like it in the comments!