We got a chance to sit down and chat with the very talented Ricardo Delgado, as his latest project Dracula of Transylvania an illustrated novel goes live on Kickstarter.
Welcome Ricardo, thank you for taking the time to be with us, we are so happy that you could join us.
RD: Hey, I’m happy to be here talking vampires, ghosts and other things that go bump in the night!
For some of our readers who may not be familiar with your work, could please tell us a bit about yourself?
RD: I’m a comic book creator, novelist, conceptual designer and storyboard artist. My comic book AGE OF REPTILES has been published by Dark Horse for a quarter century, my novels WARHEAD and SAM SPECTER AND THE BOOK OF SPELLS precede this one, and my film credits include MEN IN BLACK, INCREDIBLES, STAR TREK FIRST CONTACT, X2 and a bunch of other stuff.
We would love to know about your history with Dracula?
RD: I have to start with the different versions from my childhood, from the creepy elegance of the Universal films to the violence and terror of the Hammer films to the TOMB OF DRACULA Marvel comics which I obsessed over and honestly there used to be these very cool Ben Cooper Halloween costumes that I LOVED as well. There was a series of monster model kits in the 1970’s by this company named Aurora and I collected nearly all of them, and man did I love my Dracula model, complete with the glow-in-the-dark head! But more than anything the classic Universal monster movies just seared themselves into my heart and spent many of the days leading up to Halloween watching all of them. To this day because they are in black and white those movies remain…ghostly to me. No other way to describe it. And there was this set of trading cards with stock photos of the universal monsters that I avidly collected. I’ve just loved that stuff my whole life. There’s also this reeeeallly cool image of Dracula and the Frankenstein monster that I found in one of Frank Frazetta’s art books and man did I obsess over that image, nearly as much as the one where Dracula fights the Wolf Man in a graveyard! Wow, to this day.
Can you tell us about the origins of Dracula of Transylvania?
RD: Nope. Of course! At first I developed this as a story, not sure whether it be a comic book or novel. In the end I went with novel because it was a challenge. I like challenges and think the project came out the better for it. The art here is really lush and beautiful and horrifying, just like the story itself. I appreciate how the story works well to inform about history as it goes along and mostly how it takes pains to celebrate the Victorian Era ghost story like those of Edgar Allan Poe, M.R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stroker himself of course. I love that stuff, those stories and sought to weave that feeling into this story and feel like I’ve succeeded.
What has the process been like working on Dracula of Transylvania?
RD: Well, I had to do some historical research to set the stage for the story, but the real work began after that in a broader sense to connect the story’s settings, costumes and other details to the era’s context. I went through three drafts then a dialogue polish. I then created historical ‘interstitials’ throughout the story, especially when the narrative moved to a different locale, to further explain where that setting and place in the world was at that time in history. After all that I had a novel, but then how to make it unique and more interesting to publishers? That’s when I started creating the concept art that’s part of the book. My pitch was ART OF STAR WARS meets SALEM’S LOT.
How would you describe the novel, Dracula of Transylvania?
RD: THE EXORCIST meets LORD OF THE RINGS. Horror within a sprawling adventure that vastly expands the supernatural world of Dracula. Lightning-fast action sequences framed by some pretty damn scary stuff, with endearing protagonists that decide to do the impossible: fight back against Dracula, who once destroyed a combined army of all the city/states in Europe. Some seriously wicked and violent stuff from the count, who does not whether you are human, vampire or otherwise, he is the son of Satan and you will do his bidding or suffer the consequences.
There are many different versions of Dracula in books and on the big screen, do you have a favourite version of Prince of Darkness?
RD: A lot of them, but I do really like a few of the more modern retellings like the 1979 Frank Langella version and the Coppola BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA for different reasons. The first because it’s a great mood piece with a very good story and the second because there’s a layer of artistry and artisanry that I really like.
What can you tell us about the Prince of Darkness in the Dracula of Transylvania novel?
RD: That you’ll read about how Dracula came to be, how he rules over all the Nosferatu as king and how this version of Dracula has had a presence throughout history. This novel takes place between 999 and 1899 AD. You’ll also see how some off the vampire king’s subjects aren’t too thrilled with his ruthlessness and taxation, how they resent him for thinking of them as subjects and how certain historical figures throughout time were actually vampires themselves. Heady stuff, hopefully.
Would you have any message for the ComicBuzz readers?
RD: Yes, if you think that Dracula is played out, if he’s become a lesser villain in your modern eyes, then this is the book for you because Dracula of Transylvania takes no prisoners, puts everyone in his path to the sword or stake and seeks only to continue to rule, and those vampires that agree with him can come along and be ruled or they can die by his hand. This is the no fooling around version of Dracula, and with some fun yet terrifying stuff to read along with. DRACULA OF TRANSYLVANIA is the novel you’ve been waiting for, with some impressive concept art and historical annotations along the way. Check it out, it’s everything you wish a book like this could be.
We would like to thank Ricardo for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us. If you would like to support Dracula of Transylvania and in the process pick up some great rewards please check out the campaign, visit Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cloverpress/ricardo-delgados-dracula-of-transylvania
They have already unlocked a stretch goal at the $24,000 mark for several postcards featuring Ricardo’s art and they have added a new stretch goal which is still locked for a two-sided bookmark at the $33,000 mark.
The Dracula of Transylvania campaign is live now through March 25th, 2021. For updates, follow Ricardo Delgado on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, follow Dracula of Transylvania on Twitter, and follow Clover Press on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
To support the campaign, visit Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cloverpress/ricardo-delgados-dracula-of-transylvania