Review: Vlad The Impaler Graphic Novel

I was going to post a Sunday Covers today which isn’t quite finished yet, but my net is acting up a lot and won’t be back to normal by tomorrow so instead I will swap it with a review I was going to post tomorrow which is ready.

And sorry to everyone who has left a comment, but I probably won’t be answering it till later on when the net is back to normal. It has a tendency to time out too much. Don’t you love it when the net stuffs up? Anyway, here’s my proper post.

The Dracula myth has sparked a legacy of endlessly entertaining creepy tales. The fictional character, originally penned by Bram Stoker, was inspired by and named after a real-life fiend-Prince Vlad Dracula, the fifteenth-century ruler of Wallachia-a man infamous for massacring and impaling his enemies. In brilliant four-colour illustrations, Vlad the Impaler tells the ghastly prince’s life story from his seizure as a boy by the Turkish Sultan, to his love life, to his maniacal attempts to retain power regardless of whose throat he must slit.

If you’re like me and have had a long interest in Vlad Tepes, the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula, then while reading this you might want to remind yourself that it is fiction based on the man and not a biography.

I say that because I have been interested in the man and the myths behind Dracula for years, watched countless documentaries, read articles and basically researched it on and off for a long time, so naturally I’m going to nitpick just a bit. I started doing that straight away, caught myself doing it, and then told myself that this is a story. It is a story based on someone in history, but a story nonetheless and as soon as I realised that I began to really enjoy Vlad The Impaler: The Man Who Was Dracula.

Not that the history is incorrect, but it’s not correct to minute detail of course and it does conflict with a lot of other sources I’ve come across, but so do a lot of other sources conflict with each other. Don’t let all that turn you off reading it or appreciating this graphic novel. It does follow his life very well.

It’s like a history lesson, but without the lecture or feeling of a lesson. It’s a very good portrayal of a man who was a psychopath and the art does not shy away from showing what Vlad did. In saying that, there is a lot of blood and violence, but it’s not gratuitous so it is still readable by people who may be squeamish. It’s down played enough that it is not shoved down your throat, but you still get a really good idea of the level of violence in that time.

Vlad The Impaler is also not just a portrayal of a mad man, but it shows too the wars between religion, the greed, and madness that can be present in humankind.

I think what I really love about this graphic novel is not the story itself, not the art, but the last chapter when you discover who the narrator is. I feel it’s a great twist and to me it helps how the chapter is presented in the beginning. Each chapter has it’s own cover art at the beginning, but chapter seven’s cover page is all blacked out and that is how it ends as well. That gives it more of an artistic edge for me which is something I appreciate.

This may end up being one of those graphic novels that is added to my own personal library because it really is a good, albeit quite fictional, portrayal of a madman.

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