Thursday, November 28, 2019
Disney Dracula, Starring Mickey Mouse by Bruno Enna and Fabio Celoni
I've been exploring the Disney Comics line lately. It's weirdly organized, spread across two or three different publishers. Disney publishes some things directly (I especially like their Weird West Mickey series) while IDW has the license for classic series like Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Uncle Scrooge, but also Tangled and another series or two. What I've most been into though are the literary adaptations, published by Dark Horse, that feature Mickey and Friends in their own versions of stories like Treasure Island, Frankenstein, and even Hamlet. And of course Dracula.
I've read Frankenstein and Dracula and they both have great art and a funny, kid-friendly twist to their monsters. In Frankenstein, Victor Duckenstein (Donald Duck) animates a creature made of cardboard. The story talks about responsibility to the things we create, but not in a dark way. Duckenstein's separated from his creation through an accident, not because he abandons it. There are no murdered children.
In Dracula, the vampire is all about eating beets, not sucking blood. I mean, that's almost as gross, but you get the point. Mickey is Harker (renamed Ratker, which isn't great, but okay) and Minnie is (and this is great) Minnina. Goofy plays Van Helsing, which I don't love any more than I like him as Marley in Mickey's Christmas Carol, but that's probably where he needs to be plugged in.
I'm not as enthusiastic about the tweaks to Dracula as I am about the ones to Frankenstein, but that may be because Frankenstein has always been more about themes to me. My fondness for Dracula has a lot to do with the lurid prose and the way the story unfolds. It's easier to riff on Frankenstein's plot and keep the themes intact than it is to riff on Dracula and keep what I most love about that book.
I will say though that Celoni's art makes Disney Dracula something I'll want to go back to even if elements of the story don't translate super well. The look is gorgeously atmospheric and gothic.
And it's not like I actually dislike anything in the story. If you're going to tell a story about vampires to kids... well, look, kids can handle vampires, so I don't actually see the need to substitute blood-sucking for something else. If you're a parent handing a book called Dracula to your kids, you don't really get to complain about there being blood in it. But if you are going to change the blood to something else, beets are funny and clever. And the rest of the book is, too.
Rating: Four out of five Minas.