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.



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I cannot decide if Donald Duck would be the worst possible casting choice for Renfield or the Best; I suspect that his Elemental Rage is too pure for mere madness to corrupt or if it makes perfect sense that he'd be ... wait, wait a minute, R.M. Renfield was a man of substance before what appears to be his own desperate desire to cling on to life at all costs drove him into madness.

Why not cast UNCLE SCROOGE as Renfield?

Michael May said...

Scrooge as Renfield is great. I never would'a thought of that, but his natural financial greed could translate pretty easily into greed for insect lives.

Which leaves Donald to play... hmmm. Quincey might be cool, but that's probably just because I love Quincey.

I don't know why they left the Duckberg characters out of this. Or the Mickey characters out of Frankenstein. I'd love to see those worlds more integrated.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you like the idea! (I've always thought of Renfield as somebody who ought to be played by an actor subverting some avuncular or 'pillar of the community' track record, to make the icky madness all the more pathetic & distressing).

As for Donald Duck, it might be highly amusing to cast him as Lord Godalming - which would give R.M. Renfield's remark that he once socialised with the Honourable Arthur Holmwood's dear papa a whole new dimension!

Michael May said...

I like the way you think!

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