#DRCL: Midnight Children is a unique and provocative take on the Dracula story. While the cover says it’s “based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” it is not a straightforward adaptation. A better description would be “inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
That’s because the characters have been reimagined and changes have been made to the story. The book opens on the Demeter, the ship that’s carrying Dracula to England, and it has some really gruesome imagery of people’s bodies turning to moss.
After this the story switches to Whitby School, and Mina Murray becomes the main character. This version of Mina is going to an all-boys school to stand for the equality of the sexes, and she’s feisty and smart and headstrong. She’s a lot of fun and a great heroine for the manga. Her friends at school are Luke (who turns into the Dracula character Lucy at night), Arthur Holmwood, Quincey Morris, and an all-new Japanese character named Joe Suwa.
The take on Lucy is unique, but the most unique interpretation of any character (at least so far) has to be Renfield, though I’d give things away if I said any more. Mina deals with school, but there is also something sinister coming. While there are some really gross images at the beginning of the book, most of the artwork is ornate, detailed and beautiful. It has its own atmosphere, and sometimes it goes into dark surrealism, like things out of beautiful and transfixing nightmares. It’s not clear if these dreamlike images will be explained later on, or if the point of the book is to have some things escape explanation. In fact, it’s not really clear where the plot is going since it has so many differences from the original Dracula, and if it might grow a strong plot or stick with the many fragmentary, surreal scenes. At any rate, the art is top notch and the manga gives new perspectives to the popular tale.
Story & Art: Shin’ichi Sakamoto
Publisher: VIZ Media
Translator: Caleb Cook
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.