Lugosi: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula Review: Special

When someone says “Dracula” the first image that comes to many people’s minds is Bela Lugosi’s iconic portrayal of the character. It’s impossible to hear and hear anybody portray Dracula other than Lugosi. Of course, Lugosi’s real-life outside of Hollywood is a lot stranger and a lot less romantic than Dracula which comic book writer Koren Shadmi nicely shows in the comic book biography “Lugosi: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula.”

This biography shows Lugosi’s life from his youth in Hungary where he ran away from home and changed his last name from Blasko to Lugosi until he died in 1956. It shows all the affairs he had, almost all the movies he was in and more behind-the-scenes drama of his life.

For someone whose identity is like a mythical figure, the real Lugosi acting like the typical Hollywood actor. He drank, he had many women, plenty of divorces, was addicted to Morphine, and even committed himself into a mental hospital. For someone who portrayed a character that was a sexy monster, Lugosi was a real mess. He was even jealous of his wife Lillian when she was working for Brian Donlevy who Bela called a “hack actor” who “couldn’t act his way out of a box.” It’s almost like watching those TV biography shows with the emotional music and the nonstop drama.

There are even scenes of when Lugosi was in the mental hospital he would hallucinate himself as Dracula and even  Boris Karloff. Both making fun of him for becoming pathetic. It shows how Lugosi’s state of mind was so fragile at the time.  

Of course, Shadmi got Lugosi’s accent down to the point where his Ws are pronounced like Vs and his Cs are pronounced like Ks. The reader can’t help but hear Lugosi’s iconic voice every time he speaks.

The artwork has two distinct colors. One is black and white when we’re seeing the past and black and white with a distinct light brown hue when it’s the “present.” Basically, like how the movies were before color. The earlier movies had that weird brown hue to them and then it was gone as movie technology advanced. It’s a clever trick since this is early Hollywood. Shadmi did a nice job of getting all these famous people’s likenesses down. Not only that, but Shamdi makes it clear at what age Lugosi is at certain points in the comic. When he’s young he looks young and he looks like he’s at the end of his life when the comic takes place in the “present.”

“Lugosi: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula” is what any horror movie fan or any movie buff wants. Shadmi takes Lugosi’s life and shows all the highs and lows of it with artwork that fits the look of early Hollywood and gets down the people’s likenesses.

About Rocco Sansone 811 Articles
Rocco Sansone is a “man of many interests.” These include anime/manga, video games, tabletop RPGs, YA literature, 19th century literature, the New York Rangers, and history. Among the things and places he would like to see before he dies are Japan, half of Europe, and the New York Rangers win another Stanley Cup.

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