Renfield: Visions of Madness is available for preorder in the Legacy Comix shop. You should probably jump on that.
Words: Chris McAuley
Art: Steve Cange
Letters: John Svedese
Publisher: Legacy Comix
It’s been 125 years since Bram Stoker brought us the Dracula novel that has managed to stay culturally relevant to this day. We’ve had countless retellings and twists on the tale. But what we haven’t had is a true comic form of the story. Sure, Marvel brought us Tomb of Dracula but that’s not the same thing. What we need is one that’s truly in touch with this Gothic classic. Which is why I was so excited to hear that the creative team for Renfield: Visions of Madness had access to Stoker’s notes when writing this one.
Renfield: Visions of Madness is a 12 page prequel to the Dracula novel where we see Renfield visiting a hypnotist to try and figure out what is going on with the visions in his head. The art here really brings the visions to life. From beautiful monstrous women to the things that Renfield can’t get out of his mind, there is no question how Renfield feels here. The reader joins him on a journey through the madness and it’s hard to tell what’s real and what he might be imagining.
I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I’ve read Dracula or even seen the 1931 film. Middle school if I remember right, so I’ve had way too many years of pop culture to shove the plot out of my head. But I do know that when writing prequels it’s easy to get yourself backed into a corner where the reader knows what to expect because they know canonically what happens next. Sometimes that can be a problem, but with Renfield Visions of Madness it’s about the travel along path as opposed to what lies at the end of that path. We get a glimpse into what Renfield is thinking, but the writing leaves a lot to the imagination. We’re not told what caused Renfield to start down this path in the first place or what effects this has had on his real world life. Maybe these are things that people more in tune with the Dracula mythology that I am right now will know. For someone like me however not knowing this information isn’t a problem.
This comic certainly isn’t for everyone. It has places that might be a bit graphic for some people. It doesn’t really tell a story that can exist independently from the Dracula tale that it’s pulled from. But as long as those aren’t a problem for you then this is one that’s easy to enjoy. Being a one shot this could be all we get, which would suck. That being said I find it hard to believe that fans wouldn’t demand more or that Legacy Comix wouldn’t find a way to give it to them. Plus when you have the backing of the Stoker family and have been told “Bram Stoker would be proud of [this comic]” I have to think that enough little birdies will be pestering the team at Legacy to give us more looks into this world that we just can’t pull ourselves away from even after all these years. I know I’ll be among that flock trying to make sure that more of the story can get into our hands.