Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Nosferatu



Nosferatu - Viper Comics
Nosferatu
Christopher Howard Wolf, Justin Wayne & Sal M.
 “Nosferatu” is a dark, edgy tale inspired by the film of the same name. This modern spin on the timeless horror story follows Tommy and her roommate Elle as the nefarious vampire Count Orlok draws them into his obsession with death and disease. Old-world magic combines with technology and terror alerts when Orlok, the Nosferatu, pays our shores a visit.

Orlok's shadow opens the door to Helens room in the1922 original film
I should hate this, I really should.  Nosferatu is my favourite film of all time. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece and I’d recommend Murnau’s silent horror to anyone.
This book takes the story of Nosferatu and re-imagines it as the most over the top Hollywood remake possible. Gone are Thomas Hutter and his wife Ellen, in are lesbian couple “Tommy” and Elle. Gone is the aged professor Bullwer, in is Homeland Security detective Bullner. 
Every time I read this book my mind screams sacrilege….but my heart……my heart just freakin’ loves it.

Yes, it’s the worst possible direction to take a remake of Nosferatu, but it’s kinda supposed to be. It’s a book that has its tongue firmly wedged in its cheek and it lends itself to a very enjoyable read.
I won’t bother to recant the plot, any fan of Nosferatu (or Dracula of course) will know the basics and will recognise the characters.

For fans there’s a lot to put you off at first, but giving it a chance, you’ll realise there’s a lot more to like. Tommy and Elle, while an obvious attempt at adding some sex appeal to the book and sadly, pretty one dimensional as characters, aren’t as cheesecake as you’d expect. They don’t even kiss in the book, Tommy is a pretty fun, wise cracking character and the idea that they’re lesbians does lend an additional horror to the advances of Count Orlok.

Orlok, as depicted in the comic
Speaking of Orlok, I’m glad to report that there’s no real attempt made to modernise him in the story. He’s the same incredibly creepy yet enthralling character that appears in the movie. He has a great look and is genuinely creepy, something hard to pull off in the comic format.
It’s a lot of fun seeing his classic scenes re-imagined to fit the modern context. He no longer stows away in the cargo hold of a ship for example, instead taking over a cargo plane.
One thing about Orlok’s portrayal that I don’t like is the violence. In keeping with the Hollywood remake theme, Orlok’s aggression is heightened, he is often shown, smothered in blood as he feeds and he openly attacks some of the characters. The film version of the character is far more subtle, slinking around, draped in shadow. This is obviously a result of the stricter values of the time the film was made but it really helps build up Orlok’s character, something that sadly, is lost in this book.

The art is great, with a good modern style, though I would say that character continuity can be a little off between panels, faces changing beyond recognisability more than once throughout the book.

While the book is far from being without flaws, it still manages to be enjoyable from start to finish. Don’t take the book too seriously and you’ll uncover a fun retelling of a classic movie that’s well worth a pickup….just….watch the movie first okay? Seriously, it’s fucking awesome.

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