To think of horror in comics is to conjure up images of Kelley Jones’ art. His work on Batman: Red Rain and The Sandman stand among his most iconic, but his takes on Deadman, Swamp Thing, and even Batman’s Rogues Gallery (Scarecrow in particular) cemented his presence as a master of comics horror.

Dracula Book One: The Impaler, cover by Kelley Jones

In a monumental collaboration with Grendel creator Matt Wagner, Kelley is now taking on the eternal Dracula in a new trilogy of graphic novels that explores the secret history of the legendary vampire. After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, Dark Horse Comics has announced that it will be publishing Dracula Book 1: The Impaler just in time for Halloween 2024.

The Impaler follows Dracula’s time as a student of Satan himself in his search to become lord of the undead. Being the first of four planned volumes, Wagner and Kelley’s approach to the vampire seems to be taking a page or two from the ‘Year One’ concept made popular by superhero comics. It intends to go back to the early days to unravel deeper and darker secrets that explain how the titular Impaler became such a force to be reckoned with.

According to Kelley, “When it came time to partner up with an established publisher for [a mass-market edition of the book], there really was no other choice to consider but Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse and I have enjoyed an incredible collaborative relationship for over 35 years and their reputation for quality material and their support of creators’ rights is a well-deserved hallmark in the comics industry.”


The book certainly fits with the publisher’s vision of horror, one which leans heavily on old-school genre flavorings with an eye for established myths and legends to be woven into new stories. One need only take a cursory look at series such as Hellboy, Baltimore, and The Witcher to appreciate the connective tissue that holds everything together in this regard. Wagner’s Grendel also calls Dark Horse home.

Dracula Book 1: The Impaler releases this October, the perfect time for characters like the titular vampire to come out and take over our collective imagination. It has all the makings of a masterwork that will become required reading for anyone hoping to better understand history’s most popular bloodsucker.

Photo Gallery follows below: 




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