Ricardo Delgado tackles Dracula
Earlier this week I spoke with novelist, comic book creator and film storyboard artist Ricardo Delgado about his illustrated novel: Dracula of Novel. Which, at the moment, is on its home stretch with only 2 days to go (at time of this article) – having raised over $55000 from over 600 backers.
The all-new illustrated novel DRACULA OF TRANSYLVANIA, features an original story and more than 20 lavish illustrations, reimagines Bram Stoker’s classic vampire story like you’ve never seen it before.
Head to Kickstarter for more information.
Hi Ricardo, can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what you’ve been working on?
Ricardo Delgado: Sure! My name is Ricardo Delgado and I’m a novelist, comic book creator, director, conceptual designer, storyboard artist and instructor. My film credits include MEN IN BLACK, THE INCREDIBLES and APOLLO 13. I wear many hats, lol. My latest project is an illustrated novel titled DRACULA OF TRANSYLVANIA, which I would pitch to your audience in two ways: in book for it is best described as an ART OF STAR WARS book combined with a vampire novel like SALEM’S LOT.
In story form I would refer to film because that’s my background and the two titles I would use here are THE EXORCIST meets LORD OF THE RINGS. Sprawling adventure blended with horror. DOT is a prose novel filled with conceptual art, designs that I used to create for films I’m now creating for my own stories. A new venture as it were.
Previously you’ve worked with industry heavy weights such as Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and James Cameron, to name a few. How does your experience working with such renowned icons inform working on a book such as Dracula of Transylvania?
Ricardo Delgado: Well, the 1990’s were a very fertile time in my career. The first half of that decade was spent working with the great auteurs you just mentioned, while the second half was spent at Disney Feature Animation working within that process and all of those amazing artists and directors. They all had one thing in common in that they all preached story, story, story.
They would say stuff like ‘How does this affect our story?’ or ‘In our story…’ and ‘In this scene we need our story to convey this emotional intent or information.’ And I soaked all of it in. Everything from lighting to set decorating to casting to editing. So along the way I decided I wanted to tell my own stories, and use my own imagery to aid in my storytelling. It was like getting paid to go to storytelling school and I gradually made the transition from designer to storyteller.
How does one go from tackling Prehistoric Dinosaurs to taking on the Lord of Darkness in Dracula of Transylvania?
Ricardo Delgado: Well that all goes back to my childhood, where my parents took us kids to this amazing place filled with skeletons of these prehistoric monsters. I became obsessed with dinosaurs at that point and right around then discovered the Universal monster movies.
I remember vividly the conversation that Doctor Pretorious has with the monster in the crypt in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTIEN and they’re eating and drinking around a small pile of bones, so even back then dinosaurs and vampires were tied together for me. Kinda part of my DNA at this point.
Why Dracula when so many others have tackled the vampire genre?
Ricardo Delgado: Because my take is so strong. This is a powerful, evil, malevolent king of the vampires and the son of Satan, and he’s on a quest to England for revenge, and this version of the count will crush anyone in his path who resists. This is also a sprawling adventure that crisscrosses the European continent as well as northern Africa to tell that original Stoker story, but with a vast supernatural tapestry full of history, classism and politics.
I’m also delighted to turn a few historical figures into nosferatu along the way in order to serve as friend or foe to the Transylvanian along the way. Would you be afraid if a bat flew into your room at night and fluttered around? Probably, but what if that bat was as big as a tiger with wings of a pterodactyl and canines longer than your fingers and could rip your head off your body with one stunning, powerful blow? You might be a little more scared of that perhaps? Even terrified? Well that’s what DRACULA OF TRANSYLVANIA has to offer.
Where does your inspiration of the dark and macabre come from?
Ricardo Delgado: DRACULA OF TRANSYLVANIA is also a pean or hymn for the Victorian era ghost story in short story form. M. R. James and his wonderful, macabre short stories where bookish protagonists encounter the supernatural as they research an old book or church architecture. One of my favorite stories of his is ‘An episode of Cathedral History’ which I think a strong argument could be made that it was James’ version of a vampire story.
There’s a church committee trying to renovate an old cathedral when they find something very creepy inside. Very spooky, dark corridors lit by candlelight kind of stuff. That’s why I named my Renfield Montague Rhodes Renfield, after Mr. James. And James’ stuff is not horrifying or intense like a lot of passages in my story, which are perhaps more rooted in the comparatively ferocious Christopher Lee Hammer Dracula films, and the supernatural stuff in James’ stories are very brief, like Dan Brown meets Poe, but lots of fun. So DRACULA OF TRANSYLVANIA offers both those aesthetics, those of the eerie, moody ghost story and the Hell’s Bells intensity of modern horror. Hope everyone gets a chance to check it out.
What has your next project got in store for us?
Ricardo Delgado: I’m working on it this morning as a matter of fact. Quite a different turn from DRACULA OF TRANSYLVANIA yet it’ll be chock full of gods, monsters and maybe even a dinosaur or two! Appreciate the questions and the time.
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