Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign in conjunction with Clover Press for your new illustrated novel, Dracula of Transylvania. What can you share with us about your reimagining of the Prince of Darkness?
Ricardo Delgado: Sure! It’s not so much a reimagining as it is an expansion. The original story is dark and creepy and a complete work of literature, I just wanted to make this version of Dracula a more prominent villain and give his journey to England a clearer purpose: revenge. This Dracula is a ruthless, amoral conqueror. He is the literal son of Satan, and he takes no prisoners and crushes anyone in his path. European royalty has shuddered for a thousand years at his very mention. He personifies evil in history. His motivation is that he’s been wronged and now has identified who wronged him, and now he’s headed to Whitby to personally make heads roll, and he gets his wish. A true force of nature whose wrath is unspeakable, can’t be negotiated with, and will never, never tell you the truth. Ever.
BD: Your work as an artist has spanned storyboarding and character design for both live-action and animated films, from the fantastic to that which is evidence-based. What can you tell us about your creative approach to the illustrations that appear throughout this illustrated novel?
RD: As a working concept artist in Hollywood, I was always eager to see my ideas on screen but was frustrated at times when ideas or concepts that I thought were better if you will were abandoned by the project I was working on. That’s all part of the job and I get that, but I started to think about how to write my own stories, illustrate them with my concepts, and publish them. This is my first attempt at this and I’m proud. As a young manm I LOVED the Stephen King / Bernie Wrightson's illustrated werewolf novella, CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF, so this is my humble attempt to walk in those prodigious footprints.
BD: In addition, Dracula of Transylvania is replete with historical facts that give further weight to the story. How would you describe your approach to researching these footnotes?
RD: Well, I wanted readers, particularly younger readers, to know that there was a historical setting to the supernatural story they were reading, and so I thought that annotations would further the interest of the readers. I tried to triple-check facts and feel like I did a good job overall, so I have fingers crossed that this will be a welcome and added feature to their reading experience. I wanted folks to know what wealthy and regular folks ate, for example, and how sailing ships had advanced. Through the time of the story, and who knew that fried chicken was popular in 1899 Paris? I sure didn’t. It’s also good for young people to know that this story takes place thirty years after the American Civil War and thirty years before World War II. Stuff like that. And all while reading a vampire story. Learning is fun if you don’t think it’s schoolwork.
BD: As this book will be released in conjunction with the 90th anniversary of Universal Studios’ Dracula, why do you feel that the character still provides such a deep well of storytelling possibilities so many years later?
RD: Well, the Lugosi version is simply a classic, an eternal influence upon me. Still remember watching that film as a kid on local Los Angeles TV as a child and it blew me away. Let’s, however, not forget about the Spanish-language version of the film, shot concurrently with the Browning film! That film is actually a half-hour LONGER than the original version if you can believe it. A few sets, scenes, and matte paintings that were either cut or not used in the Browning/Lugosi picture. Sometimes, it’s available as part of the Universal Dracula legacy DVD and Blu-ray set. Look it up and watch it with captions, totally worth it. The lead is a bit, ahem, hammy at times with silent film acting, but it’s a really good picture in its own right.
BD: In light of the Kickstarter campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
RD: Love, love, love the ability at both ends: As a kid, there were times were I could not afford stuff, so I love the straightforward download for everyone, yet I’m super proud about the ability of those who would be interested to purchase a drawing from yours truly along with the book. That variety pleases me, because it assures me that everyone who wants to read this story will get a chance to.