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‘Dracula Concertina:’ Book Review

Lyndon White’s Kickstarter foldout book, Dracula Concertina, is a stunning, beautifully Gothic collection of illustrations based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel. With just a brief narrative on the back cover, the story emerges across the nine remarkable illustrations. White has created a new and exciting version of Dracula while still maintaining the darkness and horror of the vampire’s evil plight.

As a perfect start for a re-imagined Dracula, the cover incorporates several dark and eerie elements and blends colors to create a powerful work of art. Everything in the piece connects together, as bats are part of the silhouette, and candles are part of the landscape. The glowing shades of red and the darkness of the blacks and blues create an eerily Gothic image. The cover is impressive to look at from both up close and afar. From a distance, the colors dominate, and up close, the detailed drawings create a stunning landscape.

In all of the images, colors bleed into one another, creating a distorted perception of the scenes. The use of colors in such a way makes the mystical elements shine through and become one with the more concrete outlines of figures. Lyndon White brilliantly uses light and dark in ways that create truly Gothic illustrations. These are pure artistic masterpieces that effectively encapsulate the multiple layers of Stoker’s novel. I found myself entranced by each illustration, as each one is intriguing, enticing, and magical and took me away into a dark dream world where the Count is a horrific threat.

The illustrations highlight powerful moments in Stoker’s novel, including scenes in the Count’s castle, the Demeter at sea, and a transformed Lucy. I was most transfixed by the illustration “Sleeping,” which uses sharp lines and blurred shades of black and gray to create a dark and powerful image of a corpse-like Count with animalistic teeth.  “The End” is another stunning image that brilliantly blends colors to create a spellbinding combination of darkness and brightness that is further complemented by the red background. “Lucy” brings out the tragedy of the young woman’s character through the placement of blood and the position of her body. Lucy’s body becomes part of the graveyard’s landscape, which demonstrates the artist’s craft in using coloring and shading techniques to blend story, character, and setting. This, like the others, is a remarkable recreation of a powerful moment in the novel.

White’s brilliant attention to detail is also so impressive. I find new things each time I look at the illustrations. This makes each page exciting and fresh. These illustrations are great to appreciate on their own, but even more powerful to look at collectively. The foldout book allows us to appreciate White’s craft, as not only do the colors bleed into one another in each image, but the images also cohesively flow together. This creates a single image that encompasses several at a time. I think these foldout pages look best framed so as to display all 10 pages at once in two frames.

Dracula Concertina is a wonderfully dark rendition that brings new life to a classic Gothic tale. It captures some of the best moments and successfully retells a rather long novel in just nine breathtaking illustrations. White’s visual masterpieces are impressive, dark, bright, swirling, blurred, bold, and terrifying, just what any fan of the Gothic will truly appreciate.


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