Comic Book Preview: Anno Dracula 1895 – Seven Days in Mayhem #1

Over the years reviewing various books and comics, one of my favorite fictional characters is Anno Dracula created by author Kim Newman.  Now for the first time, Mr. Newman steps into the comic book world with Anno Dracula 1895 – Seven Days in Mayhem #1 with artist Paul McCaffrey.  I’m really excited about this vampire series.  If it’s anything like the many Anno Dracula novels, this should be a fun ride.

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Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories

annodracula1899Over the years of reviewing various novels and comics for Retrenders, I’ve enjoyed reading the many tales of Kim Newman’s vampire creation Anno Dracula and world of characters around him.  “Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories” is a collection of short stories to get fans primed for the upcoming novel Anno Dracula 1899: Daikaiju.  Not only that, Titan Comics will kick-off a brand new Anno Dracula series by author Kim Newman and art by Paul McCaffrey launching in March 2017.

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Life’s Lottery

lifelotteryBram Stroker Award winner Kim Newman is known for his witty vampire series Anno Dracula has another book you might want to take a look at.  Kim Newman ponders one of life’s questions in “Life’s Lottery”: Is our human life “predetermined or can we really choose our own path in life?”  If your were a kid growing in the 1980s, you might remember those Find Your Fate: Transformers and G.I. Joe books that I made my mom buy for me.  Those kiddie books had you making the decisions, like if you think Optimus Prime should do this go to page 6, or if you think Optimus Prime should do that go to page 25.  Now instead of playing a Hasbro toy character, you play a real-world fictional character and help him make decisions that will alter his life from the ordinary or to the extra-ordinary.

In “Life’s Lottery” you are born into the world as Keith Oliver Marion, a British Caucasian male, and you’ve luck out, you come from a middle-class background.  You are stuck in the middle with an older sister Laraine and younger brother James.  As I approached page 20 where I would make the first life’s decision for Keith as a 6-year-old boy in school, I really had to reflect how I would come to these decisions and choices for Keith.  Do I make the same choices as I did as a kid in my own personal life growing up, which was the kid that got picked on and then bullied others?  Do I then make choices from my Christian-American cultural upbringing?  Do I just make the common sense decisions as the adult I am now?  Do you I use rationalization or just go with it?  How about I make the decisions like George Costanza in that episode of Seinfeld where he picked the opposite of everything he would do?  Man, this book had me using my brainwaves.

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Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman

annodraculajohnnyThe trend in Hollywood, comics and print these days are stories with vampires.  One popular series is by creator and award-winning author Kim Newman with his Anno Dracula character.  Johnny Alucard is the fourth novel in this series and is set right after the third book, Anno Dracula:  Dracula Cha Cha Cha.

The story kicks off in 1976 Romania countryside, where Franics Ford Coppola is shooting his epic Dracula film with Hollywood stars like Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Harvey Kitel and Harrison Ford.  Our vampire vixen Kate Reed is on set as a consultant and from there, Kate and Coppola befriend a young vampire named Ion Popescu.  After a couple of months, the trouble production is finished filming, Ion looks to America.

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Interview with Anno Dracula author Kim Newman

annodraculajohnnyThe fan favorite vampire series Anno Dracula returns!  Author Kim Newman recently released his latest Anno Dracula novel – Johnny Alucard that takes place from 1976-1991.  Retrenders interviews author Kim Newman about his new book – Johnny Alucard and what the future holds for this popular Dracula series.

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RTNDR:  The universe of Anno Dracula and the characters you’ve created is very popular and many fans enjoy this series, so with this new book Johnny Alcuard, did you set out thinking, “Well, the fans might enjoy it if this character or that character goes through this plotline or this journey” or did you already have your own ideas and had everything mapped out?

KIM:  I plot books – and, in this case, series  – by a method known as ‘feeling your way in the dark’. I usually know where I’m going with a story but not the exact route I’ll get there.  I hope readers enjoy where I take the characters (and them) but tend to think of what the story needs rather than what people want – indeed, sometimes you have to go against expectations or wishes.  In this case, the book was written piecemeal over decades – the first chunk of it was done before the third novel in the series – and I always knew the spine was where a particular character went, though the details were developed during the composition and I think I surprised myself. 

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Jago by Kim Newman

jagokimnewmanAward-winning author Kim Newman’s Jago was published back in 1991, and now Titan Books has just re-release this classic horror story.  A hippie music festival takes place in the small English town of Adler.  Like any big rock music festival it divides the town into two camps, those who want the money it brings in and those who hate it, because of all the property damage and troubles it causes lead by Adler villager Danny Keough.  Many young people like Dolar and his caravan of friends attend the festival to party.  On vacation in the town of Adler, Paul is working on his “end of the world” thesis, while his girlfriend Hazel a potter, runs a pottery shop for a family on vacation.  And we find out that this rock festival is run by a religious cult the Agapemone and from within, Susan a British Secret Service agent is trying to find out who is the mysterious figure – Anthony William Jago.  As the music festival begins, urban legends, darkness, and evil is unleashed on the town of Alder.

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Interview with Anno Dracula Author Kim Newman

Critically acclaimed novelist Kim Newman is well known, not only for writing great storylines, but also blending together a wonderfully imaginative cast of characters for his books. For Dracula Cha Cha Cha, the third book in his Anno Dracula series, you’ll see all of this in full view in a world intertwined with fictional characters and real people in history, such as Ernest Hemingway, Michael Corleone, Audrey Hepburn, and Tintin. Mix them into 1959 Rome where Count Dracula is set to marry the Princess of Moldavia and what you get is a fun read for fans of horror, fiction, and parallel worlds.

Today, we’re honored to have author Kim Newman to take the time out and answer questions on the reissue of the Anno Dracula books, who his primary influences, and what we can expect in Johnny Alucard, the fourth book of the series.

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