The Rogue Biblioholic: JOHNNY ALUCARD


I’m a few months late in reviewing this title, as Johnny Alucard was published by Titan Books in September 2013.  I’m just happy that circumstances have allowed me to read it finally, because it’s a great thrill ride through the excesses of our pop cult era, circa late ’60s-early’90s, as seen through a dripping veneer of blood.  This is the fourth novel in Kim Newman’s subversive and dark alternate history series about the Prince of Darkness, Dracula, and Johnny Alucard delivers the darkness.

Here are the novels in the series, in order.  I suggest you start with the first, because that will set the scene, both in terms of story line and theme, as well as the writer’s intent…and the way he has immense fun with vampires and popular culture.

Anno Dracula starts from the standpoint that the end of the original novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, was a fiction; that Dracula defeated his band of enemies, led by Van Helsing, and subsequently took over England and the Empire, thereby conquering the world for his legions of the undead.

By the time of Johnny Alucard, Dracula is long gone, having died in 1959 during the events of Dracula Cha Cha Cha.  Now it’s twenty years later, and the last person infected by Dracula, Johnny Pop–who has ingratiated himself with the cast and crew of 1979’s Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (a blood-soaked parallel to our Apocalypse Now) on location in Romania–emigrates to America…

Through a variety of sequences, some of which have been published before in a variety of publications, Newman here finally connects all the disparate puzzle pieces and shows how Johnny Pop becomes Johnny Alucard–and how he then conquers America and the world–through blood, sweat and tears, baby . . .perhaps more well known in the ’70s vernacular as sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  Slowly, the last son of Dracula is consumed more and more by vampire lord’s eternal spirit, and then is reincarnated as the Pop Prince of Darkness, leaving the 21st century open and ripe for the evil of Dracula.

The real magic of this series is the clever wit: how Newman brings the vampires of literature, film and popular culture into his fictional mix.  Count Iorga, the original Nosferatu, and many other vamps from literature and film show up here and in all the other novels, and it’s always a joy to see how Newman places them in his own world.

Here’s hoping Book Five in the series is published next year.




THE ROGUE BIBLIOHOLIC: Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz


In November 2011, artist Juan Ortiz “felt as though the year had been a waste, creatively.”  After working for Disney, Warner Bros., Disney a second time, and Cartoon Network, Ortiz “wanted to end the year with work that I could call my own, without any other person’s vision.”  He got the idea to design a movie-style poster for TV’s Lost in Space . . .


. . . and then one for Star Wars (sorry, I can’t find an image to share), and then he turned to the original Star Trek series, and decided to create a poster for the second season episode “Amok Time.”  He had so much fun that he made two more posters based on two other episodes, and he decided to keep going on, with a goal of finishing a poster a day during December 2011.  Ortiz ended up creating 33, and now Titan Books has come out with the complete collection of his unique Trek posters, covering every episode of Star Trek‘s 3-year span.

In Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz, Ortiz took inspiration from many sources:retro-’60s, ’80s eastern European movie design, even drawing inspiration from covers of the ’60s Dell Star Trek comic book.



The introduction details how Ortiz starts the creative process with simple pencil sketches and doodles. When he decides which design to use, he moves to Illustrator and completes the piece with text and coloring. My favorite part: he adds in faux creases to show that the posters have been previously folded, just like movie posters were shipped up until the ’80s.

Some posters share themes, while many are unique. “Miri” resembles a horror movie poster from the late ‘60s. “Mirror Mirror” is based on USSR design work. The Ripper-inspired episode “Wolf in the Fold” is represented by a thriller-type movie poster from the ‘40s. “Tomorrow is Yesterday” has a hybrid look of a ‘40s pulp magazine and Action Comics, while “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “Who Mourns for Adonis?” appear based on Jack Kirby/Stan Lee Marvel comics from the early ‘60s, especially Fantastic Four.

This is a fun book that deserves more exposure.  Even more, I hope it inspires others to create art from shows, movies–whatever–that moves them.    This book is a great example of how the fantastic in the arts has positively influenced our popular culture, and we need more.  Go here and see for yourself how good even fan-created Trek art can be.

Star Trek + incredible art and design = an instant collectible.

Order the book  from Amazon

Order the book from Barnes & Noble
Get some of the posters at Think Geek