The legend of Bram Stoker's Dracula character and the bloodsucker's evil roots being inspired by the real-life Wallachian prince Vlad "The Impaler" Tepes is a well-known tale. But little has been extracted in the area of Drac's angst-ridden teen years; Brothers Dracul, a new horror series from Aftershock Comics, is looking to change that.
Born in 1428 as the second son of Vlad I, baby Vlad was born into a legacy of violence and conflict between the Christian-backed Europe and the Muslim-centered Ottoman Empire. The royal family's affiliation with the sacred Order of the Dragon bestowed the infamous Dracul surname on his crimson-drenched future.
Hollywood dipped deeper into the backstory, with Francis Ford Coppola giving the fanged fiend a more sympathetic origin as an armored Romanian knight mourning the suicide death of his beloved Elisabeta in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula, and again with 2014's Dracula Untold, starring Luke Evans.
Brothers Dracul is written by the prolific Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun, Micronauts, Monsters Unleashed), matched with riveting art by Mirko Colak (Kingsway West), and sinks its teeth into the historical influences of the lives of young Vlad and his brother Radu amid the religious turbulence of 15th-century Eastern Europe. Bunn and Colak also collaborated on last year's Arthurian horror series Unholy Grail.
“This is the story of the events that turned Vlad Dracul into Vlad Tepes,” Bunn explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “What we know of Vlad’s history is that during his teenage years, he and his brother Radu were captured and held prisoner by the Ottoman Empire. During that time, they were treated as royal prisoners. They were trained in art, history, horseback riding, archery, and — oh, yeah! — vampire slaying. Of course, these aren’t the smooth, black-caped, charming vampires of the movies. These are nasty, blood-drinking, flesh-eating monstrosities. The terrifying adventures of the Brothers Dracul will change both of their lives forever.”
Brothers Dracul #1 seeps into comic shops on April 11. Will you be feasting?