Nosferatu The Untold Origin
Louis John Pecsi
"NOSFERATU THE UNTOLD ORIGIN In the year 1922, Nosferatu graced the silver screen with his shadowy specter. He was a creature of total mystery and no known origin until now. “Nosferatu the Untold Origin” begins with the 15th century crusader, Count Orlok, who must burn at the stake the powerful witch, Elsa, for her refusal to worship the God of Rome. As Elsa's flesh is consumed by the flames, she finalizes her curse by uttering the word "Nosferatu". Count Orlok is transformed into Nosferatu the Vampyre, a terrifying creature that bares little semblance to anything human. An epic adventure that spans over 400 years awaits Orlok, as he is plunged into the nocturnal world. Illustrated with over 300 full color paintings, this visually exciting graphic novel will change the reader's perception of vampyres."
As a huge fan of F.W. Murnau’s silent classic Nosferatu, I had wanted to read this one for a couple of years. A prequel to the film, this graphic novel intends to fill in the blanks of the film’s vampire, Count Orlok, by telling us the story on how he was cursed to walk the earth as the Nosferatu.
So, after having it sitting on my Amazon wishlist for such a long time, I finally picked it up and…well….…I will attempt to be nice about it.
First, the good things about this book. There are a few entertaining moments in the story and the general tone is suitably dark. The original film of Nosferatu, as I’vementioned before, was a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and here the writer attempts to merge the two stories by having Count Orlok actually meet Dracula in his castle. It’s a pretty cool moment and as a Nosferatu fanboy, I have to admit that the two characters sharing the page did make me pretty happy even if there wasn’t much point to it beyond fan service.
There are a handful of other decent moments too, the actual transformation of the noble Count Orlok into the ratlike Nosferatu among them.
Now, the negatives. While the story is ok, the actual writing leaves a lot to be desired. It feels very flat, there’s not a lot of texture there. The descriptions of the action are dull and straightforward and the dialogue is wooden.
There’s also the problem that the origin of Orlok we are presented with, directly conflicts with the film.
Despite what the writer says, the film does give us a back story for Orlok, Hutter reads a book which clearly reveals that Orlok is the son of the devil himself, therefore, having him reduced to a simple nobleman who gets turned into a vampire, isn’t half as interesting.
The main problem with this book though, is the artwork. Frankly, it’s amongst the worst I’ve ever seen in a book like this. Character’s are stiffly posed and the continuity from one panel to the next is shocking. The same pieces of art are re-used several times, sometimes on the same page and there is the occasional piece of random stock photography thrown in for no reason.
Add that to the fact that the layout looks like something a nine year old might throw together in photoshop after learning how to use filters and you have one of the most visually unappealing publications I’ve ever seen.
What could have been a cool little homage to one of cinema’s greatest moments sadly results in a wasted effort. The clunky writing and shockingly poor imagery, making for a book that borders on unreadable.
While it had a few redeeming moments, these are far too few and far between to rescue the book. Unless you’re as obsessed with the film as I am and feel the need to build up your collection, I’d definitely skip this one.