A comic book that started off in print and then moved online? Isn’t it usually the other way around? Typically yes, but there’s very little that’s typical about legendary comic writer Kurt Busiek’s Dracula: The Company of Monsters, a modern day story that brings the world’s most notorious vampire into a most unsavoury place – the corporate world. After completing its print run, BOOM! Studios has now transformed the series, created by Busiek, scripted by Daryl Gregory and illustrated by Scott Godlewski, into a free web comic, updated daily here. I was lucky enough to be able to ask Kurt some questions about the series, its roots and inspirations, his thoughts on digital comics and much more via email, which I now present for your perusal.
Kurt Busiek: It started with me being fascinated with the historical Dracula, who was, let’s face it, a serious badass. He was a patriot, fighting the Turks most of his life to try to keep his country free, but he wasn’t a traditional nobleman — he kept his nobles in line by brutal and uncompromising methods, too. They didn’t call him Vlad the Impaler for fun.
But the common people of Wallachia considered him a hero, and he’s still a folk hero in Romania. Part of that is because a lot of what we know about him came from his enemies, and part came from the fact that he took pretty good care of the peasants. So he’s a monster to some and a hero to others, and that’s interesting right there. On top of that, he got turned into literature’s greatest villain by Bram Stoker, which makes him even more interesting — a villain, a monster, a hero, all at once.
In thinking about how to bring him to the present day, I started thinking about corporations, and the feudal system, and how they’re similar and how they’re not. In some ways, there’s a lot more freedom, but in others there’s a lot more insecurity. So what would happen if Dracula was revived today, in the belly of a large corporation that perhaps wasn’t as nice to its rank and file as they might be — and it pissed Dracula off?
The monster side, the vampire side, the folk hero side — it brings it all together and pits Dracula against corporate greed and callousness. It gives him a modern monster to fight, so that all of his facets can come out.
That’s how it started — the rest was just figuring out how to play that out.