Dark Shadows Returns: The Comic Book

Now that the gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” is headed once more to the big screen (care of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp), the saga of reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins also is returning to another medium–the comic book! During the show’s hey-day, Dell Comics released a series of adventures featuring the haunted mansion atop Widow’s Hill, one that was particularly lurid and echoed horror comics of the day (the 1960s). Innovation Comics produced their own version of “Dark Shadows” based upon the 1991 revival, at least for a time. That incarnation filled in the blanks between certain episodes, as well as expanding the mythology (including the notion that a pair of sculptress sisters were in fact the Gorgons of legend) as well as in-jokes like a neighboring village called Barrettstown (Nancy Barrett played Carolyn Stoddard in the original series). One character was even drawn to resemble Lara Parker, with hints that she might have been the mother of that version’s Angelique.

Dynamite Comics will be releasing its own version of “Dark Shadows” this October, just in time for Halloween!

The official announcement read:

“Television’s original reluctant vampire is back! Barnabas Collins is re-adjusting to life under his vampiric curse. Haunted by terrifying dreams of his age-old lover and nemesis, Angelique, and fighting his bloodlust, Barnabas fears that danger lies ahead for all who live at Collinwood. Meanwhile, Barnabas’s ally and trusted friend Dr. Julia Hoffman is harboring secrets of her own. Written by Stuart Manning and drawn by Aaron Campbell, with covers by Campbell and superstar artist Francesco (Black: Panther: Man Without Fear, Swamp Thing) make sure to get the horrifying Dark Shadows #1!

Collinwood, an ancestral mansion on the remote Maine coastline, is home to the Collins family, a dynasty haunted by secrets and a supernatural curse spanning two centuries. Barnabas Collins is facing an uncertain future and new threats. Cursed in 1795 by the witch Angelique, Barnabas has lived as a vampire for almost two centuries. Out of his own time and now a self-appointed protector for the Collins family, accompanied by his loyal confidante Dr. Julia Hoffman, Barnabas lives in fear that Angelique might return as he seeks a cure from his vampiric affliction. Picking up directly where the original daytime episodes of Dark Shadows left off, the new comic book will bring the familiar residents of Collinwood further into the 1970s, facing threats both old and new.”

Jim Pierson of Dan Curtis Productions, the show’s creator, declares “Dark Shadows still casts its imaginative spell on so many devoted fans who have discovered the series over the past four decades, captivated by its unique blend of Gothic romance, mystery, horror and a touch of science fiction.”

Says writer Stuart Manning, “With stunning artwork capturing the likenesses of the classic actors and exciting new serialized stories, the Dark Shadows comic will appeal to both the original generation of fans who ran home from school and new audience of fans ushered in by Tim Burton’s forthcoming big screen remake, starring Johnny Depp.”

“I am so happy to work with someone of Stuart’s expertise and caliber,” states Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci. “Aaron’s fantastic work on Sherlock Holmes and Green Hornet: Year One and Francesco Francavilla’s covers are truly a sight to behold!”

“We’ve really put together a great team,” adds Editor Joe Rybandt. “Stuart is crafting a tale for fans old and new, and Aaron’s incredible detail will find a perfect home with this title, capturing the mood and atmosphere of Dark Shadows perfectly. It’s gonna be a truly Gothic affair.”

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com

For art and more information, please visit www.dynamite.net

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, Green Hornet, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Project Superpowers, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, and more!”

Dyanmite is also responsible for a recent acclaimed (and remarkably faithful) adaptation of “Dracula.”

One question of continuity not addressed in the press release is the relationship of Barnabas to Angelique. At the series’ end, the evil witch who had cursed Barnabas out of thwarted love had managed to cure his vampirism and confessed to authorities in order to free two innocent men. Moved by how much she had changed, Barnabas had been on the verge of telling Angelique he loved her when she was murdered. All this happened in 1840. Barnabas, Julia and Professor Elliott Stokes then returned to Collinwood in 1970, finding the cataclysm they’d been hoping to negate had never happened. The mansion was intact, the family still alive and/or sane.

So how might Barnabas again join the ranks of the undead? And why should Angelique still be his nemesis? Time (and publishing schedules) alone will tell!

By david

David MacDowell Blue blogs at Night Tinted Glasses.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is the author of The Annotated Carmilla. and Your Vampire Story (And How to Write It) as well as a theatrical adaptation of Carmilla.


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