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A Rocky Point game designer and comics buff has given the old Dracula legend a makeover.
In Chris Wolf’s version, the vampire is still an East European count who starts out in a drafty, half-ruined castle.
This time, however, the Jonathan Harker character is a Goth Grrl photographer with tattoos and piercings who’s summoned by the Count to his lair.
Val Helsing, the vampire hunter, becomes a haunted agent of the U.S. Homeland Security department, reminiscent of Fox Mulder from “The X-Files.”
Mina, the beautiful object of the Count’s unholy affections, morphs into a fashion model.
And instead of riding a schooner to England, the vampire flies to the States in his coffin, in the back of a cargo jet – along with a horde of plague-carrying rats.
That’s the set-up for “Nosferatu,” a graphic novel by Wolf – or Christopher Howard Wolf, as he signs himself – that came out Nov. 24 from Viper Comics, with artist Justin Wayne and colorist Sal Nieto.
It’s inspired by “Nosferatu,” the classic 1922 German silent film by F.W. Murnau, which was based in turn on the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker. (Murnau changed names around, but not the plot, in an effort to dodge British copyright law. In his version, and Wolf’s, the vampire is known as “Count Orlok.”)
Copies of the graphic novel are available from Memory Lane Comics in Wilmington, and it can be ordered for $9.95 through Amazon.com.
“The story almost needed to be updated,” said the 30-year-old Wolf. “With all the concern over terrorism and biohazards, it was just natural.”
Wolf also hopes “Nosferatu” can help turn vampire stories away from the wave of dreamy, sensitive, pretty bloodsuckers that infest the “Twilight” books and movies and TV shows like “Angel” or “TrueBlood.” The creative team’s website – www.BookOfVampires.com – carries the motto, “Stop the New Wave of Sentimental Vampires.”
“We like to say, ‘There is no ‘heart’ in vampires,’” Wolf said, chuckling.
A home-schooled college dropout, Wolf moved to the area with his parents, Dennis and Mary Lou Wolf, when he was 14.
When he was little, he said, his mother regularly took him to the Museum of Modern Art and other galleries to get him excited about art.
He started haunting comic shops early, and “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola and Michael Allred of “Madman” were early heroes.
By the late ’90s, Wolf was selling his own photocopied comics through local shops. He gained earlier notice, though, as an independent game designer, creating the community-driven multi-player game “DragonSpires” and the browser-based role-playing fantasy game “Scroll Wars.” He became well-known enough to have his own biographical entry in Wikipedia.
Wolf met up with his collaborators through deviantArt.com, an online community where artists and others interested in comics, manga and graphics share their work. The three have never actually met in the flesh, only online.
“Justin lives off in Nevada,” Wolf said. “And Sal, well, we’re never quite sure where he is.”
The idea for “Nosferatu” came from a 2008 meeting with Jessie Garza of Viper Comics, Wolf said. What followed, he added, is “a long, spooky road” with “blood, sweat, tears and more blood.”
Wolf, who recently joined the Viper Comics staff, said his next big project is an all-ages graphic novel about the Boogeyman.
“I’d like to keep on making books and making games,” he said. “And, dare I say, maybe an independent film.”