Black Mass Rising
by Theo Prasidis
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Pub Date 31 May 2022 | Archive Date 14 Jun 2022
TKO Presents, TKO Studios
A titanic and darkly fantastical reimagining / sequel of Bram Stoker's sanguine classic.
Set one year after the death of Dracula, hope is returning to the lands of Transylvania, and a young peasant girl named Aurelia dares to dream of a better future, free from the yoke of the devil's hundred years of darkness.
But when a mysterious Healer drifts into town, seeking to cure land and people alike, a terrifying new evil stirs in the blasted lands, and it seems that the lord of the undead is not through yet...or could it be an even greater evil?
A Note From the Publisher
Distributed by Simon & Schuster.
"Black Mass Rising expertly blends myth, monsters, and Dracula." - AIPT Comics
"Black Mass Rising expertly blends myth, monsters, and Dracula." - AIPT Comics
Average rating from 43 members
FINALLY, a vampire story that I can get behind!
As a child, I loved vampires but as I got older that love dwindled more and more with every sparkly, romantic vampire that I came across. I think the last decent portrayal of vampires I read or saw was the film adaptation of "30 Days of Night". So, when I had the opportunity to read a spiritual sequal to Bram Stoker's "Dracula" I was cautiously hopeful for, what I consider, a 'real' vampire story and "Black Mass Rising" did not disappoint!
The story moves at a steady pace and I was fully engrossed by page thirteen. The world building is amazing considering the length of the book and the characters, both primary and secondary, feel fully-formed and genuine. The story is both intriguing and desperately dark. The religious elements were done to perfection. Afterall, can you even call a vampire story 'great' if it doesn't have you questioning just who the ultimate evil truly is?
I loved how tied to "Dracula" the story was and the way that Stoker's characters were reimagined was a lot of fun.
The artwork is beyond brilliant. Seriously.
I hadn't come across any of Jodie Muir's work before reading "Black Mass Rising" but I'll definitely be seeking her work out from now on.
The illustrations are dark, emotive, gorgeous, and polished. They were the perfect accompaniment to the story.
I definitely recommend this book to fans of horror.
Thank you to NetGalley, TKO Presents, Theo Prasidis, and Jodie Muir for giving me a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I honestly cannot wait to add the hardcopy edition to my bookcase.
Black Mass Rising was an interesting read, and an enjoyable one for those who love vampires, Dracula, or horror art.
Jodie Muir’s art here is exquisite. It has a photorealistic, unlined, almost painted quality, reminiscent of Magic the Gathering cards. As I read it, I so often thought “wow, this must have taken so much time” and was stunned by the beauty of some of the panels or full-page spreads. In my decades of reading comics, I’ve never seen art quite like this!
Sadly, the writing, handled by Theo Prasidis, left something to be desired. Several times, I found myself confused by what was going on, and who was who. The religious additions also felt out of place at times, although I’m not familiar with the Book of Job and thus some of the references may have gone right over my head. Additionally, if you are familiar with Dracula lore, Mina Murray, Van Helsing, and Transylvania, you may have an easier time here finding the deeper story that this entry-level horror fan did not.
All in all, this is a good graphic novel to pick up if you are a vampire or horror fan, and looking for art above story. My thanks to TKO Presents, TKO Studios, Theo Prasidis and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
CW: A lot… it’s a comic about Satan/demons/Dracula/the church/blood/children dying. Definitely horror/gore.
Quite cinematographic has great panel design, and the flow of a professional graphic novel overall. Amazing art, awesome story flow, and tension. Teenager Aurelia follows a healer after the brutal murder of her little brother by a demon that changes the child. Seeking an answer to what's ahead she travels with the healer to only find more aggravating signs of the cursed ones.
Awesome end to each chapter and fun repurpose of well-known characters. I liked the drama and the power of choice at the end.
As a non-native English speaker, whenever I see an accurate representation of Romanian language & culture in a printed material for native English speakers, I am over the moon! This was the case with the graphic novel “Black Mass Rising”, by Theo Prasidis. The action is set in Transylvania, 1 year after the death of Dracula. Just as life is starting to get back to normal, “Zmeu” starts wreaking havoc in the region, but is met with resistance from 3 heroes.
The graphic is so well done, that if I wasn’t reading an electronic copy, I would have vouched that the images are painted directly on paper! Besides the appropriate cultural representation, there are also themes such as dark, faith, and horror. The only reason I didn’t give it a full 5-stars was the sudden ending of the novel. After all the tension built surrounding the characters, I was expecting a bit more. Good thin there’s always a volume 2, 3... where endings can be improved.
Special thanks to NetGalley, TKO Presents, TKO Studios, and the editorial team for giving me the opportunity to review the ARC and to you, my reader, for taking the time to read this honest personal book review.
If you are interested in other of my book reviews, make sure to follow me on GoodReads!
#LifeLongLearning #BlackMassRising #NetGalley
Oh how beautiful it is!!
Beautiful illustrations, each panel is like a separate work of art, I am delighted
The story is great too, I really like religion weaving in it, it fits perfectly
Btw another part would be nice, I'd love to read more
The artwork in this graphic novel is absolutely stunning! It took me a little time to get into the story but once I was in, I was totally immersed. I loved the world-building, the use of local languages and the 'Dracula'. All in all, it was an innovative and engaging novel.
I’m still pretty new to graphic novels but this one was just calling my name!
I really enjoyed this! I’ve been on a gothic vampire kick lately so this was perfect for me. The art style was stunning and perfectly matched for the tone of the story. I thought the reveal towards the end was interesting and I didn’t see it coming. I definitely hope there will be more volumes in the future after that last panel!
Oh wow! I have read many Dracula retellings, but this one is on another level! Easily my favorite retelling and definitely in the top ten of books I've read this year!
Dracula was finally defeated and Transylvania was finally living in a world that had hope and Aurelia has the most hope. Living with her parents and her little brother Vadim she lives as carefree of a life as she can in a post-Dracula world. That is until everything comes crashing down around her one afternoon, her brother is brutally killed by a demon and Aurelia is determined to set out and end this new menace, with a man only known as the Healer by her side leaves her village. Aurelia and the Healer are almost immediately set upon by a group of demons, both realize that they will not be able to defend themselves, and just when all hope is lost a female warrior, Wilhemina saves them and decides to journey with them for a bit. Little do the three of them know that this chance encounter is the key needed to restore Dracula.
Dracula and his namesake Vlad Dracul are/were both highly religious tales/people. Vlad was well known for his crusade to keep the Turks out of Transylvania and to protect Christianity, so I've always found it a bit odd that retellings today have taken the religious component out of the story. I am not by any means religious but I believe what makes not just Vlad an interesting figure in history but the Dracula story interesting is because it is in essence a story about good vs evil in terms of Christianity. Dracula the character is the embodiment of leaving God behind, of being literally locked out of heaven with absolutely no way of getting in ever. There is no forgiveness for a vampire. In terms of Vlad Dracul the real-life human when viewing him using our modern lens it's almost impossible for some of us to reconcile the incredibly brutal acts that he committed in the name of Christianity. This makes him the perfect character to play out a story of good and evil and in the case of Prasidis's Dracula since he is "saved" for a time at least that hard line of good vs evil becomes much more blurry than it already was. The fact that he falls again (or he appears to fall again) after suffering a loss and falling into grief humanizes the monster. We have fallen into my favorite color "Grey". Now, will the story continue this way, honestly, I'm not sure, but I hope it does. Either way, Prasidis has some really important things to say in terms of questioning one's faith.
The rest of the characters in this were great as well, I enjoyed a badass, warrior version of Mina, and Aurelia's story seems to be only just beginning. So I'm definitely looking forward to book two!
Now comes my second favorite part though and that is the art. As unique as the story is the art absolutely matches it! Art in graphic novels, comics, and manga get a lot of crap. Let's just get that out of the way. It's not considered "high art" by many people. The art in this, however, as far as I'm concerned is about as close to "high art" as you are going to get in a graphic novel (that is not to say that I actually believe that comic/manga art isn't high art personally). The scenes in this are reminiscent of beautifully done oil paintings, there is one scene where Aurelia and the Healer are on horseback and the moon is high above them and it's just breathtaking. I'd hang it on my wall. The use of shadows in this as well creates that perfectly creepy atmosphere that I think we all, unfortunately, associate with Transylvania in general (thanks Stoker).
Overall, this is 100% of what I look for in dark fantasy/horror tales. Give me a story that makes me think any day and Black Mass Rising certainly does that. As I said in the beginning this is easily one of my favorite reads this year and so far an excellent retelling that returns to the roots of what Dracula is and who Dracul was. Highly recommend to horror/fantasy fans!
Black Mass Rising is a stunner! I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the artwork.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC.
"My future there is already planned out. And I want no part in it."
I devoured this one in less than an hour. What a beautifully haunting, engrossing read.
I'm so glad I requested this one as it kept me hooked from beginning to end.
Some of the narrative did not flow as seamlessly as I would have liked, at times it felt as if I was reading only half the story, but this seemed to iron itself out towards the end. The artwork was simply stunning, and served to elevate the poetic nature of the writing (as disjointed as it was).
This is the first horror/gothic graphic novel I've read, but I think I've found a new favourite genre because this definitely left me wanting more.
A near-perfect retelling to fill my vampire-loving heart!
Theo Prasidis is the author of The Doomster’s Monolithic Pocket Alphabet (Image Comics), Black Mass Rising (TKO Studios), and Swamp Dogs: House of Crows (Black Caravan). A fantasy devotee and cult media specialist by degree, he's a zealous propagator of the magical and the mystical, the nostalgic and the psychedelic, the pulp and the weird. He lives a rather undramatic life in his hometown Drama, Greece, with his wife and two sons, heirs to a kingdom of horror books, heavy metal vinyls, and more band t-shirts than any sane person should ever be allowed to own. Jodie Muir is a freelance illustrator, based in the UK. Having previously worked in comics (Marvel, TKO) and concepting, she is currently an illustrator on Magic : The Gathering. Their newest book is Black Mass Rising, a sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Black Mass Rising deals with a world a year after the death of Vlad Dracul. Hope is finally returning the land after almost one hundred years of terror. A young peasant woman, Aurelia, hopes of a better future, but when a child is murdered by a demon and comes back to life, she and a wandering healer hunt the cause of this living evil. They run into Wilhemina Murray who has taken up the sword against evil, or so they believe. However, as the chapters unfold, readers realize all is not as it seems, and the world becomes increasingly saturated with unbridled evil.
Black Mass Rising is a fascinating take on the Dracula legend. The bulk of the novel is set in the Carpathians and while 19th century London is alluded to, the book is primarily a rural nightmare in agricultural communities that technology hasn’t touched. This world is gorgeously illustrated by Jodie Muir, whose art takes on a soft, natural coloration, almost like watercolor paintings at times. Furthermore, Prasidis’s writing is layered and lush, and the parallels to Biblical tales and European legends are well thought out and developed. While some readers might get lost if they aren’t familiar with the original novel, this new sequel should work well enough as a stand alone book.
Dracula is officially 125 years old. There’s no more fitting way for readers to celebrate than by reading the original novel with a glass of heavy red wine as an accompaniment. Once they’re through with the original and thirsty for more, Black Mass Rising is the next logical choice. It’s a sequel set in the year after the original novel and it’s as layered and complicated as the original, if not more so. Prasadis has taken a classic horror monster and injected it with new life. Muir’s art only serves to drive this tale forward, and horror readers of all types will absolutely want to read this collection.
Hauntingly beautiful and poetic. It screams in sorrowful hushed voices the undeniable rise of evil.
My gratitude to TKO Studios and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. I was actually a few days late, but this is still an arc copy so...
I'm not a Dracula fan and have never been interested to be one, but the cover was calling out to me when I first saw it while browsing through available books, and I just couldn't help myself but surrender to temptation. And I think, I might plan to read Dracula after consuming this gorgeous work of art.
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