Thursday, October 25 2012 00:00

31 Days of Halloween: Dear Dracula

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When I set the DVR to record the premiere of a new animated Halloween special called DEAR DRACULA on Cartoon Network, I had no idea that it was based on a graphic novel. Sure enough, the special was adapted from a 2008 story by Joshua Williamson and Vincente "Vinny" Navarrete that was released through Image Comics' Shadowline imprint. Why did I set the DVR to record? I thought it would be a cute special for my daughter to watch.

deardracFinally getting to watch it with her yesterday, what I discovered is that DEAR DRACULA is a fun tale that truly works "for all-ages." At the core of the story is Sam (voiced by Nathan Gamble), a young boy that loves to watch horror movies. While he seems a little disconnected from some of his peers, Sam just wants to fit in and make friends, and has a particular desire to befriend a girl named Emma (Ariel Winters). While most kids look forward to writing a letter to Santa for Christmas, Sam decides to take a chance and write to Dracula (Ray Liotta) for Halloween. After becoming touched by Sam's letter (in which he proclaims himself to be Dracula's "biggest fan"), the Vampire King and his sidekick (voiced by Emilio Estevez) decide to pay Sam a visit.

With Dracula having dropped out of popular lore as a terrifying figure in recent years, a new breed of "vampire" led by Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and the TWILIGHT gang has risen in his place. There's more than a few not-so-subtle jabs at the phenomenon, with Dracula himself even deeming a "costumed" vamp (as pointed out by Emma, with only "Hair and Teeth") to be "Lamest vampire of the year." Beyond that, there's something to be said about what audiences find scary now versus the past, and a serious love for the classics can be felt throughout.

In the end, while Sam helps Dracula bring back the fright, it's old Vlad himself that teaches Sam the value of "being yourself," providing a great lesson for kids of any age.

I'm not sure if Cartoon Network will be re-airing this at all, but a DVD has been released as an Exclusive to Walmart.  DEAR DRACULA comes in at Day 25 in The Rock Father's 31 Days of Halloween 2012.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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