I’ve never been a big fan of Dracula but I still thought THE ANNOTATED DRACULA by Bram Stoker, edited by Leslie S. Klinger might be interesting, much as The Annotated Sherlock Holmes is enjoyable for its deep dive into the Victorian world. However a lot of the annotations put the same spin on Stoker that Holmesian have done for years on Doyle — assume that the novel is based on truth, then explain the contradictions in travel times, local details, vampire lore and Van Helsing’s accent (which Klinger scoffs is too broadly comic to take seriously). Alas, while I love doing this with Sherlock Holmes, I honestly don’t care enough about Dracula to find it engaging. And Klinger makes some really sloppy errors, such as identifying Nina van Helsing and Tony Drake as the protagonists of Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula (no, it’s Rachel and Frank). Ultimately unsatisfying.
A while back I tried a Mary Shelly biography but found the author too prone to “what Shelly was undoubtedly thinking” speculations and gave it up. ROMANTIC OUTLAWS: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her Daughter Mary Shelly by Charlotte Gordon worked much better though the alternating chapters sometimes confused me (“When did Mary Shelly leave Percy Shelly? Oh, wait, this is Wollstonecraft’s chapter!”). A very good look at how the two remarkable women (Wollstonecraft was an early feminist famous in her day for Vindication of the Rights of Women) stood outside the mainstream, frequently getting crap for it, and coupled with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (family tragedies, bad parenting and both contemplated suicide at various low points). Very well done.
BATMAN & SCOOBY-DOO MYSTERIES by Sholly Fisch, Ivan Cohen and (mostly) Dario Brizuela on art is a sequel series to Scooby Doo Teamup, but sticking to Batman, his supporting cast (Huntress, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and Bathound) and his villains. That makes it less engaging than its predecessor but the crossovers are still good fun and occasionally hysterical.
#SFWApro. Cover by Gil Kane (top) and Randy Elliott, all rights remain with current holders.