NOSFERATU 1922 (One-Shot, October 2000)
If you don't feel like reading four paragraphs, here is the truncated version of this installment of Panels From Beyond the Grave: Buy this fucking comic! With that out of the way, I'll try to impart a blow-by-blow account of this title's history. Unfortunately, the facts are a little fuzzy. I do know that Nosferatu 1922 is a tie-in to the "Silent Screamers" toy line that boasted modernized redactions of frightful pre-code icons in action figure form. The dolls (but Dom, they're not dolls...please, spare me your harangue on semantics) were released in 2000, which was right when I stopped collecting figures. I do remember them, though. I don't remember this comic book.
I checked, and I couldn't hunt down comic adaptations of the other toys. For the record, the "Silent Screamers" banner also included Metropolis's Maschinenmensch droid, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari's somnambulist hero and the monster from Thomas Edison's Frankenstein. Did the fine folks at Image order issues for those characters? I hope so, but the Internet is telling me otherwise. Back to the bloodsucker at hand. Nosferatu's plot is inventive. A bratty, precocious urchin rushes into his favorite hobby shop to buy the latest "Silent Screamers" figure (yes, the comic is self-aware). When I say "buy," I mean steal. This kid is an insufferable shit. I'm getting ahead of myself; anyway, he sees a detailed Count Orlock model on the top shelf.
His efforts to climb within reach of the collector's item are thwarted by gravity, and he tumbles to the floor. A seemingly innocuous jack-in-the-box lands next to him after being jounced by all the commotion. Being the curious cub that he is, he turns its crank until BLAMMO! We are introduced to Asylum Jack. He will be our vulgar narrator for the evening. Perhaps in a futile attempt to scare the boy straight, Jack relates the story of Nosferatu. This is where we gnaw on the meat of the comic, and illegitimate mother of pearl, it's beyond badass. For the sake of convenience, I'll refer to the Nosferatu portion of the comic as a flashback. You should know that the flashback is drenched in a flaxen sepia tone that recalls the caramel tint of the silent film. It's gorgeous.
Truth be told, every page is gorgeous. The wrap-around segment explodes with dynamic reds and brilliant blues. The script? In terms of plotting, the flashback runs parallel with its source material. The gore is augmented, but that's the only noticeable difference. Of course, Nosferatu 1922 ends with a sick twist. I wouldn't have it any other way. This would have made a bitchin' episode of HBO's Tales From the Crypt. It fucking rules. Plain and simple. Take my word for it and buy a copy online. If you're into...well, awesome things, you won't regret it. See, this is one of the reasons why I read so many Image comics as a kid. Who needs Captain America and The Silver Surfer when over-the-top horror is just a couple of racks away?