BY MATT TUCK
A river of blood is coming. As vampires are on the verge of overtaking the pop culture spotlight, the Cult of Dracula market is swelling, and it looks like the upcoming streaming series has found its lead actor.
THE LATEST NEWS
The first wave of speculation began last year when the property was optioned by Sure Pictures.
In the film and television industry, being optioned basically means the studio has purchased the rights to adapt the property for the screen. Many projects are optioned, and a large percentage of those sit on the shelf for years at a time. COD won’t be collecting any dust, and the studio is moving forward in its search for its starring role with Candyman’s Tony Todd in the lead. “[He] has a strong interest in the project,” according to the comic series creator, Rich Davis.
For fans of the comic, they can expect a different flavor for the onscreen Cult. “The show will be something of a prequel to the comic focused on Agent Malcolm Bram. That’s the role we envision for Tony. Bram would be investigating the Cult of Dracula prior to the mass suicide event that launched the book,” he explained.
Although no deal has been inked, Todd’s casting looks promising. “We’ve had multiple meetings with Tony and his agent, [and] the network has mutual interest in casting him.” Davis added there are other recognizable faces on the casting wish list, though he could not divulge their names quite yet.
The series should have a distinct horror vibe. Along with Todd and his horror credentials, Davis stated that “a prominent horror director has strong interest in the project, [and] this person is currently filming out of the country.”
WHAT’S THE STORY?
The idea behind Cult is it is a retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in a totally new light. In Davis’ reimagining of the classic tale, he presents a unique twist to the legend: what if Dracula is a woman? Instead of conjuring images of Bela Lugosi, the feminine figure of Ordo Dracul is the central figure of a murderous cult not unlike the infamous Manson Family. It draws the attention of famous names from Stoker’s original tale, but with a modern spin. Mina is leading a documentary about the Cult of Dracula mass suicides, where she meets cult leader, Robert Renfield. From there, the story takes a life of its own that breathes new life into Stoker’s horror classic.
As New York Comic Con 2021 wrapped up today, the spec for those Cult of Dracula comics was getting the heat turned up. One of the rising independent publishers, Source Point Press was selling ample copies of all its Cult of Dracula offerings throughout the NYCC weekend. Davis said the sales were consistent since Thursday, but two comic retailers made major spec purchases each between Saturday and Sunday.
“So a major retailer came to the booth and bought somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 copies of Cult of Dracula, mostly #1 and #6 and Rise of Dracula NYCC exclusive,” he said.
The market is going to surge for all things vampires within the next couple of years. As I detailed in “The Coming Vampire Invasion,” zombies are about to take a backseat to the world of vampires, and comics are leading the way. The MCU’s Blade and Moon Knight will instantly bring attention to vampires, and those projects will be preceded in January when Sony’s Morbius movie finally arrives in theaters.
Outside of comics, there’s also a growing interest in The Lost Boys remake as well as a new adaptation for Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, beginning with Interview with the Vampire from AMC, the same studio that brought zombies into the mainstream with The Walking Dead.
With vampires creeping back into the mainstream spotlight, this could be the perfect storm for Cult of Dracula to make a sizable impact beyond comics and into pop culture. That will lead to the inevitable balloon in these COD key issues.
CULT OF DRACULA #1 (SECOND SIGHT PUBLISHING)
Cult of Dracula was originally published under the Second Sight banner. Being the first COD comic published, collectors and investors will want to put this one high on their wish lists. Lucky for you, the prices are still reasonable. The last standard edition graded at a 9.8 to sell online brought just $35 in July. Earlier this month, the Hawg Jaw edition sold for $46. In April, a 9.8 Scorpion Comics’ virgin edition sold for $89.
CULT OF DRACULA #1 (SOURCE POINT)
After moving to Source Point, the COD brand has reached an even broader audience. As far as collecting, those graded 9.8s are bringing comparable prices to the Second Sight printings. The most expensive slabbed copy bought and sold online was a Hawg Jaw virgin edition that swapped owners for $70. However, the Source Point standard edition has been earning more than its Second Sight counterpoint. Just last month, a standard cover from Source Point earned $50.
CULT OF DRACULA #3 SCORPION COMICS VIRGIN EDITION
Collectors may have had most of their attention on those first issues, but COD #3 has been quietly earning larger price tags of its own. Specifically, the virgin variant from Scorpion Comics has been making waves. The most recent sale saw a 9.8 bring $75 in September. Meanwhile, a Scorpion Comics trade dress brought a respectable $52 last month as well.
CULT OF DRACULA #6
Another COD key issue to watch is #6, which introduced a new character, Carmilla, who is expected to play an integral role in the live-action adaptation. There have not been any graded sales for either the standard or the variant covers so far, but that is a good thing for collectors and investors alike. With this issue flying under the speculative radar, raw copies for practically all the different covers are selling for less than $10, which could be a steal when the live-action adaptation reaches the mainstream.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL INDY
Besides the investment potential for the COD keys, having the comic series follow in TWD’s path into pop culture is good for the industry. The past two years have seen a sudden rise in the independent comic market, and the more independent properties that translate into hit mainstream movies and shows, the more attention it puts on the smaller publishers.
Davis, who also owns Nirvana Comics in Knoxville, Tennessee, understands this from both a creative and collecting standpoint. “Cult of Dracula owes all of its success to the retailers and comic fans who supported it. That includes speculators,” he said. “They believe in the book enough to invest in it. I want to do everything I can to help them realize a return on that investment. I’m not where I am without them.”
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.