‘Draculagate’ Graphic Novel from Creators of ‘Dr. McNinja’ and the ‘One Fear’ Meme is ‘Veep’ with Monsters

International relations are bungled and hostile enough with humans, but what happens when you throw a kingdom of monsters into the mix? That’s the premise of new graphic novel Draculagate, currently approaching the end of its funding campaign, selected as “Project We Love” by Kickstarter.

A gruesome assemblage of parts—horror, comedy, political thriller—Draculagate is, according to its creators, “like HBO’s Veep, but with skeletons and ghosts and stuff.”

When Lord Dracula’s nephew Jeremy exsanguinates former child star Chaz Oakerton it sets off an international incident, potentially jeopardizing the tenuous stalemate between Transylvania and the United States, already made tense by our ban on monster immigration.

001-002WEB Christopher Hastings / Branson Reese

Draculagate’s opening spread shows the breadth of the political scandal, sprawling across newspaper pages, late night comedy segments, right-wing talk radio, Twitter and 4chan threads and Oval Office decrees.

Sharing Veep ’s dim view of bureaucracy, Draculagate contrasts diplomacy’s high-minded ideals with its petty realities and self-centered personalities, like pitting a Kissinger-esque Frankenstein against a new appointee whose previous accomplishments were all in fast-food marketing, inventing noxious concepts like the “Meal Lover’s Pizza” and Taco Bell funerals.

taco-bell-draculagate Christopher Hastings / Branson Reese

“We’re not trying to do capital ‘S’ “Satire” here, but we do want it to be about classic monsters in a modern world,” co-creator Chris Hastings told Newsweek. “We want it to reflect what things look like around us now, without it being an allegory.”

Hastings is the co-creator of the Unbelievable Gwenpool and has written comic stories for Deadpool, Adventure Time, Guardians of the Galaxy, Regular Show and an upcoming Wet Hot American Summer graphic novel. But Draculagate is a return to form of sorts for Hastings, who started in comics with the beloved The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, which ran from 2004 to 2017.

“It’s a lot like working on Dr. McNinja,” Hastings said. “I’m the guy going in and nudging the word balloons around again. That feels nice!”

“We made a world where dumb people act in their own self-interest. Naturally, the real world is tough to top for that,” Draculagate co-creator Branson Reese told Newsweek.

Reese is an actor and writer whose pledge to write and draw a comic daily through 2017 soon turned into appointment Twitter, prompting thousands to ponder essential topics like the smoothness of sharks (in case you’re not up on the science, they’re smooth as hell).

You may have also seen this early Branson, or any of its infinite meme variations:

Reese has since channeled his talent for sharp-turn jokes and goony characters into his ongoing webcomic Swan Boy.

“I did the daily comics on a lark and it taught me just that, like, I could do it all, draw ANY comics,” Reese said. “Before the year of comics, I assumed there was some sort of barrier to entry, whether it was talent or competency, that I was on the other side of.”

“I guess the answer is that I have less respect for comics writers and artists now,” he added.

006WEB Minister of Defense Wolfman doesn't react well to the U.S.'s diplomatic overtures in "Draculagate." Christopher Hastings / Branson Reese

The co-creators describe Draculagate as an “exciting, and yes, illegal, genre blend that we like to call a political comedy scare-stravaganza,” which indicates the strange balance of bureaucracy and genre madness captured in its pages, taking readers from the halls of Washington to the fictional Transylvanian holiday of Goatstoberfest, where monsters celebrate the noble scoundrels who stood up to the Catholic Church, ranging from St. George’s dragon to “the revered idiot who stole St. Paul’s pencils.”

The duo spent months on the script for the 130-page graphic novel, winnowing down their modern world of monsters from random moments like Van Helsing’s great grandson obsessively fuming as he watches vampire YouTube Let’s Plays and a note reminding them “don’t forget to have a joke about a Mandusa” (yes, that’s man Medusa).

Draculagate is just the beginning of their ambitions for the comic’s world. What would a Draculagate TV show or movie be like?

“Extremely good,” Reese says. “Everyone should check it out.”

“I’m going to have to say that a Draculagate TV show would be like a show that not only wins awards, but also makes a great deal of money for whoever produces it,” Hastings said. “Our story is mostly focused on how humans screw up in polite, diplomatic relations with these ghosts and skeleton people, but there’s a lot more to explore there.”

Draculagate is available for preorder through Sunday.

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