Sneak Peek at the new Dracula prequel comic from Grendel creator Matt Wagner and Batman artist Kelley Jones

Legendary comic creators Matt Wagner (Grendel) and Kelley Jones (Batman: Knightfall) have just announced that they'll be combining their notoriously brooding talents for a new graphic novel take on Dracula. Less a re-telling, the series looks to be a bit more of a prequel of sorts, exploring Dracula's formative years, and how he came to be the aristocratic monster that we meet in Bram Stoker's famous tale.

Here's how they're describing the book:

DRACULA—BOOK 1: THE IMPALER explores Dracula's bloody history and his tenure at Satan's legendary seminary of the dark arts, the Scholomance. "The first graphic novel explores what led Dracula to seek out Satan's tutelage and how he became the lord of the undead," explains writer Matt Wagner. "This project is a real labor of love for Kelley and I," says Wagner. "We are enormous fans of Dracula and the many interpretations of his mythic story. Our version of Dracula is bloody, sexy, and monstrous; this is very much a horror story, with deep roots in Stoker's novel. But this isn't yet another retelling of the novel in comics form. We're bringing you the never-before told stories behind the story…the sinister tales hidden in the shadows of the original novel."

Over email, Wagner expanded a bit on his take:

"The original Dracula, Vlad III, was Voivode (warlord) of a region known as Wallachia, part of Romania. Historically, 15th century eastern Europe was under constant siege by the expansionist incursions of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.  Faced with certain defeat, Vlad resorts to subterfuge to escape from his enemies…but he has other plans beyond mere survival.  Schemes that he hopes will garner him powers beyond human reckoning.

Any fan of Bram Stoker's classic novel knows how intriguing and mysterious the title character is portrayed. Exploring Dracula's history and origins are ideas that have haunted my imagination for years, and my longtime friendship with artist Kelley Jones has finally brought those untold stories to life."

In other words: it's the creator of Grendel exploring the formative corruptions of Vlad Dracula? Sign me up!

Here's an exclusive preview some of Jones' bone-chilling artwork the story, which looks like it could have yanked right out of that legendary 90s Vertigo Comics oeuvre. Warning: there will be blood!

While both Wagner and Jones worked on parts of the Sandman: Seasons of Mist, this book marks their actual first direct collaboration with one another, which is also pretty cool. The first chapter in their Dracula series, titled Book One: The Impaler is now live on Kickstarter. There's more artwork to check out there, too, and oof, it looks awesome.

DRACULA—BOOK 1: THE IMPALER [Matt Wagner & Kelley Jones / Kickstarter]