Vlad. A Neapolitan legend: a Graphic Novel investigates the secrets of the Impaler

from Fiorella Franchini

Legends are tales that arise when “popular imagination plays with reality” and Naples is one of the cities where fantasy and truth know how to mix in its porous womb springing from unsuspected sources. The hypothesis that Prince Vlad III of Wallachia known as “Țepeș”, the impaler, known as “Dracula”, may have been buried in an investigation by the journalist Paolo Barbuto. In 2014 on the pages of “ll Mattino”, the chronicler recounted the study of the brothers Raffaello and Giandomenico Glinni, who believed they had identified, in the tomb of Matteo Ferrillo, the chamberlain of King Ferrante d’Aragona, located inside the sacred building Angevin, the possible secret burial place of the prince of Wallachia, a historical figure who towards the end of the nineteenth century inspired the Irish writer Bram Stoker for the creation of the famous vampire. A secret daughter of Dracula, Maria Balșa, would have come to the Aragonese court and would have married Giacomo Alfonso Ferrillo, then bringing the illustrious father to Naples, based on the alliance of the Order of the Dragon between the prince, King Mattia Corvin of ‘Hungary and Ferrante d’Aragona. The Order provided for a mutual aid agreement in the event of an attack by the Ottomans. Vlad III, therefore, would not have died in battle but would have been led, probably in disguise, to Naples, protected by his allies in view of an imminent crusade that the pope of the time wanted to promote, and never carried out. Strange symbols present on the marble of Ferrillo’s burial, a huge dragon, symbol of the alliance, friezes of Balkan nature, cross-tailed dolphins, references to Vlad’s story, seem to confirm the theory, but the truthfulness has yet to be definitively proven and the investigation continues. Inscriptions that, perhaps, had not gone unnoticed by Bram Stoker who, on the death of his father, had joined his family in Naples and had stayed there for a few months, making several trips to Southern Italy. Few people know that the city of blood is also linked to vampires: 150 years before Stoker’s “Dracula”, a mystery lawyer, Costantino Grimaldi, nephew of the Duke of Acerenza, wrote “Dissertation on the three magic” in which he spoke of vampirism. In 1744 the “Dissertation on Vampires” by the Archbishop of Trani Giuseppe Davanzati was published. Among the most ancient mysteries, a new, exciting narration appears that could not escape the seekers of Neapolitan fables Emanuele Pellecchia and Francesco Saverio Tisi who wanted to dedicate an entire volume to comics, the third in the series entitled Vlad. A Neapolitan legendpublished by Phoenix Film Production. “Comics are one language international, they can cross borders And generations. Comics are a bridge between all cultures”Wrote the cartoonist Osamu Tezuka and the characters come to life from Alessio Monaco’s pencil, the tables, panel after panel, lead us into Vlad’s kingdom, follow him in his adventures, in his tragedies until a disturbing epilogue. The red cover immediately evokes heroic and battle images, courage and death, the blood of the leader and that of enemies, the love for his bride, the black ink suggests darkness and secrets, gloomy pain, yet banal curiosity leaves soon gave way to a deep desire for truth. The intertwining of the investigation told by the authors surprises and surpasses the imagination, becoming an intimate tool to tell the bond of feelings with a new language. A Graphic Novel with epic and noir tones tempered by the concreteness of the reporter. The story of the Prince of Wallachia is more enthralling than the legend of Dracula, because it reveals the complicated plot of a life trapped in the mesh of time behind the veil of mystery:

Vlad. A Neapolitan legend: a Graphic Novel investigates the secrets of the Impaler – Ildenaro.it