By Julianna Reidell:
Chances are, if you’ve endured high school, you’ve read the Sparknotes version of a Gothic novel. From Dr. Jekyll to Jane Eyre, the Gothic genre remains renowned for the sheer emotional immaturity of its male protagonists, not to mention all those lovely descriptions of mountains! But how, wondered the most lonely focus group in the world, can we make these timeless tales appeal more to the youth? Hmmm, what’s popular, generally accepted, and - dare we say it - hip to teens in this modern era?
Now, Uncle Ted’s Publishing Company (who also brought you The Complete Works of William Wokespeare and #GreekClassicsforJocks) is premiering the Gay Gothica - Gaythica - series, which tackles the exact same questions regarding the darkness of the human psyche while featuring boys in very tight pants sitting dangerously close to other boys in very tight pants! And only twenty-seven days late for Pride Month! What more could your teen, or straight mom who likes to feel “with it,” desire in a reading experience? Now, this publication has obtained a preview of the three titles being released in the coming weeks. Sit back, relax, salivate in anticipation, and don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Dragula: Long before Twilight (which gives us more chills than a real vampire ever could), there was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Now, this revamped (get it? get it?) classic features a cross-dressing drag queen of the undead battling a group of extraordinary blasé rich straight cisgendered white men over the power of female sexuality. Not sure who to root for? Neither are we!
“COUNT DRAGULA!” roared the straight white cisgendered Dr. Van Helsing as he and the rest of his Bland Band cowered behind the Count(ess)’s coffin, fumbling for their garlic and mirrors. “YOU SUCK!”
“Oh, wow, real original,” sniped Dragula, stalking slowly towards them with a dramatic flourish of the cape. “That’s sooooooo funny. Hang on, can I borrow that mirror real quick? I think my lipstick is starting to smudge.”
Mr. Harker turned to his wife, Mina.
“Get it, honey, get it? Because he literally sucks bloo-”
“Jonathan,” she replied, “What have we been talking about with the mansplaining?”
Dr. Gender and I Won’t Hyde: Even the nightmare that reportedly inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s notable narrative couldn’t have been as bizarre as this retelling. Join rich straight cisgendered white men Mr. Utterson and Dr. Lanyon as they investigate the strange behavior of their OTHER respectable rich straight cisgendered white male friend Dr. Henry Gender (sensing a trend here?). What is Dr. Gender up to, and what does the mysterious and (horror of horrors!) sexually active Mx. Hyde got to do with it? Come to think of it, is Mx. Hyde a man or a woman, or what….? Will the possibility of the gender spectrum be enough to shatter these men’s minds for good? Read on to find out!
“Good and evil are such binary concepts,” said Mx. Hyde, rolling their eyes at Mr. Utterson. “Just ask Dr. Lanyon.”
Concerned and bemused, Mr. Utterson hurried to Dr. Lanyon’s mansion, where he found his friend in a grim state of health. His hair had gone snow-white and every gasp of air was a momentous effort.
“What has happened here, my perfectly respectable friend? What could have given you such a shock?” Utterson cried. But all Lanyon could say, in a feeble voice was, “gen-der… con-tin-uum…”
Overcome, he heaved a last, rattling breath. Utterson would have wept, but he was, after all, a rich straight white cisgendered male, so he settled for an aggressively masculine sniff.
Frank Has Two Dads: Were you the only one who thought whiny mad scientist Victor Frankenstein spent most of his eponymous novel secretly longing to French-kiss his best friend? Not at all! In this makeover of Mary Shelley’s hideous progeny, we join Frank, reanimated-corpse-child of Victor and Henry Frankenstein. Frank’s idyllic life in Gayneva suddenly comes to an end when he demands that his dad, Victor, make him a bride. WHAT?! Fiendishly ugly is one thing, but straight?! Banished and condemned for his abhorrent heterosexual preferences, is reconciliation possible, or will Frank spend the rest of his life estranged from his creator father, cursed to endure only scorn in a world containing more homosexual people than a San Francisco Pride Parade?
“You wretch!” Victor screamed. “All the electricity I used to bring you to life must have scrambled your brain!”
“This is who I am, Pops!” Frank cried. He spun to his other dad and his two aunts, but they turned away, weeping.
“Frank,” said Henry finally, voice quivering. “This is - this is probably just a phase. You just need to meet the right boy, and…”
“Like it or not, I’m STRAIGHT!” Frank declared with courage. “I like girls. And I might have bolts sticking out of my neck, be kind of a greenish-grey color, have a box for a head, and move like someone swung hammers at my elbows and knees, but I know that I’m not broken. I’m perfect exactly the way I am, pilfered body parts and all. And you can never take that away.”
Don’t disappoint Uncle Ted - pre-order a copy today!
*NOTE: This piece was awarded a Silver Medal With Distinction by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.