The Tomb of Dracula

I have started this project three or four times in the past but have always abandoned it before completion. Today I am going to abandon my usual prolix introduction and get right to it.

#1-2. GERRY CONWAY: Gene Colan lobbied hard for Tomb of Dracula, not only to pencil it but to ink it as well. He was allowed to ink his own pencils on the first issue, but that was the only one (possibly because he could earn more money penciling two comics as opposed to panciling and inking one. Gerry Conway introduces the main cast of characters: Frank Drake (Dracula's descendant), Clifton Graves (Frank's treacherous "best friend"), Jeannie (Frank's girlfriend, Clifton's former girlfriend), and of course, Dracula. Drake inherits Dracula's castle and Clifton convinces him to turn it into a tourist attraction. Clifton frees Dracula and becomes his Renfield (or "Willie Loomis" if you prefer) almost immediately. Jeanie becomes a vampire by the end of the first issue and is laid to her final rest in issue #2.

#3-4. ARCHIE GOODWIN: The art team supreme (Gene Colan inked by Tom Palmer) appears for the first time in issue #3, but Palmer stays only for five issues initially. Goodwin introduces new supporting characters Rachel van Helsing (granddaughter of Abraham van Helsing from Stoker's novel) and Taj Nital, her mute East Indian companion. They are vampire hunters and quickly enlist Frank Drake to their cause. Drake has sold the castle to Ilsa Strangway, an aging movie star who sees vampirism as her path to youth and immortality. Dracula plays along with her, but her doesn't reveal that drinking blood will make her only as young as the day she became a vampire. Dracula gets his castle and Rachel puts Strangways to her final rest. (Rachel's weapon of choice is the crossbow, BTW.) At the end of #4, Taj tackles Dracula and they fall through an occult mirror into another dimension.

#5-6. GARDNER FOX: Gardner Fox was a learned man. He resolved the occult mirror plot as well as brought over a version of his "Shaggy Man" (first introduced in Justice League of America #45) from DC, but Fox did not adapt well to the "Marvel method" of comic book storytelling, and these are the only two issues he wrote. Also, Frank and Rachel admit that they love each other.

#7-11: MARV WOLFMAN: For one brief issue, Wolfman, Colan and Palmer were together, but issue #8-11 were inked by Ernie, Chan, Vince Colletta and Jack Abel. None of them were bad on their own (and inked Colan as well as Palmer), but the inconsistency caused the work to suffer. Marv Wolfman was still getting a handle on the characters in these issues, but he did introduce Quincy Harker, the now elderly son of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murry from the novel, and his daughter Edith to the supporting cast. Dracula mentally turns a group of children against then in #7-8;  in #9 Dracula runs ahoul of a gang of bikers and later attacks a small village; #10 introduces Blade, the Vampire Slayer and Clifton Graves loses his life; in #11 Dracula revenges himself upon the biker gang.

Concurrent with The Tomb of Dracula #8, Marvel launched the black & white magazine Dracula Lives! I debated with myself whether to title this thread "The Tomb of Dracula" or "Marvel's Dracula." I went wit the former to keep myself on track to finish all 70 issues of ToD, but I reserve the right to supplement the discussion with other Dracula-related Marvel stories. Dracula Lives! #1 features a story set in Vienna in the late 1800s, written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Rich Buckler and Pablo Marcos. Steve Gerber's Dracula was somewhat different from Marv Wolfman's in that Gerber's hated being a vampire and Wolfman's revelled in it, but a line of dialogue in #8 rectified the discrepancy. The story in Dracula Lives! #2, by Marv Wolfman and Neal Adams, tells part one of the vampire's origin, and #3 (art by John Buscema and Syd Shores) tells part two.

You need to be a member of Captain Comics to add comments!

Join Captain Comics

Votes: 0
Email me when people reply –




    Back in Giant-Size Chillers #1, Marv Wolfman wrote an editorial titled "Keeping Track of Drac!" which was about continuity between and among Marvel's sundry vampiric series. There is a definitive timeline, but I have come to think of the Wolfman/Colan Tomb of Dracua as something of a "novel" and I do see these "Giant-Size" issues as something of an intrusion. Giant-Size Chillers was by Wolfman and Colan, but this one is by Chris Claremont and Don Heck (yet it doesn't stick out as badly as the one by Len Wein and Ross Andru did). The focus (other than Dracula) is Inspector Chelm, who is investigating a series of murders suspected to have been committed by a vampire. He is partnered with Kate Fraser, a psychometrist (and likely mutant). Dracula has been presumed dead by all the supporting cast since ToD #21. This story begins with that status quo but it will change by story's end. The next time I decide to read this series I will likely skip the "Giant-Size" issues, but for now I think of them as "crossovers" to another series, such as Werewolf by Night #15.

    • I sometimes get the impression that this book is kind of like the old British Dalek comics where they got away with having scumbag protagonists by alternating having them fight good guys with fighting bad guys who were even bigger scumbags so they didn't have to lose all the time.

    • Several British comics with villain protagonists did that. The Spider, the Great Thespius (actor turned master criminal).


  • ISSUE #24 - "A Night for the Living... a Morning for the Dead!"

    Dracula stalks Blade's girlfriend Saffron's co-worker Trudy. Blade goes after the vampire (he doesn't know it's Dracula, thinking Dracula is dead), but Dracual gets away. Taj visits his wife in Jajpur. She is a double-amputee in a wheelchair. He strikes her across the face then leaves. Feeling at odds with himself after Dracual's supposed demise, Frank Drake takes a break from Rachel in order to "find himself."

    The spash page is set on Westminster Bridge, same as issue #3 when Frank attempted suicide. He was saved by Rachel and Taj, now he and Rachel discuss their future. The events of issue #3 took place "three years ago" which is when they were published, meaning ToD takes place in real time. That's another reason I don't like to see this series tied too closely to the MU, which happens in "Marvel Time." 

  • ISSUE #25 - "Night of the Blood Stalker!"

    This issue introduces Hannibal King, the [SPOILER] vampire detective. Is there anyone reading this who doesn't know (and who cares) that King is a vampire? If so, I threw up the "spoiler warning" just in case, because the big reveal is saved for the very last panel (although there is a very big hint on page seven, panel four). [END SPOILER] Marv Wolfman has spoken of how The Tomb of Dracula lends itself to different genres, and this is his chance to tell a "hard-boiled detective" story. the story alludes to a Lilith story from the current issue of Vampire Tales. the as-yet-unnamed white-haired vampire Hannibal refers to is apparently the same one responsible for the death of Blade's mother.

    I can think of no artist better suited to drawn this noir-ish tale than "Gentleman" Gene Colan.

    • the as-yet-unnamed white-haired vampire ... is apparently the same one responsible for the death of Blade's mother.

      Yeah, he was in the Dracula What if...? Dark  book.

    • As I didn't read the story until the Essentials, it's hard to imagine if I'd have spotted the tells at the time. I agree they're obvious in hindsight.


    • I didn't spot the tells when I read the story, and I disagree about the legitimacy of one of them. That one being the moment Hannibal King gets boshed in the head and survives. This is comics; people get boshed in the head all the time and shake it off. 

    • I wasn't counting that one. I meant that he cast no reflection in a bar mirror (that's the one on page seven, panel four) and, to a lesser degree, the fact that he works only at night.

  • GIANT-SIZE DRACULA #3 - "Slow Death on the Killing Ground!"


    Another "intrusion" by Chris Claremont and Don Heck. It deals the the "Montesi Formula" (an arcane spell the disintigrates vampires, introduced in Dracula  Lives! #6) and ties quite closely to the origin of Dracula from Dracula  Lives! #2. I read it, but I have nothing else to say about it at this time. It reads perfectly fine as a standalone, but it doesn't mesh well with the Wolman Colan version. 

This reply was deleted.