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.

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  • ISSUE #26 - "Where Lurks the Chimera!"

    Dracula seeks the Chimera, a statue of a creature with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent in three parts. It was forged ages ago and has been an object of great power down through the ages. It is currently in the possession of a merchant named Joshua Eschol. But another agency is after the statuue as well. A skuffle ensues, Eschol is killed, the statue is broken into its component parts, and Joshua's son David ends up with the tail section. Shiela Whittier, acting on Dracula's behalf, approaches David for his part of the statue.

    In Jajpur, Taj's friend pleads with him to go to his wife. Taj strikes him to the ground, but agrees. In London, Frank Drake is quickly seduced by a woman named Chastity Jones (who is working on behalf of an old friend of Drake's, Danny Summer). Within an hour  (or so) they are on their way to Brazil. Meanwhile, Dracula has fallen into a trap, not unlike Batman's "Two-Way Death Trap," except there's no machine gun and the water is holy water.


    Chimera (mythology)
    According to Greek mythology, the Chimera, Chimaera, or Chimæra ( ky-MEER-ə, kih-; Ancient Greek: Χίμαιρα, romanized: Chímaira, lit. 'she-goat') was…
    • Oh, man, when I saw that holy water coming for Dracula I was convinced he was finished. No way could he escape! Of course, I was a lot younger.


    • Apparently that kind of thing happens to mummies as well.



  • ISSUE #27 - "Night-Fire!"

    Dracula escapes the holy water trap by first changing to a bat, then to mist. (Kind of anticlimatic, really.) Frank Drake lands in Brazil and becomes reacquainted with his new employer. Dnny Summer want to hire him to head up Summer, Inc. Back in London, Rachel van Helsing and Quincy Harker discusses Rachel's relationship with Frank. Harker quotes from Robert Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man." Sheila Whittier lures David Eschol into a meeting with Dracula, as other men track Dracula as well. Elsewhere, a man reports to his mysterious employer. The employer is in posession of the lion's head of the Chimera, and suspects his employee knows the location of the goat's body. The employer (Dr. Sun?) threatens to drop the man into a vat of acid unless he tells where the missing piece is. The man reveals it's in a safe deposit box and gives him the location, but the employer drops him in the acid anyway. then he orders a woman named Mae Li to retrieve it.

    Shiela and David meet with Dracula. Dracula uses the tail of the Chimera to call down a "fire-plaque" which runs Taj's jeep off the road in India. Then he summons an army of the undead from Highgate Cemetery. the ffirst thing they do is to kill Horatio Toombs, the caretaker, and his parrot, too. Dracula and David Eschol debate theology (quite interesting), then their discussion devolvesinto a physical altercation. Eschol whips out his star of David. He's not sure it will work, but it does. Dracula explains that symbols of all gods repulse him. [ASIDE: In the future, Dracula will encounter the X-Man Kitty Pryde. She shows him a cross but it doesn't work. He then grabs her by the neck and burns his hand on the star of David she wears around her neck. The person wielding the artifact must believe in it in order for it to ward off vampires. Also, Vlad Dracul was a Christian in life. I'm not sure what the inplications are for a vampire who was athiest when he was alive.] David burns Dracula on the face with his star, then the two armed men arrive and threated all three of them.

    • This reminds me  of the Doctor Who story "Survival" where one of the Red soldiers wards off the Haemovores by holding up a "Hammer-and-Sickle" badge.



    • There are a couple of stories (Doctor Strange #13 (1990s series) and Bizarre Adventures #33), related to Dracula's predecessor Varnae, which reveal/establish/retcon that Vampires are immune to holy symbols from creeds that came after their time as living beings.  Also that the Vampire's beliefs do not factor into it nearly as much as the holy symbol wielder's.

    • In a TOD letter column Wolfman said it's primarily the faith of the person holding the symbol — although Taj's family is Hindu and his son was kept at bay by a cross, IIRC.

      The film Dracula 2000 reveals Dracula is the accursed Judas Iscariot, hence his being repulsed by everything to do with the man he betrayed.

    • In these original stories it is unclear which beliefs, if any, Taj and his son and wife hold.  They talk of Allah fairly often, but they do indeed use Christian iconography to ward off vampires and their general appearance has at least a few hints of Hindu styles.

  • The Baron said:

    This reminds me  of the Doctor Who story "Survival" where one of the Red soldiers wards off the Haemovores by holding up a "Hammer-and-Sickle" badge.

    It might work if he was a true believer in their ideology, but not if he was fighting against his will.

    Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:

    Also that the Vampire's beliefs do not factor into it nearly as much as the holy symbol wielder's.

    In Stephen King’s novel ‘Salem’s Lot, the priest doesn’t really believe the crucifix will stop the vampire. The vampire snatches the cross from the priest’s hand and tosses it away. When the (co-protagonist) young boy takes a plastic cross tombstone from a  model kit, it does work because he believes it will. In the first TV miniseries the same two things were shown but it wasn’t as clear what happened.

    • It might work if he was a true believer in their ideology, but not if he was fighting against his will.

      Tha was the idea in the story, that he was a True Believer in the Revolution.

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