Tomb of Dracula (1972) #14

Tod14

There are two ways to read this comic. I mean, there are many other ways, but in terms of the vampire hunters—either writer Marv Wolfman and editor Roy Thomas are missing some obvious plot points, or the vampire hunters are just a little dopey. The "little dopey" fits more.

Like, when they've killed Dracula and check for a pulse—they're not establishing themselves as very knowledgable. So after the brainwashed villagers take Dracula's corpse and go for a walk, and the fearless vampire hunters do not follow the otherwise harmless brainwashed villagers… it makes sense. They're bad at their job.

Especially since the villagers are too brainwashed to remove the knife from Dracula's heart, so his body decomposes and without a brain to mind control them, they drop the coffin and run off. Somehow Dracula thought to program them to get his corpse into his coffin, but not to remove any impalements.

Days pass, during which time the vampire hunters sit around playing board games, and then Frank comes in with a handbill announcing a church tent revival centered around resurrecting… you guessed it, Dracula! See, a preacher suffering a mental breakdown found Drac's discarded coffin and decided he was a gift from God.

The vampire hunters assume the preacher is ignorant of what he will unleash if he pulls the knife, and even Dracula will be confused about the motives. It turns out the preacher is not delusional about what he's found. The plan is to resurrect and kill Dracula repeatedly for the delight of good Christians.

I mean, it tracks, right? Like. It's inhumane and evil, and it tracks.

There's also some subplot about a Doctor Sun who's interested in vampires, enough to kill for one from the morgue. No explanation why the vampire's… dead. It doesn't have a stake through its heart, right? But, whatever. The comic promises it'll be more important later.

The art's awesome this issue—Gene Colan and Tom Palmer working in glorious synchronicity–and it makes up for the rocky storyline. And Dracula seems somewhat tragic at the end when he's at the mercy of the murderous preacher. Though the scene where none of the vampire hunters want to decapitate Dracula and instead try to pass the buck to someone else should've been played as comedy.

Oh, right: Taj survived his unsurvivable fall into the rapids. Frank Drake’s condescending but not racist when they find Taj, apparently entirely uninjured.

It's incredible how much genuinely great comic art can compensate for.

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