Tomb of Dracula (1972) #15

Tod15

It only took fifteen issues (plus some Dracula Lives), but I finally get my Marvel Comics Dracula origin details. The issue’s somewhat coy about the revelations, starting with an incredibly entertaining sequence where Dracula’s journaling. A record must be kept of his thoughts and so on, as he’s Dracula. It ought to be obnoxious, but instead, it’s thrilling. He’s so wonderfully full of himself.

First, he recounts his adventures after last issue. Some evangelical psychopath preacher (hashtag oxymoron) was planning on resurrecting and killing him night after night for his brethren; only Drac escaped. In the exposition last issue, writer Marv Wolfman implied Dracula was scared; that fearfulness doesn’t carry over to his journal. Rejuvenated, he went for a night flight, where some hunter shot him down in bat form. Annoyed, Dracula let the hunter think he’d bagged a giant bat, only to transform and send rats and wolves to finish the guy off.

Somehow, that recollection leads Dracula to remembering his wife’s murder in the 1400s, which leads him to an anecdote about modern marriage. Some guy kills his wife for her money, only Dracula’s there to help her get revenge.

That story then leads to something about a pool of infinite blood, leading to 1969 and the significant origin details.

Dracula and Quincy Harker have been battling since the 1910s, presumably when Quincy was in his teens. Dracula’s been building his legions around the globe, Quincy’s outfitting vampire hunters. The one who gets Drac in ‘69 is a Scotsman in a full Technicolor kilt. The Scotsman ends up in the pit where Dracula kept his snacks in the castle; Dracula ended up in the coffin, waiting three years for Tomb of Dracula #1.

It’d have been nice for these timeline details to come earlier—especially since the comic toggled between Dracula having some presence in the nearby village and the comic being a direct sequel to the Bram Stoker novel—but it’s relatively worth the wait. Wolfman and artists Gene Colan and Tom Palmer turn in a fantastic anthology issue; with gorgeous art and excellent Dracula narration (both in journaling and direct address to the reader).

It’s awesome. So, worth the wait. What’s particularly impressive about the art is how well Colan and Palmer do in all the different settings; it’s a breathtaking mix of horror and fantasy. They’ve cracked Tomb of Dracula; Wolfman’s justified egomaniac Dracula is a terrifying delight.

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