blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Tomb of Dracula (1972) #18


This issue ought to be good. It’s Marv Wolfman writing, it’s Gene Colan, it’s Tom Palmer. Wolfman’s written Tomb; he’s written Werewolf by Night, so there shouldn’t be any problem doing a crossover. Except Wolfman’s amalgamation of Tomb and Werewolf doesn’t work. Colan and Palmer do a great job illustrating Jack Russell and his psychic girlfriend Topaz, but they do a lousy one with the werewolf. Maybe it medium long shots, but the face is terrible. It’s the first time Colan hasn’t been able to do something exquisitely.

The story has Jack and Topaz investigating his family history in Transylvania, which at one point is described as a Romanian village, another time as a country. Unfortunately, the issue often feels like it didn’t get enough editorial passes, or maybe they were focusing on the wrong things, like shoehorning Dracula into Jack’s werewolf story.

Because it’s a strange Werewolf by Night comic, not a Tomb of Dracula. Wolfman overwrites the scenes with Jack and Topaz, which doesn’t help them at all because Jack’s still a surfer bro. It’s more of a bad thing but written to be accessible for Tomb readers, so it’s all exposition dumps. Gorgeous Colan and Palmer art, lousy scenes. Over and over again.

The Dracula stuff is limited and middling. Drac’s back in Transylvania because Quincy destroyed all his coffins in England; it’s Dracula’s first time back since he left in Tomb of Dracula #2. Except he’s only staying a night, and then it’s back to England. He literally went home for long enough for there to be a bunch of editor’s notes telling you to read Dracula Lives to understand paintings and exposition, but it’s all a retcon. It’s a little bold, a little too much, but also Wolfman and company emphasizing Tomb is different now than when it started.

It’s a nice flex.

When Dracula goes out for his evening snack, he sees Topaz and Wolfman Jack—they’ve just destroyed the inn, and Wolfman Jack’s killed a rapey sailor—and Dracula attacks Topaz. Then he’s surprised when the werewolf attacks him.

The next time, Drac sees Topaz and Jack, then sees the werewolf and Jack gone, and is bewildered. He also can’t mind control the werewolf, which maybe is normal, maybe isn’t. Wolfman’s indecision hurts the already mildly grating crossover guest stars.

There are some hints for next issue, post-crossover (after it finishes in Werewolf), and it’ll be nice to have the book back on track after this unnecessary detour.o

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