blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Tomb of Dracula (1972) #22

Tomb of Dracula  22

I got halfway into this issue, until Quincy Harker shows up after Lilith attacked him in Giant-Size Chillers, and stopped to go read Giant-Size Chillers, as it seems to have taken place before this issue.

But then the end of the issue says go read Chillers and then you’ll be ready for next Tomb. Dracula goes from the U.S.S.R. to England in record time, even for a Marvel comic.

Drac’s still in the Soviet Union after his encounter with Roger Corman’s James Bond villain Doctor Sun. He gets into a regional squabble with a local vampire who won’t bow to Dracula’s commands. It’s an ego trip for Dracula, who then becomes the Soviet vampire’s suffering widow’s de facto protector. The Soviet vampire, Gorna, has been terrorizing his wife since he died, feeding on her, killing her suitors, and just being a general pest. Her parents knew Gorna was a vampire but didn’t tell her, so when she thought he was dying, the wife told him off.

So now he’s torturing the wife more than he would’ve otherwise, dragging out her vampiric conversion.

Outside a very awkwardly written flashback, the wife’s not even as big a character as her parents. They’re the ones who finally confront Gorna (it’s unclear why they waited so long to actually intercede), and they have the best moments with Dracula. He’s vicious to them, but the comic can’t help but play it like a comedy beat.

The parents are also the ones who bemoan how godless Communism has made Russia ripe for vampires and all sorts of other evils, as they’ve abandoned God. It’s unclear what writer Marv Wolfman’s going for—obviously, somehow, U.S.S.R. bad, but the parents are also numbskulls. And they enabled their daughter’s abusive marriage; the husband used to lock her up for weeks on end, which the parents must’ve known about. Basically, it’s a horrible situation for the wife from every angle.

Even before her dad and his town council buddies form a lynch mob and put on skull masks to go kill the vampire. It’s entirely unclear if the family tells the town they’ve got the Lord of Vampires, Count Dracula himself, on their side.

Good art, obviously; it’s Gene Colan and Tom Palmer, and the story’s engaging. It’s a little ho-hum, especially Quincy’s whiny C plot, but an okay TOD.

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