blogging by Andrew Wickliffe


Tomb of Dracula (1972) #29


Tomb of Dracula  29I can’t believe how well writer Marv Wolfman ends up doing with this issue. It very much should not work, yet it ends up working (in no small part due to Gene Colan and Tom Palmer’s superb artwork; it’s one of their best issues). But the story… wow wee. Dracula starts the issue attacking a random babysitter, and after the splash page, Colan goes with the vampire bat attacking from above, which was a visual trope for the first few issues of Tomb. Colan dropped it almost noticeably, and it’s only one panel here; not as much terrifying the victims, I guess.

See, Dracula’s upset because he got dumped. Familiar Shiela left him for Yeshiva student David and so Dracula’s rampaging. He goes to bed, planning to kill David the next night. Luckily, since Shiela’s so upset about Dracula, David goes to kill him. Even though Shiela and David can’t be more than friends—“right or wrong,” their differing religions get in the way—he wants her to feel safe, so he’s going to succeed where everyone else has failed.

Sure.

Wolfman’s second-person narration mainly just lectures Dracula about being such a son of a bitch (Boris Karloff should’ve done readings of this narration, a la The Grinch). It’s not great and initially seems like it’s going to do the issue in. It does not, however, because Dracula’s actions—separate from the close second-person—reveal a much more complicated character arc. I’m sure Wolfman didn’t intend for the narration and the narrative to work against each other, but it’s a success.

Less successful—though very weird by the end—is Taj’s origin story. Dracula attacked Taj, his son, and his wife. The wife ran and got her legs crushed, a vampire bit the kid, and Rachel Van Helsing showed up in the nick of time to save Taj from Dracula. The wife narrates the origin and tries to trick… well, the reader, but apparently also Taj. It doesn’t matter because even though he’s been shitty to her—presumably okay because she ran out on him during the attack—they get busy in a very sexy scene from Colan and Palmer. Looks like a romance cover.

The resolution to the main plot’s a little abrupt, but the rawness helps with the emotion. It’s a rather good issue.


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