Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dracula Month Day 10: Tomb of Dracula #25

Once again I'm looking at one of my favourite issues of Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula series. This time it's Tomb of Dracula #25 (1974) and the story "Night of the Blood Stalker!" by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and Tom Palmer.

This tale is told from the perspective of a heretofore unfamiliar character: Hannibal King. King is a private detective who is hired to investigate a man's death and it leads him straight into the realm of vampires, ultimately to Dracula himself. King is barely fazed by this as he's had experience with vampires before; indeed, as is revealed in the final panel, he's a vampire himself! This was an explosive conclusion to the story and one which was well-prepared (King's reflection doesn't appear in mirrors while others do). It also raised all sorts of questions - no vampire in the series had been able to pose so successfully as a human: how had King managed to remain so humanlike? How was he able to resist Dracula when so many other vampires are subserviant to him? Answers were coming and although Wolfman used King sparingly, he was always a welcome figure.

This was before the trope of 'vampire detective' had led to shows like Forever Knight or Angel; indeed, the story's title suggests Wolfman's own influence was the TV series Night Stalker. Hannibal King is one of my favourite Marvel Comics characters, particularly when written by Wolfman. If you can find copies of Journey into Mystery #520 & 521 (1998), you'll fin an excellent two-part Hannibal King tale by Wolfman therein.

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