Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dracula Month Day 26: Journey into Unknown Worlds #29

I didn't want to let Dracula Month slip by without getting into another side of Marvel Comics' depictions of Dracula - their usage of him in their 1950s Atlas comics. He made various appearances of a limited sort across their titles and perhaps the best-known is "Of Royal Blood" a story which appeared in Journey into Unknown Worlds #29 (1954) shortly before the Comics Code Authority tore the medium apart.

"Of Royal Blood" reappeared in 1974 when Marvel printed it in the black & white magazine Dracula Lives. Throughout the history of their black & white horror magazines there were many Atlas horror tales placed back into print, but "Of Royal Blood" is one of the few to actually tie into the magazine's stated theme (ie, Dracula). The story was drawn by Tony Mortellaro (writer unknown) and features a man named Kroner who is determined to find a suitable husband for his daughter Maria. However, Maria is quite picky and when she rejects the suitors each time the father kills them. Kroner despairs of ever finding a husband for Maria who meets her demand "of royal blood," until he finds a very willing nobleman by the name of... Dracula.

"Of Royal Blood" is an effective four-pager with a simple twist upon which the entire story is constructed. The use of Dracula simply brings a little more attention to this work than what it would have otherwise obtained.

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