Monday, October 9, 2017

Dracula Month Day 9: Tomb of Dracula #15

Over these next few days I'm going to examine Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula comic book series, which ran from 1972-1979. It was easily the most successful of Marvel's brief horror comic book boom and all of the success belongs to the creators, especially the moody shadowy artwork of Gene Colan and that all but six issues were written by Marv Wolfman. The series also succeeded because of the strong emphasis on its supporting cast, allowing Dracula himself to be a wicked, villainous characters while the heroics were usually left to the vampire hunters. In that sense, it was akin to Stoker's novel.

Tomb of Dracula #15 (1973) featured the story "Fear Is the Name of the Game!" by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and regular inker Tom Palmer. This story presented something a little offbeat from Wolfman's usual pace as instead of continuing the ongoing plotlines the issue takes a breather while Dracula composes a few entries in his diary. Very quickly a number of Dracula tales are told, each about 3 pages long and ranging across the breadth of his life. Some of the tales existed to patch up continuity, but others could have easily comprised the contents of a full issue themselves: a hunter shoots a bat from the sky, then sees the fallen animal turn into Dracula; Dracula sees a woman fatally wounded by her husband and converts her into a vampire so she can have revenge on her killer; Dracula meets an immortal man who has lived 1700 years and wants to die; a Scotsman battles Dracula in his castle and drives a stake into his heart.

I recommend this lone issue to anyone who wonders what Wolfman & Colan's Tomb of Dracula was about; these four short stories are indicative of the storytelling quality throughout the series. If you want to sample just one issue to see if you like it, this is probably your best bet. It's only $1.99 at Comixology.

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