I love the Tomb of Dracula run. I have 69 of the 70 books, and oddly enough, I started out with purchasing the hardest of the books to get. I have the magical #10 (first appearance of Blade) I had also gotten the first appearances of Deacon Frost and Hannibal King, because I am such a fan of the movies, I wanted their first appearances in the book too, before I even knew I’d be completing the run. (I am a Tomb of Dracula #1 away from completing it…anyone…anyone)
Now, the books I get are as nice as I can find, but all aren’t pristine. They are from the 70’s. They are nice enough to display, but not so nice I can’t read them if I want, and so I have probably read 50 issues of Tomb of Dracula. (I read the reprint of #10. I’m pretty sure I read the original too)
The run starts off a bit shaky. The stories go in all sorts of directions, and until Marv Wolfman came in and righted the ship so to speak, it was a tough follow. He came in around #7, and it took him around 5 issues to steady things, and get everything going in the same direction. Gene Colan was the penciller, Tom Palmer was the inker, and the three of them created one of the more consistent books of the 70’s.
The comic code had loosened up a bit, so vampires were now fair game when the book came about. Marvel had tested the waters with Morbius (very excited for that movie), and they picked Count Dracula for the most important reason of all to start their foray into monster comics, he was public domain, and they didn’t have to pay for his rights.
Once they hit their stride though, it was a fun book. Dracula was the antagonist 90% of the time (remember, I make up my number facts 97% of the time), though he does “work” with his enemies occasionally to defeat a nemesis.
He is constantly hounded by Quincy Harker, son of John and Mina, he hunts him from his wheel chair, and creative weaponry. He’s a clever man for sure.
Rachel Van Helsing is the granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing, who was one of Dracula’s earliest nemesis. She works with Harker, and then takes over when Harker is killed (spoiler alert)
Blade appears in book #10. Half human, half vampire, has heightened abilities and skills, ages slowly, senses the undead, and has an immunity to complete vampirism.
Frank Drake is a direct descendent to Dracula, from one of his marriages before he turned. He is a charter member of Harker’s gang of killers.
Hannibal King…vampire hunter, private investigator, vampire, eventually restored fully human. Hunts with Blade and Drake often.
Taj Nital is a mute character, Indian, Muslim, who is incredibly strong. Strong enough to disable the Count on occasion for short periods of time, and pretty much fearless. His son was vampirized.
Lilith is the daughter of Dracula. She is cursed to never die, until her daddy does. So technically she has immortal daddy issues.
Deacon Frost killed Blade’s mom, and turned Hannibal King. He wanted to be King of the Vampires, but Dracula wasn’t ready to give up the title just yet.
Janus is the son of Dracula and Domini.
Unlike Jay Z, Dracula has 99 problems, and a bitch is involved in about 56 of them. Between Van Helsing, his daughter, ex wives, victims screaming, they are always causing some issues.
The biggest difference between Count Dracula in the comic, and the ones you see on screen, the screen versions are smooth. They know that they have to blend in, and they can feed in comfort, manipulate people to do their bidding, and generally be a king amongst the peasants, without them knowing they are a king amongst them.
Dracula in the book is brash, does not hide, and treats anyone who is human is just a feed bag, and generally with contempt. He regularly calls the human race scum, constantly reminds them that his power is far superior to them, and that they are lucky he even considers them for food. It is so over the top, it’s just amazing. My only issue reading it is I usually read it in the voice of the Count from Sesame Street, so it is ridiculous.
He is such a heel, how these people don’t all just band together, track him, and kill him during the day is beyond me. He is the longest running book headed by an antagonist of all time, and I can totally see why.
Pretty much each issue, either one, or the group, or some of the group, has either tracked Dracula down, has a plan to eliminate him, and Dracula often escapes by the skin of his teeth. The group explaining about Dracula can get tedious, but in all honestly, I jump around in my reading, and have realized that I just have caught books where they’ve explained, and luck would have it, I just happened to read them in a row.
I like this version of Dracula. It’s as if Dracula was a heel wrestler, living real life. He’s a little brash because of his longevity, he’s not near as smooth as a movie Dracula, and basically takes what he wants, using confusion a lot. By the time the people in the book have figured out it’s not some kook, but danger walking, it’s too late.
Give these books a chance. Buy a #1 and send it to me. Read them, take in the 70’s, the styles, the language. Just a fun read overall. I have said that if Universal Monsters was going to reboot, this is where they need to start.
A quick shout out to the Dracula series on Netflix. Just a few episodes in, and im not sure if the episodes are really long, or they are really slow. There are some definite similarities between the show and the comic, so I’m hoping they took a little from it.
Don’t fight amongst yourselves.