Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marvel Spotlight: Tomb of Dracula

With the Comic Code Authority relaxing some of its restrictions in horror comics in the early seventies, Marvel Comics decided to publish a new series based on Bram Stoker's immortal character, as Tomb of Dracula made its debut in April of 1972. After trying out three different top-notch writers on the first six books, Marv Wolfman was chosen to finish out the seventy issues ending its chilling run in August of 1979. Editor Stan Lee had initially promised the art chores to artist Bill Everett, but Gene Colan was able to persuade Lee to let him illustrate the series after producing some impressive samples modeling the "Prince of Darkness" on actor Jack Palance, who eventually played the role on television. Colan proved to be the perfect choice for the feature with his moody atmospheric scenes coupled with Tom Palmer spectacular creepy inks. The excellent scripts revolved around a group of vampire hunters as they presued Count Dracula and in the process confronedt other supernatural menaces over the course of the series, and on a few rare occasions even teamed up with the ageless vampire to fight other overwhelming evil forces. The main characters of the cast included, Dr. Quincy Harker, Dr. Rachel van Helsing, Blade, Hannibal King, Lilith, Deacon Frost, Frank Drake, Taj Nital, Janus, Domini, and others to numerous to mention were all just as enjoyable and interesting as Dracula himself. After its cancellation and double sized last issue that did a good job on summing up the feature, Dracula continued on, crossing over in other various titles, a short-run magazine attempt, and other Marvel Comics mini-series over the years.

2 comments:

CoryJay said...

A few years ago I met and spoke with Marv at a party at a mutual friend's house. I told him one of the many story-telling techniques I appreciated during his run on The Tomb of Dracula was his devoting a page to sketching a "walk-on character", making us care about this person's problems and aspirations, but also pity and even fear for them, because we know the last panel will show them fall victim to Dracula's thirst. We know everything Marv had skillfully established to flesh out this character, will very suddenly simply stop!

Marv did such a great job building Dracula's character over the run I asked for some insights on how he approached writing the Count.

"He's a liar," Marv simply stated."He just lies all the time."

"Especially to himself," I suggested; and to my delight Marv's eyes lit up as he replied, "Exactly!"

Dave Karlen said...

A great story, thanks for your comment!