FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Dec 9, 2009

wednesday comix: TOMB of DRACULA #69

One of my earliest AMC columns was all about horror comics becoming horror movies- which ones stink, which ones anti-stink, and so on- and in it I mentioned Tomb of Dracula #69 (April 1979, yo!), the penultimate issue in Marvel's Dracula saga. It's the first comic I remember owning- choosing it from the newsstand because of this amazing cover (click to embiggen):

Now, I know I've talked about this comic in the past, about how it put me on the road to becoming the horror & comic fan I am today- and it certainly ignited my love of the gross-looking vampire. I mean, the issue- which finds Dracula stripped of his status as Lord of the Vampires and on the run from an angry vamp horde- features said gross-looking bloodsuckers trying to get their cold, bony fingers on kids. Kids! I was a kid! No one was safe from the hungry undead! EYAAAAGH!

So, sure, I'm repeating myself a bit, but in this day and age of angst-ridden sparkling vampires, I think it bears repeating: Tomb of Dracula was a brilliant comic book proving that vampires could be wrapped up in soap opera-worthy storylines and they could be mysterious, evil, and scary. I mean:
The dead ones laugh, and the laugh is as cold as their rain-soaked flesh!
Please- that's the shit.

The writing-pencilling-inking team of Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer is one of those magical unions that comes along every so often in the world of comics, where words and art serve each other and mesh together flawlessly enough that the work is still celebrated 30 years on. You can pick up the entire saga in black and white (which only adds to the gothic atmosphere) in 3 volumes of Marvel Essentials: Tomb of Dracula and settle in for some sweet comics-y goodness. Marvel was a heavy hitter in horror in the 1970s, and ToD stands out as some of the best stuff they've ever published.

Suck on that!


Theron said...

I had this comic too! I love that cover, and the title: "Cross of Fire...Cross of Fear!" Great stuff! Wolfman and Colan were magical together.

senski said...

If you're not familiar with it, you might want to check out the DC series "Night Force," which reunited Wolfman, Colan and the supernatural, and managed a 14 issue run in 1982.
Baron Winters was one enigmatic character...

Erich Kuersten said...

Wow! I took one look at that cover and freaked out, because it was one of the first comic books I bought too.... along with, geeze, DC's House of Mystery with the giant crow on the cover?

I've been thinking about how great that Dracula was, with sexy Lillith my prepubescent dream girl... thanks for the memories, man, oh and that giant size Howard the Duck reprint where he fights the Dracula cow, by the same artists Marv the Wolfman!

spazmo said...

B&W is awesome, but I'd still love to get my hands on a colour compendium. Is there such a thing?

Of the few ToD's I managed to hang on to, #44 is my favorite - Dracula throws down with Doctor Strange, Wong gets bitten almost to death, and then in the middle of all the madness Blade shows up!

Stacie Ponder said...

There's no color omnibus out there, to the best of my knowledge. You could pick up the entire run for not toooooooo much $$, depending on what quality you're looking for (duh). 1-5 will obvs be the highest, but #10 is going to be the biggun- it's the 1st appearance of Blade, so even a crappy copy might be pricy.

Hit a comic show and clean up! Other than #1 and #10, I don't think I paid more than $4 for any issue while I was nerding out on all of 'em...and even $4 sounds high.

sroman said...

"There's no color omnibus out there, to the best of my knowledge."

Actually, there is:

Two of them, in fact.

Stacie Ponder said...

AWESOME! That's what I get for not searching.

spazmo said...

Major thanks, you guys. On the one hand, 70 bucks is pretty steep (esp. for the first volume only), but on the other hand, snatching up single copies at a comics fair might set me back just as much or more.

On the third hand, with Christmas around the corner, I'm inclined to just leave it up to Santa. It's his problem now! (And if that jolly elf knows what's good for him, he'll throw some Werewolf By Nights down the chimney as well)