Characters Appearing: Aurora Rabinowitz, Brother Voodoo, Chastity Jones, Danny Summers, Doctor Sun, Dr. Scott, Dracula, Frank Drake, Harold H. Harold, Inspector Chelm, Juno, Quincy Harker, Rachel Van Helsing, Saint (dog)
Tomb of Dracula #36-40
Issue(s): Tomb of Dracula #36, Tomb of Dracula #37, Tomb of Dracula #38, Tomb of Dracula #39, Tomb of Dracula #40
The rest of the issue continues the Frank Drake subplot, as Frank and Brother Voodoo confront Chastity Jones and then Danny Summers about leading Frank into the zuvembie trap. There's an unintentionally funny bit where Brother Voodoo casually watches the guy they've been chasing, Danny, run away.
But they do catch up to him. Chastity claims to not have known what was going to happen, and with Danny we see Frank learn what we already knew, that Danny is a thrall of Dracula.
In issue #37 Brother Voodoo helps Frank gain his self-confidence...
...and then teleports him to Boston after Rachel and Quincy have arrived there.
I kind of question why Brother Voodoo didn't think it was worth accompanying Frank to fight Dracula. It's been a weird case where the guest star never met the main character of the book.
#37 also introduces two comedy characters that will become regulars: the nebbish Harold H. Harold and the unforgivably dumb Aurora Rabinowitz.
Harold works as a writer for the publisher of True Vampire Stories (Aurora is the secretary there), and he's having trouble coming up with something good for his editor. To get out of getting fired, Harold has promised an interview with a vampire.
For what it's worth, this issue came out about a half a year before Ann Rice's novel Interview With A Vampire. Luckily for Harold, he stumbles upon Dracula, who has passed out due to his increasing weakness.
Harold brings Dracula back to his apartment and calls Aurora for help.
The two engage in a Marx Brothers style cheesy comedy adventure to get blood to help Dracula.
Meanwhile, we're also introduced to Juno, the latest operative of Dr. Sun's.
He's introduced four months after Razorfist in Master of Kung Fu, but Juno was smart enough to only have one hand replaced with a blade (which is of course made of silver).
Quincy and company, searching for Dracula, instead meet Juno, who brings them to Dr. Sun.
I like that Dr. Sun is glad that they recognize him. We do meet a lot of talking brains in jars, Dr. Sun, but yours is a frontal lobe we'll never forget.
Dr. Sun confirms that he's the one that drained Dracula's power. It happened during their last meeting with Dr. Sun, when Sun claimed he was draining Dracula's memories to provide to his previous operative, the vampire Lucas Brand.
But the fact that Dr. Sun is draining power from Dracula doesn't make him a friend to the vampire hunters; in fact, since Dr. Sun wants to take over the world, he's even worse than Dracula.
Dr. Sun keeps the vampire hunters alive only "for me to have someone to speak with... to be with me as I revel in my oncoming glory". Er. He then sends Juno to capture Dracula, who is coming around to the idea of doing an interview with Harold.
Dracula puts up no fight, since he's happy to confront Dr. Sun. But once in Sun's lair, he has to fight Juno anyway.
Juno probably could have stood to compare notes with Razorfist...
...but despite that setback he does seem to be a match for Dracula (who, we should remember, has had his power drained from him).
The vampire hunters continue to assure readers that a Dr. Sun would be the worse outcome.
The untimely arrival of Harold and Aurora assure Dracula's demise.
And he really is killed.
Dracula's ashes are swept up and put in an urn for Dr. Sun. Sun also allows the vampire hunters to escape because it furthers his plans.
And just as Dr. Sun has calculated, Quincy Harker gets his contacts at Scotland Yard and the FBI to convince the US army to launch an attack on Sun's headquarters.
Before that, though, there's a mini-flashback into Rachel Van Helsing's past. The trigger is a nightmare of Aurora's and the revelation that Aurora is in love with Dracula.
Rachel describes an encounter with Dracula on her sixteenth birthday...
...where he forced her to say that she was in love with him.
A young Quincy Harker chased him away...
...but the event left Rachel wondering if she was so easy to hypnotize because she was in love with him in some way.
All of this is lost on Aurora, who claims that she was never hypnotized but just happens to be turned on by guys in capes.
At this point it's unclear what Harold and Aurora are even still doing in the series. Plotwise, they helped Dracula live and then bungled his fight with Juno. Not exactly accomplishments as far as the vampire hunters would be concerned. And they're clearly incompetent; Harold is klutzy and Aurora is written as being too dumb for words. I guess Marv Wolfman's goal was to add some comedy to a cast of very serious people, but i think he takes it too far with these two. They strike a very different tone and it's hard to think of an in-story reason why they'd still be around.
When it comes time for the army's attack on Dr. Sun, things quickly go south. The soldiers are quickly hypnotized...
The vampire hunters and their new comic relief friends are forced to retreat. They quickly turn to the idea of resurrecting Dracula to fight Dr. Sun.
Now, i know Wolfman has been setting this up since Dr. Sun first captured the vampire hunters, as seen above. And in a sense it's kind of necessary for the series; it's not Tomb of Dr. Sun or Tomb of Harold H. Harold. But it still seems like an obviously dumb idea. Ok, Dr. Sun has hypnotized a squadron of soldiers. So what? Go back to your government contacts and suggest a missile strike on the house out of range of the hypnotizer or something. Or, you know, call in the Avengers. I know that this book is deliberately on the fringes of the Marvel universe (not withstanding a Doctor Strange crossover coming up in a few issues) but it's hard to take Dr. Brain In A Jar seriously when i know that he ultimately finds defeat stuck in HERBIE the Robot while fighting the Fantastic Four. Especially when compared to Dracula, the villain who probably has the highest body count in the Marvel universe. I think at least Wolfman should have gone more than half an issue showing the results of Dr. Sun's ascendency before having this massive turnabout.
And the fact that Harold H. Harold is sent along with Rachel and the newly self-assured Frank Drake to raid Dr. Sun's base for Dracula's ashes does nothing to add to the seriousness of the decision.
Rachel also kills Juno during the raid, again not saying much for Dr. Sun's power (although his magnetic couplings are quite impressive).
The group successfully get the ashes and return to the rest of the group.
Whatever you think of the Harold H. Harold / Aurora Rabinowitz situation, this book continues to be very strong in terms of plotting. I think the decision to resurrect Dracula was a blunder, but i mentioned earlier the fact that Quincy Harker, at least, has a life defined by fighting Dracula so there may be some subtext to that decision. And at least up until that point, this story was a great culmination of all of the set-up that began with Dracula's previous "death" in issue #21 (i've come to realize that this series gets a fair amount of mileage out of killing its main character on a regular basis, something that few books could get away with).
But it turns out that it was struggling saleswise. Here's a note that was in the lettercol for issue #38:
It's time for a little straight talk... concern[ing] the fate of Dracula and mystery books in general. It seems that the apparent craze has fled us; for those of you who either pick up the fanzines or have paged through some of our mystery mags have no doubt learned that Marvel's cancelled virtually all our monster and fear features. Gone are Werewolf By Night, Man-Wolf, Morbius, Man-Thing and the majority of the black-and-whites. Dracula, always the strongest of the books in sales (and, for a time, the fifth best selling Marvel title) has fallen in sales as well. It may be a combination of factors: too many monster books, therefore each hurting the other. If this is so, then in a few months there will be no problems - we've cut down, and so has our competition. Dracula should then be in fine condition. Another problem may be overall declining sales in the comic (and, should we add, all magazines) field because of the infamous recession/depression. If this is the case, then there's almost nothing that can be done. However, we leave it up to you - please, if you care, back Drac! Pick up an extra copy, tell your friends about it. Do something, or, in a few short months, if the trend does not change, Drac may either be cancelled or cut in frequency, neither of which we at Marvel want. On a personal basis, making this book six times a year may save it, but I feel it would possibly hurt the quality because so much of this book has always depended on an amazing degree of continuity...
I am definitely finding the "continuity" of this book to be hugely appealing. And i do think the glut of monster books was a distraction, especially in the sense that it relates directly to this title. Giant-Size Dracula, Dracula Lives, Vampire Tales, etc..; it is difficult for me some 40 years later to keep track of it all. This book is strengthened when those books fold and anything important that would have happened in them happens here instead. That's most notably the case in the return of Blade beginning next arc.
The book does survive quite a while longer, until Aug 79's issue #70, and it doesn't go to a bimonthly status until much later, beginning with issue #62. Perhaps it was the reduction of other monster books that kept it going; there doesn't seem to be much internally that changes unless it is the return of Blade or the upcoming Dr. Strange and Silver Surfer guest appearances.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm allowing an indefinite period of time while the vampire hunters confirm that they really want to resurrect Dracula and research a way to do it, which we'll see them completing at the beginning of next issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Tomb of Dracula vol. 2
Note that Brother Voodoo is able to teleport Drake from Brazil to Boston, while Doctor Strange 48 suggests that Voodoo's smoke telelportation might be a ruse.
Posted by: Michael | February 1, 2015 7:08 PM
"It's been a weird case where the guest star never met the main character of the book."
Indeed, but it will not be the last time. #53 will have much the same thing happening again.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | February 1, 2015 8:18 PM
Harold H Harold has appeared in a couple of issues of Matt Fraction Hawkeye Series
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | February 16, 2015 3:32 PM
A Marcus H. Harold also appeared in Paul Cornell's Wolverine run.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 16, 2015 5:08 PM
I haven't been following Cornell's series, was Marcus his brother or something? Also, checking other entries here i found out that Dracula turned Harold into a vampire, and he even was vanished from existence thanks to the Montesi Formula. But in the Hawkeye series he is human again and there's no mention of his vampiric past...Is there An explanation for that?
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | February 16, 2015 6:53 PM
I didn't see the Cornell run all the way through but i don't think Marcus' connection to Harold was ever explained. I thought it might turn out that Marcus was Harold since he seemed to not want to talk about himself. You can see his intro scene here. There's one of those AR symbols that might have explained more but i didn't follow it.
As for how Harold survived, i was hoping you could tell me! ;-) I guess there was no explanation in the Fraction stories? Apparently circa Civil War, in a Blade #12, Blade was tricked into reviving all the vampires that have ever been killed, but i'm assuming Harold wasn't a vampire in Hawkeye.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 16, 2015 7:07 PM
I think that Cornell created Marcus Harold because Harold H Harold was being used in Hawkeye. But that is just a guess
It looks like Fraction has kept Harold connection to vampires as a part of his backstory and that is why we only see him at night. But in the series he is inside a Life Model Decoy provided by Madam Masque, no retcon about why he is not a vampire anymore or how he came back to life
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | February 17, 2015 5:02 AM
"I kind of question why Brother Voodoo didn't think it was worth accompanying Frank to fight Dracula. It's been a weird case where the guest star never met the main character of the book."
Yes and why is Brother Voodoo smiling so warmly and charmingly, hm? He's so full of brotherliness and encouragement as he sends Frank off into the lion's den. Voodoo doesn't give Frank time to prepare for anything, or warn him in of what's about to happen, before he suddenly teleports him away. Frank is saying, "Huh? What are you doing? What?" and Voodoo is saying, "You shall see, Frank Drake. You shall soon see! Farewell, my friend--" What a nice friendly voodoo man. So helpful. You can always trust a Brother named Voodoo...:/
The scene where Harold & Aurora raid the blood bank predates a similar scene in 1979's "Love at First Bite," where Arte Johnson goes to a blood bank on Dracula's behalf, saying he wants to make a "withdrawal." Taken in combination with the possible link to "Interview with the Vampire" as mentioned above, it makes me wonder just how widely read these Dracula comics might have been. Among people who were interested in, y'know, vampires.
Posted by: Holt | February 17, 2018 2:50 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|