Tomb of Dracula Magazine #1
Issue(s): Tomb of Dracula Magazine #1
There is only a single 43 page comic in issue #1 (there were also a few text & photo articles about vampire movies not included in my Essentials reprint). It spends about half the issue doing a traditional horror story resulting in the revival of Dracula and then takes a weird but interesting detour into a supernatural plot before returning to the cast of the horror portion.
The opening half takes its time introducing us to a cast of characters that are going on a world tour of horror sites, including wax museums in London, Stonehenge, the Black Forest in Germany, and, of course, the ruins of Dracula's home in Transylvania. The cast notably includes a woman, Sandy, who is having trouble taking control of her life after being left by a boyfriend...
...and a mysterious Florence Ebers, who is important to both Dracula's revival and the supernatural portion.
When they get to the ruins, Florence discovers Dracula's corpse.
Since Quincy Harker only killed Dracula by stabbing him with a silver spoke and didn't have time to cut off the head, stuff it with garlic, etc.., Dracula is only as dead as he has been in the past, so reviving him will be as simple as removing the spoke. I wonder what would have happened if the explosion that destroyed the castle had shattered Dracula's remains, though. Would that prevent Dracula from ever being revived? Or would it knock out the spoke and cause Dracula to start regenerating?
In any event, Florence decides to remove the spoke. And she's got a magical green ring that she uses to keep the other tourists from stopping her.
And so Dracula is revived, and he immediately begins feasting.
After drinking one woman's blood, crushing a man under a giant rock, and mesmerizing Sandy, Dracula is approached by Florence, who shows him the ring, which he recognizes.
Dracula recognizing the ring and referencing killing Florence's husband had me scrambling through my back issues to make sure i hadn't missed anything. But this is all new information.
Dracula agrees to go with Florence and she teleports them away.
We briefly see Inspector Chelm in the follow-up to Dracula's attack on the tourist group. This is his final appearance, and it's also the only appearance by any of the original Tomb of Dracula cast besides Dracula (unless you count Lilith, who will appear in issue #5).
Chelm's appearance here doesn't lead to anything (his recommendation to the husband of one of Dracula's victims is to let her recover and then move on and not get obsessed like his friend Quincy Harker had been), but it may show that Wolfman was originally toying with the idea of doing continued stories with the original TOD cast (see also my note in the Comments about Rachel and Frank). Instead, aside from this issue and the one in issue #5 (which is not by Wolfman) the stories in the Tomb of Dracula Magazine will be continuity-free standalone horror stories (and this one only has "continuity" in the sense of showing Dracula's resurrection and the Inspector Chelm cameo). Well, issue #3 also has some "continuity" in the sense of using an event from the color Tomb of Dracula series as a launching point for an unrelated story. But caveats aside, the Tomb of Dracula Magazine stories are distinct from the color comic in the sense that there's no ongoing story.
As for Florence Eber's ring, it turns out that it is from a larger gem that was actually the comet that led the three kings to baby Jesus.
The gem had great power.
Centuries later, a German nobleman found the gem and cut off a piece of it to form the ring. The ring subsequently wound up in the hands of Florence's husband, Augustus. Augustus was attacked by Dracula, and was thought killed.
But the ring, which Dracula couldn't remove, protected Augustus and kept him in a death-like coma. Now Florence has removed the ring and found information on the location of the remainder of the gem. And she seeks Dracula's help in finding it, and offers to split the gem in half if he helps. Dracula agrees, but both parties have every intention of betraying each other once the gem is found. It's Florence who manages to retain the gem long enough to bring it back to try to revive her husband.
But Augustus wakes up in a semi-aware half-life. And his obsession with the gem causes him to cast aside even his wife Florence.
Augustus proceeds to kick Dracula's ass.
But Florence destroys the gem.
It turns out that she was never interested in power, just reviving her husband while getting revenge on the vampire that killed him.
Smashing the gem might not really have destroyed its power. After all, a piece was already cut off to make the ring, and Florence claimed she would split the gem in half to share with Dracula. So possibly the broken shards were all proportionally powerful in their own right. Or maybe the gem could only be safely divided via a special ritual. In any event, despite Dracula urging her to use the ring to protect herself, she chooses to die in the fire with Augustus.
Dracula leaves and returns to Sandy, who saw Dracula's ability to mesmerize her as proof that she can't take control of her life. But in the end she's able to defend herself and her new boyfriend from Dracula, restoring her self-confidence.
The Essentials trade advertises the inclusion of these Tomb of Dracula magazines by saying, "Includes rare black-and-white tales unrated by the Comics Code Authority!". But despite the titillating promise of "unrated" comics, Marvel blurred out all the nipples in the Essentials.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's been a "few months" or "mere weeks" since Castle Dracula was destroyed.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Tomb of Dracula vol. #3
You mentioned in Tomb of Dracula 70 that Rachel's and Frank's breakup was revealed here but how? Neither of them is listed as a character appearing.
Posted by: Michael | February 4, 2015 8:05 PM
Ah, thanks for reminding me. It's from Chelm. He says he wishes he could contact his vampire hunter friends, but "Rachel Van Helsing returned to the States and I've yet to learn her new address -- and Frank Drank -- no one knows where that young man took off to.".
I suppose that's ambiguous enough that Frank could have went with Rachel to New York, but it doesn't sound like it.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 4, 2015 9:51 PM
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