AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Marvel’s Dracula Lives magazine (1973)
Welcome to Day 4 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2011. This week I am looking at comic books featuring the character of Dracula. Yesterday we looked at Marvel’s regular size Tomb of Dracula. Today we look at Marvel’s magazine sized Dracula Lives.
Marvel released Dracula Lives after their comic Tomb of Dracula became popular. It was a black and white magazine that featured Marvel talents such as Tomb of Dracula writer Marv Wolfman and artists Dick Giordano, Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. The magazines would feature articles about Dracula movies as well as the actors that played Dracula. The magazine would also become known for the comic stories featuring Dracula. Since the magazine was released concurrently with the Tomb of Dracula comic, the stories would, for the most part, keep continuity between the two. Events that happened in one would be reflected in the other.
Let’s look at some of the more notable comic stories in this magazine.
In Dracula Lives! #2, there is a Dracula origin story. It’s written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by the awesome Neal Adams. The artwork is truly fantastic. Adams is wonderful. I mentioned his work on Monday when I looked at the book and record set A Story of Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein. The story involves Turks invading Transylvania and taking Dracula (who is a mortal man) prisoner and planning to use him as a puppet king. Dracula is injured in battle and taken to a gypsy to keep him alive. The gypsy reveals herself to be a vampire and the Turks kill her and take Dracula back to their stronghold. Their the Turks threaten Dracula’s wife and child to make him to their bidding. The Turks kill his wife, then Dracula reveals that the gypsy turned him into a vampire and he slaughters everyone. Why he didn’t “vamp out” earlier to save his wife is a mystery. Dracula then vows vengeance on the entire world for the death of his wife.
In issue #3, Roy Thomas would write a story called Castle of the Undead. It starred a character created by Conan’s Ron E Howard. The character, Solomon Kane, was a Puritan who battled evil monsters. In this story he’d fight The Lord of the Vampires himself, Dracula. The story was drawn by Alan Weiss. Solomon actually defeats the vampire lord in a fight and is about to deliver the killing blow when Dracula asks for mercy. Earlier in the story Dracula had saved Kane from a pack of wolves, so Kane is honor bound to grant the request. Dracula laughs as he escapes at the end.
In Dracula Lives #5, Roy Thomas would begin a comic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel. It would feature artwork by the awesome Dick Giordano. The magazine would only finish adapting about one-third of Stoker’s novel (roughly 8-10 installments) before it was canceled in 1975 with issue #13 (appropriate, no?). However, Marvel would contract Thomas and Giordano to finish the story 30 years later in 2004. The finished work was published by Marvel as Stoker’s Dracula.
Tomorrow, I look at a graphic novel from the early 90s that featured a battle between Dracula and a certain Dark Knight.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.