|TOMB OF DRACULA No. 14, November 1973|
Having killed off the titular character in this comic title’s previous instalment, courtesy of “a knife thrown with hellish rage by the vampire-slayer known as Blade”, Marv Wolfman understandably spends the vast majority of this nineteen-page periodical engineering a narrative with which to bring the blood-drinking demon back from the dead. Disagreeably however, whilst many of this monthly’s readers would surely have anticipated just such a storyline, especially when the publication’s cover proudly proclaims that “The Vampire has risen from the grave”, few surely would have expected the Brooklyn-born writer to accomplish the feat in such an incredibly outlandish and contrived manner.
Somewhat contentiously though, it probably isn’t the fact that the multiple award-winning author has a Man of God resurrect the Prince of Vampires that proves so brusquely unbelievable. For by his own admission the “dejected Father Joshiah Dawn” is clearly someone tormented by both inner demons and "Satan’s hand...” Nor is it the illogical coincidence of the revivalist just happening to see the Count’s abandoned coffin miraculously glowing just outside his dwindling congregation’s tent. The biggest problem with the storyline to “Dracula Is Dead!” is that the Christian spiritualist “take[s] the knife” out of the Transylvanian nobleman’s petrified corpse knowing full well that in doing so he’ll be bringing back a “dude [that’s] been damned more times ‘n Judas.”
Admittedly once he has arisen Dawn’s “brothers and sisters” momentarily hold the “Lord of Evil” at bay via “the searing power of the Cross of God”. But to suggest even so many crucifixes would somehow kill “Satan’s Demon” is infuriatingly naïve, particularly when the press then try to wrestle Bram Stoker’s creation to the floor in order to somehow end his unholy existence. Considering that the self-appointed people’s saviour dangerously boasts that “the Lord gave me knowledge of you and your kind and he spoke unto me of your weakness”, it seems rather ludicrous that anyone would try and physically molest a creature who can simply transform himself into mist and evade such an impotent attack…
Fortunately despite such a glaringly manufactured plot Gene Colan’s artwork for this nineteen-page periodical is terrific. Indeed, whether it be illustrating “the villagers: their minds possessed by Dracula months before” obediently “smashing at the old oaken door” in their unreasoning desire to retrieve their master's corpse and “remove the knife from his chest”, or the Count’s sneering final confrontation with a defeated Josiah Dawn as lightning illuminates the night’s sky, the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Famer’s detailed pencilling, ably inked by Tom Palmer, proves consistently dynamic-looking.
|Story: Marv Wolfman, Pencils: Gene Colan, and Inks: Tom Palmer|