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Vlad Dracula is a fictional character featured in various horror-themed comic book titles published by Marvel Comics. The character is based on the vampire character made famous by Irish author Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel Dracula. Although the history surrounding the comic and novel versions of Dracula are completely fictional, the name and several historical elements of the character are derived from Vlad III, a Wallachian prince and warlord whose rule was so brutal and savage that it earned him the nickname Vlad the Impaler. He ruled as the voivode of Wallachia from 1456 to 1462.

Publishing history Edit

The first comic book appearance of Dracula took place in the seventh story in the seventh issue of Suspense, published by Marvel Comics in 1951. The story was called "Dracula Lives!" and introduces a man who is convinced that Dracula is hunting him so he turns to a famous vampire writer for help only to discover that it is actually Dracula in disguise. As this story was written prior to the formation of the "Marvel Universe", it is not considered part of Dracula's definitive origin.

Dracula's first mainstream appearance was the eponymous antagonist of his own ongoing comic book series Tomb of Dracula, which began publication in 1972. The character was re-introduced to readers by writer Gerry Conway and artist Gene Colan. Colan, who would go on to become a regular penciler on the series and is considered one of the prominent comic artists in the genre. Colan based his visual design of Dracula on actor Jack Palance, who played the Count in the 1974 Dan Curtis film Bram Stoker's Dracula. [1]

Dracula appeared in all seventy issues of Tomb of Dracula as well as several tie-in annual issues published during the original series run from 1972 to 1979. He appeared in the Giant-Size Chillers one-shot special, which evolved into four follow-up issues under the title Giant-Size Dracula. During publication of the first Tomb of Dracula series, Marvel also published a black and white magazine entitled Dracula Lives!. The name is taken from the title of the story in Dracula's first appearance in Suspense #7. The magazine ran for thirteen issues from 1973 to 1975 and also produced one annual issue. A comic adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel was serialized in issues 5-8.

Dracula also made appearances in Marvel's sister horror titles The Frankenstein Monster and Werewolf by Night where he would clash against the more heroic title stars, the Frankenstein Monster and werewolf Jack Russell.

Although Dracula's title was by and large an insular series, his stories did cross over into the mainstream Marvel Universe. He was seen as a foil against Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange, Volume 2 #12 and even clashed with the cosmic superhero the Silver Surfer in Tomb of Dracula #50.

Following the discontinuation of the regular series, Marvel revived the title in magazine format, which ran for six issues from 1979 to 1980. Each issue contained at least two Dracula stories, while also featuring other horror backup tales. The series also featured stories relating to Dracula's daughter, Lilith.

Dracula met his first on-panel "death" in the final issue of the first Tomb of Dracula series, but like any good comic villain, he did not remain among the deceased for very long. Dracula was soon resurrected, but without a regular title to appear in, was relegated to guest-villain status appearing in various issues one-issue stories where he fought up against Spider-Man, the Uncanny X-Men and even Thor. Dracula, as well as every other vampire in the Marvel Universe (with the exception of Hannibal King) met their demise at the hands of Doctor Strange who used an occult spell known as the Montessi Formula to eradicate all vampires off the face of the Earth in Doctor Strange, Volume 2 #61.

Dracula was absent from Marvel Comics for over a decade, but was resurrected in the early 1990s when Marvel began banding many of their horror-themed titles together under the "Midnight Sons" imprint. The various Midnight Sons titles also resurrected several supporting cast members from Tomb of Dracula including Frank Drake, Hannibal King and Blade.

Throughout the remainder of the 1990s and into the 2000s, Dracula made repeated appearances in various titles, often being killed only to be resurrected once again. Blade became a popular character during this time, owing largely to the Blade film franchise starring Wesley Snipes. Dracula even played a major role in the third film in the series, Blade: Trinity, where he was played by Dominic Purcell. This version of the character, called Drake in the movie, bore little resemblance to the Marvel Comics character however.

In comics, Dracula continued to play a foil for Blade, facing off against him in his numerous comic titles and even was the central villain behind the last major story-arc of the Captain Britain and MI-13 series.

In 2010, Dracula met his end once again at the hands of his own son in the aptly titled Death of Dracula one-shot, which served as a prologue to the "Curse of the Mutants" vampire story that ran through all of Marvel's mutant-related titles in 2010 and 2011.


Biography Edit

Origins Edit

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1400s Edit

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1500s Edit

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1600s Edit

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1700s Edit

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1753
Dracula was in Cologne, Germany when he was captured by villagers led by Father Eisner. Eisner crucified him and staked him through the heart, but suffered a near-fatal heart attack as a result. Eisner's young ward, Marie, resurrected Dracula in the hopes that she could convince him to save the priest, but Dracula instead tore the man's heart from his chest. (TOD2: 4/2)

1800s Edit

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1823
Dracula returned to Germany, where he found the elderly Marie Eisner dying at the Reichenbach Clinic in Cologne. Dracula wanted revenge against Eisner for evading him back when she was a young girl in 1753. The old woman repelled Dracula a second time however by slipping a cross necklace over his head, forcing him to flee. She passed away from natural causes moments later. (TOD2: 4/2)

1900s Edit

This section needs to be expanded to conform to a higher standard of quality.

1920s Edit

At some point in the early 20th century, Dracula was habitating in Harrow's Point, Maine. Having journeyed to the island hamlet on a sailing vessel, Dracula turned the captain of the ship into a vampire then began stalking Angelica Neal, the young daughter of lighthouse keeper Frank Neal. Frank fought back against Dracula with the aid of Bishop McFarland and Doctor Chowder. Dracula killed the bishop by smashing him against the glass of the lighthouse search light. His blood stains however, formed the signed of the cross and when the light was turned on, the amplified shape drove the vampire away. (TOD2: 4)

Modern era Edit

When Dracula returned to Boston in search of Domini, he was attacked by two police officers who found him feeding off a human. Dracula retaliated, but one officer sprayed him with holy water, which caused severe burns, rendering him unsconscious. He was taken to Boston General Hospital where he encountered another patient named Gideon Smith. It was foretold that Gideon, known as the Forever Man, would be reincarnated from one life to the next until he met the "Dead One". Upon witnessing the horror of Dracula, Gideon slipped into a catatonic state. Dracula healed from his burns and slaughtered several hospital staff members before making his escape. (TOD1: 57)

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • The Bram Stoker story of Dracula is considered part of the Marvel Comics canon. A quasi-canonical adaptation of the Stoker story was presented in Marvel Classics Comics #9. Although stories published in Marvel Classics Comics were not part of the shared mainstream continuity of the Marvel Universe, issue #9's adaptation of Dracula portrayed the vampire lord as he is traditionally seen in most of his appearances during the 1970s.
  • Dracula was the featured character on Marvel Value Stamp #37, Series A.

See also Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. Greenberger, Robert. "Inside the Tome of Dracula", Marvel Spotlight: Marvel Zombies Return (2009), p. 27


Tomb of Dracula logo
Character
This article relates to characters featured in the Tomb of Dracula comic book franchise.

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