Tuesdays in The Tomb

Tomb of Dracula #9: “Small Town Blues”

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Greetings once more, nocturnal readers! Here’s a question for you: What do you do when you fish out Count Dracula from the depths of a murky lake? Obviously, you take him to a church to recover! But what happens when the Count wakes to find himself surrounded by religious paraphernalia? Answer: A temper tantrum that would shame the Biblical god of the Old Testament. Stick around to learn more of the strange and wacky happenings in Marvel Comics’ Tomb of Dracula #9. There’s something for everyone -unsuspecting villagers, a bumbling priest, a gaggle of new vamps, and the Count himself, our favorite charming smack-talking bloodsucker. So what’s not to love? Oh, wait. The inking of Vince Coletta. I almost forgot about that…

The Coffin-born Cover

Cover art by Gil Kane, Tom Palmer, and John Constanza.
Cover date: June, 1973

Writer: Marv ‘Lycanthrope’ Wolfman

Pencils: Gene ‘The Scream’ Colan

Inks: Vince ‘Phoning-It-In’ Coletta

The Sanguinary Synopsis

Father William and the good people of Littlepool get more than they bargained for when they pull a drenched Dracula from the water. The Count, feeling weak and a tad waterlogged (and not at all his usual murderous self due to having been beaten up by a biker gang and dumped in a lake), is less than thrilled to wake up surrounded by holy relics in a house of God. Ah, the agony and the irony! Imagine trying to escape a church while battling a hangover from an infusion of poisonous holy water, as administered by one of Quincy Harker’s spring-loaded darts in the last issue.

But that’s not all. Dracula, or “Mr. Drake,” as he calls himself when going incognito (cape and all), ends up in the home of young David and his family, where he’s served chowder instead of Chardonnay—er, I mean, blood. The audacity! To top it off, David, Dracula’s doting host, is in the middle of a lover’s tiff with his sweetheart Andrea, who resents David wanting to leave this dead-end little fishing village they find themselves trapped in.

Dumping David’s Mom’s soup on the carpet of his room, Dracula takes to the night skies, seeking supper of the jugular variety. His bloodthirsty jaunt leads to the birth of two new vampires, Gladys and Corker, who join the Lord of the Undead’s unholy crusade and make the nightlife in Littlepool a bit more, shall we say, exciting.

While this chaos unfolds, Dracula’s chief stalker, Quincy Harker, is busy in London doing, well, absolutely nothing. But let’s not blame the man; he’s still recovering from a severe case of “I-almost-killed-Dracula-itis.” Quincy relegates himself to watching Rachel Van Helsing and Frank Drake brush up on their crossbowmanship by taking out their anger on a Dracula-lookalike target. Sad!

Back in Littlepool, David implores Dracula to allow him to tag along when Drac leaves, as David wants to see the wider world. Uncharacteristically showing affection for David, the Count refuses, saying that it would be too dangerous. He also opts to spare David’s girl Andrea from his fangs, as he does not want to cause the boy pain. Which leaves us to ponder – did Quincy’s dart contain a dose of humanity as well as poison? Because Drac’s certainly acting out of sorts.

Eventually the vampire activity in the town can’t be ignored and the priest gathers a mob (complete with torches and all manner of mob regalia) to hunt down Gladys, Corker, and above all Dracula, whom Father William has identified as the satanic culprit. The two fledgling vamps are staked rather brutally as they try to feed on David and Andrea, but Dracula escapes. But before he leaves, he offers to turn David into his demonic disciple. David politely declines, and Dracula departs, saying that he will forever be in the young man’s debt. Weird!

So as you sip your garlic-infused beverages, dear readers, let’s toast the bewildered folks of Littlepool. They managed to survive the coming of Dracula with only a barmaid and a drunken sot as casualties. Lucky! And what of David? Well, the starry-eyed youngster makes up with Andrea and is left contemplating whether village life is really as life dull as everyone makes it out to be. Ah, the complexities of youth, sprinkled with a dash of fangs and existential dread.

An Artistic Atrocity

OK, I’ll make no bones about it. Vince Coletta, the man who single-handedly marred Jack Kirby’s beautiful pencils on scores of issues of The Mighty Thor, nearly destroys Gene Colan’s beautiful artwork in this issue. Compare it to the issues by inker Tom Palmer, and I dare you to tell me I’m wrong.

The So-So Story

This is really a throwaway tale, but it did show us some of Dracula’s latent humanity, which will come to the forefront in later issues. As the plot of a Hammer horror film, this would have worked nicely, save that the ending would probably involve the massacre of half the town. Still, the dialogue pops, and the characters are fleshed out (especially David and Dracula, and even Gladys and Corker, based on their brief exchanges in the local pub) so there’s very little to complain about, storywise.

The Wallachian Wrap-up

Overall, I’d say this was certainly not one of my favorite issues, but it does set up the unlucky biker gang who dared lay hands on Dracula in the first few flashbacks for some nice comeuppance in stories to come.

So stick around, fear friends!

And why not hit that subscribe button to keep up with future posts diving into the macabre world of comics? Don’t be shy; your thoughts are the lifeblood of this blog—leave a comment and join the discussion. So, until I hear from you, may your nights be long, your dreams be dark, and your comic collecting prolific. Sweet screams!

If you’d like to read along with our Tomb of Dracula coverage, check out the following collections featuring the dreaded Count. They make for a bloody good time.

Article Info

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On my fifth birthday a relative gifted me a black box filled with old horror, war, and superhero comics. On that day, my journey through the Weird began, and The Longbox of Darkness was born. Four decades of voracious reading later, and here we are.